Only 615 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!
Make better music
Have you listened to the radio lately? Have you heard the canned, frozen and processed product being dished up to the world as American popular music today? –Billy Joel
The Jamplifier’s mantra is Make Better Music. In the end it all comes down to those three words, because music quality is the single most important problem this industry currently has.
All other problems, like the decrease of single and album sales for example, are just symptoms of this one big problem at the heart of the industry – the lack of quality, the lack of really great artists, and the lack of awesome music that has the potential to change the world.
The problem is not – and never has been – the internet, file-sharing, or piracy. You cannot blame Napster, Apple, Amazon, or Google for the music industry’s current trouble.
The music industry stopped innovating more than two decades ago, and has since only been focusing on making quick money with mass-compatible music, completely ignoring the small but very important group of customers looking for something special. That’s the problem.
And this is one of the most important things we’ll address in this manual: How to greatly improve the quality of your own music, which will allow you to stand out of the masses and thus to become special and successful.
The world has changed of course, and it will keep changing. The Golden Age Of Popular Music is long gone. Music has become a short-lived and irrelevant product. Music is no longer meaningful or even revolutionary, and sales numbers have been dropping since the early 2000s.
There are no new rock stars in fact. Where are the next Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, Depeche Mode, U2, Metallica, Nirvana, or Radiohead? Where’s the next Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie, Springsteen, Prince, Jackson, or Madonna?
I mean really big artists, with real talent, creating new and revolutionary music, transporting meaningful messages and having some impact on society, and thus selling millions of albums and filling stadiums. Okay, there’s Adele of course who’s selling millions of records, but she’s one of the very few big players now, while she isn’t even offering anything new or revolutionary (which doesn’t mean that she’s a bad artist of course – we’ll talk about that later on).
Who else? Beyoncé? Drake? Rihanna? Justin Bieber? Ed Sheeran? Not only are those artists not playing in the same league than the so-called Masters Of The Past, they’re not even selling a whole lot of records if you compare their albums’ sales numbers to those of older top albums from the Golden Age, or to even some newer records by some other artists. Neither Bieber nor Sheeran can’t match the sales numbers of Adele or Amy Winehouse for example, even if they’re among today’s biggest teen stars.
Of course there are a whole lot of newer stars who still make lots of money or even become insanely rich, but they’re usually not making a fortune by selling records. They’re making their money with all kinds of other bullshit, from overpriced concert tickets to selling clothes and perfumes, or even with investments in all kinds of businesses for example.
And then there are the old ones like U2, Metallica, Springsteen, or AC/DC, who are still performing bigger gigs than most of today’s top stars. But in the end they’re all old, and they won’t be around forever. They won’t save the industry. And even if they’re still doing great, they won’t deliver new records that will be really revolutionary anymore. They will not be able to reboot this broken system.
The music industry has been desperately waiting for “the next Nirvana” for two decades now – the next big thing that would allow music to rise and shine again. One single artist or a band rebooting the system, reviving the industry and allowing for a return to the glory of the old days. A real game changer if you want. No short-lived and pitch corrected plastic pop please, but something real, an artist coming up with a new sound and with new ideas, kicking off a revolution.
But no new real major superstar or anything similar has been seen within the past 20 years. There are a few minor exceptions of course, and we’ll discuss those later on.
The record companies on the other hand don’t seem to understand that they are part of the problem, as they mainly support artists and producers delivering music that’s promising quick and easy money. They do no longer want to invest time and money in the development of artists and bands that are weird, strange, shocking, innovative, revolutionary, or different in any way, probably because real artists are much harder to handle, because they require a higher invest, and they take longer to break even.
For the music industry, DJs are the new superstars. Such entertainers are much more compatible with the business models of record companies than the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, or Prince for example, because they share one very important aspect with the record labels – their primary goal is to entertain and to make easy money, and not to create any real lasting art.
The past two decade’s strategy to mostly ignore everything that’s not mainstream will never allow the crazy ones to rise. The crazy ones, like Bowie or Pink Floyd, that influenced generations of musicians and fans, would never get any support by today’s record companies.
THE FATE OF AN INDUSTRY THAT REFUSES TO INNOVATE AND THAT DOES NOT CARE ABOUT ITS PRODUCT QUALITY IS SEALED.
But let’s stay positive – while all of this sounds quite awful for the entire industry, it’s a huge opportunity for all amateur artists. The lower the average quality of music, the better will be your chances to succeed as a real artist. The number of people out there waiting for something great and new is growing. It’s time to deliver!