Let me give you a little background.
Everyone agrees that the internet has profoundly changed the music industry. John Mellencamp has said that the internet is “the atomic bomb that destroyed the music business.” Stevie Nicks has stated flatly that “the internet has destroyed rock.” And many, many others – artists, producers, even venues all complain that the music industry is broken and it is the internet’s fault.
Are they right? We are going to ask Jayson Won this Friday. Jayson is the founder of World Arts, a new approach to the music biz.
There is history here we need cover first. Before Napster burst on the scene in 1999 and iTunes in 2004, people assumed you paid for music, just like you pay for movies or plays or the beer you drank at concerts – which you also paid for. Napster introduced the idea that music is free on the internet; iTunes broke up the album so if you did pay, it was less than a dollar for only the song you wanted. Then SoundCloud and Pandora and Spotify and Bittorrent took it to the limit creating a world in which you streamed or downloaded music for free – you never had to pay for it again if you didn't want to, and millions didn't want to.
But if the internet has made music free, how do emerging bands ever get out of the garage? The answer is usually, thanks to the internet they don’t need to. But it is not that simple, which is where Won comes in. He is providing an all-encompassing platform that lets bands bypass the big record company gatekeepers and provides all the resources they need besides the internet to get out of the garage.
Emerging bands can and do build fan bases online. To pay the rent, they leverage those fans to bring in money at gigs, sell CD’s, collect from google ads on their sites and YouTube channels and earn (very) micro-payments for Spotify streams. And maybe a few will license a song to a TV show or commercial. But if you are an emerging band and you don’t have a six- figure twitter and Instagram following yet, those live gigs will pay in “exposure”, or you may end up actually paying the club. CD sales at gigs pay the bar bill, but usually not much else. You need more. you need production space, videos, adivce and mentoring and a way for people - both fans and industry folks - to see you.
But there isn't a way for emerging bands to get those resources. The result is the music biz has become a vacuum – no one is making any money, or rather a few people are making money but life is pretty cash-empty if you are not Taylor Swift or Drake. Vacuums must be filled, in nature and in business. Entrepreneurs have emerged to fill this vacuum with new models for the music industry. One of the most interesting and active of those ideas is Won’s World Arts, an entity so new and unique it doesn’t really have a name. It combines a brick and mortar venue with a recording studio and video production and online concerts and Periscope broadcasts and sponsorship of music events and live shows, songwriting classes, interviews and a global meetup platform – everything artists, fans and even music industry execs need and want. And it pays the bands.
How this all works, and more importantly, where it fits in the music biz and how it will change the biz, is topic of a conversation Music FridayLive will have this week with Jason Won, Executive Creative Director & COO, World Arts. Jayson is a drummer, a designer, a producer and a visionary. And he is making waves. Don’t miss this show.