The Impact Of The Internet On The Consumption And Distribution Of Popular Music

At the time of its nascency, the internet was suspected by many to have the potential of destroying the music industry. Their concerns were legitimate. For, when the use of peer-to-peer file sharing services rose, record sales drastically declined. The emergence of spam, auction sites and news groups further exacerbated the problem by providing more channels for selling counterfeited CDs.

While one cannot deny the role of the internet in escalating piracy rates, one can also not ignore its more favorable influences on consumption. The formation of music communities online, for instance, became a popular trend only with the emergence of the internet. This has made it easier for a consumer to access his favorite song. The latest development in the field has come in the form of cloud computing. Consumers can now store their favorite songs online and access their playlist anywhere with an appropriate device and an internet connection.

The internet performs equally well in the capacity of a global distributor. Musicians of today no longer need to confine their work to the realms of physical marketplaces and catalogue stores. Instead, they can reach an audience spanning across the world with just a click on their computer. It is due to this ease that barriers to entry in the music industry have reduced. And there is more versatility. YouTube, Sound Cloud, Itunes and analogous websites provide musicians of today with a platform to showcase their talent, the likes of which the singers of the pre-digital era could not even have dreamt about. Even cost wise, the internet is a far cheaper distribution route than that involving record labels.

The change in distribution and consumption of music has also restructured the advertising model of the music industry. While previously, billboards and TV interviews of the singers were the most commonly employed marketing tactic, today campaigns for a new album are widely run on social media like Facebook Twitter etc with careful demographic consideration. The most common advertising used for upcoming singles is banner advertising. Banner adverts are not static files and are instead rife of animation and interactivity.

To sum up, the internet has transformed the whole landscape of the music industry. While piracy is a serious concern, it is not one that cannot be dealt with. With proper copyright laws, the interests of musicians can be better safeguarded and the benefits of the internet more effectively utilized.

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