The Music Industry has been in a state of change for some time now and musicians are still trying to figure out how they can create and sustain viable careers following their artistic passions. Although I wrote this post about a year and a half ago, I find it to still be relevant to my thinking and perception as to where music as an art and business are going.
A & R won’t die, tribes must be created and talent screened.
But what does that mean? The point is this: At an ever increasing rate, artists are popping onto the scene looking to become known and get their music to enough people to make it popular (regardless of how popular). They want to know that there is an audience who will consume it and pay for it.
It is now well known that recording is becoming easier and cheaper than ever before and almost anyone can begin to write/perform and record their musical works with a laptop and some gear. Subsequently, we have a marketplace that is saturated with a ton of music, much of it not being remarkable. So where does this leave the consumer and also the industry looking to find this talented music, pay for ownership of it or pay for use of this music in some sort of commercial product?
Talent must remain dominant and new taste-makers must emerge that connect and engage fans and companies (think sponsorship, licensing, broadcasting, business partnering, etc).
Despite where the music business may be heading, we are going to continue to need filters of content. With the shear volume of songs out there, someone has to begin to filter through them and find the quality. This is taking music back to the 50’s type environment and we are going to see a complete rebuilding of the industry. In fact it won’t be THE INDUSTRY anymore, but rather the industries that are comprised of genres, niches and micro-niches of artists who are of superior caliber and have sale-able product. It will be the top-tier percentage of taste-makers, hit-smellers or commercial gold miners that can aggregate this content and develop strong relationships to buyers that will forge ahead and continue to find financial success despite the chaos that is happening. It is by having a strong reputation that business succeeds. Word of mouth is everything. Bridges must be built and not burned.
Transparency will prevail and integrity cannot be compromised anymore.
In this new age of the artist: We are knowledgeable, we are business entrepreneurs and we know how to sniff out if we’re being lied to or are being exploited. This is becoming more and more of a point of consciousness to artists and will continue. What this means is that those who don’t understand artists and haven’t walked in our shoes are never going to be able to represent us and help grow our careers. The days of the suits are over!
What is dawning now is the day of the artist as someone who wants to connect and share his art and knowledge with other artists and fans. This is the type of artist who is going to succeed. The rest of them will begin to fall by the way-side or just continue to tread water. The self-absorbed, out of touch artist cannot continue to function in this new age of music and art. Note that this transition could be a long and gradual process. We still have the old entertainment machine monetizing from its business model and a consumer base that doesn’t have a more engaging alternative.
The bottom line to this and to life: We are here on this planet to learn and grow and connect to other souls. That is what fulfills us, even if internally we feel afraid of that and would prefer to just be a recluse and stay at home and remain insulated. Connection helps us grow and helps bring us what we want. Remaining in an ivory tower leaves you feeling empty and longing to have something other than what you’ve got.
Pop culture isn’t going to die and the pulse of right now will remain relevant.
As consumers and people we seek what is commonly liked, what is widely appreciated. There will always be those who diverge from this because they don’t want to fit the mold and there are those who will continue to enjoy what a majority population deems as enjoyable and of good quality.
Regardless of if something hits on this ‘pop’ pulse, there are some things that should remain constant to make sure you’re creating a brand and product that stays in people’s conscience. Content delivery must be regular, engaging and imprint-able, this is marketing, this is monetize-able connection. With a genuine bond and added value to someone’s life, they will gladly pay for that addition.
People follow and pay attention only to something that provides them with things they want in their own life, things they are desiring (easier life, funnier life, happier life, richer life, etc). We hope that by reading, watching, or following we will become like what we’re dreaming of, regardless of whether it is conscious or sub-conscious, reality or fantasy.
This representation of consumption is based on our desires to be part of something, connect, feel valued and accepted. Even if that acceptance is by those who scorn widely accepted things and prefer the avant-garde and fringe. This group still seeks acceptance. We want to be part of a tribe. We want to connect.
This is a more exciting time than ever before to begin discovering new business models and establishing true connections to our fellow beings on this planet Earth!!