How to Make Change Work for You in the Music Business

By Loren Weisman

By taking a close look at the changes in the music industry, you can avoid making the mistakes of the past but also avoid making moves that once worked and were effective, but are no longer applicable.

Look at what has happened when you are building your plan and keep the past, present, and future in mind. Keep in mind not only the changes that have occurred but also the trends of where the music business is heading.

Keep an eye on new products and ways to distribute your music, such as releasing more music over time instead of releasing an album every few years. Look to the opportunities of music placement and licensing in your home country, but also elsewhere around the world.

Streaming live shows for downloads, booking house concerts, setting up subscription services with additional exclusive products, putting your logo on the next hot fad (like a band beach towel or beach ball for summer), and more will keep you on top of what’s changed and where things are heading. Look to the past to stay connected with what worked, and keep a sense of what changes have happened. This enables you to see changing future trends.

Changing the definitions

Just as the changes have happened in the music, changes have happened in the definitions of the business. Here are three key definitions that have changed and how they can benefit you and your career:

  • Music to music business: Change the definition of the music business from only being about the art, the music, and the love to a definition of having to handle the business side of things so you can share the art, the music, and the love you have for it.

  • Caught up to catch up: Don’t get caught up in blame or how dirty the business is. Catch up on the basics of the business so you can avoid those pitfalls and protect yourself.

  • Big time to big success: Don’t look at winning a Grammy, being a millionaire or selling a million albums as success. You can keep that as a goal, but change the definition of big time to big success, by working to create a sustainable career that can support you, your dreams, and your future.

Just as the music business has rapidly changed, the economy has changed, technology has changed, and music has changed, so have the definitions. Keeping that connection with the past, the awareness of the present, and a solid eye on where the future is heading, you will be able to move and change with it as you thrive and succeed at it.

Changes in the future

Stay aware of new trends, products, social media pages, and different ways that artists are creating and making revenue, just as you should stay aware of the things that are no longer working, working less, or all together going away.

By staying connected to the changes of the past, what is changing before your eyes in the present, and the trends that are leading toward changes in the future, it will be that much more easier for you to change with the ever-changing music business. Many businesses have a cyclical motion to them. By learning how parts of the business once worked, you find themes; for example, right now, vinyl records are becoming popular again, albeit on a small level.

Look to websites like the Recording Industry Association of America to find the numbers and key industry announcements. Other sites such as Music Industry News Network are worth the subscription so that you can stay on top of current trends. Magazines like Billboard also have a great deal of information about any changes in the industry. Take everything with a grain of salt, however, and look deeper than the headline to find out what’s really going on.

Do your research on bands that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Look at what type of items they’re selling and what type of marketing they’re doing. The more you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry from the biggest names to the newest artists, the more you can make the changes that change your results for the better in the business.