By Hans Ebert

When one of the very very very few people you respect and with a globally proven track record writes to say, “The music industry has never been in such a mess”, one not only listens, there’s a certain sense of vindication- that what you have been saying and questioning for years isn’t just talk from Sleepy Hollow and how so many have allowed themselves to be bamboozled for so long that they’re utterly burnt out, desperately clutching at straws and believing this is taking them somewhere. Please.

Social media might be a nice place to show off that you’ve made yourself a nice salad and show some happy snaps from a holiday, but as platforms to market and sell music, especially if an unknown, please don’t embarrass yourself by uploading mawkish self-promotional jive on Facebook and Instagram even if you’re wearing a hibiscus behind your ear and wobbling trying to stay in tune. All this does is highlight the terminal deficiencies when it comes to having actual talent.

Of course, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what constitutes good music is in the ear of music fans, yes, but mainly, tastemakers. And here, there’s the realisation that one must march to the beat of their own drum and smother the petty jealousies and din from the murder of crows on social media who really don’t want anyone to succeed. And so, the world wallows in nothingness with way too many just expecting things to happen and that somehow the fairy godmother will pop up and turn a pumpkin into a Lamborghini. For free. As a favour. Something like that. Again, please.

All this has to do with something my old friend Simon Fuller recently said and which many retweeted.

Having known Simon for over two decades and for whom my daughter worked during her summer breaks from university in Brighton and all the red tape we tripped over trying to find a home for the concept of finding China’s first Pop Princess- wrong time, wrong East/West team- he doesn’t need the money. His curriculum vitae speaks for itself- creator of American Idol, manager of Brand Beckham etc etc. But he remains a music guy.

There’s great commercial success and there’s unbridled passion for music and, more importantly, not following the lemmings and actually charting your own course of destiny and being extremely selective about who you invite along for the ride.

For the last three months, many with I’ve come into contact have talked about content and apps and crypto currency and Bitcoin and staging music festivals and meeting this one and that one from music streaming companies in Mainland China, but none has said anything about, And now what. Why? The simple reason that ideas remain ideas until one has the funding to see even a seedling grow. If not?

This leads me to Spotify. What is it? Exactly? What happened to iTunes? Why did MySpace fail?

Where’s Spotify going with its various playlists? And how does any of this make the unknown artist known and heard? Advertise themselves? And how will this work to reach maximum awareness?

Back in the day when Radio ruled the airwaves we had disc jockeys. Some were better than others but they all introduced their listeners to what was coming up. The radio disc jockey was all-important in helping discover new music as were record reviewers whose tastes and views we trusted, and who wrote for Rolling Stone when it was still relevant. There were also all those knowledgeable and passionate people working at record stores. All were guides to discovering new sounds. New music from new artists.

It really wasn’t that long ago but now suddenly it’s all gone. Stormy Daniels is news and part of the clutter. Former news channels have become brothers and sisters of E! and not unlike all the self promotion and incorrect facts one thinks is gospel on Facebook.

Someone recently lamented to me about the “recent” loss of Hawaiian singer Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole. She had just seen it on Facebook. Iz died in 1997 yada yada yada…

This bit of nonsense spoke volumes about how many people think today. They don’t. There’s just a desperation to belong and try to talk knowingly about things like Jazz and the Blues and Rock and play act at understanding about these music genres with absolutely no knowledge of their history. Wikipedia and Google Search are the new teachers. But what exactly are they teaching?

If it’s still not clear, if music is ever going to dig itself out of the hole it finds itself, the new frontier will be Asia with its various “fund managers”, large populations, land for Rock and EDM festivals, and uncharted waters where everything is possible- but only to those who’ve waited, done their homework and know how they’re going to get to where they were always going.

#music #musicindustry #spotify #simonfuller #socialmedia #famegame #asia

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