100,000 plus new songs released daily, so what to listen to?

4 April 2023

By some estimates, one hundred and twenty three thousand new songs are released across the globe every day. That’s surely more music than any person could listen to in a lifetime. In a seemingly arts saturated world though, American jazz critic and music historian, Ted Gioia, contends the problem isn’t necessarily with supply, but rather demand. This means creating more demand driven initiatives, in other words, finding new ways of putting this new music in front of audiences.

Yet almost every arts-related institution in the world is focused on the supply side, almost to an obsessive degree. This feels good — we love giving money to artists. But even from a purely financial standpoint, these programs don’t do half as much good as genuine audience expansion. If you offered a musician the choice between a hundred dollars and a hundred new fans, they absolutely benefit more from the latter. It’s a no-brainer. In fact, musicians probably make more from just one loyal fan.

This is something we see with fiction publishing in Australia, and likely worldwide. As I’ve written before, a first-time writer of a literary fiction novel in Australia might expect to see a maximum of two thousand sales of that book. Australia doesn’t have the biggest of populations, but surely there’d be more interest in a book than that. In a somewhat supply saturated market, granted. As Gioia says, it is demand driven initiatives that are needed.


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