With every new technological development which enhances music makers’ abilities to take ownership of their career via the DIY approach, the prevalent belief that the destiny of an artist’s success is in one’s own hands gains wider ground. Without a doubt, the tools given to music artists to encourage those artists to follow the DIY pathway has transformed the music business and the common understanding is that artists stand to benefit more from the way the music business operates today than the old record business model pioneered by the likes of Clive Davis & David Geffen. However, is this true? Has the record business really made a shift from the old politics to an equal opportunity industry? Have musicians globally, if they only use the correct marketing strategies, work hard, and preserver been given access to the “American Dream”? There is one debate that states that the DIY approach to making and marketing music has led to the democratization of the record industry. On the other hand, others have the understanding that the cosmetic transformation of the record industry is just that and that the ball is still being squashed in the same court it has always been.
Canadian singer-songwriter and indie artist Ali Hugo known for writing Islamic country songs was recently interviewed by the Nigerian Musicology podcast where Hugo talked about some of the challenges of being an indie DIY artist in today’s music industry and Hugo expressed that industry accountability is still a concern for many artists. On the other hand, music manager Rick Barker who played a role in the success of Taylor Swift’s career runs a successful business that is based on the assumption that the right digital marketing know-how can certainly lead DIY to success.So how has digital marketing transformed the music industry? Does the surgically altered face of the music industry today express that there is less collusion between industry establishments to achieve common goals of mutual interests? Well, for one thing, the burden of marketing and promoting content has been shifted to the content creator through the “share” culture. This is having a noticeable impact on the marketing budgets of many record labels. In addition to this, the new face of the music industry has extended a lifeline to the careers of specialists like Rick Barker who have digitized their many years of experience in the music industry into a successful online business. Like Barker, there are the online vocal coaches, virtual music managers, and many more services available for the DIY musician. However, the question which puzzles most is how much value can be added by virtual managers from the Atari age to musicians born in the play-station and Xbox age? Does the new music industry give equal opportunities to a Japanese manager in Tokyo who has superior digital marketing skills to launch a successful virtual music management career?
There are certain musicians who are skeptical about the rewards which can be reaped by the DIY approach and the idea that the ownership of the old music model has completely reached the end of its lifeline. Canadian Musician Ali Hugo’s team at belief records have frequently bragged about being known for successfully marketing Hugo’s music online, yet this does not explain the strange move by Hugo’s team at belief records to replace a premium owned website worth $12,000 and one which attracts 900 visitors a day with a free WordPress site. When asked to comment about this Hugo stated that the last thing any industry needs is another whiner. The team at belief records looked at the response from the fan mail coming in and that response did not match the performance stats being provided to belief records by some of its online service providers. Digital marketing is largely based on statistics and if we can’t depend on the data being given to us by our services providers, our team cannot strategies our next effective marketing moves which will take Hugo’s career to the next level. Resorting to a free WordPress site has many perks including accurate realtime statistics and associating the sites Ali Hugo content with word press adds. The Ali Hugo team views this as a collaboration where the team will provide the content and WordPress can then push the content with sponsored adds to the mainstream and in this way, we have the assurance that the Ali Hugo music message reaches a wider audience and at the same time we avoid depending on phony numbers. Hugo also mentioned the need for cost-cutting. “cost-cutting for the Ali Hugo teams is not only about terminating a relationship with a website host thus relieving belief records from paying premium services fees, but it also means more dependence on organic growth rather than paid promotions. This leads to managing better relations which translate into Good Will on our end of year financial statements. An example of this type of relationship is the one the Ali Hugo team has with the Shift Radio and Television station based in Manchester UK. Our relationship with Shift has been fruitful. Sure there is a symbolic fee to it but the harvest includes access for Ali Hugo to a wide network of shifts music connections, for example, the Shift cafe, The music revolution, Shifts UK, and US talent seekers network.
Is there Hope for The Meek?
Despite the traditional music models and its oligarchies fight to the death to live on, the hope for many indie artists is on the new innovative technology and new players in the industry. For example, TikTok has completely revolutionized the game where a person in Pakistan can gain instant celebrity status based on the equal opportunities provided for the content being published on TikTok. The team at belief records responded to opportunities provided by the likes of TikTok and other new players “well it’s astonishing! the numbers speak for themselves.” Our video content was able to reach a wider audience for free with higher realtime statistic figures in a short period of time than what we achieved through paid promotions on some well-known digital platforms.” So, does this mean that experience has no value in this new music industry, “it certainly does not” was belief records response, there is no room for the old biases and equal opportunity is non-optional. However, it might take Alibaba’s digital music platform a long time to reach the kind of success achieved by Amazon prime and the amazon digital music market. This may also be an impossibility if Amazon continues its ability to support its music streaming and download services with cutting edge technology which benefits all DIY musicians.