On first impression the deal that allowed all iTunes users the opportunity to freely download the new U2 album Songs of Innocence seemed like an innocent gift to paying music lovers worldwide. U2 told Billboard that “The idea that they wanted to make a gift to the very people that actually purchase music is both beautiful and poetic, and for that we are very grateful.” Yet in their attempt to highlight the inherent value of music, the generous act has for some devalued the album’s contents.

With the rapid digitalisation of the music world in recent times, the old system of album launches, distribution and sales has been forced to adapt. For some artists the answer has simply been to cut out all the middle men and offer their creations for free online. In 2007 innovative rock band Radiohead released their album In Rainbows on their website with a price tag that read, “It’s up to you.”  This is now a common occurrence with artists such as PHfat and Wheatus adopting this method.

On the other side of the coin however, the vinyl revival is also building a strong name for itself. While the spirit of vinyls never truly died, they have generally been the collector’s item of choice for a small sect of hipsters since their widespread demise in the late 1980s. Today however, vinyl players are readily available in stores and big name artists such as Goldfish and Kings of Leon have even released new albums on vinyl.

Amidst a haze of vinyl, digital downloads and albums that magically appear on your iTunes account, the future of music distribution is unclear to say the least. What remains important is that the music always seems to find its way to our ears. As long as consumers continue to support their favourite musicians, the industry will no doubt continue to innovate. 

Image: www.logonoid.com

Website | view posts