The future of the music industry lies in streaming services

                                                                                        Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
Ron is an American guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and producer. Ron is also the lead guitarist of Guns N Roses band. He speaks to Abhijit Ganguly on the sidelines of The Festival Chapter III in Kolkata produced by E365 Media Solutions.

Where does the future of music lie - in downloads or in streaming services?

The future of music lies in streaming. It lies in universal complete access. Anything that can be digitized and streamed, can and will be streamed.

What is your view about social media as a tool to publish and promote your music?

It is the tool. YouTube is your muscle. Twitter is your mouth. Facebook is just that, a face - a hub for the exchange of the senses. In my opinion, Facebook needs to simplify it a bit and stay simple - the next time people have to un-learn and re-learn it may be the last time. 

What do you think the music industry will look like   in ten years?

There will be an emphasis on tracking and    compensating content creators and owners within environments of open usage. Technically, I can see a more interactive streaming multimedia consisting of multi-channel audio mixes at higher bit-rates, holographic video players with 360-degree angle views, users being able to mix the audio channels as they choose and adjust storyboards of video.

What is your take on online piracy and illegal file-sharing problems?

I like the ability to share – the part I am not comfortable with is that I am excluded from any decisions about sharing my own work. My take on it is this: the music industry should not have feared new technology and made enemies of the people using it. It should have embraced it and integrated with it. When the industry treated the consumers like villains, it destroyed itself.

What is your biggest advice for an independent musician?

I have three pieces of business advice. First, look at the present and also look ahead. Whatever your favourite band did to succeed, it did it in the way that was current for it. Don’t do what it did, don’t seek out that big old-school record deal and try to live a nostalgic fantasy. Do what works for you now, that enables you to take your next step forward. Second, be creative with what you have, don’t waste time seeking the things you don’t. If you think you need an investor to give you a USD 1,000,000 and don’t have the managerial skills to make good use of USD 100 you do have, you will blow through that million with little to show for it. Build your ability to make the most of whatever you have. Your creativity is your currency.

Third, put away money for your future, starting now. Being an independent musician is being a business owner, the business of “you”. Protect the future of your employees and have the sustainability to keep making your product. If you’re young, pick something slow, steady and safe - and diverse - for decades of growth, let the dividends keep re-investing. Don't use it as a current   tax shelter. Pick a type of retirement account that doesn’t tax your withdrawals when it has accrued, if this option is available to you. Protect your future.

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