If you show a 16-year-old a cassette tape today, chances are they won’t recognize what it is let alone its significance. Little do they know that this small rectangular plastic box was the backbone of the music industry back in the day. The music industry has come a long way from vinyl records, cassettes, and even compact discs. In fact, the industry has slowly moved away from its reliance on sales figures to sustain itself. Rather it’s about how many social media platforms are giving people around the world access to the music. Yes, it is an entirely different game now.
THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE OF AN ARTIST’S SUCCESS THESE DAYS IS THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE HIS/HER MUSIC REACHES.
Today, it’s all about reach. Truth be told, the music industry itself has very little money in it, but it has opened its doors to other sources of income. Don’t get us wrong; musicians earn more than they ever did in the past but it is not due to how many records they are selling worldwide. The underlying principle of an artist’s success these days is the number of people his/her music reaches. It is about how many hits your music video gets on YouTube or whether your song makes it on the Spotify Charts. Think of it this way, fifteen years ago we had to wait for months before our favorite artists’ new music albums were available on the market, now we have access to it as soon as it comes out. Even five years ago, we had to google lyrics to find out the name of a song, now we have Shazam for that, which does it in a matter of seconds. Music accessibility has reached a whole new level over the past few years.
The career of a musician is much like a startup business these days. Grab the attention of as many people as humanly possible when you’re starting off to make sure your music gets enough exposure. And what better way to do it than social media? YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Instagram and even Snapchat are all bridges that connect a musician to their fans. Stream counts are no joke; there’s a lot of money involved in it. The more people your content reaches, the more money you make, it’s as simple as that. Streams account for up to 70% of the sales revenues. As for the other sources of income we mentioned earlier, artists also get to advertise products through social media platform. Whether it’s their own merchandise or products of a company that they are the brand ambassador of, artists get to showcase various products on their social media pages. Do you think Yeezy becoming so popular was just a coincidence? There is a reason why musicians get bigger paychecks these days, and that’s because record sales are not the only thing that keeps the industry alive.
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS COME A LONG WAY FROM VINYL RECORDS, CASSETTES, AND EVEN COMPACT DISCS. IN FACT, THE INDUSTRY HAS SLOWLY MOVED AWAY FROM ITS RELIANCE ON SALES FIGURES TO SUSTAIN ITSELF.
Although it is true that there is way more money in the music industry today, there is very little privacy. Another aspect of this social media oriented evolution is that musicians now have a far more personal relationship with their fans. Social media gives a fan access to the private lives of their favorite musicians. They know what they are up to and get to know them on a day to day basis, something which they never had the chance to do before. Artists today have to be more cautious about the way they behave, the way they dress and even their beliefs because people are watching them at all times. It’s even more hectic for managers and publicists who have to work day and night to make sure their clients are getting enough exposure and also making content which the fans need. They have to cater the needs of both the fans and the artists. According to Andrew Gelter, manager of pop sensation Shawn Mendes, one would need a more “hand-to-hand” combat approach to sustain in the industry these days as agents require to travel from one place to another to ensure his client is getting the attention needed to push him to the next level of stardom. We can only imagine the degree of commitment and dedication that the people of the music industry need to have to make sure the show goes on.