Digital music will end the analog industry, it was something that had been mentioned over and over again. But most companies did not take it seriously, and then in less than twenty years everything that we knew as music in physical format, that is to say, on CD, almost completely vanished. Because it is true, new and catalog music can still be found for sale, although to be honest, most of the public prefers to download the material of their favorite artist on streaming platforms.
It all started in that distant month of June 1999 when Napster appeared on the internet. Its simple way of downloading music in MP3, resulted in millions of users making use of the new application, which resulted in others, even some with dangerous viruses for computers. Still, in no time compact disc players became obsolete, and digital devices began to gain traction.
For anyone it was no longer necessary – as in the old days – to go to the record store and buy the new album of a certain artist. Nor did they have to wait weeks or months for it to arrive from some capital or from abroad. It seemed like a science fiction affair, yet it wasn’t. The music was there within the reach of a simple click.
And although until the first decade of this century things seemed that they would remain the same, with the appearance of platforms dedicated to the music business, everything changed radically, and the old saying of renew or die reached the desks of the executives of the record companies. Some understood the situation and accepted the new conditions; the rest went bankrupt.
Nowadays, many singers or musical groups that make their pininos do not have to leave their places of residence and move to the big city to knock on doors at the offices of music producers. What they do is record a video with their material in high quality format, and upload it to YouTube. The number of Likes will determine your popularity. This option is not the only one, but it is a good beginning that will allow them to be taken into account by those who see talent in any of them to be promoted.
Instead professional artists produce their material and send it directly to streaming platforms. In this way, large amounts of money are saved in the manufacture of covers and thousands or millions of compact discs. Another advantage is that the user has the option of being able to download a song, or the entire album.
And what follows are the royalties for reproduction. The most important ones, such as Apple and Spotify, pay their artists a penny of the dollar, the first; and between half and a third the second (see here) In appearance this seems very little, but we must take into account that there are millions of reproductions that are made per day, which generates enormous amounts of money.
For that reason, successes are no longer measured not by the number of albums sold, but by the numbers recorded in downloads. Despite everything, recently British artists of all levels protested that the payments they receive are not fair, and demand better remuneration.
Music has become part of globalization. Any rhythm, any genre are available to any citizen. Digital music prevails in our lives regardless of distance or time.
Jose Luis Vivar