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MIDEM(Net) Blog: Ted Cohen: Breaking Through The Noise

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The Internet was supposed to be the ultimate leveler, great music would be able to find its audience, the 'big label' gatekeepers would no longer control access to the masses.



It hasn't exactly played out that way. According to my friend, Tommy Silverman/Tommy Boy Records and the co-founder of the New Music Seminar recently told me that he did the math and only 228 artists broke 10,000 units for the first time last year out of 105,000 albums. That’s 2.17% but only 15 of those did it without the help of a real label. That's not very encouraging to the other ninety-eight percent.


While tens of thousand of artists are self-releasing their music, their ability to get noticed in a meaningful way is stifled by the sheer volume of music that is arriving daily at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, MySpace Music, Yahoo, Rhapsody, Pandora, iHeart and others. Ten years ago, there were roughly twenty-five thousand album releases a year. In 2009, it is estimated that there will be over one hundred thousand albums put into digital distribution. That's roughly a million new tracks a year, four million minutes of music, or almost three thousand days-worth of song. But, maybe, if I listen really, really fast, I could....nope!




The competition for my attention is overwhelming. I've got a spare hour this afternoon, I can listen to fifteen new songs, how do I find the fifteen new artists that will rock my world??
...looks like it will still take big guns in the future to get above the din... to quote the Incredibles "when everyone is special, no one is"...