Drawing parallels between the music industry and the newspaper business in the internet era is not original. Others have already made the observation that the two share similar challanges.

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

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.

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists online at Wired magazine shares the lessons already learnt by professional musicians. Some may apply to journalists.

Byrne starts with a description of what happened to the music business. It 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’s certainly not bad news for musicians. Indeed, with all the ways to reach an audience, there have never been more opportunities for artists.

In my more positive moments I could make an equally uplifting argument about the opportunities for journalists.

Later in the piece, it’s a longish read over five virtual pages, Byrne looks at possible music distribution models – most of which have analogies in the newspaper world.

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists

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