The Golden Age of the Music Industry

While the golden age of the music industry is long gone –  the golden age of the independent artist has only just begun. 

Back in July, Spotify released their Q2 financials, and with it reported that the number of artists in the top 10% of earners has increased to over 43,000. That’s roughly 15,000 more artists than the top 10% of earners in 2019. Similarly, AWAL reported last week that hundreds of their artists are earning 6 figures from streaming alone. This estimate has grown by 40% over the last year.

Indeed, these numbers are not abnormal — the investment firm Raine Group has published research which reports a 30% growth in the independent music sector every year for the last four years, making it the fastest growing segment in the music industry.

Still, all of this business comprises a mere 9% of the total music industry. That is A LOT of money left on the table.

Artists may fantasize about following in the footsteps of their greatest influences and pine for the creative surge of music from the 70’s or the 90’s – but the opportunity for independent artists to turn their art into a lucrative business has never been greater in the history of recorded music. 

In order to take advantage, artists will need to redefine what it means to “make it”.  They will need to think carefully about how they define success. They will need to abandon the acceptance they crave from the music industry and pioneer forward on their own.  They will need to be motivated by their passion for the journey and forget about any glamor they may have imagined.  This is an unpaved road with no compass or map.  This is high risk, high reward.

This is the gold rush.  

This is the golden age for independent artists – it’s in front of us, and it begins today. 

ALLOW ME TO (re)INTRODUCE MYSELF…

When I was in 4th grade, I used to cower from the older 7th graders, the scary kids that dyed their hair black and wore ripped up jeans, and touted apparel patched with strange words like Korn, Nirvana, Operation Ivy and Primus. These 7th graders were a force to be reckoned with; an army marching under orders of the groups whose names they proudly branded across their bodies. What was this fraternity to which they belonged? Then one day I discovered – they belonged to a musical brotherhood, each initiated even before buying an album… and then BOOM – they were under the spell.

From that moment, I became obsessed with recreating that allegiance these kids had to their favorite artists. I have spent a career exploring how to build culture around musical acts and now I am codifying this expertise to help artists develop culture around their music.

This blog is meant to explore the intersection of music, technology, and culture.