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Only 529 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

Music is spiritual. The music business is not.
–Van Morrison

Art and business are two basically incompatible entities. Artists and businessmen often don’t really like or respect each other, sometimes even hate each other. Working together is not easy for them as their mindsets are so basically different. Most of the time the collaboration is difficult, and often takes both sides close to the limits of what they thought was acceptable.

But in the end, the symbiosis of the two has led to some of the greatest music ever created.

This symbiosis gave birth to rock ’n’ roll and thus to modern popular music in the 1950s, with Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock, and this successful era lasted for about four entire decades. Both sides didn’t really understand each other, but they both tried to make the best out of it, and to accept each other’s apparently strange views on how things had to be done. With that symbiosis came a simple but very efficient marketing and sales model that worked well during the entire Golden Age (1955-1995), almost until the end of the century. With only a few minor modifications over time, this model allowed both artists and record companies to make millions or even billions.

The idea was to create music for all kinds of people, from the mainstream to all kinds of subgenres. Record companies produced cheap mass-compatible music, but simultaneously they allowed creative and innovative artists to develop and to evolve. Those artists, on the other hand, then delivered some of the greatest music ever written. They developed new sounds, which sometimes even led to the creation of entirely new genres or subgenres, and thus they often set new trends.

During the 1980s, about 30 years after this crazy success story had started, things began to change, and finally in the late 1990s the system was broken. This is when things started to go terribly wrong, and that’s the cause of both today’s bad music and of the music industry’s financial trouble.

The Golden Age Of Popular Music (1955-1995)

Major labels blow all their money massively and blame it on the band.
–Bruce Dickinson

When I write about the Golden Age Of Popular Music​, then I mean the timespan of about 40 years from the mid 1950s to the mid 1990s.

That’s the period when most of the music that’s nowadays being considered to be the “greatest music of all time” has been written and recorded.

If you take The Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time list, then you’ll see that over 80% of those greatest songs have been recorded in the timeframe from 1955 to 1985 alone, and almost 90% of all great music had been created in the Golden Age. Other lists will offer numbers that are slightly different, but they all come to the conclusion that music quality was highest within that timespan.

It was not only the Golden Age from an artistic view, but it also was a period that was commercially highly successful.

Artists earned millions, the record industry made billions, and fans – both music lovers and the masses – were happy, as there was music for everyone. If you wanted high quality, then there were plenty of options to choose from. That was the ideal situation, as everyone was happy, even if some artists felt being ripped off by their record company – just think of Prince for example. But even if this was (at least partly) true, real stars still made millions, and even many not so popular artists could still easily survive. By the end of this Golden Age, the upcoming problems of the music industry were already clearly visible. While music quality was highest in the 1960s, it already slightly dropped in the 70s (69%), it fell considerably in the 80s (28%), dropping to only 11% in the 1990s.

If an industry once performed great while it now completely sucks, then it may be worth analyzing WHAT WANT WRONG.

So what’s different nowadays? This is one of the things we’ll analyze in this manual in fact – we will try to understand why the artists of the past performed so much better, and why people are no longer willing to pay for music nowadays. Understanding those problems will be part of your road to success.

You will need to understand the causes of the music industry’s problems, and you will need to understand why the music of the past was so much more popular and successful.

Once you get this, you will see everything much clearer, and you’ll understand how you may succeed with your own music. I will get back to the Golden Age Of Popular Music a few times more in this manual.

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Chapter 2.1   •   Page 1 of 13

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