Music Business

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The music business has changed so dramatically in the past decade that it barely resembles the creature it once was. New trends in music, corporate consolidation, changing business models, and developing technologies such as computer-based audio files have flipped the music business on its head. As a result, anyone looking to succeed in the field must possess a unique blend of traits and skills.

Arguably, the biggest threat to the music business has been the demise of the album. With the rise of the single, radio station formats have been dramatically altered and the labels' promotional machines have been completely overhauled. Instead of pumping their money into artist development, A&R reps at the "majors" are now committed to subsidizing the airplay of single songs on radio networks with commanding reaches.

Further Changes in the Music Business

Nowadays, radio stations are only interested in instantly catchy songs that are easily programmable. This means artists are penalized for experimental tracks or singles that run in excess of four minutes. DJs must be able to break periodically in order to cram in advertising, and the songs he or she chooses (to the extent that any DJ has a choice) must be unobjectionable to said advertisers. As you might expect, all of this makes for thoroughly deadening commercial radio.

On the flip side, better compression and digital quality have enabled not only new forms of recording, but of distributing and listening to music as well. Many experts think that these advances will ultimately save the music business, even though there are corporate interests lined up for a battle against these innovative forces. Those interested in learning more about the ever-changing state of the commercial music business can enroll in music colleges that boast certificate programs, graduate courses, and undergraduate music degrees to that end.


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