Does Going Digital Devalue the Musical Experience?

I’ve done a few guest posts for Motema Music over the past few months or so, and have finally decided to share on my personal blog.  I really enjoyed writing this post because it compares the aesthetic quality of recorded music on vinyl records and as MP3 formats.  Enjoy!

Many musicians are hesitant to embrace the digital age.  As the music industry became reliant on the digital exploitation of music in lieu of moving physical units, some artists have concerns over whether digital platforms compromise the authenticity of the musical experience.

The music industry relies on branding artists to the extent that musicians and record labels can monetize the musician’s celebrity.  The digital age allows artists to handcraft the musical experience that each fan witnesses.  This provides artists with a hands-on opportunity to uniquely shape the ways in which they are heard, seen, felt, and otherwise perceived by their fan base.

This digitally created branding experience allows independent artists and record labels to go toe-to-toe with the majors.  As a result, artists are no longer reliant on landing big record deals in order in to gain listenership, fans, or to move merchandise.  So long as the artists have access to a computer – as well as a minimal amount of capital – they can record, edit, and distribute their music as professionally as the majors.  This places any artist in direct competition with major recording artists.

Although independent artists and record labels are now competing with major labels at astronomical levels, major labels still have a great advantage over artists who are unwilling to go digital and artists who are unable to penetrate key and foreign markets.

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