Along The Tracks – Neil King
When Stevie asked me to contribute a blog to Blues & Roots, I thought long and hard and suggested that I could do a guest blog and well here I am, finally popping the cherry on my first blog. I’m going to run through a few numbers for you, or you could look at my profile somewhere down this page on the right. I’ve been running a music magazine, www.fatea-magazine.co.uk for nearly thirty years and on the internet since 96. I’ve released 37 Fatea Showcase Sessions, www.fatea-showcase-sessions.co.uk and 4 flexiediscs of bands through the magazine as well as a couple of exclusive cassette albums and have been doing Along The Tracks for over five years, mainly for Blues And Roots. I was also lyricist for This Hero’s Shell, https://soundcloud.com/fatea-showcases and have been buying music since I was five. To which your response may well be so what?
I’ve done the list for a reason and until now I’ve left one thing off. In the days just before the internet started and cd-rom was the multimedia king, I launched the UK’s first cd-rom based music magazine, Music From A New Dimension and in doing so invented the electronic press kit. They were heady days, made all the more heady when the internet came along and music was able to transcend national boundaries. If punk had opened up the world to independent record labels, the internet was going to open the world to the truly independent artists, the oyster had opened and it was going to be full of pearls and the genie well and truly out of the bottle.
It didn’t take long for disillusion to set in. The internet took the concept of cottage industry home taping, gathered around a radio recording Top Of The Pops for personal use and industrialised theft to such an extent it turned music from a cherished and revered art form into a cheapened commodity, ripping livelihoods to pieces along the way, how many record shops are left in your town? Music was devalued as the artists lost more and more control, do you think artists would only get $00.00429 per play if they had any control? Music was stolen from its originators and it was allowed to happen, there was no one there to protect the musicians.
If all that seems a little dystopian, well it is, but we also come to the reason why I gave you that list at the start, I genuinely believe that we are sat on the cusp of the next great musical revolution and unlike punk, which drove the indie revolution, the next revolution will not be driven by genre, like the one driven by the internet in ’96 will be technology based and in true karmic fashion, the internet is going to start giving bands and solo artists the power back, being able to make a meaningful living from being a musician is definitely back on the agenda, though it might also involve a portfolio of options.
Leaving aside crowdfunding, the technologies that will enable the music revolution will be a combination of payment mechanisms, to allow musicians to receive payment for their music and accompanying merch anywhere, at gigs, out busking, via their webshop, from next door, literally from anywhere in the world along with on demand printing and similar services, there will be no need to risk having to buy lots of stock items like t-shirts and mugs will be created when ordered and can be as common or as rare as the act dictates and most important, the artist will be able to have more control over the setting of prices, able to receive what they want from the sale of a track, minus the % that goes to the service provider. Most important the creators will be able to put value on their own music be it in hard form like vinyl or the more transient mp3, the choice is the customers, the value according to the artist’s beliefs. The artist being able to make conscious decisions on value, driven through their own websites and applications.
After your music, the website and associated applications will become the most important asset an act owns. It will become imperative for them to be kept fresh and up to date. Social media will become the steering force driving fans to their site for the latest news, releases, tickets, t-shirts etc, talking of which, check out 18 great tracks here, www.fatea-showcase-sessions.co.uk, then go to the artists websites and buy an album or two.
Thank you for reading, catch you on my next turn.