The Digital Age and Music

Music is an essential part of our daily life but it’s economic of consumerism has gone through an upheaval in recent times, though not that sudden.

The advent of digital and downloadable technology starting with Napster and the likes has sparked numerous debates on how to save the industry as more and more consumers have chosen to sample their favourite artiste and songs free and without paying much of an anything, perhaps just the internet time, perhaps billable at the end of the month or, their parents are actually paying it.

Some of these offense has escalated into charges and prosecution, being Napster founder himself and in our local scene, correct my if I’m wrong a site that’s got something to do with the name ‘Jiwang’.

It is not correct to assume that only the youth, spurred by lack of pocket money, is the majority advocators of this movement. The adults and maybe some seniors too, has looked into this ‘convenient’ avenue and participated in a so called ‘caring is sharing’ community that is synanomous by  codes such as Seeders and Leachers.

In Malaysia, it has always been an outcry that the albums or singles ( not introduced early enough) were priced way way too high and it has been a big a conundrum to the local music scene as what will be the best pricing bracket for our local produces. With dwindling record sales, much doom and gloom has been spreaded about the fall of the music industry where in the local scene, in its hey day could reach a ceiling of RM400 million worth of business but now has dwindled to no more than RM190 million, said an industry insider.

With the emergence of Youtube, a video technology platform, outperforming the much loved 90s MTV because of its convenience and reach, that has also attacked the viability of selling music to consumers. Coupling with this popularity of Youtube, are the converter technology which can ingeniously download the videos into the desired and convenient format such as MP3s and videos in AVIs and MP4s. It makes ripping off the music industry much much more convenient.

It has always been the wisdom passed around that the best money are found in concerts and merchandise since time of old, and not in album sales much more so in this carnivorous digital age. But, with the push to digital sales in iTunes or Distro backed platforms such as Amazon and Spotify, will the players still be able to recoup their initial investment and grow their brand and influence?

So, it is with any products that enters the market, in the music industry what sells is also the image and the allure of the star itself. If we are talking about possibilities, once known and desired, the star can reach out and be a conduit to myriads of services, brands and connectors that will not only invest in the star but lend survivability value for the star.

Being a singer, composer or musician, in this digital age is not just about creating great works. In this democratized media, it is now or never that one strive to build value and brand weightage so that they will stand out and become THE star.



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