What about the musicians?

The pool of money in the commercial music industry is shrinking.

Here's why:

1) Music listeners don't expect to directly pay for music. These listeners are the source of all music profits.

2) Most of the profits being made off music today is centered around distribution (iTunes, Spotify, etc) or music equipment (iPods, iPhones, headphones, computers, speakers, etc).

3) There are more bands than ever before competing with each other for a relatively small amount of cash that makes it through #1 and #2. Each new distribution service requires selling more "product" for less money.

Music consumption, aside from a few exceptions, has always been managed through a middle entity. That entity might be a record label, radio, a venue, iTunes or Spotify. Consumers expect to interact with music this way.

Artists that want to make careers off music position themselves as marketing and branding gurus. It's the only way to stand out and be remembered in a sea of songs...

The only way to avoid this game is to believe that recorded music isn't a product, is not the goal, and is not the measure of success. The alternative goal is building a system that promotes ongoing music creation regardless of the actual music being produced.

I am inspired by a friend who is a painter, who once proposed on his website a way to subsidize his creations. His idea was to ask people to pay for paintings he hadn't yet created. People could choose the size of the canvas they wanted, and would receive a painting in the vein of what he was working on at the time. He made it clear that this was not about commissioned work. You might not exactly like what you get. But supporting his work was not about getting what you wanted, it was about giving him the resources necessary that would allow him to create.

I don't know how this could work for music. In some countries it is simply a government subsidized program. If you want to make art and music they will help you out financially as it is understood to be good for everyone.