They say that a day is a long time in politics. In the music industry, a decade seems like a lifetime.
In a short space of only a few years, the way we consume music has changed unrecognisably, metamorphosing from the fantastic plastic through to pint-sized compact discs and settling on the current darling of choice…the digital download.
Whatever next? Cranial implants? You may smile, but that ‘fantasy’ may not be confined to the realms of science fiction with recent developments in China already pushing the boundaries of android technology.
At the time of the start of this digital revolution I was heading up the PR and Marketing for an independent record label, It’s Time Records, which specialised in the development of breaking artists and fresh musicians who were starting to create a bit of a name for themselves in the business.
I was acutely aware that the communications process was also the focus of change and would, inevitably, need to keep pace with this change to continue to be effective.
It may be difficult for us to comprehend now, but the internet is a comparatively new phenomenon – web giants like Google and Amazon have only been in existence since 1998 and 1994 respectively – so the work of corporate communications at this time majored on the use of the telephone and fax until the use of electronic media became widely available.
I now look back at the distribution of CDs in a physical media pack containing hard copies of press releases, biographies, and photographic prints with a degree of fondness. Chatting at length to journalists and radio stations over the telephone rather than via email was also a far more rewarding experience for a ‘people person’ like me and despite the communications process taking longer, the achievement of a final, positive, result was often quicker.
The swift adoption of electronic capabilities has driven the shift from offline to online communications in the music industry and, like other corporate environments, has recently seen the domination of social media, blogs and websites along with online publications and forums for effective story distribution.
It is true that time waits for no man…woman…or PR company, come to that, and things inevitably have to move on. With the pace of change getting increasingly fast, the inevitable question is: how long will it be before time runs out on the current methods of communications and the next phase of developments arrive?
And, once they arrive, will they be welcomed? I’m all for the journey, but sometimes it would be a relief just to smell the roses on the way, well just for a while anyway. Pass me the stop-watch, will you?