By Alicia Ng
Technology and the internet have received a lot of criticism from music industry heavyweights.
Now the next generation have come forward saying the internet, in particular social networking, has its advantages for music.
Earlier this year, Jon Bon Jovi told The Sunday Times magazine that he believes “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business”.
Peer file sharing website Napster hit headlines when the band Metallica filed a lawsuit against it in 2000 when one of their songs was leaked before release. Many artists followed their lead and a few years later the website was infamously shut down.
Ever since then the internet has become somewhat of a dirty word within the music industry.
However, not everyone involved in the entertainment industry believes the internet is having a negative impact.
Australian band Calling All Cars’ bass player Adam Montgomery says the industry needs to look at ways to work with technology.
“To be honest it’s something that won’t go away,” he says.
“That’s the way it is and it’s a fact of living in such a technological age.
“We’re all for it. You can’t fight it. If you fight it you’re just going to be wasting energy in fighting something you can’t defeat.
“So you need to work with it. You need to find a way to make releasing new music online work.”
The past few years have beared witness to the take off and rapid growth of social networking.
Currently only China and India have populations greater than Facebook’s amount of users.
More video is uploaded to Youtube in 60 days than all three major US networks created in 60 years.
With an influx of users moving to social media, emerging talent say it is wise to embrace these avenues.
A lot of musicans have their own website as well as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Myspace accounts and are enjoying the exposure it brings.
Calling All Cars started up a YouTube Channel for their band, at CallingAllCarsTV, which is used as a platform for fans to not only view their music videos but also connect with the band through behind the scenes and candid features.
Mr Montgomery says the internet allows artists to reach a larger audience.
“It’s such a digital format, everyone is on Youtube. Youtube is the most watched thing now as opposed to how it used to be,” he says.
“People go to Youtube to find music now. If you can have all sorts of stuff up there, it will get more people to eventually listen to your music.”
Chanel Silao is 19 years old, but already hosts the successful event Back To Basics each month that involves a line up of DJs and runs his own business catering to events and parties, offering musical entertainment.
Mr Silao credits the internet for experiencing his level of success so quickly.
“If I didn’t have the internet right now, I surely would not have been able to host or start anything,” he says.
“[I only just recently] fathomed exactly how important it is.”
“Literally every aspect of the ‘success’ I and most other people in the same line of work have, is thanks to Facebook and social media.
“They might not agree, but I feel like it’s one of the most powerful and freely accessible tools for marketing that we have today.”
Mr Silao’s main advertising for his event and business is through social networking sites.
“Everyone has it and everyone uses it. In fact, I bet I could find thousands of Facebook pages that lets Facebook users ‘like’ all of the recent fads, all of their favourite things, their favourite colloquialisms and more.
“You basically get to market your own self.”
Brisbane band Lesuits’ leader singer Ben Barnes agrees that the internet brings users the opportunity to market and manage themselves.
“Through the internet we can communicate with other successful bands, managers, record companies, bookers etc,” he says.
The main reason the internet has caused upset within the music industry is for enabling people access to pirated songs and albums, which costs the music industry millions of dollars.
However, Mr Barnes’ band offers their music for free on their MySpace page and says the ability to share music online helps local music.
Ben Barnes says sharing his band’s music for free online is a positive thing.
“I think, especially being an independent band, that putting music for free on the internet on any social network or site is amazing,” he says.
“To be honest, most people don’t find buying local bands material very appetising or something that they ache to consume.
“So it’s good to use the form whether it is Facebook, email or whatever, to constantly give away our music for free. The exposure is worth more than money anyway.”
Emerging talent want the internet to stop having such a negative connotation in music and for people to acknowledge the advantages it offers.
“There are a lot of positives to it,” Montgomery says.
“So many people can hear your music instantly; they couldn’t do that fifteen years ago.
“Now if someone hears a name of a band they can go and listen to it instantly and make up their mind whether they like it.
“Ultimately they’re still listening to your music and that’s the point.”
Mr Barnes agrees that the internet has a large role within the industry.
“The internet has become the easiest muse for doing anything music at the moment,” he says.