Being a musician today means being an entrepreneur rather than an artist. New ways of music monetisation, the democratization of distribution and marketing tools and TikTok are allowing any individual who likes to produce music a shot at fame.
NFT technology can level the playing field and help both independent and signed artists and allow them to make more money while also engaging with their community. However, at the same time it is also changing the way that music is treated, a track is considered more of an investment by many and buying NFTs from upcoming artists introduces an element of financial speculation. All of this takes away the attention of the fans from the quality of the track and focuses on the financial value of their work. Music becoming a commodity means that the art is just becoming an investment and it is purely driven by financial incentives.
The increasing amount of music that is being produced is leading to a hyper competitive market while also pressuring artists to produce as much music as possible in order to stay relevant. First of all, artists and their teams have to spend more time creating marketing campaigns, engaging with their community and building an artist brand rather than actually producing music. Every artist needs to be an entrepreneur and find their own growth hacking technique instead of finding inspiration for their art, making the life of a musician a lot more like the one of a CEO startup.
Moreover, TikTok is a powerful discovery tool for musicians yet has pushed two main changes in the industry. The fact that songs are created around becoming viral in TikTok is putting new limitations on how musicians create their work as they have to base it in a small part of the song that can be used as a sound. The second change is that artists are being expected to be also TikTok creators and constantly produce content to satisfy an audience that has been having an increasingly smaller attention span. This puts a lot of pressure on the artist one more time giving them a task that is not creating music.
Taking everything into consideration, the music industry should stop for a minute and take a breather in order to decide how it wants to be in the future. Do we want a future where art is a financial security and the artists are treated like one expected to increase their productivity or do we want one where we can use all of these new technologies to empower artists?