For more and more musicians, the idea of stardom seems to be further and further away. While some still see stars in their eyes, a great number have come to the realization that the goal is now a lot different, since just making a living in music can now be considered a success.
Entries in success (25)
Recently I heard a quote attributed to a music business executive that went something like this: “The new model doesn’t exist…” I can’t honestly believe that it was framed that way by someone in the business…Just what exactly would qualify as success or viability in the “new model” by the present day music business establishment?
How Jail-Time and Cults Can Help Your Band Become Successful, PART 1: A Poll of Leaders from Bandcamp, CD Baby, FanBridge, ReverbNation, Topspin Media, and More
The founders and leaders of web-based services for the music industry have the unique opportunity to see what musicians are doing to build awareness among fans and what they are doing to amplify their story
through the media. I polled seven such thinkers with the question: Can you tell us about a band or two whose STORY has helped their careers? They told me compelling stories about jail-time, tragedy, and cults, but also about crowd-sourcing band members, using technology to answer fan questions, and giving fans ownership of a band. Here is part one of two:
Kurt Cobain blew his head off, even Martin Mills has a Maseratti and Amy Winehouse’s blood is not on Island Record’s hands.
The music industry is a strange thing. Full of a lot of mushy stuff that just loves being squished into its tight little cubicle alongside all the other mushy stuff.
James Blunt is the suburban front lawn of artists – there’s a song, there’s an album a cover, there’s a hit, there’s a car.
Most great artists are like the annoying neighbour that ignores your invite to the neighbourhood barbecue, the one that keeps letting his garden grow slightly wild, the one who ‘doesn’t care’ (but really does).
If your aim as an artist is to purely chase a record deal as a means to succeeding in this business, I will tell you right now that you are doomed for failure. You can throw all the trumped up statistics around that you want, but fundamentally your chances of actually landing a record deal are extremely slim. Furthermore, your chances of actually making money directly from that deal are pretty much zero.
Odds are if an artist has to calculate their potential for success based on statistics – regardless of veracity – they are doomed from the start. Really. Think about it – the only formula known thus far to work with any predictability is BEING an act REMARKABLE enough (thanks, Bruce, a favorite word the past year or so), to spread by word of mouth. A formula NEVER out of date.
What am I waiting for? As a musician you live in a hurry up and wait world. You hurry up to travel to a gig and then you wait three hours to hit the stage. You hurry up and make contact with a booking agent and then you wait 3 months for them to get back to you. If your lucky you hurry up and record and then you wait for your label to release it six months later. Plain and simple, it sucks! One of the main reasons why artists don’t have success is that they wait on others to do what only they can do.
Success in the music Industry has long been measured by landing a recording contract, but with the ever-increasing digital distribution outlets available, and the shrinking physical market, the goal posts have certainly shifted. In reality, as 90% of those who had the (mis)fortune to find out first hand will testify, securing a record deal was never an indication that you had actually “made it”. It was a temporary influx of much needed cash, but any perceived luxury came with insurmountable overheads. With every limo ride and big city showcase offering free booze, your ever-expanding expense account would ensure that your musical career was never going to be a viable long-term business. A re-evaluation of what actually defines success in music is much needed. Especially as new artists take steps to build a working business model in the constantly changing digital world.
I found an interesting Blog post the other day that seemed to cause major disagreement between musicians on the subject of record deals, specifically whether musicians needed a record deal at all nowadays. The original Blog was entitled, Do Social Networks Really Help Musicians? It makes the point (in a round-a-bout way) that social networks create so much opportunity for musicians that overcrowding, by and large, negates the benefits for the masses.
I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no such thing.” That’s what I thought too. Until I started to piece together the stories and advice I heard after going to several music industry events. It all came together for me when I attended the recent ASCAP NY Sessions. The light came on. I saw a common denominator - an overarching theme in all of their stories and thoughts. There it was. Could it be? The silver bullet for music business success? Except it wasn’t the shiny silver bullet I expected to see.
After traveling to eight countries this year, teaching master classes and speaking on panels the thing that stands out for me is:
How hard we can be on ourselves.
It’s almost the end of the year, and it was a crazy year for most of us. Musicians and colleagues alike tell me that they were busier than ever before.
We have all had to come up with more creative ways to stay relevant and vital in the current music business either as musicians or entrepreneurs, so, this busy-ness makes a lot of sense.
You constantly have to stay on top of not only your creative journey and output, writing, rehearsing, booking, touring, marketing, and managing all of your social media, recording and releasing music, not to mention keeping balance in your personal life as well.
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(Updated July 8, 2015)