Previously, I wrote about the Zero Revenue Music Media Model. For the individual band or musician, they can get by, and likely ever prosper with alternative revenue sources. A few might even strike it rich. The big problem is providing revenue in the chain for the parts who create huge value. The predicted lower value parts of the chain, ie promotors, labels, and media companies, will find a way to work with alternative revenue sources. Even Apple is looking at alternate sources, in light of the itunes market starting to contract. Such parts of the chain will scream and holler for sure, but if there is a buck to be made, you can be sure they will find a way to do so, and to leverage it to death, and as usual probably to the chagrin of the artist. The huge unknown, and one of the biggest and most critical value contributors is the songwriter.
A few in the recent past made it in alternative arenas, ie film, gaming, contract, or even publication… but significant income was due to media in one way or another. As the revenue model based upon media continues to shrink, radio/tv converge to narrower and narrower conservative focuses… huge barriers are coming up as concerns the song writer. Then, throw in the explosion in the indie artist realm, where the long tail grows even further, and the song writer could well end up left out in the cold.
Yet, the songwriter cannot be left in the cold… they will not willingly go galt. Songwriting is their passion… and unlike many fields is not fungible. A lame songwriter creates lame music no one wants to hear. A good songwriter creates great material…. if their revenue is cut, they will still produce, but the volume of production will drop, as they need to backfill revenue to eat. If that happens, listeners will have a bird, and there will be a demand that songwriters produce, the problem being, how to compensate them, when the music media revenue model has crashed.