In honor of Independence Day, it’s time to celebrate the growing independence that has occurred for musical artists in the music industry over the past few years. Artists are no longer bound down by the restrictions and expectations set by their record labels. Of course there are several factors that have lead to the demise of the record industry, however the most influential driving force for this transformation has been the rise of digital music.
Whether it comes in the form of illegal piracy or downloadable songs off iTunes, digital music has made music more accessible and easy to obtain. While this may be a major thorn in the side of record labels and record stores, it has made it far more easier for musical artists to gain exposure and promote their band. With the help of digital music, artists can release their music online via Facebook, Myspace, YouTube and their personal band websites without having to answer to the bureaucratic style of business associated with major record labels. This has allowed for musical artists to truly become artists and create the type of music they are passionate about (as opposed to what the record labels order them to do).
Radiohead was one of the first bands to embrace digital music and use it in their advantage to promote their new album “In Rainbows” in 2007. Instead of going the conventional route of selling hard copies of their album in record stores, they released the album for download off their band website and allowed for their fans to pay whatever price they felt the album was worth. This strategy worked quite well for Radiohead as they grossed about $3 million in digital album sales. Other musical acts have followed suit (including Jay-Z and Kanye West, with their new album Watch The Throne to be released this summer) and it seems that music industry is in the midst of a major transition from analog to digital music. In the end, music is a form of art that is best when created by people who are passionate about what they do and digital music allows for everyone from the average joe to the Rolling Stones to release the music that they want the world to hear and enjoy.