Music 2.0 has resulted in a burgeoning class of musicians around the world who are now being referred to as the ‘Musical Middle class’ – artists who now have the power to create and distribute their product across various niche markets that were previously largely controlled by media corporations and record labels. These artists are able to produce music without the help of a major record label.
But the ‘Musical Middle class’ is by no means new to the Caribbean, in fact our music industry has always had a musical middle class, whether the genre is reggae, dancehall or soca, our artists have always had to create product without the support of that “big check” from a major label. The difference between this growing middle class around the world and the class that has always existed in the Caribbean is the use of technology to exploit the product.
What I mean by that is the ability of indie bands to distribute their music efficiently through aggregators such as TuneCore and The Orchard, secure gigs and tours through sites such as Sonic Bids, and utilize sites such as Taxi for Publishing. Somehow artists outside of the Caribbean (and especially in the US and UK) have come to trust these mediums, but in the Caribbean we have not been as trusting and have been slow in embracing the power of the internet to deliver our product globally.
This is where our musical middle class has fallen short. We have always had product but have failed to exploit independent channels for distribution, marketing, etc. This is one of the things that may affect the ability of the Caribbean artist to benefit from the major shifts in the marketplace.
As digital continues to drive change in the industry will we be able to keep up or will or musical middle class remain ready with content but nowhere to go?
That’s what Simone says…but what do you think?