These stories speak to the current conflicted state of many artists’ relationship with technology — we sense the incredible potential of technology, and yet we also sense a failure to live up to that potential, because the technology and the supporting infrastructure isn’t really being built with all of us in mind. Discourse around technology possibilities for artists alternatively gravitates toward the utopic — tech will solve everything and bring about a democratized cultural landscape — and the dystopic — technology will ruin everything, dumb down our audiences, and steal our lunch money!
Musicians are a very adaptable bunch, particularly independents. We’re the ones who turned the original MySpace into a powerhouse of music discovery; we’ve made Twitter an important platform for conversations about music; we continue to drive eyeballs to YouTube. Unfortunately musicians have also experienced the hassles of having a once-dependable platform disappear or transform into something that isn’t so useful, like when MySpace went Murdoch or the recent changes to Facebook.
Musicians’ needs in the digital realm might not be simple, per se, but they should be recognized. Although artists are generally enthusiastic about digital tools to reach fans, raise capital and sell stuff, we’re less thrilled when an online service goes away or is modified to the extent that its less useful. When news broke recently that streaming on-demand site Beats Music had acquired Topspin—a well-liked, direct-to-fan commerce solution for musicians—many wondered what this would mean for artists who had come to depend on its suite of services.
This post was authored by FMC intern Danny Weiss. Full video after the jump.
We’re fast approaching the time of year for reflection. What was great in 2011? What’s going to rock our world in 2012? With that in mind, we thought we could take a look back — and forward — at some startups aiming to give artists new tools to navigate an evolving digital marketplace. read more