When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, it’s possible for new neural pathways to develop. Damaged areas of the brain can be circumvented. Signals can be trained to find new channels to communicate and retrieve lost information…but adaptability is critical.
So what does this have to do with your music? Pretty much everything. The music industry (among other markets) has been permanently damaged by the ease of digital production. Many of the old channels have been compromised, making it much more difficult for the average musician to make a meaningful residual income.
To make a solid living as a musician, you will need to find new markets and new ways to connect with potential fans/supporters. You will need to examine all methods of income potential and prioritize those that are most optimal for you. And one size does not fit all here…
For instance, the world of digital downloads is paying micro-pennies these days. Even the micro-accountants are having a hard time justifying their existence since there is so much data and yet so little pay per play. Is Spotify a revenue stream or a marketing channel? Is youtube going to kill your tangible audio sales, or help build awareness of your brand? And what has itunes done for you lately?
It may be time for some deeper soul-searching about what being a musician means to you and how you are going about your craft. Are you strictly a performer? A songwriter? A recording artist? A novelty act that will re-morph every three years?
Are you a waitron with lounge singer tendencies? Or perhaps, like our local Velvet Elvis, Jonny Barber, you are a SPIV (“one who uses their wits to avoid a real job!”).
It’s up to you to define success. It’s up to you to decide how long your physical looks (and pipes) will carry you through a specific career arc, or lead to a future career in production. That’s what we’ll be examining next: what path(s) can you take and what might make these choices more successful in the long run…