Ann Friendman wrote an inspired piece called “This is the best moment to be in journalism,” which relates in many ways to what I believe is the case for the music, film and book publishing fields. Ann states:
I’m in a minority of reporters and editors who are genuinely excited to be working at this moment in history and not in the past. Again and again, I found myself playing the role of cheerleader, trying to convince tired and broke journalists to get excited about the future of media.
She lists the wealth of new opportunities for journalists, including increasing ease of communication with subjects, a growing audience that can find your work, and direct access to consumers and their feedback through social media and email. All of these are equally valid when replacing “journalists” with “artists”.
She follows this up with:
Here’s a little secret: Even if I’m wrong and it’s not the best moment, we’d all be well-served to operate as if it is. Because you know what? The old models aren’t coming back. Lamenting the death of classifieds and display advertising and annual subscribers isn’t serving anyone. The sooner journalists start seeing disruption and technology as opportunity, the better off we’ll all be. [...] The old stuff isn’t coming back, but that’s okay.
That last line is what really matters here. Different people are working under that assumption now, while others still lament the loss of the past paradigm. Today Billboard reported that on-demand streams will now count towards RIAA counts for gold and platinum records. Trey Songz’ new style fan club app earns over $50K per month. Artists are jerry-rigging custom music subscription set ups. And the list of optimists keeps going. Ask yourself the question: are you contributing to the new, or complaining about the old?
PS I originally came across Ann’s piece via Doree Shafrir’s tweet.