Music Industry

The End of Free Music?

An interesting opinion piece that appeared at Hypebot:

Do we create too much content? Does the world need a filter? “Every 2 days, the world creates as much content as we did from the beginning of time up until 2003.” ~ Eric Schmidt, Google CEO. When it comes to content, music is king. In the words of music entrepreneur Troy Carter: “Music can sell everything but itself.” Today, art is made to be bludgeoned by adverts.

The Coming Deluge

As content goes, music is much harder to create than say a mere Tweet. Yes, there is a flood of new music, but perhaps the real deluge has yet to come. Music creation is becoming ever easier. In a few years, perhaps every two-bit digital native will have a bevy of songs they’ve mashed up in minutes and instantly shared?

Even now, there are about 200 million songs worldwide compared to about 6 million in the year 2000.  We may have 1 billion songs by the year 2020. And every song that enters the pile devalues the currency of music ever further.

Which begs the question: Can music be devalued below $0.00?

Like, negative value?  How is that even possible? Interesting. Carry on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

5 thoughts on “The End of Free Music?

  • interesting take. the only answer is of course that you have to enter in the mix QUALITY OF CONTENT. all the songs on the internet SUCK. they make you feel like shit when you listen to them, and they are only there because the “artists” trick you into likening them to good music which is inspiring and enlightening, which is something that has pushed us through the years. you can devalue music, but nothing will replace the an artist and a song/album which many or us know, if its good, can change our life and push us through the times when there is nothing else to live for. we all owe a debt to real artists, and the only answer comes when everyone learns to DISCRIMINATE and they can.

  • the amount of songs gone up quality of course gone down, way down. even quality artists of a few years back dont produce quality music anymore, because it has gotten harder. the only quality album, released after 2009 (twitter, gmail era) is soundgarden king animal. this is after taking in consideration david bowie, suede, placebo, primal scream etc.

    its easy and also predictable. rise of ease of communication/tools of recording in your bedroom, low amount of jobs, baby boomers hold on to every position = a billion bedroom hacks. what business do any of you have comparing this to real music, which if youre not a lying sack of shit, obviously exists? you dont have to put it all in the same category! learn to discriminate, you cant be a music lover without discriminating some jock loser’s hack garbage to a good song! de value music bah, we just have to up the ante in these fucked up times. learn to say “no this fucking sucks”. you need discrimination

  • The quantity of songs available will rise up, no doubt. The good ones will be the ones that leave “something” else in us, is harder to pick them up. And is going to be worse.

    Problem is that listeners are changing habit-wise and most kids don’t give a damn for music. Few ones care and try t find something interesting.

    Another problem is that, because of too many available music, most people look back for known artist: classic, alternative (which by now they’d become classic too), electronic… Known music which already probe to be… good.

    There is a huge need for curators, like this site, to help us and find those little pieces of music available in this universe.

    David Bowie said like 10 years ago that music will become a commodity, like water or gas. He was/is right. You open the internet and you can listen whatever you want. That doesn’t mean we don;t have to pay to musicians.

    My two cents.

  • I’m hoping this is a pendulum. As the digital era matures, the strong will survive and the weak will be swallowed up. Look back to the beginning of any technology and you see (or hear) very poor examples of what the technology is capable of. Once skilled musicians embrace the technology more fully, the quality rises.

    As with anything, people are initially enamoured with the tech itself and the demand for quality comes soon after.

    • This is totally true. technology has no value itself unless it enables better content


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