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We Are The Curator, The Light and The Frame

GUEST POST by Kyle Bylin of indie label 50 Entertainment. Kyle also contributed the much praised post The Fall Of Communization And The Rise Of The Music Fan.

The roles we play and responsibilities we take on in relation to the artists we represent have changed over the years. In the beginning we were known as managers and marketers, since then we've transformed into curators and storytellers. We are now responsible for presenting art to our audience and telling them stories that make it come alive.

For the average person, at the slightest mention of visiting a museum, you're already bored. Once inside, a guide brings you piece to piece and gives you a whirlwind of facts. Every so often though, you get someone who is passionate and deep down loves what they do. Suddenly, the date, the style, and the story behind each piece creates a collage of mental images and meaning which allow you to feel and understand it as a window into this person's life.

New media allows us to heighten the level of intimacy with our audience and provides us with an opportunity to become the curator. We can guide them through our collection and make it come alive for them. At one point in time major record labels were the biggest art dealers and buyers in town. They bought everything, whether it was to keep you from their competitor or put you in distribution, high dividends were involved. This went on for years before their foundation, the brick and mortar beneath their feet deteriorated.

Major labels stood for nothing and fell for everything. Because of their huge overhead when the business transitioned, they had the most to lose. Jobs were cut left and right. They were a big machine built around the old ways and because of this they weren't able to understand the changes fast enough. No one cared which label an artist was signed to because it didn't make a difference. Unlike earlier decades when Motown Records held onto a niche market, they now tried to acquire every profitable market which diluted their brands and transformed them into money empires.

In this era independent labels saw a resurgence as fans sought out quality music with an authentic message. Moving onward, sales slowed down for everyone during the age of the web. In reaction big box retail outlets lowered the prices of albums at a rate which locally owned stores could not compete. The very people who distributed the rarities and shared the stories of their deep collections were out of business or struggling.

The angle and intensity of light and the way it reflects off a canvas can change the way art is presented and the mood it creates. You are now in control of the light and can determine what windows into your world become illuminated. Now, more then ever the frame you put around your music and the world view it aligns with matters. Marketing music has evolved into the consistency and authenticity of your story and how it relates to those who've given you permission to tell it. We are now curators and proprietors of the music we collect and sell.

What kind of music do you curate, how do you control the light, and what frame do you use to present your art?