Emerging musicians looking for instant exposure in the digital age should educate themselves first on the power and potential of the Internet, say veterans of Canada’s recording industry.
This sentiment echoed throughout a free public forum titled, The Changing Face of Music in a Digital World.
The event, held at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Monday night, Nov. 24, featured five panellists from different spectrums of the music industry, including Will Strickland, the president of the Urban Music Association of Canada and Internet technologist Ken Chasse.
The two-hour discussion covered a variety of emerging legal and technical issues of the digital age and how those challenges confront recording artists and executives. However, Strickland described a poignant issue often overlooked.
“We live in a microwave kind of world where consumers and artists are looking for immediacy,” Strickland said. “No one takes time anymore for artistic or creative development, because everything is expected so fast.”
Chasse recognized the Internet as a powerful medium for any artist looking for quick local, regional or global recognition.
“It’s made things a lot easier because music has become more accessible,” Chasse said. “It’s about sharing culture.”
However, Strickland stressed that up and coming artists spend more time watching videos of their favourite musicians – specifically those in the urban music scene – who flaunt their success through images of money, cars and overall wealth. He noted the importance of paying attention to the bigger picture.
“They need to realize that they can’t rely on the overnight success depicted in these videos because you need to have a plan if you want to succeed,” Strickland said. “It’s not just about achieving the success, it’s about maintaining it.”
Chasse echoed Strickland’s thoughts, adding even though the Internet allows emerging artists to gain exposure they aren’t always sure about how to utilize it in the best way possible.
“It’s an open market,” Chasse said. “But it doesn’t just end with making a website and putting your music up there.”
Strickland believes improper use of the Internet stems from a lack of knowledge on the artist’s end.
“People need to learn how to use the Internet as a tool, because it is powerful,” he said. “But it isn’t a one-time thing either . . . You have to show you’re continuing to do the work to achieve your goal.”
He added this idea of maintenance remains lost among emerging artists who are looking for the quickest way up the ladder.
“Not everyone is built to be Rihanna or Beyonce,” Strickland said. “But if you’re just starting out and want to hit the big leagues, you need to have a bigger plan . . . And the best way to do that is to educate yourself.”