The Internet was made available to the public in the 1990s. Originally intended for use as another means of electronic communication between US army bases, the Internet quickly burgeoned into the worldwide commodity it is today. A few years’ later people were using the Internet to get information, buy products, find love, find jobs and find each other. It was just a matter of time before the average internet user could find music online, and the Google page stats confirm it.
The number one problem with starting a band is getting your music out there. Thousands of talented people across the earth are inclined to give in before something worthwhile even comes along. Countless garage bands didn’t even make it past the dog’s bowl in the backyard. For all we know, they could’ve been on the verge of a number one best seller. Consider Lily Allen, the patron saint of musical internet fame. If she didn’t have Myspace, she may have served you the drink you’re sipping.
In this regard, the internet has become an incredibly valuable tool for budding musicians, evident in online radio stations, Myspace Music, music blogs and amateur music sites. Do the names Ingrid Michaelson, Tila Tequila and Jeffree Star ring a bell? All three have become celebrities, singers and models through marketing themselves on MySpace Music. Eventually big music label reps came yapping at their heels with record deals like a pack of Russian street mongrels high on bacon fumes.
Bedroom producers who work on a variety of programs such as Reason and Cubase also find it relatively easy to get their tracks out there, especially with the proliferation of dance music through sites such as Beatport.com. Getting signed by a dance music label is also a little easier since you find nightclubs in almost every part of the world. Aside from all the good things about music and the internet, not all is completely positive. In fact, most aspects about it are incredibly controversial.
Consider this: experts claim the amount of bandwidth required by YouTube in 2008 is the same as entire world’s usage in 1998. In addition, the amount of bandwidth needed by peer to peer sharing is huge. A notion brought to life by Shawn Fanning, who created the world’s first P2P MP3 download program, better known as Napster. Before being shut down for copyright violations, Napster use peaked in 2001 with 26.4 million users, or around half of all the cars produced globally this year.
There are millions of internet pirates out there, and with music consistently finding an increased presence online it’s getting harder and harder to control illegal downloading. New music sales have dropped by up to 50% in the last ten years and some bands (like Radiohead) release music with an option to pay – or not. The world of music is headed for irreparable damage. Or maybe, just maybe, music is coming back to a time where creativity rules the day and talentless suits don’t run the show.