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JUST DOWNLOAD IT!: The Internet’s Massive Influence on The Music Industry

It’s all about a buzz! In the music industry, an artist’s name and brand is built from recorded material, word of mouth, and yes, Internet presence. Music, just like every other industry has had to learn to keep up with the times. From subject matter, to coming up with new and imaginative (and cost effective), and ways to promote to the public, music has to continually recreate itself.

This is where the Internet has stepped in and completely changed the dynamics of the game. The strategy of using the online world to their advantage has become embedded in record labels’ marketing plans these days. However, with change comes expected advantages, but also unexpected downsides. More efficient advertising via the web to a worldwide audience for next to nothing was almost immediately followed by record lows for in-store album sales.

According to Business Week, researchers and industry consultants say online music sites are being used by a growing number of listeners as a substitute for buying music. The initial purpose of these sites was to serve as a catalyst for higher record sales. The online world can’t take all the blame though; the fact remains that if quality were put out fans will put their hard earned money behind it. All of the various types of sales can peak again with a stronger focus on what is lacking, good music to choose from.

While the business side has changed because of the ‘Net, the art has flourished in a sense. With the influx of sites geared toward new artists and underground lyricists, gone are the days of a deal to prove your worthiness. The Internet has made it easier to self-promote and self-sign – checks that is. Sites like iTunes feature all types of music and artists the consumer can purchase material from and it isn’t based on them being the biggest name. There is now an almost even ground for musicians to be heard and at times discovered; YouTube is an obvious example of that. The future of the industry seems to be building off the options the Internet provides.

The importance of tours is one factor that has remained relatively steady when it comes to music. Tours are a big way to bring in big buzz and big bucks. Even with tour dates comes the need to tie in online resources. The ‘Net is still a medium by which a lot of people access information quickly. Banners that are placed on sites and e-mails sent out play a huge role in making information about shows more accessible. Twitter and Facebook are used to get people around the world amped about where their favorite artists will be. In short, the artists still have to rely on strong online marketing.

The next trend or tool that surfaces to promote music will more than likely come from using some form of the Internet. It is up to everyone involved to figure out what keeps music growing. If, instead of flooding sites, the focus goes back to the fundamentals of what gets the sales, then the Internet can continue to carry the load and the dollar signs back in the door of music stores. But regardless of how some may feel, they are left with no choice but to catch up with the dot com world.

Go ahead. Just download it!

Tawni Fears is a freelance writer and contributor to AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter: @brwnsugaT.

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