It seems like we need to know what value things have nowadays. Salt had huge value in the middle ages. Today you can buy salt fairly cheap. Things that used to have value might lose it now in our current times.
That is how to look at recordings. Just thirty years ago recording was an expensive endeavour. You needed quite a large financial investment to do a record that required a lot of money. And then you also thought twice about what to record and chose your songs carefully.
Today, I can just go down to the local electronic store, buy a kind of cheap microphone (or take the microphone that is built in a laptop) and just record a song. And then just put it on any social media channel in seconds, and even get it out on Spotify within 24 hours.
The problem here is that many think that the value of that recording is the same as the recordings of The Beatles on Abbey Road. It’s not. Technology has provided us to have better equipment to record than The Beatles had ever dreamt about when they recorded Abbey Road. With that though came the idea is that everyone thinks they can write a song like “Yesterday”.
Since the price is so low to produce and record then the value of the product also sinks lower. But there is a problem with music. The recording is just part of the product. There is a difference in having the skills to write songs. Skills of writing lyrics. To be honest, “Yesterday” is still a great song even if I would mistreat it in a recording with a mic on my laptop. Also, I believe that the Beatles would record the song great through the mic of my laptop. My recording though wouldn’t have much value, only as proof of that, I should not be recording Beatles songs. But the recording of “Yesterday” the original is worth millions.
Just because you have created something it’s probably not worth the money you think it’s worth. The value is decided on how many people are prepared to pay for it. Today also the time, money and effort that is put in behind a song are many times a lot less than it was 25 years ago. The whole process has now created a way that music has lost value.
No, it won’t be better if people started to put time and effort into the songs. Today’s climate demands that we should release music at a fast speed. The artist that tries to do real songs is in jeopardy that they are forgotten between the releases.
Are they? I’m not sure but I think it’s time to stop listening to social media. It’s time to invest in songs and taking back the old saying “writing is rewriting”. With good technology, we can do cheaper recordings, but we still have to honour the handicraft of a good song. A good song holds off on a bad recording a good song is not holding up on a super good recording. If music wants to get back it’s value we need to create things that have value.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes scheduled for February 18-20, 2021.