Yes, the music industry has changed and in many ways it’s more challenging than ever before, but with change comes new opportunities. Success can still be had by those who work to create it. The traditional major label options aren’t as great and as varied as they were when the Stones or Madonna or REM initially made their marks, but there are now new and different ways to succeed, develop an audience and build a strong career
It’s not only the music industry that has been stood on its head by the internet. The worlds of publishing, film and TV are also reeling. In the past authors expected to sign a publishing deal, get an advance and then prepare for a book tour. Well times have changed. Fewer and fewer publishing houses are investing in tours unless it’s for one of their reigning literary superstars. So whereas more and more musical acts are back on the road and touring, fewer and fewer authors are out there meeting the public and bookstore owners. Book tours are more important than many realize. They are about making connections with individual stores, store owners and managers. Even those inevitable signings that end up with a handful of people in the audience can be beneficial, if a relationship is forged between the writer and a bookseller. Making it even more challenging is the fact that bookstores themselves are facing some of the roughest times they’ve ever encountered. Independents are falling by the wayside; Borders is gone and Barnes & Noble is doing all that it can to simply survive.
As with all types of intellectual property, book sales are being hit hard. The model that worked so well only a few years ago, is now broken. Still, in both music and publishing as the old models begin to falter, new avenues and opportunities are surfacing. For musicians and authors that take their careers and their works into their own hands there is a new world of opportunity out there.
The tough part here is that artists either have to become marketers, or they have to hire PR and marketing firms to handle their promotional needs for them. Particularly in the fields of art and entertainment, marketing cannot be looked at as a luxury. Marketing, particularly media relations, is a necessity. The upside to the internet is that every area of interest has its own bloggers and social media sites. Savvy authors and musicians are using social media, blogging, and article marketing to create an inbound marketing funnel for their books CDs and music downloads. Some are launching and investing in their own tours, others are offering online events. Those that are truly savvy are launching traditional public relations campaigns to reach their target market, establish themselves as experts in their field and gain the validation and legitimacy of being in the news. With the right buzz both musicians and authors can with a bit of creativity generate their own sales and build their fan base, and establish their own successful careers.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012