Rock of the Arts is hard at work learning Topspin's new direct-to-fan (DTF) marketing platform through the Berklee College of Music. We're about three-fourths of the way through training and things are becoming very clear. The old music industry is dead. Yet, many artists and managers still cling to the trappings and mechanics of the old system. Probably, because the smoke has not cleared around what will take its place. The ultimate goal isn't to get signed by a major label anymore. Not only because major labels are dropping like flies, but because the value proposition just isn't there.
At least in the indie rock world, radio airplay and record store distribution, once controlled by major labels, has been replaced by low cost Internet distribution through music blogs, iTunes and Tunecore. The majors are losing their clout. A large segment of the music buying public hasn't been in a record store in years. Yes, pockets of vinyl lovers still exist for a small niche market.
There is a new middle class musician emerging from the fold. A way for musicians to make a decent living leveraging tools like Topspin, ReverbNation and Bandcamp. Maintaining control of the creative aspects of their careers without the constraints of a big label dictating terms. Over the next several months, Rock of the Arts will attempt to shed light on the new direct-to-fan concept and compare the different tools available to artists. We're developing expertise on the new digital distribution network available online and how it can integrate with ticketing and merchandising functionality to give a musician the complete marketing package. Not only to make music, but to live comfortably doing it.
We see potential in the new web-based ecosystem emerging to help Wisconsin musicians differentiate themselves from the 5 million bands on MySpace. We're on our way down to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest and are excited by the prospects of two music panel presentations that pretty much sum up the dichotomy of the current state of the industry; old vs. new;
Old Music Industry:
Welcome to the Music Business. You're Fucked!
New Music Industry:
The Cultural Significance of Direct-to-Fan Marketing
Ian Rogers. CEO of Topspin Media, will be making a major presentation at SXSW Music. If you're a musician, direct-to-fan marketing will play a big role in what you do over the next five years. We'll keep you posted from Austin, if we don't get too distracted by the thousands of bands scheduled to play SXSW!
Ian Rogers on Topspin and Data