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The man behind the music, Ben Gilbert.

April 4, 2011

“Music itself has been completely de-valued”, explains music journalist, Ben Gilbert. Today, Gilbert spoke to an audience of journalism students. Explaining music journalism in all its glory and what it takes to bypass the tough critique and get into the industry. He was also giving us an insight into the perks of the job, very nice perks too might I add. More specifically, he spoke about the necessity for record labels to modernise and adapt to the convergence of the music industry and how it’s shifting to the internet; “the music industry, much like the other entertainment forces are having to adapt to the way in which technologies have changed.”

With the likes of Jessie J, Justin Bieber and the not-so-popular Rebecca Black, it is becoming increasingly more popular for new artists to be scouted via YouTube or other social media sites. There is less of a need to be backed by a record label at the get-go when more often artists can become globalised online.”If you cut out the middle man and you learn how to market yourself then you don’t have to pay the record company 40% or pay for their recording time or borrow half a million quid to go on the road.”

Take The Lonely Island as an example, they were merely 3 guys with an imagination and creativity who had some time on their hands to create their own video, “Jizz in my pants“. Through word of mouth and clever link placement, they have managed to land themselves a deal with Universal Republic Records. Questioning what it may mean for consumers who buy music online, Gilbert asks “by not paying for it and having so much of it, are you investing in the same love for it as you would have done if you had to pay for it?”

With this ‘thumb’ generation more inclined to download music online rather than buying CDs will artists continue to gain consumer revenue? Commenting on this Gilbert says, “in terms of the future, you’d imagine that the streaming and download culture will remain to be a crucial aspect of music. Both in the economic sense and the consumption of it” adding, “you can do it all yourself now.”

Here’s some advice Ben gave any aspiring music journalists:

  • If you want to write about music then you’ve gotta start doing it to see if you have the ability. You need to work out how you’re going to promote yourself
  • You have to be weary of the fact that it’s really competitive
  • Set up a blog, go to gigs and write reviews
  • You have to except at some point, unless you’re really lucky, you may have to write about music you don’t really enjoy
  • Focus on one specific area in journalism and just go for it
  • You’ve got to charm artists, try not to ask the same questions they have already been asked
  • Try to be really colloquial with an artist to put them at ease and more willing to talk

Techy Chique x

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