When I was young, we discovered artists via the radio or friends. Obviously, our choices were tinted by what the media would throw at us or, if we were lucky, by friends who really were at the forefront of the avant-garde. We also had access to underground publications (if these were available) to get to know new artists.
Then, it was a matter of being alert to see if the said-artist we were proud of having discovered was stopping by for a gig. And we also put pressure on the local record store to order the artists’ records.
I know I was pretty proud to own and show new records I had just bought. We spent hours listening, discussing and trying to find new music. We all wanted to be the first to own THE new incredible record of the day!
With the arrival of Internet (and social media after that), us, the “fans”, were thrilled! A quick search and we found thousands of wonderful artists from around the world! No more need to know the right guy, to write to obscure record labels or to see every show in town just in case the artist would be of interest to us. We could comfortably surf the Web from our home and get our hands on the latest wonderful release from any artist in the world.
Although it did democratize the music industry for a while, it had its downside too. Artists show their stuff but they make even less money than they used too under the “Music Business Dictatorship”…
More artists can show what they do on their own but less get rich. Or to be more precise, more artists do make a bit of money but less can make a living. The only ones still getting a decent pay are still the ones signed to the Majors…
Funny, isn’t it?
But why is that? Simply because a lot of people don’t pay for music. They can listen online, watch online and that’s way enough. So what does that tell us about the “fans”? What does it mean to be a fan these days?
I do think there are some great fans still out there buying show tickets, CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, etc. basically supporting the artist. But some fans are so happy by their discovery that they share their findings on the Web. Not talking about it, giving it away!
The fans don’t meet to listen to records anymore. They share on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. This means they give away stuff. I can even get whole DVDs and CDs on the different social media. I just have to rip them and, voilà! I own the whole damn thing! I can even print the cover if I’m still interested in the “object”. And since most people don’t own a Hi-Fi stereo anymore – what the fuck is that, some might ask! – the sound is just perfect for the shitty iPod.
So what is the result to all this?
- The independent artist still can’t make a decent living out of his/her work – or would need masses to counterbalance the piracy.
- The independent artist still doesn’t have enough money to produce his/her art.
- The Mega Big Production Companies still make money with their pop stars but only a bit less (they still have enough money to divert their merchandize which counterbalance the loss in record sales).
- The Mega Big Production Companies still decide who’s going to live and who’s going on the dole.
- The fans… do get more music for less money spent…
So who need fans like these?
P.S. Thanks to Existence and Eletria real fans! You know who you are! Your support is precious! I hope you enjoy our CDs. More to come in the months ahead!