How relevant is old media in breaking new artists?

Writer and University College London PhD student Ernesto Priego wrote an excellent commentary at his Never Neutral blog that adroitly challenges many notions in today's music business relating to digital marketing and music discovery. His post was in response to a story at The Telegraph by Andrew Keen – “Why are artists poor? Self promotion and making money in the new digital economy” - and it underscores the continued necessity for "a sure foot" in old media.

The old gatekeepers still exist, Priego says, and notions of quality and authority "are still defined by gate-kept models," and, rightly so, he spotlights the shortcomings of measuring digital successes by stars of the analog era.

"For digital culture really to succeed in allowing artists to make a living in the share economy," he wrote, "we cannot keep on focusing on the superstars, who are the ultimate paradigm of the old economic and cultural model."

Most importantly, he recognizes the need for digital era marketing (such as giving away goods for free) in an era where old media still dictates who succeeds and who fails.

Nine bullet points that sum up his views end the entry. Number six can sum up the entire post: "Television, cinema, radio, record label deals, print books, magazines and print newspapers are still the ruling factors of success. Not blog posts."

For a full view of the debate over the Internet's role for an artist, read through the comments - both of agreement and disagreement - in The Telegraph's post. You'll get observations such as this: "The old gatekeeper system was narrow and deep. The new technological way is a few miles wide and only a few inches deep. ... If you go past your 15 seconds of fame, to have your work seen and constantly be at the center of attention will be another herculean mountain to climb and require of you to jump more hoops than you might have planned for or be comfortable with."