The Changing Paradigm of Music

We are in a musical Renaissance like has never been known before. There are more virtuoso musicians in every genre of music than even existed in the European Renaissance of the 14th to 17th century. The rebirth is now, and it has brought many changes.

You have the love and passion to be a musician at some level. Keep your passion, and practice every day, so that passion can grow. The better you get, the better musicians you will play with and the more fun it will be. Never quit your instrument or your commitment to its music. However, keep in mind that you may have to adapt to the new paradigm of music.

(some generalizations)
Mostly All Union Jobs Mostly Non Union Jobs
Orchestras on Every TV Show Live musicians on almost no TV Shows.
Network TV Network, Cable, Streaming, Satellite, etc. etc
Television broadcast drama, music and entertainment, news, sports, and game shows. Call in, CeeFax, chat show, docudrama, documentary, docusoap, soap, fly on the wall, religion stations, infomercials, infoenterainment, magazine, mini-series, sitcom, tabloid, simulcast and many more, including the programming from 50 years ago.
Professional Talent Reality Shows, Talk Shows, Product Sales Shows
People went to clubs with a very active music scene People stay home and there is very little club music.
No Computers Computers
Commercial Composers composed for musicians Commercial Composers compose outstanding sounds on the computer replacing musicians. (ok, not every time) with a huge selection of instrument libraries.
My first two vinyl records were analog My last two CDs were digital
My vinyl records sold in music shops and at concerts My music sells on the internet and can be segmentally purchased by track.
My records were edited from 2” tape with a razor blade My CDs are edited with a mouse and computer program
Composers wrote on paper Composers compose & program using computers, apply quantizing, and the excellent composers even add feeling with time shifting.
Entertainers had 28 piece orchestras for all concert jobs Entertainers come self-contained or use only 5-10 local musicians
Broadway Pits had 18-28 local musicians Broadway Pits have 2-10 local musicians, and bring 3 synths to fill out the orchestra. New shows are written for fewer musicians.
The majority of qualified musicians worked There are many qualified musicians and many less, jobs so many extremely qualified musicians have no chance.
Music Education was mostly classical Most schools have classical, jazz and pop music programs
There was AM/FM radio and Ham Radio There are AM, FM, Satellite, HD, Internet, HAM, College non-profit, and Community radio, and those are just the ones I know of.
Symphony Orchestras flourished both in both big cities and small towns Most orchestras struggle, some of the top 10 orchestras in the USA have declared some form of bankruptcy, orchestras ask musicians to lower salaries, the orchestras in many small towns are disappearing,
Columbia Artists Community Concerts Defunct
DJs on The Radio DJs at Your Wedding (all that money and no band)

I could go on, however the music business and the opportunity to play music is changing. Musicians are not just instrumentalists anymore, except where they can perform by playing alone or with an established symphony or group. Those opportunities are also diminishing.

Though the music business is circular and cyclical,it seems like a long time in the future before most musicians will be able to only “play” for a living. Perhaps this forced requirement to know more about how music is made will make many dedicated instrumentalists and vocalists into better musicians, with new skills learned along the way.

This is a great example by a student, Christopher Bill, at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music in New York City of a simple computer loop.

I hope this link is active when you read this so those of you that are not familiar with how the computer replaces many musicians can see how quickly it can be done.

The more flexibility you have a as a performer and the more things you can do related to music, the better chance you will have to succeed in the future and stay with our friend music.

Many musicians I know write music (a great opportunity for musical growth) or own their own studio (another great opportunity) or both. Jokingly they are called Midiots.

The question is, "how good are you at these programs?" Digital Performer, Logic, Sibelius, Encore, Finale, Pro Tools, etc.?  How good are you at writing music, copying music, recording, repairing computers, updating music software, or helping composers that need help with these programs?

One of the best musicians I have ever met, and who is at the top of his career, also has a woodwind specialty shop, where he sells instruments and accessories, teaches, and he also writes music on the computer.

Teaching is another great music-related opportunity, as through teaching we reinforce and re-evaluate what we do to play, and make changes as necessary. We also learn patience and the tactics to help people grow. Private teaching makes us better players. It is a good living too especially when teaching from of your home or a studio you may rent.

Any music-related sideline is a good thing to know. Knowledge is success.

Learning to compose on a computer, or on paper, is a strong addition to any musician’s musical worth.

If you live in a place where there is no concert band, no chamber music, no jazz, no R&R, or no orchestra, start a group of some sort. Most successful musicians are self-starters at some level.

Also, the best working musicians are good business people and good politicians. Life is largely business and politics, and that translates to having lots of good friends. The best way to have a good friend is to be a good friend. That is how your name and your friends' names get circulated.

Let’s be clear. I am not asking you to reconsider music or the music business.

I am asking you to grow to encompass more of music, and for those professionals reading this, to grow to be able to have broader knowledge about the trends in the business. Music and the music business will always be here, but most likely not like it was last year, five years ago ten years ago, twenty years ago, fifty years ago or a hundred years ago.

Constant growth is required.

Get better at your specialty while embracing new music-related horizons.Think of ways you can grow and what music-related fields you are interested in that will can add to your worth and enjoyment.

Below is another tidbit about music streaming and what that brings to musicians. David is a pop musician, however his articles are worth thinking about for musicians in any genre. By going to the website below you can read many other articles about our business (you have to read to the bottom of each article to get the next link)