Music business

What has changed in the new Music Business

The music industry is constantly evolving, and so are we. Here is a list of how to keep up with current trends in the music industry.

by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

No matter what generation you represent, there are general truisms about the music industry that can be misunderstood, underestimated, or simply ignored. Some have changed over the years and some have stayed the same, but the fact is that unless an artist is aware of the bigger picture, their career is likely to be in a permanent spin. Here are some of the main principles of the new music business that apply today.

  • It’s all about scale. Back in the days of physical products, selling a million units was big business and could earn you real money, today a million streams or views barely gets you noticed (50 million is considered a minor success). Back in the days of the physical product, a vinyl sales count of 10,000 would have been considered a failure, today it’s a big hit. Views are not synonymous with sales, and vice versa.
  • There will be fewer digital distributors in the future. It’s an expensive business to start and maintain, and it has big players who don’t need their music business to make money (Apple, Google, Amazon). In the near future, there will be an upheaval that will leave far fewer digital competitors. Don’t be shocked when you wake up one day to find a few missing.
  • It all depends on what you can do for others. Promoters, agents and club owners are dying to book you if they know you will make them money. Record labels (especially the majors) are dying to sign you if you have an audience they can sell to. Managers will want to sign you off if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. If you can’t do any of the above things, your chances of success go down significantly, regardless of how successful you are on TikTok.
  • Money often arrives late. It may not look like it, but real long-term success comes slowly. You grow your audience one fan at a time. The longer it takes, the more likely you are to have a longer career. An overnight sensation usually means that you will also be forgotten overnight. This is one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years.
  • Record companies are a necessary evil. Yes, there are many things you can do on your own to be successful. All the tools and knowledge are readily available. But if you want to become a superstar, only a major label has the infrastructure to make it happen.
  • The majors want hits. They want an easy sell, so unless you’re creating music that can quickly land on a major playlist, a major label won’t be interested. That’s what they do and they do it well, so if that’s your goal, you have to give them what they want.
  • You need to create regularly. Fans have very short attention spans that are getting shorter all the time and need to be constantly fed new material in order to stay at the forefront of their minds. What should you create? Anything and everything from new original tracks to covers, electric to acoustic versions, remixes to outtakes, behind the scenes videos to lyric videos, and more. You can create it all at once, but publish it consistently so you always have new content available.
  • TikTok is the new radio (for now). Vine and now TikTok have shown us that short videos are what audiences want thanks to ever-shrinking attention spans. Production values ​​don’t matter as long as you stay true to yourself and are authentic. Learn to get to the point as quickly as possible.
  • Growing your audience organically is the best. Don’t expect your friends and family to spread the word, because they don’t matter. If you can’t find an audience on your own merits, there’s something wrong with your music or presentation. Find the problem, fix it, and try again. The trick is to find that audience.
  • Above all, everything starts with the song. If you can’t write a great song that appeals to even a small audience, none of the other things really matter.

The new music industry has not fundamentally changed from what it has always been. An artist creates a song and an intermediary promotes and distributes it, then collects and distributes the money. How it’s all done may be very different, but basically it’s the same thing.

Bobby Owsinski is a producer/engineer, author and coach. He is the author of 24 books on recording, music, the music industry and social media.

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