Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why Musicians Do Not Have A Reliable Income?

As a musician, I am concerned not only about the music, but also how to shape the future of music. In addition to the great musicians, such as Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Martha Argerich, there are plenty of middle ground musicians or fresh graduates, on an individual level, who just joined the music market recently. How can these musicians make their living? At first, they might be asked to play some gigs for free to earn some reputation. At the live performance, the musician sells merchandise to let the audience know them and try to make a profit. Gradually, their music is put on the mediums, including Spotify, Pandora, and Youtube etc. However, the pay, from the mediums is counted by the rate based on the number of plays or downloads per month, is still not enough for some musicians to make a living. Because of the bigger exposure, the musician begin to play gigs without paying, continuing this vicious cycle.

      Isaac Schankler, a composer and electronic musician, takes two examples of medium application, which are Bandcamp and Spotify, contrasting their operations and effect. Both of them offer listeners unlimited free music to enjoy. Bandcamp focuses their market demand on the superfans, who desire the music, willing to purchase and download the piece. On Bandcamp, the listener pays for the music, so the artists obtain the benefits directly. On the other hand, Spotify pays the artists depending on the click rates, which means the artists need a great amount of exposure and build a high reputation. In other words, Bandcamp is friendlier to all artists.

     Musicians have a hard time to engage in the music career. Apart from playing gigs for free, some artists attract their own supporters by recording an amazing video on YouTube. Besides, the new artists can let the people know them more by creating a biography page on the website, consisting of the artist’s resume, compositions, contact information, and even schedule. In this net generation, we can increase and develop our music markets and fans more easily than before. Therefore, we should explore and produce the opportunities positively and efficiently.
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