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Is A New Musical Middle Class Just Wishful Thinking?

On Monday in the first part in a series called The New Paradigm, I wrote about what I see as "The Rise Of The New Musical Middle Class" some learned Hypebot readers questioned my premise and a healthy debate followed. Join the debate and tell us what you think.

Cd_broken_2 Glenn @ Coolfer - "...I'd be more prone to call it a growing lower-middle class. There is an absolute glut of music online...As the audience becomes more fractured, each player's piece of the pie shrinks... As for increased loyalty, that will depend on the band's use of customer relationship tools. I believe success can be as fleeting as ever - look no further than the manner in which bloggers chew up and spit out bands at record rates..."

Bruce Houghton @ Hypebot - "In my own agency Skyline Music I see it in the organic growth of bands like Hot Buttered Rum and Toubab Krewe - neither of whom have never had real record deals and who now sell out enough 500-100 seat venues to make a decent living touring and selling music and merch direct to fans.

I also see it in former "label bands" like Over The Rhine. They are a fabulous band with loyal fans - but musically they don't fit anywhere neat in terms of radio or other media.

But by continuing to make quality music and using all the Music 2.0 tools, they can hold on to and grow their fans base and make a living doing it..."

Mike @ Radio Nowhere"The Rise of the Musical Middle Class has been imminent for a few years now, but it's starting to seem like it's going to be permanently just around the corner.

When people talk about bands that are opting out of the old major label way of doing business and using this new-fangled internet to chart their own course, these bands almost always seem to be acts that I've already heard of...because they got some traction in the old system before they opted out of it. Your mention of Over The Rhine is a good example.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love it if 2008 were the year that the new paradigm finally arrived (in fact, I'm staking my own musical career on it), but just because the technology for Music 2.0 is here doesn't necessarily mean that the economics of the situation have changed. The theory makes sense, but in practice, the money and attention that talented musicians need to break out of obscurity still seems to be in short supply."

Join the debate and tell us what you think.

Watch for new chapters in the New Paradigm series later this week.