With all the upheaval in the music industry one might think that EVERYTHING that used to be true in the old world order has changed forever. As easy as it is to believe this, it’s simply not the case. Of course some major things about how the industry functions have been changed forever—but it’s important to understand which key success factors that used to be important are gone and which ones remain valuable.
Here are some of the key steps to success in the old world order:
1. TALENT/PASSION/HARD WORK/CHARISMA – The Artist needed to display raw talent, passion, work hard, charisma and that certain “it” factor.
2. LUCK – He/she had to get a lucky break by attracting the attention of a record label exec.
3. LABEL – The artist then had to get signed to a label, the gatekeepers to the following:
3A. FUNDING – Label bank rolled the (expensive) recording of an album;
3B. PRODUCER/TEAM ASSEMBLY- Behind the scenes the artist’s music, lyrics, image and business decisions were directed by the label via a the team of experts assembled to assist the artist;
3C. DISTRIBUTION – Most distribution was physical and the labels had a hammerlock on the process.
3D. FAME CREATION – Everything from marketing to PR to payola for radio play, again directed by the label.
4. ARTIST DEVELOPMENT – Many of the greatest household-name superstars took several years to take off and find their fame—even after being signed to a big label. During this process the heads of the labels made the key strategic decision to invest in and develop these artists, working with them and with the best producers money could buy, on successive efforts to find and perfect the artists’ work until the world came around to fully appreciating their greatness.
This old-world order path to success is less and less relevant with each passing day. But this does not mean that all components have become irrelevant. It’s important to understand which factors no longer matter and which ones are still important today.