Wow that blog post title - what a statement! Is that actually true?!?
Is today’s music the best music ever being made?
Well, to personally answer that question I also have a reaction post to this one called “Why Music Sucks So Hard Right Now.” But that’s not what we’re here for.
We want to know how and why music is so great – right now … at this moment. And also, why it’s the best time ever, in recorded history – to be a music artist.
And p.s. if you are a music artist, make sure to read all the way through to find some secret discount codes to get 20% off my online courses. The Release Blueprint is my own label’s actual release plan, taught via 70 video modules on Teachable. The course provides exactly how and what to do starting 6 weeks from your release all the way to the big day. Also Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting: Unlocking the Hit Song Matrix includes all my juiciest stuff I’ve ever discovered over the 25+ years in music publishing - that I just don’t hear anyone talking about.
That aside, let’s jump in and get started on the 10 reasons why music is so great right now – and why also right now, it’s your biggest opportunity as a music artist.
This might be obvious - but we need to mention this to kick off the post. With technology today, anyone can buy a few simple software programs, a midi and audio interface, along with a robust laptop – and voila – you’re in business.
You now have the equivalent of a 1984 multimillion dollar recording studio, with thousands of virtual instruments, patches, drums sets, beats, samples, etc. right at your fingertips.
Now, using the year 1984, as an example, you could easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just in synthesizers! But now, these virtual and “soft synths” now come for free in most recording software packages like Logic, Garageband (which is free), etc. It literally costs almost nothing to open your creative workspace and studio.
To boot, the current recording environments, programs and tools make it incredibly easy for anyone to get started.
In fact, a lot of these programs are simply plug and play, or you easily acquire amazing sounds pre made for you via Splice packs, or you can have pre made music sessions at your fingertips.
Here’s looking at you Frank Dukes and the Kingsway Music Library.
With Frank’s library, as example, you simply pay a fee for a track (along with a potential royalty), download all the elements – and you have access to Grammy Award winning potential tracks.
Yes, if you’re a top liner or a rapper – you’re good to lace your verses and top lines and write / record vocals. You don’t need to go to engineering school or anything! You can hit the ground running.
This is quite different from say, way back when I was starting out as a musician and you were literally begging for studio time.
For instance, back in the day – if you were lucky, you could get a coveted 12am– 6am slot at the studio for a discounted rate – but it’s likely that even then (recording into the wee hours of the morning) – studio time would still way beyond what you could really afford.
Today – that recording studio (and one that is 100x more powerful) is open 24-7, in your makeshift bedroom studio or on your coffee table via a laptop.
And that reminds me of a story – the trials and tribulations of actually getting studio quality samples and sounds – back in the 90s and 00s. Back in Los Angeles when I was trying to make it as a songwriter (circa 1998) – there was a guy named Speedy. If you wanted the best drum samples, drum hits, stabs, etc…you would page (yes, page) Speedy.
Apparently, he was some assistant engineer working in the top recording studios, and when all the Grammy Award winning producers had left for the day – he’d just go in their session files and digitally sample / record all their drums and sounds and then sell them to you on a DAT (digital audio tape). You’d then have to manually import each sample and map it to your keyboard.
You’d have to meet Speedy in some back alley (practically like a drug deal) – bring cash – and do a quick exchange.
Lucky for you, you don’t need to meet in a North Hollywood back alley to get some great sounds and samples. Literally - it was like this.
Yes – with technology – literally anyone who wants to be a music artist or a songwriter – is the top reason why music has the possibility to be so great today. The technology is available to everyone - and that amazing new artist, doesn’t have to wait and shell out their life savings to get in the studio.
Everyone and anyone - now has access and a “fair shot” to get their musical ideas recorded, along with hundreds of thousands of free YouTube studio tutorials on exactly “how to do it.” Need a tutorial on setting up a great vocal chain? Check. Need to know how to record the best guitar parts and EQ settings? Done.
The playing field has been leveled. And then some.
But is that a good thing?
Is it a good thing that “anyone” can have access to this power?
With great power comes great responsibility, someone once said. (Oh, it was Spider Man).
If you want my personal opinion on the subject, you can also check out this post, “Why Music Sucks So Hard Right Now,” and hear the counter argument (which in my gut, I think is quite compelling).
