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The Internet Is Taking The Music Industry For A Ride

December 2, 2011

The internet is a powerful platform for independent artists, turning the mainstream into independent and the independent into superstars. Many forget that Justin Bieber got his break after posting videos of his singing to YouTube, which goes to show how the internet is flipping the music industry upside down.

There is a website that has grown in popularity recently called SoundCloud, it is a social networking site where anyone can upload audio for anyone to listen to and comment on. Users get 2 hours worth of space on the site for free and can pay extra for more space and other premium features.

What relates SoundCloud to independent media is that recently I’ve noticed some of the big name musical artists who have accounts are uploading original tracks that their fans can download for free. These are artists signed to a record label who normally produce tracks sold through normal methods who enjoy making music so much that they circumvent the label and give up payment. This is an example of establishment artists going independent.

Similar to Radiohead releasing their album for name-your-own-price, there seems to be a backlash against the music industry. The internet provides unique tools and mass distribution methods that are making the music industry obsolete. There are now online music stores that cater to indy labels, emusic, Bleep and a past site, Amie Street, to name a few.

Actually, Amie Street followed a unique business model: all tracks began free but as they become more popular, the price increased (the reason its name and logo allude to the stock market). The prices were capped at .98 cents and users could earn credits to be used for buying songs by recommending promising tracks to other users. If the track they recommended became popular on the site, the user was awarded with free credit. Sadly, Amie Street was bought out by Amazon.com and the demand based pricing does not exist anymore, but it still remains a shining example of what can be.

Currently, the best way an independent artist can distribute him or herself across the net is through tunecore.com, a service that partners with the largest online music distributors to allow anyone to have their music listed and sold. For $10 a song per year, an artist can have their song sold through iTunes, Amazon.com, emusic and many others.

The internet has undoubtedly opened a world of opportunity for independent artists, who now have a chance to make it for minimal cost.

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