MUSINGS IN Cb: “The Internet Changed Us”
A Google of the phrase “how the Internet changed music” will yield about 58,600,000 results (in 0.32 seconds).
However, “how the Internet changed musicians” will only yield about 17 million results in about the same fraction of a second.
Both are outrageous numbers of results, but the point is that we read and talk about the Internet’s impact upon the music industry in terms of venues, labels, royalties, etc.
Despite the millions of Google hits for the search terms I posted earlier, rarely does anyone I know offline actually talk about (or, purposely seek to read about) the Internet’s real impact upon musicians, in most any terms or contexts.
I’d like to try to point out some of the things I’ve observed. Here goes …
- The Internet has provided an instant platform to reaching the world with one’s art; and thus, eliminated major barriers to market entry for millions of musicians – specifically, you don’t need someone’s biased permission to publish and you don’t need to mortgage your work to document your work for posterity.
- The Internet has become the most objective barometer of talent, in that once you put your music online, it speaks for itself inherently – specifically, and regardless of the subjective quality of it, your art will speak to some people and it will not speak to others; thus, truly producing the most sincere of audiences for your work.
- The Internet has helped many artists get over ourselves, in terms of attempting to play every gig in town at once, be on every radio playlist if we have a recording out, or feeling like the “system” is broken and we are a failure because we are not selling $500 in iTunes a month – specifically, the world is a bigger place than our local scenes will ever be and we can’t have everything there is because that is impossible. Recordings are primarily advertisements to get hired and career documentation for posterity after we are gone from this form. Get over it.
- The Internet has opened opportunities to create art – specifically, giving different ways and platforms from which (some have yet to be conceived) to share your art and earn a living.
- The Internet has positively affected every field, not just music – specifically, knowledge and information are power in all contexts.
As a composer, educator and recording artist, I am personally glad the Internet came along in my time. The tools at my disposal because of the Internet provide significant and positive possibilities to create and do my work. I wonder what Charlie Parker or John Coltrane would have done using the Internet?