The Future!

Happy New Year! The Future is HERE! The Future is NOW! It’s 2009! Welcome to the Future! I’m going to lay aside my usual Year-end review this year. There are too many important things that will change our lives (immediate and long range) to which we need to give attention. I won’t belabor the obvious by saying too much about the Presidential Election. My general thought s on that can be found in the blog that I posted at the time. Just click below. What the incoming Obama Administration and the Democratic majority in congress will bring remains to be seen. The last eight years have left us an immense amount of cleaning up to do before we can even begin to move forward. If you’re in my line of work, or just a music lover, there are radical changes which have been building up and a now coming to fruition. The two top-selling songs in America, “Bleeding Love” recorded by Leona Lewis and “Lollipop” recorded by Lil Wayne, did not achieve that status through CD sales. They are the first two songs in history to top the three million mark in sales in one calendar year through DOWNLOADS! The Future is here! The Future is NOW! While it’s true that both songs were produced for major record labels, it is also true that the bigwigs in the industry have yet to awaken to the full reality of the marketplace. That gives indie musicians a handy little window of time in which to make a mark. This is the Age of the Indie! This is our time! Proof? Check out the Oscar for “Best Song” in 2008. It went to an Indie. It will be another three to five year before the huge corporate interests in the industry finally catch up to what the Indies already know and find ways to successfully close the doors to us. Don’t think that they can’t! Don’t think that they won’t! Their current organizational inertia and their denial of market realities are the only things that are stopping them now. Those of us who already have the marketing tools in place need to work them harder than ever before. Aside from advancing your own career it will also help to maintain Indies as a viable economic force. It will help to keep the doors open when the corporate giants wake up to close them. There are many small download services who will take singles directly from you. You need not go through any other larger company to get to them. Most of them will take singles. So, you don’t even have to have a whole CD ready to start generating PR and income. This approach can work. A couple of friends of mine in Chicago, Alan Jay Sufrin and Miriam Brosseau who bill themselves as Stereo Sinai, are doing it. They only make CD’s on special order. They do the rest of their marketing as downloads. This is working for them. They now have music placed in two different films with matching videos on YouTube to get the word out. I’m not saying that the CD is dead. It’s too soon for that. The CD is still a saleable item. It still has value as a promotional device. People who are middle-aged or older still prefer to have some kind of software in their hands. Ditto for festival and club bookers. As a music fan you can make a difference as well. Seek out the Indie vendors now and then. Their prices are, for the most part, on par with the major download services and the selection is wildly more eclectic. That’s where you will find the real gems. That’s where you will find artists who are following a muse rather than a formula. That’s where you will find originality rather than imitation. The Future is Here! The Future is NOW! USE IT! May you have good health and good fortune in 2009. Stephen Lee Rich

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