Make it in the Music Industry in the Digital Age

It is no secret that the music industry is struggling to survive. The advent of digital piracy has severely dented the profits of major record labels, and as such they are less likely to invest in new music. With the elusive ‘record deal’ now seemingly even further away from the grasp of most musicians, just how can today’s artists make it in the modern music industry?

It is the ultimate dream of many musicians to one day sign a major record deal. It is the Holy Grail of many bands, yet unfortunately many talented musicians will never get that opportunity. The record deal, while always being an extremely difficult thing to achieve, has actually become even harder to attain, and here’s why. Record labels are running out of money.

All businesses require money to survive, and the music business is no exception. Digital piracy is robbing the music industry of it’s cash flow, and a business without cash flow cannot survive for very long. Without cash flow, the major record labels will be tightening their purse strings and holding back from investing in new talent for two reasons. One is that new talent is always a risk.

There is no guarantee that any band will be a success, but at least with a healthy bank balance a record label can afford to take the risk. The second is that even if new talent proves itself to be a very desirable investment on paper, the major labels know that a high proportion of music distribution will occur illegally. They will not earn a single penny from the pirates.

So where does that leave talented musicians who would give their granny’s right arm for a record deal?

It actually leaves them in a very strong position, and here’s why.

For many, many years the music industry was a highly guarded, almost mystical business. Just how did somebody go from being an average Joe to being the planets most revered pop-star? With shows like Pop Idol and the X-Factor the ‘fame’ process has become more mainstream. Most people nowadays can understand, albeit on a very basic level, how someone makes that kind of transformation. Just look at the Susan Boyle story.

When the internet came along, no one in the music industry really paid much attention to it. It was an interesting technological development but hardly worth getting too excited about. After all, the only way of accessing what little online content there was was via a painfully slow dial-up connection.

When the MP3 file format was created, again the music business did not rush out and embrace it as a potential game changer. They assumed people would be very happy to continue paying over the odds for a piece of plastic and a pretty cover because it was something they could hold in their hands.

Back then the major labels had no idea that these two independent, completely unrelated technologies would join forces to take over the only thing which gave them any real power. This ‘thing’ happened to be the global distribution of music.

The day the web became robust enough to handle large file downloads, and move MP3’s from a PC sitting on a desk in London to a PC sitting on a desk in Australia, the single most important control the major labels had over the music industry was gone forever.

This redistribution of power is what now gives a four piece garage band in Ohio the same marketing potential as the highest paid artists on Sony’s roster. Using the internet, there is no reason whatsoever why bands all over the world cannot get their music to the ears of music lovers in any country. The barriers to entry of the music business no longer exist.

There is no longer any need for bands to plough hundreds of dollars into producing a CD album. It is much more affordable to produce an MP3 single. There is no longer any need to beg and plead for distribution into major record stores. You can now distribute your music globally via MySpace or your own band website. You can even get your song onto iTunes via Tunecore for around ten dollars if you would like to capture the iPod/iPhone market.

The 3 Most Under-Rated Artists in the Music Industry Today

As time keeps rolling on, the music industry continues to grow and conform to the computerized talent in which has consumed the industry today. It seems as if the more money made in the music world today, the less genuine talent the artists have. Noticing the Top 10 hits of iTunes in the past 10 years, the list is filled with rap stars and computerized musicians that have no talent other than how to work a simple music production program. The fact is that music has taken a turn down an uncharted road that is filled with technology and mediocrity.

Although music today is not what it used to be, there are still some artists that write for the sole purpose of fulfilling their love of music and expressing themselves in a genuine, passionate way. Most of the artists that still write and perform with bona fide expression and fulfillment are the most under-rated artists in the music world today. The artists that have an authentic talent and love for music should not be pushed to the bottom of the charts by the average artists of today’s music. Instead, they should be winning the Grammy and the American Music Awards instead of the “musicians” of today.

The top three under-rated artists are just a couple of many that deserve recognition for not conforming to the industry’s top ten guidelines nowadays. These artists also deserve the greatest thanks and applause for their unique sounds and expressive works of art.

3. Gavin Degraw

Gavin has been in the industry since 2003 with his album Chariot and has only received one Top Ten listing of his song “I Don’t Want to Be” at number 10 in 2004. This same song was chosen as the theme song for the television drama series, One Tree Hill. His brilliant work has never broken the Top Ten and continues to stay below the rap stars and electricians that run the music industry’s top songs today. Gavin also released a strictly acoustic album of his album Chariot, called Chariot Stripped, which showed that he can rise above the production of music and editing of tracks and release genuine, heartfelt music. In August 2011, Gavin was attacked by some people on the streets of New York City and was hit by a taxi shortly after. He was forced to cancel one of his performances and push back the release date of his new album Sweeter. But, sure enough, Gavin returned to the music scene to keep delivering works of art to the music world and kept performing. Now that’s passion!

2. Sara Bareilles

Like Gavin, Sara has been in the music industry for quite some time now. She screams passion and love for what she does. She began her recording career back in 2004, but with little success. Success did not come until the release of her album Little Voices. She finally worked her way in to the Top Ten with her mainstream hit, “Love Song”. Even though the hit reached the number one spot on the list, Sara is still one of the most under-rated artists of today. Her performances glow with affection because she loves what she does and does it with perfection. Her style is unlike anyone else in the industry. As a pianist and extraordinary vocalist, Sara expresses herself in such a unique and talented way with her angelic voice and beautiful plucking of the keys. With no Grammy awards under her belt, it is surprising to see such talent not be rewarded for her exceptional talent. Sara currently stars as a judge on the TV show The Sing Off while she keeps writing and performing to her heart’s desire.

1. Jason Mraz

Jason, after several years of recording and producing his expertly crafted music, finally received his first Top Ten hit in 2008 with “I’m Yours”.Only one Top Ten hit in almost 10 years of recording with such unique style? Unbelievable. With such an extraordinary tenor voice, Mraz is without a doubt the most under-rated artist of today. His music gives his listeners a taste of a huge variety of different genres ranging from reggae to jazz, and all the way to some country and hip-hop. One can consider Mraz music to be its own genre of music. Starting with Waiting for My Rocket to Come, Mraz introduces his fans to his style right away. Going from pop to country, all the way to reggae in his first album, Mraz burst onto the scene with his unique style. With 4 live albums, Mraz remains one of the best live performers in the industry today. Performing live is the ultimate test for any musician, and Mraz excels with ease at entertaining his fans with beautifully crafted music accompanied by an angelic tenor range and a strikingly skilled guitar. Mraz breathes originality and passion in his words and his music, making him the most lively and uniquely talented musicians in the industry today.