Sunday, September 7, 2014

9 New Rules For Making Music In Today’s Online World

Online music image
The music world we live in today is decidedly different from that of only five years ago, let alone a few decades. Where once the entire business was based around physical sales, today its more about aggregating multiple revenue streams for both the artist and the record label. Here’s a set of 9 rules that have been excerpted from my book Music 4.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age that all artists need to at least be aware of if they want to succeed in our current music environment.

1. It’s all about scale. It’s not the sales, it’s the number of YouTube views you have. A hit that sells only 50,000 combined units (physical and digital) may have 50 million YouTube views. Once upon a time, this would’ve been deemed a failure, today, it’s a success. Views don’t equal sales, and vice-versa.

2. There will be fewer digital distributors in the future. It’s an expensive business to enter and maintain, so in the near future there will be a shakeout that will leave far fewer digital competitors, and fewer places to distribute your music. Don’t be shocked when you wake up one day to find the landscape of online music to be very much consolidated in a way similar to what happened with the major record labels.

3. 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 (especially the majors) 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.

4. Money often comes late. It may not seem like it, but real success is slow, and even in this social media world, you still grow your audience one fan at a time. The longer it takes, the more likely you’ll have a longer career. An overnight sensation usually means you’ll also be forgotten overnight. This is one thing that hasn’t changed much through the years.

5. Major labels want radio hits. They want an easy sell, so unless you create music that can get on the radio immediately, a major label most likely won’t be interested. This is what they do and they do it well, so if that’s your goal, you must give them what they want. Once again, this hasn’t changed much through the years. Read more on Forbes.

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