Music Industry Refashions Itself, Embraces iPod Era

Music Industry Refashions Itself, Embraces iPod Era

Updated May 8, 2012 at 10:36 AM EDT

Music Industry Refashions Itself, Embraces iPod Era (320)

(NewsUSA) - The sounds that are changing the music world are not the voices of artists unknown, but rather the faint click of a computer mouse.

It used to be that singers and musicians had to rely on an agent (or more likely sheer hope) to get their music played or their album in a store -- both unlikely unless the artist was either well-known or touring nationally with someone else who was already famous.

Fast forward to present day, and sites like YouTube are creating overnight world-wide pop sensations like Justin Bieber and, more recently, 13-year-old Rebecca Black, whose video "Friday" has more views than Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Bieber's "Pray."

Truth be told, anyone with an adequate computer and a decent Internet connection can hear music in various formats, on dozens of sites.

While it's clear what the digital age does for an artist, it has created a major opportunity for indie music labels such as Big Jake Music, a New York-based entertainment company.

"The upside of digital distribution is the global market you have access to, which you can promote to in different ways," said Jake Shapiro, founder of Big Jake Music.

"For these reasons," added Shapiro, "we believe it is critical for us to aggressively pursue digital distribution as part of our marketing strategy."

These days, with more customers spending time on their computers than in brick-and-mortar retail outlets (think the now-defunct Tower Records stores), entertainment companies would be foolish not to capitalize on this potential revenue stream.

Which is why smart independent music labels are leveraging the Internet for commercial success.

Although music executives say that sales have struggled in recent years (Apple would most likely disagree), music usage has never been more popular on formats like social networks and mobile devices.

"This tidal wave created by digital distribution is here to stay," said Shapiro. "And it is only going to get stronger."

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