the dark ages of digital

Stefan Goldmann wrote an essay about the history of DIY, or better why DIY failed in democratizing the means of production and distribution of music online.

Quite a contradictive statement regarding the hype of all this DIY aficionados flooding the music biz. He summarizes the evolution from long term artists careers, that needed to spend years in expensive studios, working with expensive sound engineers sitting behind expensive huge mixing consoles.

A time when the ‘release’ was the currency, the key to becoming an artist. Only few companies could afford to pay this investment necessary to produce a release and therefore had a vital interest in pushing this artist as far as possible.By increasing liberation from such costly means of production, by four track recorders, later digital equipment, more and more companies produced music, which was the beginning of the independent sector.

Later even the distribution, marketing, booking, etc. could be done DIY style due to more and more tools available to everyone for a budget close to zero. Strange enough, that today mainly these companies do suffer the most from this liberation.Goldmann sees the main reasons in an exploding competition, too many too badly produced releases, a lack of marketing – or maybe marketing became impossible within the online environment, and the complete lack of mastering or finishing that would require a budget again.

He does not believe the propaganda that by giving away music for free one can create a fanbase and get revenues from them.He sees that everybody is playing / DJing for free, and no one gets any revenues. And as soon as you start to demand fees, a gazillion others will kick in for free.He has a point there…


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