The Ever Changing Landscape of the Music Industry by Blair Ensor

The changing face of media means musicians are working in different way to release their music.

The internet coupled with illegal downloading has seen a drop in record sales, which means musicians are having to explore new avenues to make a living.

Manager of Ladi6 and Shapeshifter Rebecca Caughey said musicians had to work harder now than they had in the past.

“There is less infrastructure here in New Zealand than there used to be because we have more of an independent ethos.”

Ms Caughey said artists had formed independent record labels as a way of avoiding the costs of releasing music through a major record label, but this meant a lot more work for artists and managers.

She said independent artists made more money from each individual sale, but they did not sell as many copies. Income from record sales was not what it used to be.

“Live performance is one of the most important forms of income to an artist. An album is more of a marketing stream than an income now,” she said because of this the consumer had the opportunity to attend more live performances

“I think it is clear that we are now spoilt for choice. There are more internationals coming and everyone is traveling. When was the last time Stevie Wonder came to Christchurch.”

Other New Zealand artists had found ways to use the internet to get their music to a larger audience by releasing their music for free.

Christchurch musician Tom Lewis a.k.a Tom Cosm said he had released his music for free on the internet since he had begun producing music. However, he said he accepted donations through his website.

If people like what I do and feel like they want to support me, they can donate whatever they are comfortable with. I believe opening your wallets for music should be optional and come at the end of the listen, like, get hooked, and become a fan chain.”

Mr Lewis said he had received praise from people about his free marketing approach and its success but that was not what he focused on as a muscian.

“The truth is I don’t really focus on that side of things, my music has been free from the start and always will be simply because it’s fun.”

He said the joy he got from people hearing his music all over the world outweighed “the buzz” from earning money.

Wellington artist Jeramiah Ross a.k.a Module had recently released a free live album on the internet called Pattern Dot Life which allowed people to download the first version and remix the whole album using a programme called Ableton Live.

Making the first version free hopefully will get people interested in buying the second and third versions and coming along to my shows in which I put a lot of work into.”

“I just reckon its better for people to be listening to what you’re making rather than not, so this is a great way for me to do that. Using the internet as a platform to launch my ideas, and getting people involved along the way is lots of fun if you ask me.”

Mr Ross said he thought people would come along to shows if they could listen to the music before hand.

“I am just giving people the means to check out what I do creatively and then If they like it they can come to a show.”

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