Here are a handful of thoughts not necessarily meant to be taken as doctrine, but more to give you some inspiration with respect to how you might change some habits.
1. Apply the Lean Startup Method
Applying Lean Startup thinking to the music business is more crucial than ever. I wrote an article on this, but to summarize: I don’t know what music will succeed, you don’t either, nor do any of the so-called A&R legends (the Ehrteguns, Blackwells, Davises, or anyone else). The only one who knows what the market wants is the market. Therefore, get something out there, measure it, refine, repeat. The music business lends itself to a Minimum Viable Product better than any business I can think of.
2. The Best Middleman Is No Middleman
In all businesses there must be a willing buyer and a willing seller. The sellers tend to derive their materials from some third party (be that the person who delivers the beans to a restaurant, the guy who sells the builder her wood, Intel who sells computers chips, etc.). The music business doesn’t quite work this way. The “suppliers” in the music business are the artists. These artists have their own desires that go far beyond what price they can get from some label. This is why the artist/label relationship is almost always adverse. Artists can’t “just” be the supplier of goods to some re-seller (labels). It doesn’t work. Nor does it work if artists are just suppliers of goods to any other type of reseller; Spotify, et al., use artists’ songs to get customers to use their services. The only buyers of their goods that artists should concern themselves with are their fans. Work on pleasing them.
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