Guest post written by the talented and inspiring Jackie Loupakos, student at Columbia College in Chicago.

We live in a world that is rather demanding. I’ve noticed that a demand in any industry gets worse with the help of technology and all of its advances. Every little thing changes in an industry when you least expect it to. In the case of music, I find it difficult and quite exhausting trying to keep up with all the various forms of how people listen to music. Spotify, iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, Soundcloud; the list is endless. I am currently studying Audio Design and Production at Columbia College Chicago, along with a minor in Music Business. One of the many issues we talk about in my department is how the popular avenues for purchasing music always change.

Today, artists are speaking against streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Picture this: You are an independent artist who has your work on one of the these sites. If someone clicks play on a song, you earn a cent or sometimes even nothing. Here is my problem with this: it’s just not fair.

So What About the Music Industry?

People take for granted how much work it is to write a song (that alone is a process) and to edit, mix, master, produce music. It’s too overlooked. You have the songwriters, sound engineers, producers, who are up day and night trying to polish a song for perfection. Staring at computer screens, speakers playing, and turning knobs on a console. Sounds easy, right? Think again. People who are in the profession I’m pursuing are the most detail oriented humans you will ever meet. It’s a matter of doing your job well so you can make a living while making the client happy. And of course doing math calculations that make no sense and geeking out when we are talking about the latest version of Pro Tools along with its plug ins. I’ll stop this before I completely speak in audio language and you won’t care to read this anymore.

Another fad that has emerged is vinyl. Vinyl??? What the heck is that? You mean those huge disc things? When I heard that vinyl was coming back I was appalled. I remember walking into a Barnes and Noble or an Urban Outfitters and seeing all these vinyls in their shiny plastic (and glory of course) sitting in boxes and my eyes got so wide it hurt. This vinyl trend is depressing for me because not a lot of folks are interested in buying physical CDs even though the price of them is going down as a result of what is going on with vinyl. I love having a physical CD that you jam out to in the car when no one is watching while singing poorly formed harmonies.

You see, these are only a few things that are shaping the music industry today. If you really love an artist and appreciate their work, you know that you will buy their music. As an independent artist, it means the world to me when people support me in any way and enjoy something that I created. The people who make the music you are listening to are putting their heart and soul into it. They are showing you parts of their life, letting you see their vulnerability. The sound engineers made the older music you like by cutting a piece of tape precisely so it would sound as best as it could (you can imagine how annoying that would be). Now, they can cut an audio track in half and manipulate it in a session in Pro Tools.

So listen to your music, because it makes you feel alive.

What music makes you feel alive?

Do you think all music should be free for the world to enjoy or do you believe we must fairly compensate artists and everyone who participates in the intricate creative process?