But hey – we’re here to talk about why music is so GREAT right now – so let’s keep going.
Getting your music out there to the entire world!
That’s right! We no longer have a need for those pesky major labels, A&R execs, physical distribution companies and executives to sign us!
That’s right. Anyone watching this video can - right now, upload their song to the DSPs (which are the Digital Service Providers like Apple, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, etc) – and for free or nearly free.
Yes, by using a digital distributor like Tunecore, AWAL, CD Baby, Distrokid, etc – you can sign up and within a matter of days your songs, your single, EP, album etc. can all be available to a global audience.
And if you’re an artist reading this, I’ve actually done a full digital distributor review right here to give you the head start.
Now, if you want to really dive in on how you can flip the script on the major and indie labels – and get them in a panic to sign you, you’re so in luck, as I have a free 185 page book which you can get for free right now at benjamingroff.com/book called “How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself!” More treats throughout the blog post!
That’s right – there’s never been a more empowering time ever in the history of music – to have the fate of your own musical destiny at your fingertips.
If you’re in Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles or even a small 240-person town like my hometown Amish community in Pennsylvania – you – in your bedroom – can upload a file and have the ability for the entire world to discover your thoughts, musicality and vision. It’s incredible.
What’s also happening right now, as predicted by Willard Ahdritz, Founder and Chairman of Kobalt and AWAL – is there an explosion of what people call the “mid-tier” artist.
This “mid-tier” group certainly aren’t amateur and they aren’t (yet) superstars. They’re artists who have a solid and decent fanbase, maybe streaming at minimum 4-5 Million + streams per year. And yes, through other related income streams, these “mid-tier” artists are actually making a decent living!
It’s an amazing time to be a musician and artist, with the never before ability – to “make it” in the music business. And when I say “making it” I mean earning a living full time doing what you love – making your art!
Riffing on what I previously just said – as far as the old ways of doing things … today, there just --- Are. No. Rules.
And there ain’t no “record label” holding you back and keeping you from doing anything creatively!
The artist gets to call all the creative shots!
Idea. You want to release a song every week for a year? – Great! You want to make your next single a Polka Trap Beat? Awesome.
Do it! You want to make an album with 45 songs on it – go for it.
If you want to make music, that’s in some weird new mashup lane like - Rihanna meets Conway Twitty meets REZ - we’re ready to hear it (maybe)! : )
To add to this – no one today really knows what’s going to work tomorrow!
That means the music that is chosen to be focused on by the labels, is no longer really up to an older staff of out of touch program directors at your local radio station media conglomerate.
In other words – the decisions of what a 16-year-old should listen to, is now in the audience’s hands (your hands, obviously) more than ever.
Yes, the latest hit will most likely break on an app first – take off like wildfire, gain popularity, be pounced on by a major label (if not already signed) and then get a real radio promotion and video budget provided. Why? There’s already a valid proof of concept! The song is already popular! No - it’s already viral! This will often force the hand of attention at radio and other places i.e. synchronization activity, publishing deals, etc.
And if yes, if you were wondering, radio is still incredibly and vitally important to your career!
Bottom line is - today – we just don’t know what’s going to work.
The song maybe you thought was your biggest single off your EP - versus the song you perhaps, how should we say --- recorded as a whim and wasn’t even going to release – could totally prove to be the opposite.
And this has happened to me a few times this year! Our “whatever” song, that was a B list for the EP - turned out to be the hit!
In summary, the potential to be creative and play in a sandbox of “no rules” – is higher than ever before. Will you be playing by your own rules and forge your own path – or just play in the safe zone?
On that note, if you want to learn more about finding your sonic identity and crushing and breaking through your own creative mindset – I have a number of amazing Teachable modules on that subject in my “Release Blueprint” course which you can get here.
(And oh, if you’ve been looking for those special coupon discount codes – here ya go! You can get my two main Teachable courses off 20% by using CODE: BENJAMIN20 Enjoy!)
Let’s keep going.
Any artist today who uploads their music – needs to think of each song, be it an official release, or a post on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok upload, etc., as a potential lottery ticket. Literally.
