3 out of 4 stars
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The wide expanse of digitalization has impacted every field with its pros and cons and so about the music industry that has completely transformed itself based on technological innovations. Live Digital or Be Irrelevant by A.K. Smith-Ford is a self-help journey of the author from an analog person to a digital citizen. He explained how he adjusted himself in a digital economy by changing his narrative towards the current business scenario in the music industry.
The author has been an investor and independent label owner. Despite challenges, he revamped his business in 2018 and successfully applied digital tools to evolve his business strategies to be in line with the new digital outlook. He realized that he himself was the only obstacle in his way. Therefore, he changed his viewpoint regarding the latest technological innovations and began to see it as an opportunity, not a hurdle. This mindset helped him to smoothly adjust to the new business environment that focuses on continuous learning and investment in yourself (personal branding) to get fruitful results. Writing this book is the product of his business plan and the synthesis of his experience gained through the transformation from old business taboos to new advanced trends in the music/media industry.
A.K. Smith layouts all the techniques and strategies in this 66-page book based on his experience that would be helpful to gain footing as a musical entrepreneur in a continuously evolving digital music industry. He advises readers to add a professional tinge to their work. Because in today’s world there is a plethora of musical content available on the web, and one can only attract people through quality music. He also suggests that diligently investing in yourself and your business can bring the desired output. He reminds us that the new musical trend relies more on independent musical content; the role of major global companies that would control the music/media business in the past is decreasing now. He advises readers to focus on branding, graphic designing, video, licensing of content, and sponsorship to successfully survive in this niche.
Now the music industry has completely changed its dimension from physical procedures and promotional techniques (album economy) to digital distribution channels (playlist economy), and this new digital music industry is continuously growing and changing. Music has become a commodity, not the art that one would acquire by learning musical lessons previously. It now has become cheap and accessible and only requires talent in most cases. Besides, it requires much less investment and time to make any video owing to digital tools. As a musical entrepreneur, the author has also developed four songs to stimulate the artists having creative roadblocks and named this project 4 Portrait EP on the author’s music imprint Prohibition Entertainment.
The theme of this book is to evoke new music artists to believe in their abilities and help them develop strategies to accommodate themselves in the new technological era. In reality, this digital phase is so dynamic and subtle that it has a far-reaching effect on our perceptions, behaviors, and ways of doing business. Embracing this change is not merely a choice, but it’s imperative to evolve into a digital citizen from a digital consumer. We need to keep abreast of new technological innovations and skills which are mandatory to completely transform ourselves in this new environment.
I slightly contradict the author’s views as he says, “Embrace new things even if you don’t agree with it.” I consider that every tool and product has its own prospects and limitations, so you can’t agree with all of them. Therefore, the wise use of some of the digital products is utmost necessary to contain their harmful effects as a whole.
I thoroughly enjoyed his (the author’s) conversational style and thought-provoking views about digital innovations. It often challenged my own thinking process regarding this issue. I liked how he explained different business terms to make the book interesting and informative for the readers. For instance, he clearly described the difference between editorial and marketing content. Moreover, each chapter is short and concise and gives you a clear understanding of the author’s perspective on a particular topic. Overall, the whole content is well-organized. I found some typographical errors.
As for the incongruences, I found some typographical errors, and the author often used slang words or informal spellings in his writing, as he wrote “thru” instead of “through” throughout the book. Also, it’d be nice if he had added some more details of his work and bio. However, it was a fascinating read. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to new artists interested in music as a profession and other new entrants in the digital business. The author’s message is encouraging for the coming talent in the music industry, as they can follow him to build up their own business plan in this dynamic era.
Live Digital Or Be Irrelevant
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