But I learned a few more important things back then. When working in the studio, I was a Mac owner already. I had switched to Apple in 1994, and my first Mac was a first generation PowerPC computer, namely a PowerMac 7100AV.
The late 1990s were hard times for Apple. The company was only months from filing bankruptcy, and tons of people switched over to Windows PCs. As I was doing graphics, I stuck with the Mac of course, and so I was lucky to see Steve Jobs returning to Apple and turning the rotten company back into a market leader within only a few years, at a time when almost nobody believed in Apple anymore. This too is an important lesson I learned:
NO MATTER HOW DESPERATE A SITUATION SEEMS TO BE, IT CAN ALWAYS BE TURNED AROUND.
It’s never too late, as long as you have a vision and a plan, you follow a strategy, you take the right decisions, and you stay focused.
Back then I was dreaming of running my own studio, but then my first software project started to become successful and I decided to focus on this kind of business first. Unfortunately, I then made a big mistake by founding a company with the wrong people. Another good advice:
NEVER START ANY PROJECT WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE, UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY WANT TO COUNT WASTED YEARS LATER ON.
Software projects finally kept me busy and away from music for the next ten years. But the move to software was also a good decision back then — recording studios had to shut down one by one in the 2000s, and it was the software industry that saw the highest amount of innovation during that time. Not the music industry.
The music industry completely stood still during that time, by the way, lacking innovation and being incapable of launching their own music store for example. It was the computer industry that finally brought innovation back to the world of music, namely with the iTunes store. The software industry was making some huge progress during the same time (okay, we’ll simply skip the dot-com-bubble-disaster and the related stock market crash of 2000–2002 here), and many new companies rose to fame, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and countless more.
It was the days of the Web 2.0, and everyone was quite excited about all of those new platforms. The way software was being developed and marketed also changed, and many new innovative ways to improve work, product quality, sales, and promotion were invented. The trend finally culminated in social networking and viral marketing in the 2010s.
And all of this happened while the music industry… we’ll, they’re still in hibernation today, I think you get it.
In this manual, you’ll find a large number of concepts, ideas, and tips that were originally designed for the development and the marketing of software and online platforms. Those are the creative visions and concepts that turned many web platforms to fame, from Google over Facebook and Twitter to Instagram. Most of those concepts can be universally applied. You may use them to start a software company, some other project, or simply to improve your life. So why not apply the same ideas to music?
WHY NOT BRING BACK INNOVATION TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
Do you still wonder where all of the new great artists are hiding? Why is there no new Pink Floyd, U2, Radiohead, or anything similar? Where is the next James Brown hiding? Where’s the next Bowie?
Of course this question cannot be easily answered as there is no reliable data, but personally, I think that many of today’s young geniuses would rather start a software company or a smartphone app project than to start a band.
IF YOU SEEK INNOVATION, THEN DON’T CHOOSE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, BECAUSE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS ONE OF THE BUSINESSES WITH THE LEAST PROGRESS OVER THE PAST THREE DECADES.
This, of course, is heading us right into a vicious circle, as the lack of new talented people will lead to even less innovation in the future.
But let’s stay positive:
THE LACK OF INNOVATION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST ADVANTAGE IF YOUR PLAN WILL BE TO STAND OUT OF THE MASSES.
Find your niche, and try to excel in that niche. Be different, and be the best at what you’re doing. That’s something great we can learn from the software industry.
DON’T PLAY THE GAME, CHANGE THE GAME.
But on your way to success, you will also have to follow a few rules of course. Maybe you should not only apply those rules and recommendations to your music career, but to your entire life:
- Have passion and stay positive.
- Don’t care about what others think.
- Get educated.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Dare to say “NO”.
- Work with great people.
- Learn from failures.
- Change the game.
- Don’t do it for the money.