Sorry Spotify, You’re not down with the kids…

Blog, Digital Music, Internet, Music Marketing

I’m usually thinking of my band most of the time; ways to acquire new fans, get more people listening and more people to our gigs. One of the things we’ve been waiting patiently for is our album to arrive on Spotify. Spotify is an application not to dissimilar from iTunes in appearance, that allows you to stream music of your choice for free with an advert played every couple of songs. It’s quite a good idea to get people listening to new music without resorting to illegal file sharing. Having music readily available like that is useful when people read about you, see your video on YouTube or read a review somewhere and immediately want to check you out.

As part of my exploration of music marketing, I wanted to speak to those of the younger generation who will ultimately decide the fate of the future of music whether they realise it or not. I wanted to speak to people who were born as cassette tapes were being phased out, high-speed internet became widely available and the music industry entering sticky times; people who aren’t old enough to remember getting all their music news from Kerrang, NME or your own glossy weapon of choice. The kids I spoke to listen to such a broad and impressive range of bands ranging from stuff I listen to like Metallica and Alice in Chains to bands I’ve never heard of such as A Skylit Drive and Hadouken.

What I really wanted to know was, how do they discover these bands? Where do they listen to music and how do they obtain it? The internet has changed so dramatically over the last 10 years I’ve barely kept up. I was awaiting some really amazing responses. Maybe a blog they follow? Maybe some amazing viral internet campaigns?  I found their responses somewhat surprising and yet at the same time not so.

When I asked where they discovered the music they listen to, answers were typically ‘through friends’, ‘my Dad’ and ‘music TV channels’. Eh? What is this, the eighties? People talking to each other about music? Music channels? Surely teenagers only communicate through Facebook and twitter, writing ‘lol’ even when they’re not laughing.

Okay, so how do they listen to music? ‘Borrow CDs from friend’, ‘Torrent’, ‘YouTube’… Do you use Spotify? ‘No’. I asked many kids this question and hardly any of them do.

What seems apparent then, is that even though technology has changed and continues to change in amazing ways, the next generation of music listeners are still just as human as we are. Remember that when you’re promoting your band.

Time to bite the bullet and go digital?

Blog, Digital Music, Internet

Last month I moved flat and had an endless amount of stuff to take with me. It could have been worse however, I got rid of a lot of stuff including the Television. Yes, I no longer own a TV.

Whilst stressing about moving and all the other big changes happening in my life a good friend put it to me that I should ‘just buy an iMac’ and get rid of a lot of the other stuff. So that’s basically what I did. I already own a monitor with an HDMI input to I can still play the Xbox, everything else is done through an iMac I’ve just bought. I reckon it was a move that’s paid off, I wouldn’t have had room for the bulky TV I used to own and I don’t actually miss it that much.

iMac

Is this the end of the TV and Hi-fi?

The whole point of me saying all of this is that I’m wondering how far I should go, and when I say that, I’m looking at all the CDs and DVDs in the corner of the room. Now, I’m not for one minute saying I’m going to get rid of them, but I look at the CD shelf and wonder, how many of these CDs have I used more than once; having burnt them into iTunes and listen to it there instead. Is it time to convert to purchasing solely on a digital basis? iTunes sells all manner of music and films and the prices are fairly reasonable. There’s just something quite appealing about having my entire music and film collection on a single external hard drive.

Inevitably there will be people dismissing the quality of a downloaded product and of course the physical CD or Blu-ray disc will probably always be better quality but it’s more a question of how much will you actually notice this? When I’m casually listening to music I can’t really hear a significant difference between a high bit-rate MP3 and an audio CD. As with watching films on a computer, whenever I’ve done this in the past I’ve always felt that the quality was never that great. Then I realised what the difference was… people generally don’t watch a DVD with their face 2 feet from the TV. Sit further back and you’ll notice nothing.

There’s also some great bargains to be had in the digital world. Aside from iTunes weekly 99p rental flick, many bands and artists are selling their product very cheaply in order to gain new fans. I was listening to Spotify and a band called Metric were selling their new album for 99p. It’s not entirely my thing, but I do quite like it and it’s exposed me to some new music.

I haven’t fully made my mind up as to whether I’ll switch to a completely digital entertainment lifestyle. I’ll probably buy a couple of films off of iTunes and I’ll let you know if the quality is up to scratch.