Does the house always win? For the last ten years or so, I made vast contribution to the advancement of technology. I helped new apps, softwares and platforms with my ratings and feedback. I helped increase user base for social platforms and provided them with great contents that attract more users. I trained search engines to come up with better results, and even trained AIs and helped them improve their voice recognition skills and interactions with humans in general. I was spending a daily average of 5 hours plus improving various technologies, and not only was I doing it for free, I even paid the makers of the technologies handsomely for their products that I help improve. You may think I am some kind of an moron, but chances are you are participating in this farce in a similar fashion. You do this every time you talk to Siri, every time you use the beta version of Ableton Live, every time you interact with a social media platform, and every time you share the link the music you have released to some kind of digital platform.
We spend money to purchase smart phones. We interact with our smart phones an average of 4 hours a day. That time we spend on it provides valuable data that feeds back to the smart phone manufacturer to improve their software. Without the data our interactions provide, the companies cannot improve their software. Yet, we do not get paid for our time.
I’m not saying you need to drop the software and gadgetry and become a luddite. I’m simply pointing out the fact that while we are enjoying modern wonders and conveniences, most of us are not fully conscious of how much the technology is using us. Sometimes we simply don’t have much of a choice. Other times, with a little bit of thought and foresight, we can save ourselves a whole lot of time and energy.
I recent attended an event called BBC Introducing in London. It was a four-day music conference, BBC was there, Spotify had a theater packed with talks throughout the day, AWAL had a lounge, Tune Core ran a virtual reality booth offering a sneak preview at Bjork’s Vulnicura VR album, Sentric Publishing sponsored a showcase stage, Deadmau5 was interviewed and played a Friday night set, Marshall, Yamaha and Sennheiser all provided many toys to play with. There were talks and activities scheduled throughout the day, from festival organizers to film composers. It was all very nice. I, along with several hundred of young musicians, gladly paid for entry to attend the event and enjoyed the day having been properly nourished with information from industry professionals.
I couldn’t help but see a striking resemblance between the two scenarios. Most music tech companies cannot survive without musicians. Without musicians, they have no royalties to earn a percentage of. Without musicians, they have no content to stream and nothing to insert ads and commercials into. Yet, musicians are paying to be educated about the very platforms who needs them as clients, so that the platform may sign them up and offer them a service at a price. I also couldn’t help but also see a striking resemblance between these scenarios and the more shady practices in the music industry known as pay-to-play.
But before going pointing fingers at what’s wrong, let’s look at how this dynamic have come to be. What’s important is understanding the dynamic and seeing the truth, because it will power you to make better decisions and take a stance you wouldn’t otherwise even know exists let alone think of taking. At The Artist Roadmap, we believe as artists, we carry an important message in our music. In order to resonate that message, we must be empowered. I strongly encourage you to reach out to us and discover more about The Artist Roadmap and what services we provide.
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