Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The New Music Revolution: Music Production and Fandom in the Post-Napster Era

Now, Lars Ulrich may not agree with us but Napster's mp3 sharing revolution not only changed the way individuals interacted with music but it also forced musicians to create good music. See - while Metallica chased down young fans for royalties, a new generation of creative musicians were raised to despise the behemoth record labels and the musicians that demanded respect and made shitty albums such as... hello Metallica Load and Reload? Get outta here. This new generation of producers, writers, journalists, computer programmers, fans, companies, and record labels began to approach the music industry from the perspective of the fans and the music. 

What is it that fans wanted in the post-Napster, short haired Metallica era?

First: They wanted good music. If they were going to purchase an album, fans wanted to know that the artists actually put their heart into it, that they spent years finding the perfect word for the perfect verse to fit the perfect chord progression. 

Second: They demanded that the artist or band prove themselves before they spent money on their art. Artists recognized that one hit single and a million dollar advertising budget was not enough to justify a fan base. Even the Warped Tour started requiring their bands to help with promotion. 

Third: Most Important - Fans wanted music for free. This was absurd to the established music industry, the stadium - like U2 and Metallica, and the oversized retailers that experienced a slow and painful death i.e., Tower Records. Even after ITunes provided an adequate retail option, fans and artists continued to flock to and create blogsites, bit torrent sites, and Facebook pages that provide free remixes, mixtapes, live concerts, and free albums - thank you Radiohead for setting the standard!

These three demands have lead unlikely partnership of bloggers, fans, web developers, companies like Mt. Dew, and musicians. This music scene gained strength over the last decade and has provided some of the best music of the past few decades, amazing musical festivals that bring together diverse fans and musical genres, websites, and applications that provide money to artists and experience to users and communities that support the music they love. 

As an ode to the Napster revolution and all the raucous Mr. Shawn Fanning caused, WhatUpWally? says thank you to the new musical universe by providing the official 

The WhatUpWally?
Shawn Fanning Memorial:
Ten Most Influential Music Developments
of the Post-Napster Era

1. Facebook:
Thank You Myspace for Being So Trashy

Facebook is the center of social activity but I firmly beleive that their would be no social networking without Napster. After Napster exploded, music fans would spend hours searching sites such as to discover new bands. Music was the foundation of Myspace which because of its blinged white trashiness lead to the simple center of the universe called Facebook.

I used to swear that I could give a full personality profile by looking through your CD case while road tripping in you car. Today, the personality landscape is clouded by musical posturing in which an individual states that they "like" a band on Facebook that they have never really listened to. Now, this fake musical personality can be exposed easily when musical preferences are placed within the wider BookFace landscape of preferences of books, movies, TV shows, and most importantly blogs. Here is the rule of thumb - If someone claims to "like" Bon Iver and Band of Horses but also "like" shitty books such as I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and shitty movies such as Too Fast Too Furious - they are fronting. This inconsistency reveals that the individual does not like Bon Iver but would rather expose his barbed wire tattoo while fist pumping to Hinder or Kid Rock while looking for a chick to pick a fight with. 

2. Blog Blog Blog

Anyone can quote the latest review from Spin, XXL, and Rolling Stone but I put more trust in the music fan that makes their music discoveries at  OkayplayerStereogum, Pitchfork, and Daytrotter.  These are the kind of blogs that create new fan bases for authentically creative artists that make music for music sake and find a way to give music to their fans while still making a living off their art. Find some of the best live bootlegs at The Roots affiliated Its All The Way Live

2. Bandcamp and the Reality of Retail:
Name Your Price, Stream, Download, and Embed

In the viral world of music distribution fans are used to finding free music but are also willing and ready to purchase albums (physical or mp3). But creating a buzz and core fanbase now requires that artist provide a format in which fans can share their newest find with their friends. Bandcamp provided that perfect venue. Bands have the option to offer their albums/tracks for free download, a set price, or "name your own price" as well as the opportunity to sell the physical copy. Bandcamp partners artists with the fans by allowing fans to embedd the music player in their blog just like a youtube video. This enables potential fans an opportunity to be introduced to a band without the risk of buying a crappy album. Even better - you can stream the album as many times as you would like for free. Artists are rewarded for the amount of hits they get by moving up in the popularity ranks. Fans can search bands by city, keyword, genre, and a host of other options. Check out a few highlights we have found along the way:

4. Spotify: Should I Feel Guilty for Listening To All This Amazing Music for Free?
Yesterday I added five brand new albums to my playlist and I felt just a little guilty that I was listening to all this for free. It still feels kind of dirty but WhatUpWally? couldn't be more excited about Spotify's arrival in the US of A. You can upload your files and make new playlists with music you own and music you stream. The best features of Spotify are that it easily integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM, and Turntable.FM to give users the ability to share and discover new music.

5. Don't Hate Participate is the newest WUW? office time kill and it may be the coolest thing to happen in music... ever. Sign up, create an avatar, pick a room, listen to new music, vote on the DJ's, and when a slot opens up - jump in and introduce the world to your favorite bands. As you gather more fans you recieve more avatar options, so when the huge gorilla is in the room everyone knows that one of the five DJ's needs to step down and let the big dog eat. When the DJ plays a song you like you can quickly access it at Spotify, Amazon, Itunes, or Last.FM.

6. SoundCloud:
Follow Me, Download Me, Stream Me

Similar to Bandcamp but at Soundlcoud you can follow musicians, labels, fans, and magazines. People you follow will send you tracks to listen to which you can share, purchase, download, and embedd in your blog.

7. NetFlix: The Movie Industry Learns from The Music Industry... Sorry Blockbuster

9. IPhone: No Napster, No Iphone

10. Bit Torrent: A Better Way to Steal

The Music Revolution is now...

Like We Always Do About this Time,

1 comment:

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