One of our favorite indie music duos is Jenny & Tyler. They have been a …0 comments Read More
When It’s Time (for Music Fans) to Change
The UTR Critics Panel is a great cross-section of the music business, and these are some bright minds that think about all aspects of both music and ministry. We have talked to them in the past about the changes they would love to see take place in the CCM Industry. Now, we turn our attention to consumers. Here is the question that we posed to our critics:
What are the changes you would like to see in music fans in the near future?
Jen Rose: In the coming year, my biggest hope is that consumers and fans won’t forget the value of music and will seek out ways to connect with and support the artists they love. Free music services open up more avenues for artist discovery, but it can also be overwhelming and tempt consumers to skip out on actually buying music. While fans should certainly take advantage of these services for new discoveries, it’s still important to seek more direct ways to support the artists, whether through buying their albums, going to concerts, or taking the time to help promote and share great music. The growth of Noisetrade and Kickstarter are encouraging examples of what the music industry can become when technology meets grassroots support, and as the landscape becomes noisier, relationships between artists and fans are more vital than ever before.
John J. Thompson: I’m as excited about Spotify as the next guy, but I hope people don’t completely get over the idea of buying albums that they love. Spotify sounds better than a lot of services, but it’s still nothing like a CD or vinyl. It’d be great if all this “discovery” offered by Spotify turned into increased sales – especially for indie artists.
Russ Breimeier: I would hope that independent coverage might become more focused. In some ways, we as listeners have become more divided because we only know what we discover. Anyone can develop a following on the Internet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean success or widespread recognition. The result has been a lot of artists with modest followings in pockets of the country/world, but no one finding quite enough success to make a broader impact on culture. How cool would it be if Christian music coverage became more diversified and unified? We have the unique opportunity to champion a genre that could potentially include all styles, unified by our faith in Christ. At the same time, we need a filter for all the artists available on the Internet, separating the good from the great for people to discover. Obviously that enters a lot of subjective territory, but I think we need some of that unification to call attention to excellence.
Amber Bolton: The first thing that comes to mind is concert etiquette. A friend and I joke that we’d like to write “A Christian’s Guide to Concert Etiquette.” One of the greatest things you can do as a music fan is to go to a concert. But recently, I’ve been annoyed at fans constantly taking video & pictures and simply critiquing the music, band, equipment. Gone are the days when we could simply listen, sing along, dance, and soak it all in together, with the musicians...not as a show, but as an experience. I’d love for music fans to put away their cameras, forget about learning what kind of guitar the lead is playing, and simply sing at the top of their lungs and experience. Concert etiquette 101: enjoy yourself at the show.
Andrew Greer: I feel music fans and consumers have long demanded for more variety and choice in what they listen to - hence their aversion to radio as it was - and their wishes are being fulfilled via independent artistry's rise thanks to digital media.
Jeremy Gudauskas: The “free culture” movement has shaped our consumer minds and behaviors with an expectation that much of the art we love can be acquired without payment. In previous years, the modes were largely illegal, but today many independent musicians are choosing to give away some or much of their work in order to “get it out there” as a marketing tool, hoping to find those “1000 fans” that can support their career. What I would like to see from music fans/consumers in the near future is what we could call “artist sponsorship.” Just like humanitarian organizations like World Vision and Compassion International help provide basic life necessities for the world’s starving kids through “child sponsorships,” I would like to see us music fans do the same with at least one of our favorite artists. Let’s choose to support the music we love with our money, knowing that for $30 a month we can put food on their table, gas in their tank, and studio time on their schedule. This means, first of all – that we should buy their music – the physical copy. Buy their merch – shirts, posters, stickers, and artsy journals. Pay to see them perform live as often as you can. Be the first to donate to their Kickstarter campaign. Become pen-pals. So this next year, pick an artist you believe in and pony up. You’ll both be glad you did. (Oh, and you should also sponsor a child).
Some very interesting and engaging perspectives. You may even find yourself agreeing with some points and disagreeing with others. It's a good place for a conversation to begin. (a) What points do you have a strong agreement or disagreement with? (b) What are the changes that YOU would like to see in music fans? Share your comments below.