Did Google and SEO really remove the quality from music?

Amanda Palmer raised $1m via Kickstarter

After reading Stephen Carmichael’s article at Music Think Tank  you may be excused for thinking that quality in music doesn’t really matter anymore – but he completely misses the point and in the process attaches populist logic to issues that really don’t have much to do with music or the music industry.

Carmichael asserts that music is now about entertainment and not about quality. Strange in a week when one of the most overhyped ‘talent’ shows on TV has a winner who struggles to sell enough tracks to get into the top 50!!

The effect of the internet is very powerful but I’d argue that (as far as the music industry is concerned) – its main purpose is as a marketing and delivery platform.

The main difference of course is the way the internet has (in combination with advancing technology) destroyed the archaic structure of a bloated music industry by transferring control of once exploitative and clandestine systems to the people who really matter (i.e. the artists and fans).

So whether it is recording, collaborating, brand building, press releases, blogging, database creation, seo, adwords (both search and display advertising), email marketing or intelligent fan engagement, Google and the digital ether is merely a tool to be exploited.

The question of music existing as short term entertainment is one for society not the internet. TV talent shows and youtube viral hits tend to be bland or amusing at the point of delivery but have an ‘instant gratification’ factor more in tune with our superficial culture than as a topic for serious music industry debate.

The internet works for companies, artists and fans. The secret is using it in a way that is both innovative and interesting. I’m betting internet savvy artists old (The Arctic Monkeys) and new (Amanda Palmer)  wouldn’t take too kindly to the suggestion that music isn’t about quality anymore.


2 thoughts on “Did Google and SEO really remove the quality from music?

  1. HI 🙂 I loved your response on my article that was posted in music think tank. I enjoyed reading your perspective and opinion on the topic. thanks for sharing.

    I guess what I was trying to argue in my original article was that it’s evident that the industry is changing and like it or not, one of the most ‘popular songs’ (and I cringe) in 2011 was by Rebecca Black… and rebecca since has been able to create a community around her music and to continue to make more music and videos.

    Also have you heard of ‘The Jonoskians,’ they use youtube to create ‘entertaining’ content, mainly of them throwing up, they developed a huge following then they released a record! The other dy in my city, a line up of at least 2000 12-17 year old girls lined up just to meet them. And their song, Set this world on fire, is my no means anything special.

    So, is it about entertainment? or is it about the quality of the music? Or is it about something else? community?

    everything is changing…


    Stephen Carmichael

    • I think the problem here is the definition of music and then entertainment plus wider cultural issues. Because of shows like the X-Factor (which specifically is light ‘entertainment’ but masquerades as a serious music programme) that have proved successful in terms of audience numbers, the waters have become muddied.
      Society as a whole has become more receptive to instantaneous gratification and i agree with your points on this.

      My issue was the influence of the internet which is merely a tool of communication. The Jonoskians have taken advantage of the youtube car crash effect much as Simon Cowell has with game show tv. The difference is that they are both using ‘music’ as a way to exploit credibility from ideas that have no depth and only appeal to people’s crude and basic enjoyment neurons.

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