A parody of the famous 'home taping is killing the music industry' warning, The Pirate Bay's logo has a compact audio cassette acting as the skull in the classic skull and crossbones symbol. The music industry in the 1980s was scared of recording because they believed that consumers would just copy songs or record it from the radio. But it didn't really happen, at least not enough to truly hurt anyone in the music industry.
Technology such as miniDisc and recordable CDs gave rise to the same debate. However, the introduction of free online music sharing services like Napster and AudioGalaxy, which enabled users to share music without paying any fees, alarmed the music industry more than anything else.
How will technology then destroy the music business? The record label will, of course, be destroyed. It's easy to understand why. The role of record labels as a middleman is just no longer necessary. In the same manner that we book direct flights, get our groceries online, and have Amazon deliver our purchases rather than visiting a nearby store. We've always been eager to save costs at the expense of the intermediary, and record companies are the ultimate in them.
The creation of music used to be heavily influenced by record labels. However, as I said earlier, for artists, this is increasingly something they can accomplish on their own, using tools like Apple's GarageBand or any of the other incredible music-development apps that are available to foster new talent. These days, they're actually rather affordable, and hardware is more affordable than ever thanks to digital technology. Numerous musicians are making their way on their own, independent of record labels, and every Mac may be used as a recording studio.
Getting songs heard on the radio was another function of the record business. Due to labels' propensity to favor the promotion of well-known artists like Swift or Justin Bieber, this is typically extremely harmful for variety.
The music business as a whole has never cared about what the majority of people want to listen to; it only cares about what the young people desire, who have disposable income and access to their parents' credit cards to use for iTunes purchases.
The CEO of lossless music streaming service Tidal, Andy Chen, told me recently in a conversation that young people today don't grasp the concept of purchasing music from a store. Many people use iTunes, but in his opinion, young people prefer to stream music from websites like YouTube and Spotify. The debut of Google's new music service, which is integrated with its streaming service All Access but features videos on YouTube, demonstrates that this is a sector that is expanding.
Google is disproving the notion held by MTV that consumers no longer enjoy watching music videos.
But Chen also told me that platforms like Tidal, Spotify, and Google's All Access would be the ones that made music available to users and served as a platform for discovering new artists. For instance, Google can produce radio based on an algorithm that recognizes your taste and makes recommendations based on what you've listened to. As an illustration, 'I feel Lucky Radio' aims to be the ideal radio station for you. tailored to your preferences, not those of others.
Additionally, since the record labels are no longer around, no one will take a cut (apart from the streaming service). Of course, artists will be responsible for covering the cost of their own recording, but if they have the resources, they will be able to record at home or, if they have had prior success, hire a studio. Although it's not necessarily a negative thing to record at home, having access to the best studios in the world is not necessary to produce a fantastic sound, as several breakout acts have demonstrated. Anyhow, if a musician can find someone who wants a silver disc in the future, they can always re-record their music into CD and sell it after demoing it via streaming platforms.