The Milestone Incubator
For each different emerging artist there’s a relatively uniform set of milestones to which celebration, whether small or large, can be called for. From their first first lyrics scribbled on a piece of paper, to their first gig, video, EP, festival slot — each waypoint serves as an anchor, a mark of recognition and ultimately another step towards their dreams and aspirations as a musician. These are rare moments to to kick back, pop open an appropriate beverage, snap a polaroid and let out a triumphant sigh before returning to the drawing board (that’s what musicians do right?).
Throughout the massive upheaval the music industry has seen in the last 10 years, these milestones have remained somewhat unchanged. With all the tech wizardry Spoticloud, Soundify, and Pandidal bring to the table, it’s comforting to see emerging artists still driving towards these omnipresent goals.
There’s a reason these early milestones never change. It’s because they’re achievable. Regardless of how an artist’s revenue streams are looking or their social reach statistics, with absolute dedication and interaction with a fanbase, they can be ticked off and neatly act as stepping stones on to the next (don’t get me wrong, there’s no guarantee of quality here).
Then comes the biggest of them all — the debut album. To me this is an artist’s crowning moment, a chance to flex their creativity through more than a 4 track EP or an isolated single. An album offers a blank canvas, nowhere to hide, and the chance to say more than can be said in a lone track (even if it is an unapologetically long 11 minute epic * see Pink Floyd — Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1–5).
Sadly, I don’t think this is a view shared by everyone in the streaming generation. The rise of playlisting is symptomatic of a generation of music lovers with a short attention span. Playlists are a fascinating biproduct of such advancements and the curation deserves praise but for me nothing will beat knowing an album back to front. For all the merits playlists boast for music discovery, the delicately formed sequence of an album is a level of magic which is unrivalled by any other medium.
Tradiio struck a chord with me because I visualised a community where fans could help artists reach their early milestones by showing more commitment than a simple like or retweet whilst still spending no real money. Allowing this community to grow and thrive will affect artist’s lives in a way which we can’t even imagine.
Like a musical incubator, we are hatching the artists of tomorrow. We should take great pleasure in watching, and helping, them achieve their early milestones. What happens when they take flight however could be something infinitely more fascinating.
Bring on the first UK success case! It’s only a matter of time…