At a time when music transfer is about intangible 1s and 0s, artists are sharing more music online, building a fan base and engaging their audiences in ways far beyond the Age of the Tapes or even MySpace music.

According to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) Digital Music Report 2009, digital platforms account for around 20% of recorded music sales last year.

The report adds, “Technology has made it possible for artists to record their own work and distribute it online without the aid of record companies, but no new acts have developed a viable career this way.”

IFPI says that there are more than 2.5 million hip hop artists and 1.8 million rock acts on MySpace alone, vying for attention. With such large number, experts believe that MySpace is no longer adequate for artists seeking an online presence.

For every Lily Allen or Arctic Monkeys that has found success on music sharing sites like MySpace, there are millions of acts that remain relatively unknown.

Internet rockstars

Industry commentators believe that the digital music age draws the curtains on the big rockstars and their bigger rock and roll lifestyles of the last few decades.

However, artists like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Jonathan Coulton are making use of the free nature of the Internet to find innovative distribution methods for their material. They could very well become a new generation of Internet rockstars.  

For the music lover, it’s an artist blitzkrieg online. The artists are everywhere – on websites, forums, iTunes, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube.

In April 2009, The Streets’ Mike Skinner released a few of his songs on Twitter, the microblogging service as well.

And increasingly, all this music is available for free.

Next: The value of £0 - Is free music an inevitable part of sharing music online?


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