I've been studying the music industry for over ten years. I'd like to say that I'm a part of it myself, but I'm nowhere near in the thick of it where the real action happens. I'm aiming for it in the long run, but I'm also very wary of what will come my way.
It's been a long ride thus far when you look back and see all the music world's changes. We're right in the middle of a major shift in how people consume music, which allows so much exciting innovation and positive change for the players and the fans.
This industry is a hectic environment with tons of good things and even more flawed. There are tricks, schemes, obsessed fans, scams, crazies, perfectionists, elitists, cults, and a mess of other things you need to keep an eye out for when it comes to trying to make it big.
This industry often brings out the best in people when it comes to their art, but at what cost? Here are some quotes I came across that really made me sit and think hard about the way the industry operates.
"The music industry is quite brutal and quite harsh and can be spirit-shattering, but it's an honor to be a musician because your job is to make sure people enjoy themselves; to make people forget about their troubles." - Jimmy Barnes
"Music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment." - Taylor Swift
"The music industry is really funny. When you have a hit song, everyone knows who are you, everyone wants to do duets with you, then if you have a miss, people suffer from amnesia." - Seal
"Dealing with boys at work and being the only girl can be challenging. I have my insecurities, but I've learned I have to be a good sport. I have to be able to take certain jokes and not take them personally. There are jokes made almost every second of the day. I had to develop a tough hide. You know, the music industry is dominated by guys." - Shakira
"I'm not saying you can't be successful in the music industry without Spotify. But when I look at the future of music, I don't think scarcity is the model anymore. We have to embrace ubiquity - that music is everywhere." - Daniel Ek
"Most artists, you know, you spend their entire lives learning how to play music and write songs, and they don't really know how the music business works." - Moby
Music is one of the toughest industries, so I respect everybody who has traveled any distance, come far in this music business, and achieved anything because it is so hard, and there are so many people out there these days. - G-Eazy
"This music business can suck all the love out of you, all the compassion for people - you can start to think you're better than them. But I want to continue to let people know that I'm no better and no worse, I'm just like you." - Mary J. Blige
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"I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look and a willingness to cooperate." - Joni Mitchell
"The people who come out on top in the music business have persistence. It is key! Fall down seven times; stand up eight. It takes a lot of courage and an unwavering belief in yourself and your abilities." - Wendy Starland
"The music business, and the travel that comes with it, are stressful, challenging, redundant, exhausting, exciting, and often very depressing." - Mark Kozelek
"People just see the shine. They don’t see the grind, the bags under my eyes. It was a lot of grinding, setbacks—I ain’t gonna let nothing stop me. Wherever I stop at, I already know who I am." - Kodak Black
"There’s no easy answer to the question of, ‘What do you do to get into the business and have a great career?’ unlike so many other professions where you’ve got a roadmap. You just have to be open-minded and realize that there isn’t one path to get to this." - Neil Portnow
"There's a lot of ideology about "free", that we can have free services, free content, it's one of the reasons why the music industry which I defend has been decimated." - Andrew Keen
"Everyone in my industry, the movie industry, is looking at the music industry and going, 'How do we avoid that collapse?' And I don't know if you can, to be quite honest!" - Colin Hanks
"I did a lot of songs that I sold, but then they never came out and I never got paid for it. You learn real fast that in the music industry, in the beginning, you're not going to get paid for a while, and then you start getting the accolades." - Ester Dean
"Radio is so cutthroat, but I do feel like the music industry is structured so differently than it used to be. I'm amazed and in awe of artists who can build a parallel universe that's so big and clearly defined that the mainstream finally has to pay attention." - Caroline Polachek
"I don't want to follow the map of what the music industry does because I've already lived in the industry and I still live in the industry so I already understand how it works. The industry doesn't really like us around anyway once we get older because we know too much so, that's fine - cut us off - and we'll find another way to get it out there." - DJ Premier
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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