One of the interesting things I have seen in my time with bands and dealing with other musicians is that they balk at the realization that the career they have chosen involves real work. Musicians from the past complain about having to connect with fans and giving them reasons to buy. As far as they are concerned the music should be sufficient reason alone. And yes, doing all of that connecting does involve such horrible things as having to do actual work or involve other horrible things like actually having to go out and talk to fans.
Music was never for the lazy. Music is not for the people who want everything handed to them. Because one thing that becomes clear as you read/talk to the many success stories in the music world you will always see one simple fact: they work their asses off. That doesn’t mean that all it takes is work, or that if you work hard at things, you’re guaranteed to succeed. There’s nothing that’s ever guaranteed success. But working hard can’t hurt.
I have written countless posts on artists. Some of them achieved worldwide fame for a brief period only to be forgotten today. Some of them achieved cult recognition and are still plying their trades today. Some of them achieved worldwide fame, lost it and then regained it again and then you have the other list of people who haven’t achieved worldwide fame or cult recognition however they have been involved in the music business their whole life. The bottom line is this; if you want to be in music, you need to be a lifer. You only check out when you die.
There is no magic bullet to be successful (and there never was). The point is that if you’re committed, hard-working, good, creative and willing to embrace what fans want and what the technology allows, you have a much better chance of succeeding today than ever before. In the past, the strategy was almost entirely focused on getting “noticed” by a gatekeeper and then hoping that the “gatekeeper” would provide that magic bullet which they rarely did because even they didn’t know what would succeed and connect with audiences.
How many times have you heard the story “If only I was on a bigger label, my debut album would have been considered a masterpiece”. The music business…the game is hard, even if you play to win, oftentimes you lose. And the labels have the cash but they were clueless. They had no idea what would connect and what wouldn’t.
So where does this leave us?
Great music triumphs. It’s easier to make it from left field than ever before and with all the competition, you’ve got to be better than ever. And the beauty about music today is that the acts that are making inroads they have developed completely outside the mainstream. Bands from Sweden and Denmark are perfect examples. Volbeat was a relative unknown in the U.S until their fourth album.
And that is a good revolution.