In “Dear musicians: beware, the social construct is shifting again,” Dave Allen issues a call to arms:

“I’ve often discussed how disruptive the Internet has been to business and culture, so much so that it’s become a “keep moving folks, nothing to see here” moment. And yet I’m always amazed at how quickly things really do shift. Right now I’m sensing three currents of disruption running in parallel: the Internet as always, creating the tension still filled with untold possibility. Young people’s feverish need to gain access to music and all that entails, especially on mobile platforms. And a rapid change in the social construct (again.)”

My two fave quotes from this piece: “I realized that no one is interested in helping musicians become part of the financial transactions that take place online daily. And by no one I mean everyone – society; it’s a boring conversation.”

I agree — music is now DRIVING search traffic yet we get nothing for our pains.

Also: “I’m talking about independent musicians often without label deals, who are the lifeblood of experimentation in music. Their ideas feed the machine but they are not partaking in its success at many levels.”

We’ve been sold a line with the whole “long tail” thing, believing that our individual contributions of art/music/books/videos have a chance to flourish, when all we’re doing is feeding the beasts (Amazon, iTunes) that gain sustenance from the long tail. In case you don’t follow online media matters closely, the long tail, coined by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson in 2004, refers to the back-catalog that all online retailers and aggregators make a huge amount of money off of, comprising all the indie/niche content that otherwise wouldn’t sell at all.

That said, I am incredibly optimistic. We have more tools at our fingertips than ever before so that we *can* sit in those giant aggregation bins next to the best sellers. Some hard workers can take indie success all the way to the bank (50 Shades of Grey book trilogy, Amanda Palmer’s $1 million Kickstarter music campaign). Social media is a giant testing ground. No one clicks on your vid? Wasn’t catchy enough. I’m finding out what works on my TINY audience and moving from there. I gig constantly. I managed to fan-fund my third album, so I can’t really complain. Companies like Bandcamp are built around giving more money to the artist.

I absolutely agree, getting consumers to care enough to pay for music is like getting them to cough up a kidney. It’s not a conversation, because they are inundated with music. We’ve won. So-called alternative music blares in the grocery store. Universities are graduating armies of skilled musicians.

But it doesn’t worry me. Somehow I’m going to tame the dragon. Or cut off its tail and eat it.