The ability to go globally viral today is unprecedented.
Be it via a new TikTok #challenge, or simply a great piece of music or a video that people love – everyone can find out about your music and your creativity now faster than ever. In fact, some of the most popular songs on the DSPs (Apple, Spotify, etc) are coming right off the Global Viral Charts via a TikTok upload.
There’s no reason why this can’t be you (well, there could be some reasons – like you need to actually make some great songs, eh hem).
The point is – there’s no excuse, other than your own dedication, grit, abilities and creativity – to get on one of these viral charts.
Because of the viral potential for any piece of music or post you might create – it’s another reason why it’s one of the best times to be a music artist. The “gates” have been made wide open for you.
So, are you going to walk through or just wait to ring the buzzer?
This topic is perhaps, not so much on why music is so great right now – but moreso, why it’s maybe the best time ever to be a music artist.
Depending on the type of music you’re making – for example, if you have an Instagram or TikTok channel and perhaps a medium to even huge audience, you can potentially be making a pretty great living as an influencer.
This is, instead of say, working an office job, punching away as a telemarketer, or a waiter, some other crappy minimum wage job. Instead, artists can flourish as an influencer.
We can also talk about making a living being a musician working in the gig economy.
That’s right. Via Fivver.com or Upwork.com or through other beat making websites and marketplaces – you can be putting your hours into music and getting paid by taking on gigs, or working with mirco synch agencies to help pay the bills.
No doubt, you can also have the freedom to do your music and art on your own time.
Compare this to say the year 1973 or even 1993, where you simply couldn’t “connect” with people and build an audience virtually or make connections halfway around the world and do virtual collaborations.
These are all great work opportunities (where hopefully “work” isn’t work at all), while you’re developing your music and waiting for those royalties to start churning in.
Which leads me to my next point.
Everyone is accessible and reachable – for the most part. Even myself! In fact, if you want to hire me to coach you on your songs, get feedback, etc … you can!
And hey, while I’m not cheap – you’ll definitely get what you pay for : )
You see, the doors have opened to a global level. Whether it's the great musician in the next city over or halfway around the world – there are no more borders.
And there’s no reason, now by using Zoom or Google / Facebook Hangouts – why you can’t collaborate with someone in real time in a whole different country.
The upside here is, as artists, you can combine your audiences and via a collaboration – and reach twice as many people!
It’s an amazing time to create amazing music.
For instance, are you a beat maker / producer? What about connecting with one of the best Hindi artists in India for a collaboration (p.s. Oh, actually I think Marshmello already did that).
Or if you’re a singer/songwriter – there’s no reason – and nothing to stop you from sending a simple song demo to any mega star or emerging DJ / producer to “flip” your song into their world. We do that all the time with my songwriting roster at my publishing company, Brill Building.
The possibilities for unique and amazing collaborations on a virtual level are unprecedented.
In fact, every week I’m sharing stems from my clients with global DJ superstars and/or the labels for some of the biggest K-Pop artists. With just a click of that button – I’m able to share an entire studio session with someone halfway around the world.
And by the way, if the previous idea sounds interesting to you – I have 16 other Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting – and the secret language and (I dare say) formula of what actually MAKES hit songs tick.
It’s waiting for you to discover right here and you can also use that coupon code BENJAMIN20 for 20% off with a 30 day money back guarantee!
So, you’re not sure how to mic that snare? Or maybe you want to know the best way to sidechain something in your mix. Or how to write the best chorus of your life?! Or write better verses (Aha – I have you covered! Check out this YouTube tutorial I made here.
If you have a question for – anything (!) – there’s a YouTube video tutorial out there waiting to help you with the right answers.
In the old days (like before 2005) – maybe you’d have to go to music college or literally through years of experience, trial and error or finding the right mentor, maybe you’d find the answers … but now all of that knowledge is just one search field away!
Having access to uncommon knowledge and fast tracking everything in your career – means what might have originally taken 5, 6 or ten years and be done in a fraction of the time.
YouTube tutorials and other forums are just another reason why any aspiring (or established) music artist has the ability to make the best music ever.
It’s access to uncommon knowledge along with those experts sharing on a global level, their own information, allowing your creativity to flourish and help you take your art to a whole other level much faster.
