The music industry has one major problem: Fame.
My father was a bass player for a C-level country band in the 1990s and has been one of my greatest inspirations for joining the ranks of the music industry. He spent many years pounding the asphalt in a funky-smelling Volkswagen van called the "Pickle Wagon" with his band, doing his best to show Nashville and the record industry that they could cut it. But, alas, I came along and ruined the whole plan.
When I started playing drums, he asked me very explicitly, “Do you want to play to be famous?” And I, honestly, thought that fame (or at least a public display of a semi-attractive skill) would bring me the attention from the opposite sex I didn’t have at the time…so yes, I guess I started playing so I could be famous, in a sense.
So wisely, he told me that for as long as he had played music, he never would focus on the size of the crowd, but the amount of love the crowd gave to the art he made.
What the crap?
Who cares about that? One dude in the back of a bar isn’t worth 500 screaming girls, right?
All of you between the ages of 16 and 30 understand this to be true…with the advent of social media, all we want is for those around us to watch what we do and LOVE IT. And, yes, we want more and more attention, but none of us REALLY want unbridled fame as, more times than not, it siphons away the art and alienates the long-lasting fans.
Let me explain…
A Gen-Y’er understands that there is too much noise around music now. A Gen-Y’er also understands that there are nearly no long-lasting, efficient, clean, polite ways to cut through the noise to the mainstream.
A Gen-Y run music industry will be the first generation to do away with the current idea of fame. We will come to the conclusion that long-term relationships with repeat fans are worth more than a moment of mass exposure and that those fans will let continue to finance your art so you can create AND live sustainably.
This is exciting and scary. That I readily admit. But I think the fight to the top has become more lackluster as the market has become busier. We don’t want to participate in the fight anymore, we just want to please and delight those that matter most to us and let us keep making art.
Community is about to replace fame. Are you ready for it?