What if it wasn’t justabout an album anymore? 

Global connectivity means that the act of creativity can now be multi-platformed. An ocean of readily available content that the audience can access on command through a device that fits in the front pocket of their jeans. It’s no longer just an album. It’s a YouTube video (…or a few), it’s a promo press kit, it’s merchandise, it’s a game, it’s a website. Why continue to confine yourself to what you can fit on a disk?

What if isn’t just an album or thing? What if I could become a place? What if, like the theater or the opera, the album could also be a place for the magical suspension of disbelief? What if your album could be a thing that the audience comes to experience and perceive in three dimensions? Something like a Narnia, a Hogwarts, a Myst Island, or an Oz. Someplace that the art is allowed to exist that is separated from reality? 

What if we can give the audience a new way to experience music? Something visual, but also magical, all driven by a piece of music. Music in 360º. 

Bands are great, but they’re only a handful of folks who are all specialized in one area (music). What if you expanded your lineup? Including designers, web content creators, and audio-visual techs? Cross platforming your work so that you’re now making one artistic statement across multiple mediums. You’re no longer producing an album, but an IDEA. What if instead of a band, it was a high-art design firm? Entirely in-house, production company meets record label meets media content creator? 

 

More and more our creative ideas are growing past the old confinements. Art and creativity are now getting more and more “meta”, both referencing the conventions and standards of genre as well as growing past them. Art is always a product of its time. The time now is one of exponentially expanding creative outlets and the ability to tie them all together. 

The music business is dying in one long, dark creative massacre. The monetary value of recorded music has fallen through the floor. Pay for bands in clubs and venues (…when they CAN get paid) is shrinking more and more every year. The festival circuit has now become as flooded with product as the bar scene has been for the last fifteen years. Indie artists are finding audiences at a fraction of what they were ten years ago, but unable to turn that success into financial gain. In today’s music market, nobody feels that they should have to pay for music. More people use Spotify or Pandora’s free-with-commercials option rather than pay $8-10 a month to have access to the entirety of recorded music. Because we as a culture have devalued music to the point of no return. There is no recovery for the music business as it was. 

Photo courtesy of AMC

Don Draper once said

“If you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation”

 

The time has come to change the rules. Cut the club-owners and booking agents out of the game. Elevate the music out of the bars, make it about ART again. Do something meaningful. Give people something they can’t get anywhere else. Give them some meaning and some spectacle. Let them see that new music and new ideas can be just a meaningful and entertaining as cover bands, karaoke, and reality television.

As creatives, we need to snatch control out of the hands of those who have been milking us dry for years. We need to find new ways to capitalize on emerging technologies and innovative creativity. Break barriers, damn the torpedoes, and let the devil take the hindmost. There is a way, but we must be willing to embrace it. 

What if it wasn’t just an album anymore?

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August 20, 2015

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