In 1995, it was a vogue for new singles to be sold for 99p. Normally as a 2 CD set. This in turn completely screwed up the chart.
Songs would be released, go straight to number one then disappear virtually without trace.
Fast forward to 2011, and the industry has changed again. The physical format for singles is slowly disappearing & has been replaced by the mp3. For those that are too young to remember Going Live, you may remember in the late 80s a gadget they had that could store the “entire top 40” on a little chip. Oh how we laughed when it was actually broadcast on 1st April :) Strange though how these years later it’s more than a fool!
The purchase and delivery of music has changed. You can click, select & pay & get your song within seconds. Couldn’t do that with Woolies could you. A that’s why some of the best known high street names are disappearing from the high street. They can’t compete for one – HMV online is far cheaper that it’s high street cousin. It has to compete with the likes of Amazon & Play who can base their operation in Jersey (and save money).
With all this online competition comes social networking sites like twitter & facebook. You can share a link and tell the world what you’re listening to. This is where the biggest change has come in. Before, radio would be the driving force in breaking a new song to the world. Now, youtube, twitter and facebook is being used more & more.
Best example is of course Lady Gaga’s new single – played for the first time on a Friday, released straight away on download, and within 36 hours is top 3 on the official chart. Now obviously, new bands can’t use this route for their music – or can they? Maybe the role of the plugger & A&R at a label is changing to be more social media savvy.
Another change happening is that whereas before, songs would be released to radio about 6 weeks before they were available to download. Now they will be released to both, at the same time. This a good thing? Well, instead of hearing a song ALL the time but not being to buy it, you can buy it. You will see songs released and slowly climb the chart and not burn out too quickly.
The role of commercial radio has never been to “break” new artists – maybe they will now be governed more about what’s being played elsewhere – youtube is a brilliant place to start, and be a little more inventive with what’s played.
15 years ago radio listening was at it’s peak – now you’ve got options to listen to your own music without having to carry 50 CDs in the car – mp3 player or your phone is also your entertainment centre. Radio needs to be more than just non stop music – it needs to be entertaining.
So back to the subject in hand. The next 18 months will be a watershed moment and you’ll see (hear) songs grow naturally. Songs will also fail quicker – a weak song won’t go anywhere… but that’s up to you.