Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making A Living Is The New Success

Success Sign from Music 3.0 blog
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. I've written about this in a number of my books, but here's a passage from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age that illustrates the point.

"Musicians and artists will begin to see success in a different way as making a living replaces stardom as the big score. To some degree that was always true. Most musicians are only too happy making a living by playing music, but thanks to the excesses of Music 2.5, far too many felt that stardom was easily within their reach.  

This has changed as a new realism comes to pass.
  • The realism that DIY [do it yourself] takes a lot of work and the rewards aren’t as great as in the heyday of the major labels. There’s not as much revenue in the recorded music industry pie to split as there was before.
  • The realism that social networking has limitations just like traditional marketing, so traditional marketing and promotion can’t be completely abandoned. You still need both for effective branding and marketing.
  • The realism that the touring market is not nearly the goldmine that it once was during better economic times. Fewer venues, less money and more competition makes gigging more difficult than ever. That being said, look for this to loosen up a bit as the economy rebounds.
  • And the realism that some things in the music business never change. You still need talent, great songs, lots of hard work, and a little luck to make your mark."
Everyone wants to be successful, but that always doesn't mean making platinum records (they're so much harder to come by these days) and grossing (key word here) millions of dollars. Sometimes it's the simple things that make you feel like a success.

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Mat (The Laughing Bard) said...

You've hit the mark Bobby. If I could somehow live off music (without being a music teacher...) I'd be VERY HAPPY indeed. Of course, being a rock star would be awesome too, but that's probably unreasonable to expect!

Anonymous said...

Part of the sales business of the music industry is to sell the dream of stardom. The reality is that rock-god status is akin to winning the lottery.

There are very few (proportionally) wealthy people who got their money by winning a big prize.

If you're a musician who can eek out an average income, you can become quietly wealthy doing what you love and still be able to walk down the street without getting hassled.

In a world of always-on media, maybe being rich and "un-famous" will become the new goal!

Tom Siegel said...

I 100% agree with this. I think the re-definition of success is an incredibly positive direction for the music industry overall. I have talked to a number of musicians who are havin a hard time letting go of the old ideas, though ;)

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is, indeed, the new "fame".

Anonymous said...

Touring is still the way to go. As much as it was before? No but like you say, that will get better with the economy. Not much anybody can do about that. However, I would still call touring the "goldmine" compared to any other way (record sales, online music sales, writing commercial jingles, etc.) to make $$ in the biz.

Anonymous said...

We're new in the business at 76! Chedk our site; Can we make a buck with our absurdative music?
Dick & Bob


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