Artisanal Music? Is That Like Artisanal Cheese? Yeah, Kind Of…

We have craft beers, artisan cheeses, bespoke suits and other one-of-a-kind (or at least limited-edition) commodities available to those with means. But what’s this business about “artisanal music?” The Daily Beast puts offers this hypothesis.

The real artisan movement is happening in the music world. The first stirrings can be heard in almost every genre, and the long-term implications are far from clear. But this tectonic shift has the potential to shake up the entertainment business, and shift the balance of power among the various labels.

Even as synthesized sounds and samples are available to artists at the click of the mouse, a growing number of million-selling performers are embracing old school values of craft and musicianship. The power brokers in the music industry ought to pay attention—or a paradigm shift could once again catch them napping.

You don’t want to be a musical Monsanto in this brave new world! A smarter strategy is to establish street cred as the Whole Foods of the record business.

The analogy to food trends is appropriate. After decades of processed products and tech-created additives, the public rebelled and showed that a large market existed for natural and organic alternatives. The same thing is happening now in music, but the movement is still in its early stages. Yet similar forces are at work in both fields: a growing sense that that reliance on processing and tech additives may have gone too far, and that a return to core values might produce better long-term results.

The discerning listener can now hear this new paradigm emerging in every corner of the music business.

Keep going for some interesting examples.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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