First online on 29th November 2000, the first 10 years has flown by.
It's a decade that has seen massive changes in the music industry with the rise in music downloads and a global recession. It's also been a decade that's been one of the most innovative regarding changes in the way artists engage with fans, with the way music is marketed and sold, and lets not forget within the music itself. Not only that but music has become a far more interactive, multimedia experience. Music videos are now an essential element of viral marketing, social media is a contentious but dominant fact of everyday life with fans interacting with each other and with the artists themselves.
The modern artist now has so many ways to engage fans, and most of those ways are available whether you are signed to a major or releasing your music from your bedroom. Mobile apps, blogs, micro-blogs, forums, social bookmarking, social networking, newsletters, gigs and performances, video blogs, online radio, viral marketing... the list goes on. The challenge has really become how to stand out from an ever growing crowd of artists
The accessibility of music creation to those with no musical training or experience and the dominance of television talent shows, especially in shaping the dreams of aspiring performers, has really and truly reshaped the musical landscape. The modern day aspiring artist has a huge range of ways to express themselves, to find apparent short cuts in creating that masterpiece, or that one piece that will "get them noticed". At the same time the modern day fan is spoiled for choice when it comes to their listening habits.
We've also seen the resurgence of band after band from yesteryear, with re-releases, new material and tours galore as artists struggled to adjust to the changing marketplace. For many, if not most, performance income and merchandise have come to replace mechanical royalties from recordings.
It's also a decade that's seen a feeling of marginalization of songwriters despite a reported growth in earning by songwriters overall, a blurring of roles between songwriter, recording engineer and producer, and a growth in the number of roles small bands play in pushing themselves forward through social media aware Online Music Distribution sites.
So what next? How do we rise to the challenges of the next decade? Are mash ups the future of music and video production? Will musical works have to be wrapped with 3D, 24 / 7 reality shows?
Putting aside the crystal ball I can say that I continue to find encouragement through the optimism, resilience and creativity in abundant supply from musicians expressed in groups and seen within musical and songwriting communities like Songstuff, and no doubt within bands and songwriting groups the world over. There's a huge rise in collaborations and there continues to be a huge appetite for information and tools to help with everything from the creative process, through performance to distribution. There is still a massive desire to be successful, to communicate with others and a gritty determination to make the best music we can.
Bands, musicians and songwriters can have many misconceptions, but there is a broader, earlier awareness of music as a business than there used to be. Pandora's box has been opened and now rather than the machinations of the music industry being hidden, the modern muso is overwhelmed with tools and methods but there remains a lack of information on how to best use those tools and how to safely navigate through the flood of business information available.
In all these regards I hope that Songstuff can play a role in aiding our members, our visitors make the most of their talents, to help them connect with other musicians and with fans, and to continue to provide a friendly environment in which to do so. I started Songstuff with the grandiose vision of helping to improve the awareness of musicians and to provide a safe harbor as they sought to expand their understanding and hone their skills. To this day that continues to be my aim. The realism of that idea continues to evolve, and is to a huge degree down to the members of Songstuff itself.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer thanks to all of our community members and site visitors for their many contributions to debate, to music, the many articles contributed, and to spreading the word about Songstuff over the years.
In particular I would like to thank those who have taken time as authors, moderators and staff members, who have all volunteered to dedicate their time and effort towards shaping Songstuff into what it is today. Truly a community of musicians and songwriters shaped by the community, for the community.
Many, many thanks to you all.
Here's to making music over the next decade!