Hypebot article “10 Basic Concepts For Success In Today’s Music Business” by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0.
Much has changed in the music industry over the last few years that affect an artist’s ability to be successful. Some of it is brand new and a result of the technology we use, while some of it is good common sense that’s been used over and over over many decades of the business.
1. It’s all about scale. You can’t think about numbers the same way as in the old days when sales ruled. A hit that sells only 50,000 combined units (album and single) may have 500 million YouTube views or Spotify streams or more. Once upon a time, a sales number like that would’ve been deemed a failure, today, it’s a success. Views don’t equal sales, and vice-versa.
2. The scale is not the same. In the past, 1 million of anything was considered a large number and meant you were a success. Today anything with that number hardly gets a mention, as it takes at least 10 million streams or views to get a label or manager’s attention. 50 million is only a minor hit, while a major hit is in the hundreds of millions.
3. There will be fewer digital distributors in the future. It’s an expensive business to get into and maintain, so in the near future there will be a shakeout that will leave far fewer digital competitors. Don’t be shocked when you wake up one day to find a few gone.
4. It’s all about what you can do for other people. Promoters, agents, and club owners are dying to book you if they know you’ll make them money. Record labels are dying to sign you if you have have an audience they can sell to. Managers will want to sign you if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. If you can’t do any of the above, your chances of success decrease substantially.
5. Money often comes late. It may not seem like it, but success is slow. You grow your audience one fan at a time. The longer it takes, the more likely you’ll have a long career. An overnight sensation usually means you’ll also be forgotten overnight. This is one thing that hasn’t changed much through the years.