Emerging artists have long been using the Internet to gain audience. I'm sure we've all heard the story of Lilly Allen, who launched herself by streaming live gigs on MySpace. One thing soon led to another and next thing you know young Lilly has a huge following and the Record Industry beating down her door. And this is just one of I'm sure many examples of success.
The poor old Music Industry has been hit hard by the digital evolution. What once was a viable commercial model is no more. The Industries primary source of income has traditionally been via physical purchase (albums, tapes, CDs). Sadly for them, they don't make money on much else - live shows are sewn up by the artists and promoters. The radio and TV industries have been accessing their content free for years. And now consumers are able to get at their content gratis as well. Time for emergency measures.
I don't know much about what these measures are and how the business will change in the coming years. Merchandise is still an opportunity, ring tones worked for a while, and I'm sure there are plenty of renegotiation's taking place in every other aspect of their artist relationships.
Any way, I have gone off on a tangent when what I really wanted to say is this.
Coldplay have released their latest single for free for all to download on their website (www.coldplay.com). So far 600,000 people have taken advantage of this - I mean 600,001 given I've just done so myself. What started out as a tool for the emerging has officially gone mainstream. Actually about as mainstream as you can get.