These are strange times to be a musician. It used to be that the aim of the pop musician was to get a record deal. The main reasons for this were that there was no way you could afford to record an album on your own, you could never get the vinyl/CD pressed yourself, and you had no way of selling it if you managed to get that far. And if you couldn’t do those things, you’d never become stinking rich.
The situation has changed drastically in the past few years: you can record your album on your computer for no more than the cost of the electricity and the software, assuming you paid for your software. You can get CDs pressed for about £600 for 500 units, inc VAT (if you’re starting off small). And you can sell your CDs on the web, or downloads if you can’t be bothered with CDs.
The only problem with all of this, is that everyone else can also record, press and sell their music on the web. So now the problem is how do you get your music heard? You could give it away, but so there are millions of free mp3s out there no-one has the time or inclination to listen to. Also, giving music away for nothing implies that the music is worth nothing. You can get away with that sort of thing if your are an established artist (Nine Inch Nail, for example), but you’re buggered if no-one knows who you are.
And the final, possible biggest, problem is this: There is a whole generation who don’t think they ought to pay for music. At all. So I don’t think I’ll be buying my own island any time soon.