When I first started releasing my albums about a decade ago, I challenged myself to find my own voice, pursuing each new song with the hope and in the idea of discovering my own individual sound. I wanted to contribute something to music, and in doing so, I embraced all the new sounds and technology I could get my hands on.
Back then, in the early 2000's, I quickly learned that the "sound" I was moved to create just didn't fit into any of the mainstream radio formats for artists here in the U.S. radio market.
My music back then and still today is primarily Electronic Music: EDM, Downtempo, and Chillout. Some of my early albums were carried in the major music stores, and promotion of these albums mostly came from the in-store listening stations at places like FYE, Tower, and Barnes & Noble. The good news was that these listening displays allowed my music to be discovered, since my songs weren't on AM/FM radio, but it came with a cost: the label had to work hard to make all this happen. In those days, for artists to “make it”, they needed a label connected to these networks of brick and mortar retailers and distributors, as well as the resources to pay for the physical units and promotions in these stores.
Fast forward a few years - I have created my own label, RYTONE Entertainment. Today we all know that music is mostly consumed digitally and thanks to websites like YouTube, and internet radio services like Pandora, there really isn’t a need to have a label deal that can get you into listening stations or on mainstream radio. That’s no longer the recipe for success.
Pandora offers my music a fair chance to be discovered and shared it with their audience of 75 million people. Recently we looked into our metrics on Pandora and found that I'm receiving on average over 65,000 listens per day - which comes to about 22,000,000 per year. That is probably thousands of times more discoverable listens I can receive per day than the older listening station model and retail point of purchase.
As an electronic artist and EDM producer, I can say that the EDM genre is unique in that there is such a collaborative depth to this genre. You can see this depth when primary artists and producers/DJs feature other artists and collaborate with each other, as well as all the derivative works of the songs by ways of remixes, and alt mixes, etc.
We've all seen and celebrated the growth of EDM over the past few years and its success in part is due to digital music services. EDM is such a vast genre with so many talented artists and sub genres that it would be impossible for mainstream radio to even scratch the surface of the depth of this kind of music. Emerging streaming platforms like Pandora and YouTube help fans discover music like mine while other services like Spotify and SiriusXM allow fans and listeners to do their own digging and discover their own favorite sub genres of EDM.
Musicians today really do have a fair shot if they passionately pursue their own unique "voice" in their music and thanks to companies like Pandora and YouTube, new genres, and new emerging artists will be discovered in much more of a direct artist to fan experience.
Ryan Farish is an American electronic artist, producer and DJ. His achievements include a Grammy nomination as a songwriter and numerous charting albums on Billboard, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.