Making a living in music, part 1
In the "old days" (1970s, 80s, and 90s) it was pretty clear what the goal was for a musician: getting a development deal from an established label that would give you enough money to live and write music for a year; and a recording contract with a "major" label that would throw their marketing machine at you and see how your record would do.Those days weren't all bad- record companies had young A&R personnel scouting the clubs in LA and NYC for new talent and taking six figure chances on artists. Yes, there were horrific contracts for young artists to sign, and many came to regret their hasty decisions. But not all was bad- the business was built on personal relationships and on creativity. The artists with new ideas had a real chance to record and be heard.
After the meltdown of the record business in the late 1990's things changed. Like, a lot! Gone are the record companies (the old system basically self destructed), gone are the horrific contracts, too. The internet is the new distribution system, with streaming being the new way to listen to music. Everybody can post songs now. It's a lot more democratic, and a lot more people can be reached through the internet. The mechanical royalties from streaming service as a pittance, though, and my sincerest gratitude to Taylor Swift for taking Apple to task!!! You don't know what I'm talking about? Search it: Taylor Swift vs. Apple.
So, royalties have diminished, although the listener base has increased. Musicians are getting organized and are fighting to get a higher royalty from streaming. Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and others are clinging to a $10 a month membership fee. Where is it all heading? I have no idea...
I am heading to Chartres, France again to play in that timeless cathedral, and play for a live audience. This is what musicians do, right? Regardless of the old ways/new ways, we bring our music onto stages around the world and celebrate our gifts and our musical discoveries. We play, people listen, and a community forms. This will hopefully never change.
More to come...
Hans Christian shares his ideas about the studio world