The music industry has been difficult for independent musicians for a long time. In the late 20th century, record labels were gatekeepers who determined which creative’s were heard and which were left, at least commercially, in the dirt. The process to success was far from democratic, and without meaningful connections and footholds in the door, most artists weren’t heard by the fans that exist somewhere out there. While the challenge of breaking through the metaphorical and literal noise has always been challenging, something happened that has changed who rolls the dice.
The industry has felt two seismic changes in the wake of the digital revolution of the 21st century.
- Social media and other technologies have allowed independent musicians to completely and successfully manage their careers on an end-to-end scale.
Being DIY and staying independent has in the last 10 years become a truly viable means to a sustainable career, as artists can more easily build their own team, market to their own audience, crowdfund their own resources, and distribute their music to physical and digital retailers. Whether recording at home at affordable rates, utilising smart technology for mastering, or setting up their own merchandise, independent artists can access avenues that previously were quite inaccessible. But equally…
- The streaming of music has brought revenue back to the industry, but has left creatives with heavily delayed royalty micropayments and with a smaller audience for physical releases
Without relentless touring and merchandise production, the average musician, 90% of our industry, would be left with no real alternatives to maintaining their careers. At its core, streaming has captured a new and fundamental value for businesses in differentiating the music consumer that wants to access music from the music consumer that wants to own it. As a result, creatives, especially those at least a couple rungs off the top of the ladder, have to contend with far harsher financial conditions.
Where there is hope and there are great new opportunities, there are also huge challenges. Finding the best next steps and predicting what will happen next are the daily bread and butter demands for music makers across all stages of their career. While the major forces are open to innovation, creating change that works for everyone and helps to responsibly address the system’s long standing inequalities is something that is both a passion and a mission for Mycelia. As a development hub, finding a reconciliation between creative justice and business efficiency is everything we strive for. Its early days, but we think we’ve found something special in our Creative Passport project…
- What is the Creative Passport?
The Creative Passport is an identity database, professional networking platform, and metadata store space for anyone and everyone in the music industry, whether the creatives or the business personnel. The platform allows users to generate personalised creative passports, giving artists the autonomy to manage and organise their metadata into visual formats that can empower their creative endeavours. From there, the platform combines a search engine for researching and networking with an opportunities portal where anyone from an independent filmmaker looking to commission a soundtrack to a regional festival looking for artists can connect and collaborate in a safe, fair, and transparent ecosystem. If you knew all that already, then you’re probably more interested in knowing…
- How will the Creative Passport Help Fix a Failing Industry?
Despite the ambition in the question, Mycelia and our Creative Passport is best said to be fully focused on helping to fix the failing elements of our industry for the positive sum empowerment of everybody, from bottom to top. We feel confident that this platform can be great for music makers in the following 6 ways:
- Helping creatives manage, process, and organise their extensive metadata
- Ensuring creatives take full control, ownership, and responsibility of their metadata and its embedded potential as a database of artist verification
- Allowing everyone from music fans to top A&R agents to research music makers and their stories
- Helping geographically restricted music makers network and find collaborators across the world, whether to find someone to help finish a project, or to find allies for turbulent days
- Finding artistic and business opportunities in a transparent and fair manner where clients and creatives can directly engage one to one, helping musicians create a new potential revenue stream
- Giving a free platform full of administrative and creative benefits back to the community
Of course, it’s not only artists who stand to gain or should gain from this technological innovation. The wider music industry, from the mainstays to those on the cutting edge, have plenty to gain:
- Streaming services could integrate the platform into their ecosystem, ensuring their subscribers and MAU’s have access to a library of knowledge on the music they love.
- Helping indie and major record labels by either supporting their research for new artists, connecting with potential B2B services for planned projects and products, or giving them a new outlet to help store their metadata.
- Helping collection societies individually check and proofread their metadata, and collectively build the deeply necessarily global rights repertoire.
- Helping businesses find for independent musicians, whether a music venue needing an opening act or a theatre company needing to license instrumental music for a budget production.
The Creative Passport has a lot of potential and a lot to say. We hope you join us on the journey.