The music industry has changed, and it continues to change. So what exactly is the shape of the industry now? I believe it is defined by the 11 components I’ve outlined in this podcast episode.

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Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:13 11 key terms that define today’s music industry
  • 00:43 Engagement
  • 01:11 Campaigns
  • 01:48 Community
  • 02:21 Collaboration
  • 03:09 Vinyl
  • 03:47 Social media
  • 04:08 YouTube and video marketing
  • 04:15 Radio
  • 04:30 Touring
  • 04:55 Music licensing and placements
  • 05:19 Streaming sites
  • 05:38 Now you have a better idea of how the new music industry works

Tweet These Quotes:

  • Engagement extends into every facet of your career. – Tweet This
  • Engagement can translate into income, because if you engage well, you can build large communities of followers. – Tweet This
  • Campaigns can help you get the attention of new fans and media people. – Tweet This
  • It’s easy to see other bands as competition, but it’s far better to see opportunities for collaboration. – Tweet This
  • If you want to be signed to a label, you must tour. You must have a strong work ethic. – Tweet This


Last time, we took a look at the 4 P’s of the music industry.

In my research, I kept coming across 11 key terms that appear to be the focus of today’s music industry.

Each of these 11 components could potentially be slotted under the 4 P’s, and that might be a good way to frame them. The 4 P’s, as you might recall, are:

  • Artist and product development
  • Promotion
  • Publicity
  • Performance

Let’s take a look at the 11 components.

#1 is engagement.

When most of us think engagement, we immediately think of social media and interacting with fans. But it’s really so much more than that.

I think engagement extends into every facet of your career – from talking to your fans at a show to sending out emails that entertain and create an experience for your subscribers.

Engagement can translate into income, because if you engage well, you can build large communities of followers.

#2 is campaigns.

Again, the first thing that comes to mind is probably crowdfunding campaigns, but very simply, a campaign is any concerted effort you put towards promoting something specific.

You might be promoting an album, or you might be promoting a tour. You might have a social media contest or a giveaway.

A lot of these types of promotions last for a limited amount of time, which means a campaign is really the ideal way of promoting them.

Campaigns can help you get the attention of new fans and media people, but they do require a proper strategy if you want them to be successful.

#3 is community.

By now you’re probably seeing how one component plays into the other.

A community is a group of people that rallies around a specific set of ideals, likes and dislikes, and shared interests.

People today have a lot of different niche interests, and that means it’s a lot harder to capture attention on a mass scale.

This is where communities come in. By building a group of likeminded people over the long haul, you can create a smaller number of dedicated fans who all want to hear from you and buy your music.

#4 is collaboration.

As with the other components, there are really a few different dimensions to collaboration.

One is that you can work with other local artists you know to work together on shows and promotions. After all, two unified and coordinated groups of people with similar goals can accomplish way more than one group can.

But collaboration can also be applied to digital media, whether it’s using music collaboration software to make music online, appearing in a known YouTuber’s video, or working with other artists to promote a Spotify playlist that features each other’s tracks.

It’s easy to see other bands as competition, but in my mind it’s far better to see opportunities for collaboration.

#5 is vinyl.

This one probably doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Vinyl records have been steadily growing in popularity since 2004, and there are no other physical formats that are seeing this kind of traction right now.

If you want to make vinyl records as an independent artist, you must remember that there are certain constraints. Once a record is on, most people listen right through, which means your music must be of high quality and be dynamically interesting.

You also need to think about the cohesiveness of your album in addition to the format-imposed time limit of a record.

#6 is social media.

From dedicated social networks like Facebook and Twitter to music-centric social media sites like ReverbNation and SoundCloud, it’s hard to deny the ubiquity of social.

I believe there is plenty of room for innovation, especially in the music industry.

And overall, social media remains a strong focus of the music world.

#7 is video marketing.

YouTube and video marketing have become powerful tools for musicians to connect with their fans.

#8 is radio.

Despite the proliferation of so-called “music discovery platforms,” radio remains a powerhouse in the ongoing promotion of music.

It still means a lot for a musician to get played on the radio.

#9 is touring.

If you want to be signed to a label, you must tour. You must have a strong work ethic.

But even if not for that, live performance and touring allows you to create memories with your fans and leave a lasting impression on them.

Touring smart should be a high priority for all musicians. If you aren’t smart about it, and you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, you’ll typically be on the losing side of the equation.

#10 is music licensing and placements.

There are more TV shows, commercials, movies, and video games than ever before. Getting placed in the right show can mean a good chunk of money in your pocket over the long haul.

But if you don’t have people helping you, pursuing placements can be an uphill battle. Either dedicate a good chunk of your time towards it, or hire someone to help you.

#11 is streaming sites.

There continue to be changes and new developments in the streaming arena. I believe there will continue to be a lot of innovation in streaming.

It can be really hard for any artist to earn good money from being streamed, though I do believe things could improve over time.

Now you have a better idea of how the new music industry works.

Did you have any “aha” moments as result of learning about the 11 components?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe

Founder & CEO at The Music Entrepreneur HQ
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a performance schedule with Long Jon Lev and Adrenalize. If you'd like to be notified whenever the blog is updated, click here to subscribe.
David Andrew Wiebe

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