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.