Can we stop turning art into a competition?

RecordsIn “the turmoil” of the music business, pretty much everything had to be rethought. The old style of record production just wasn’t viable anymore. Bands don’t go to studio for a year on the record labels expense anymore. The record company don’t go and order million albums o their first print, no matter who you are these days. And the old trusted advertising channels just don’t deliver the same guaranteed success anymore. If you made it to the top ten in the past, you had made it. Now, the whole concept of top ten is bit vague… I mean what charts do you follow? The thing is, in the past the charts were decided on the basis of record sales in selected few representative shops. If you sold well in these shops, you could be in the charts even if you did not sell anywhere else. These shops were supposed to be a big secret, but do we in this day and age believe the major labels didn’t have this information?

Now day’s it is bit more complicated, we have iTunes charts, Amazon, Spotify, CD baby, Pandora, and still the physical shops. So who do we follow? I for one do not know who is in the so-called “charts” right know… So is the idea of charts becoming obsolete? I suppose in many way these days artists ticket sales is a better implication of their success.

But here’s my point, why do we feel the need to measure these things? Why do we feel the need to turn art so often in to a competition? Would it not be much more beneficial for the art itself if we forgot about the sales figures? And I know major labels always will think of the quick return on their investment, but as a true independent artists, the music I make today, will not make me any money tomorrow, not next week, not even next month. In many cases it takes years for the investment to pay off. Still I keep doing this because I love it. And I know so many other artists out there feel the same way.

It is the long tail that we are hoping will eventually pay us. If in ten years time one of your albums has done well, at the back of it the other albums will have sales as well. And in ten years time those royalties will be coming in regularly. The only thing us independent artists need to watch out is the middle man. So my advice is keep an eye who takes a cut out of your profits. Make sure they provide enough value in return for the service they provide to warrant their cut. And if not, cut them out. There is always a way to do this.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE