Last night I was thinking of dialogue between a king and his son from the Lion King and one part reminded me of how important a balance is in order for something to survive. I looked the quotes up this morning and it goes like this:
Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope. Simba: But dad, don't we eat the antelope? Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
Now you may be asking yourself, "Why is Ashley quoting Lion King and what does it have to do with her blog" Being the avid Disney fan that I am I think of quotes and lyrics all the time. However, this scene imp articular reminded me of how the balance has shifted in the music business and why you are seeing such drastic changes in how everything is going. I have a theory and it calls for people to voice that there needs to be an evolution of the music industry as a whole. After everything has been evaluated then change can begin.
Again, I do not claim to be an industry expert and my theories are based on what I have experienced and I try to break it down in the simplest of terms. So here is my evaluation:
1- The Artist
*Records are not selling so comparing success on a system that is that same as 1985 to now is absurd. Just like the dollar isn't the same today as it was in 1965, record sales are not the same as they were. And since records do not sale, labels are not handing out money to artists. Since there is no money being made there is no money being spent. The first person to suffer from this is the artists themselves. Of course there are exceptions (EX: Britney Spears, JayZ,etc) I am not speaking of these. I am talking about the majority not the exceptions. Since there isn't a lot of label support due to lack of record salesbands are making their money through touring and merchandising (That is if they didn't strike merch deals with outside companies) In order for a band to make living (because fans need to remember these people have families, they have homes, bills, responsibilities just like everyone else) the have to tour.That's when ticket sales are important. If someone burns a CD (which is what starts the death in this "circle") you have the art which most musicians are happy about, but if you don't go to the show then artists cant tour and if they cant tour they cant live and if they cant survive so ends the cycle because the band breaks up. I hope this making sense.
2- The Industry (Labels, Media, Managers, Producers,etc.)
*As above mentioned ratio, labels are not giving budgets to artists like they used to. So there isn't a lot of money being spent on recording, advertising, and radio play. Basically if you haven't sold at least a gold record (the current standard is 500,000 units) the amount of money a label will spend on development and record push is minimal.
*Record Producers are still charging high$ to produce records that are not selling. They have yet to re-evaluate their standards just like everyone else. Again it isn't 1985, no one going 10x Platinum anymore. Everyone must adjust.
*Magazines are running press on bands that have push behind them and if there is no money there is minimal push. Again I am not saying this is true across the board but as a whole this is the majority.Music television,as I have written before, is practically obsolete. So if you aren't reading about a band in a magazine, hearing their song on the radio, or seeing them on TV how is the majority of people supposed to be exposed to the art? Again another step in the "circle"
3- The People
*Since records are not selling and the bands are touring to get their music heard it is up to the fans to support. Don't just burn a CD and think that your voice doesn't matter. Because you are the most important part of this circle of life. Without you to want the music those people gifted enough to bring it have no one to play for, no one to be there for. And without you showing support in buying a tshirt,writing a great online review to convince someone else to buy the record, taking friends to shows, spreading the word, spreading the art.... a band will not survive. Ticket prices are higher because more then just the band has their hand in the honeypot. As a fan, save yourself the service fees of buying a ticket online and go straight to the box office of your local venue. I know times are hard and there isn't a lot of money to go around so saving anywhere is crucial. But please keep in mind it isn't about the money for your beloved musicians. They WANT to bring you their art. They want you to hear their music no matter how you hear it. But the survival part comes from your support and sometimes that's paying for something. Higher ticket prices, signing to a label, or getting a song played on the radio can be conceived as "SELLING OUT". And as I have stated and I can not stress this enough, making money as minimal as it may be at this stage of the game, is a necessity to any job, any industry. So think twice the next timeyou say your favorite band has "SOLD OUT" think about the circle of life and all the obstacles they had to surpass to just to get to your ears.
As you can see there needs to be some serious restructuring in order for the industry to get with the times. But there is one thing for certain, there is music to be made and lives to be touched by it. Keep supporting the movement. Keep spreading the word.