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The music industry is evolving… and there are jobs in the future

Some may think that there are limited job opportunities in the music industry but,

‘The history of music is the history of technology’, according to American composer turned new media artist, Luke DuBois.

There are startups, new technologies and platforms, and plenty of young artists who are ‘self-publishing’ their own art, via social media.  And with the growth of live streaming platforms, it’s becoming more financially lucrative to perform, rather than sell their own music through traditional channels.

Music has become a digital enterprise

In America, 90% of people own a mobile device that they search for and consume music on with internet radio stations are becoming more popular than traditional outlets. The use of data and analytics for players in the music industry will continue to have a substantial impact on artists and labels.

Data is the foundation of marketing and promotional efforts, which can be used in leveraging tour plans, release dates, and social demographics.  Spotify or YouTube data can uncover where an artist should invest more time in touring, to achieve sell-out shows and boost tour ROI.

Music has always been an industry that’s hard to predict.  But data is powerful because it reveals unforeseen insights.  According to research by the Future of Music Coalition, there are a huge 45 revenue streams to musicians and composers, many of which are uniquely enabled by the Internet.

Founder of FastForward, Chris Carey, has an interesting take on this.

“Rather than trying to make your data solution perfect for any situation, there’s valuable skill in learning exactly what your data is good for, and using it for that exact purpose.”

One article outlines how machine learning algorithms will become as powerful as humans. In the future, ‘music AI personalisation will be delivered in real time via cloud based data feeds, that are not only user-reported, but also from social media, purchasing history, listening habits from smartphones, cars, and virtual reality headsets.’

VR will be utilised in the form of immersive music videos or live concerts.  There’s an opportunity for labels and artists to design business models around giving fans something meaningful and entertaining that they can’t get elsewhere.

Plans to ‘secure the music industry’s future’

Six key strategies are being created to boost the global presence and performance of Australian works, as part of its newly launched National Contemporary Music Plan (NCMP).

NCMP is the result of last year’s Contemporary Music Roundtable, facilitated by Music Australia.  Fourteen of Australia’s renowned industry bodies were present – ARIA, APRA AMCOS, AMPAL, AMIN, AIR, the Live Music Office, and Country Music Association of Australia.

Based on global trends and industry changes, driven by digital uptake, the plan aims to:

  1. Increase Australia’s music exports and international market share of music
  2. Ensure a robust and effective copyright framework as the foundation of industry growth and prosperity
  3. Increase consumer demand for both recorded and live music through audience development, public engagement and promotion
  4. Foster industry skills and business development to build capability and competitiveness
  5. Strengthen artist development to deliver a more secure vocational livelihood for musicians and a more globally competitive industry
  6. Deliver best practice regulatory environments, effect regulatory reform, and implement targeted investment incentives.

Interestingly in 2016, total global revenues for the industry grew by around 3%, whereas digital revenues rose by over 10%.

Music Tech, the world’s biggest music technology website offers artists tutorials to self-teach on different aspects of the industry. The music giant hosted a summit exploring how technology is infiltrating every facet of the music ecosystem. One topic which was covered was how artists are acting more like start-ups.

Techstars Music run a start-up accelerator program in partnership with music big guns like Sony and Warner Music Group. They provide office space in LA and access to mentors and investors from all facets of the global music business.

The Australian program based in Adelaide starts next month. The initiative supports startups building innovative applications in IoT, big data, sensors, and robotics, with the potential to commercialize technologies in the defence and security sectors. Defence research drives transformative consumer innovation – internet and GPS – and Adelaide is a forward-thinking city, building startup infrastructure.

Music entrepreneurs and future jobs

This opens up an opportunity for digital experts in label companies, radio stations, festival promoters, and for the artists themselves.  Skills in new technologies like identifying and maintaining data that drives royalties and unpacking data from online forms will be required. Entrepreneurship and innovative thinking thinking will be just as important, now more than ever.

Today’s music industry rewards artists with an entrepreneurial mindset.  As the streaming debate continues, there will come a time where there’s a level playing field between consumer and artist.  We’ll see growth of using data, improved streaming, and product development which will lead to future jobs such as data scientists.

For artists, while the focus will still be on making music, having non-music skills will also be beneficial. A business aptitude, for example, can help artists negotiate with publishers, licensors and event organisers. Understanding how to market themselves as labels shrink their promotion budgets will also be of great importance. Future artists need to help listeners discover their music. This can be in many forms such as websites, streaming channels, and new platforms.

The industry will evolve as AI starts to become the norm, so industry players need to think ‘skills security, not ‘job security.’  IBM Watson is making cognitive music and startup PopGun aims to not only identify songs that will be popular, but feed their raw audio into a neural network that will learn how to compose and perform its own chart-toppers.

Artists and companies now have access to two very important things: how people listen and what they prefer and with knowledge, comes insight.  If you would like to know more about entrepreneurship and future jobs, please contact Jessica Perry at jessica@careerblueprint.com.au.

July 2017

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