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Bill Bennett


What music can teach journalists

Drawing parallels between the music industry and the newspaper business is not new.

Both industries are in free fall. Both are leaving skilled career-committed professionals struggling to find ways to carry on doing what they are good at while putting food on the table.

Although the newspaper industry may now be collapsing faster than the music business, the record companies started their decline earlier. Which means musicians have had longer to work out ways of coping.

And some of them are coping quite nicely thank you.

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists suggests journalists can adapt some lessons already learnt by professional musicians.

Byrne’s article starts with a description of what happened to the business that is optimistic from a musician’s point of view:

What is called the music business today, however, is not the business of producing music. At some point it became the business of selling CDs in plastic cases, and that business will soon be over. But that’s not bad news for music, and it is certainly not bad news for musicians. Indeed, with all the ways to reach an audience, there have never been more opportunities for artists.

You could make an equally uplifting argument about the opportunities for journalists. Although there is one huge difference between the two industries: no-one is going to pay to see journalists perform live.

Later Byrne looks at possible distribution models – most of which have analogies in the newspaper world.

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists



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