I have seen it over and over again. Musicians who have been promoting themselves for years, if not decades, are so suspicious of any new online tools or new apps that can either help their careers get launched or further the growth of their popularity.
Maybe it's that old saying, "Once bitten, twice shy". It is true that whatever era you look back on, the musicians, the bands that went the Indie route instead of signing to some gigantic Major Label
have been burned by distributors, stores, the media, and certainly the live venues. So, perhaps when I talk to these people and mention Spotify as one example, all I get are negative reactions from most Indie artists.
Granted, today there are so many new companies promising online exposure and easy-to-use website templates let alone digital revenue collectors that may or may not pay their artists or publishing companies that don't give their songwriters the money they are do, that if you align yourself with the wrong start-up company you might get burned. But as I said, musicians and songwriters have always been at the bottom of the barrel when it get to receiving their just rewards.
So back to Spotify. This company took most of Europe by storm years ago, and only arrive on our shores within the last year or so, after many months of negotiating deals with the Major labels and tons of Indie labels.
But listen up. Spotify is going to be around for a long time! Also, the streaming music business, at any level, is really a new way of thinking about getting your music out there, and yes the royalties paid out not only by Spotify are extremely low at this time, as are the many copycat companies that are out there doing their best to attract and support independent music.
Give 'em a break! Streaming music and video and anything related to "The Cloud" is the future, and that future has arrived and is here to stay. So stop being afraid of the many changes that are here now and use them for, if nothing else, extraordinary opportunities to expose your unknown music, or relatively obscure music. This goes for any genre of music from acoustic instrumental music to singer/songwriters, to rappers and rockers.
Its all about people finding your music, falling in love with it, and becoming a dedicated fan. That is what you really are after - dedicated and supportive fans. If you then can tap into those people that have an emotional attachment to you, you are more than halfway there. Catch these fans, interact with them. Make sure you are using the best social networking sites and companies and stop worrying about your revenue stream from either Spotify or any new companies that offer streaming services.
Instead, create your own streams of income from live show, licensing your music, merchandise sales from your live shows, and on and on it goes.
As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, this new era of streaming content will improve over the next few years, and the stronger you are positioned in the exposure areas I have mentioned, the higher the likelihood that the deals you negotiate will turn more into more favorable financial rewards.
Get it? Got it? ...Good!
Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.
Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.
He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".
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