BUSINESS ECONOMICS magazine
JULY 1 - 15, 2013
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 BE's 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?

Streaming. Universal complete access. Anything that can be digitized and streamed, can and will be streamed.

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

I like the ability to share the part I'm not comfortable with is that I'm 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 it. When the industry treated the consumers like villains, it destroyed itself.

What is your vision on Social Media as a tool to promote and get your music out?

It is THE tool. YouTube is your muscle. Twitter is your mouth. Facebook is just that, a face - a hub for the exchange of senses. In my opinion, Facebook needs to simplify itself 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 10 years?

There will be an emphasis on tracking and compensating content creators and owners within environments of open usage. Technically, I could see 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 biggest advice for an independent musician?

Three pieces of business advice... 1) Look at now and look ahead. Whatever your favorite band did to succeed, they did it in the way that was current for them. Don't do what they 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. 2) 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 $1,000,000 and don't have the managerial skills to make good use of the $100 you DO have, you'll 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. 3) 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 employee(s) and the sustainability to keep making your product. If you're young, pick something slow and 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.