It's halfway through 2015, and the music industry is a fucking mess. Just look at it. The streaming battle turned into a competition for exclusive content and a race to see who could figure out how to best take advantage of artists, producers, and songwriters while meeting the unrealistic demands of consumers who grew up expecting everything for free.
On top of that, the hype cycle is moving faster than ever. New artists are popping up and going viral and major labels are still stuck in their archaic ways, only now they're trying to be nimble by rushing to whatever's hot. Most of the time, it ends up in rushed hit-chasing, immediate pressure, and failure to develop new talent.
And then, of course, there are the surprise releases and social media strategies, which bring into question everything the music industry has ever known about how to effectively promote a body of work.
So yes, the music industry is a mess, and when we look back on 2015 in 20 years, hopefully we'll laugh about how stupid we were. Hopefully some great new thinkers will come along and figure out how to clean up this mess. It will not be easy.
It's crazy, though, how little effect the corporate struggle has on the creative side of things. Despite all this confusion, the creative aspect of music is as healthy as ever. Hip-hop is more diverse than it's ever been, independent artists are figuring out innovative new ways to build their careers, and new talent is emerging every day.
When we look back at our favorite songs of 2015 so far, it makes us appreciate music for its unwavering presence in our lives. It's a testament to our human nature—among chaos and stress, there's still a drive in us to be creative, to express ourselves, and to share our ideas with the world.
This applies to music and the music industry, but it's deeper than that. 2015 has already been filled with tragedy, conflict, and sadness. Through it all, the spirit of creation and expression is strong, and it has stuck with us through some confusing and painful times.
Here's to hoping that the rest of 2015 brings more solutions than problems, and to hoping that the music is just as good. We're sure that it will be—it always is.