Seemingly without notice until recently, the music industry has been experiencing a seismic and possibly irreversible change throughout the last decade. Last year, the Washington Post published an article about the recent decline in international electric guitar sales. The numbers are pretty shocking. In just the past decade, electric guitar sales have dropped by a third, from 1.5 million to a new average of just over 1 million. As you can imagine, this trend has been hell on small music stores, but even large music retailers have been experiencing pain due to waning guitar sales.
If you own a music store, this is all pretty bleak news, but what does the electric guitar’s decline mean for the rest of the music industry?
No matter what kind of music you make, it’s a common goal to be so successful that the price of gas isn’t something you think about much while you’re on the road sharing your music with the world. But for the vast majority of musicians actively developing their careers through touring, the ever-fluctuating cost of filling up is a big concern. For your reading pleasure, we’ve put together a short list of America’s cheapest and most expensive cities for gas.
Each year we’re presented a clean slate. The opportunity to take what we’ve learned the year before and apply it to the one that lies in front of us. No matter how successful your 2017 was, or the roadblocks you may have hit along the way, 2018 presents the perfect opportunity to dust yourself off and make it the most prosperous, successful year yet. Here are three ways to make 2018 your most successful year yet.
One of Picasso’s most famous quotes is the legendary comment on stealing from other artists: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” It’s true—every piece of art has an origin of influence. And while we aren’t encouraging you to steal (get your samples cleared!), we recognize that one of the best ways to build your own sound as a producer is to look to your influences. Every producer who opens up a DAW for the first time has an established history of love for various artists that inspired them to open a DAW in the first place. Right away, you’re probably going to mimic your favorite producer, whether it be their drum patterns or use of effects. But in the 21st century where producers are becoming a dime a dozen, it pays to stand out. You can own your influences, but be careful not to wear them on your sleeve. For the producers who successfully balance their influences with their own original ideas, your work will be much more in demand. Here are a few ways to achieve that goal.
Having a blog express interest in your music can be exciting and affirming for a band. Love it or hate it, tastemakers in the blogosphere are largely responsible for determining what kind of music the world listens to these days. Even passing mentions of bands on popular music blogs have the power to launch careers. So it’s no wonder why so much effort is put into pitching singles and albums to bloggers on behalf of bands and their publicists. Many bands looking for exposure reach out to blogs in hopes of having them debut their singles, but giving exclusive debut rights to just one outlet isn’t always the best move.
In 1980, the Roland Corporation introduced the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer — what we know as the 808. It was among one of the first programmable drum machines. And despite being decades old, it’s as prominent as ever in modern music. Though, producers today may not be using the actual drum pad, they’re using the samples: booming bass drops, digital snares, tinny hi-hats, artificial claps, etc. In rap music today, the 808 drum kit can be found everywhere from Grammy-winning artists and producers like Kanye West and Jay-Z.
But with such prominence also comes a lot of repetition. When listening to a handful of hip-hop’s most popular trap tunes at any given moment, can you really tell who the producer is without the producer tag? Certainly Metro Boomin is going to produce differently than Mike WiLL Made-It, but in many scenarios, their use of 808 drum kits ends up sounding very similar. This isn’t a bad thing — most acoustic drum kits sound similar, whether it’s Led Zeppelin or The Who. But in this modern era of production, taking the time to make your 808 drum kits unique will go a long way in helping you to stand out among the rest. Here are a few ways how:
I’ve got a controversial opinion for you: playing a show at a “real” music venue isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. When you picked up an instrument and started performing, you probably had big dreams of playing massive stages in front of sold-out crowds of adoring fans. But the reality is that it’s pretty damn hard––if not near impossible–– for most bands to sell out even smaller venues, and that not all music venues are created equally. In fact, depending on your unique situation, skipping the venues to play more house shows might be a much better bet.
If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times—there’s nothing quite like the power of community to take your career to the next level. Calling on your network in times of need is one thing, but the real power of a strong community is that they call on you before you’ve even had a chance to ask for help. They’re the ones that connect you with an opportunity before you even knew it existed.
But one thing that doesn’t get talked about a lot is the power of local community, and how musicians can leverage what’s right in front of them to give real boost to their career. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, these tips are for you.