Here’s another reason why it’s the best time to be a music artist right now.
And it goes along with the idea of not having to “ask for permission” when it comes to releasing music or being stuck in a box of what you’re expected to create. And this is actually a big deal.
Back in the day – way back in the day, like the 50s, 60s etc. or even as short as 15 years ago – the idea of maintaining your masters rights and ownership – was a crazy idea! Remember – that’s what Prince fought so long for, along with Ray Charles (who also succeeded in this endeavor).
Today there are tens of thousands of successful “mid-tier” artists who have been able to create a fan base – sizeable enough (and sometimes even on the niche side) to create enough income, or in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars – a month (!), to the point where it just would not make any logical sense for them to do a record deal!
They forged their creative destiny, ended up owning their masters, their videos, their brand identity and their music publishing. (p.s. a quick note on music publishing, I always recommend songwriting and artists to, at the minimum, have a publishing administrator collect their royalties for them).
Being able to own everything – and as mentioned, including your creative destiny – allows the ability for creative freedom – and thus, hopefully this allows for the best music ever to be made and uploaded to the DSPs, socials and internet, as the only person you have to report to – is yourself.
On the other hand - there are always many good reasons to actually ink and sign a record deal - especially when you can have an amazing team of experts and having the right budget to get you to the next level.
As alluded to previously, “niche” can be huge.
You don’t have to fit in.
You don’t even need a hit. And you don’t even need to feel compelled to shoot for “the juicy center” to thrive in the music business. Now - today, there’s a corner of the internet for everyone.
Here’s a quick personal story.
Almost on an “every other day” basis, I’m looking up an artist, who I’ve never heard before – and surprisingly or not – already has hundreds of millions of streams. And in some cases – there are literally, billions of streams on their Spotify profile. What? How did that happen? Never heard of them before! Spoken as Jerry Seinfeld “Who are these people?” Where are their fans?
Well, let’s take a look at just one genre - because I might have an answer in a few cases.
It turns out we couldn’t have predicted that say - chill vibey tracks, would be the backbone to so many “study” or “chill” or “dinner party” or “poolside Sunday” type playlists! You know – playlists where people just want a vibe in the background and to “lean out” vs “leaning in” to the latest pop media star or rapper.
Or – let’s say you’re a “white noise” artist – and that’s your thing – you make static, white noise music – and you love it. 15 years ago – that probably sounded like a pretty bad career choice. (I still think it is, LOL).
But today - there’s a whole pocket and niche and playlists dedicated to that genre of music – whereby tens of millions of people love “white noise” and the larger sized “white noise” artists are making bank!
Who would have thought?! Maybe people are using this to help fall asleep or who knows. But the fact is “niche” works – narrowcasting is IN!
Let me summarize. In my opinion, if you have the potential to be one of the best - in even the tiniest and fringe of genres – and the music is authentic to you – there’s an audience there to support you!
In the old days, even 15 to 20 years ago, your success as a music artist was often incredibly dependent upon a huge marketing and promotion budget from the major record labels.
This included getting your music showcased in “end caps” at record stores, doing radio promotion, major media coverage, playing the late-night talk shows, etc.
Now – a lot of that is either over or on the way out (well, we still have those late-night talk show spots – but even those might be being replaced by PodCast appearances).
You see, these traditional filters have been replaced by the new music filters which are major and minor music blogs, user generated playlists, official Spotify and Apple playlists, YouTube distribution channels, other social media influencers, TikTok #challenges, etc.
Now, as previously mentioned, as an artist, you don’t need to rely on hitting the juicy center anymore - and you don’t need that huge marketing spend.
The fringe is now the juicy center!
Huh? Meaning - no matter how niche your music is, there’s likely a niche playlist, blogger, influencer out there who can’t wait to support you. These are the new music filters for your world.
But, of course to make it work – the music needs to be great and / or at least reactionary, even if “reactionary” means helping you “zone out,” or maybe it’s a new song, compelling you to participate in a TikTok #challenge.
At the end of the day, these are the 10 reasons, at least for me, on why music is and / or has the potential to be, so great right now and why it’s the best time in the history of music ever to be a music artist and a creator.
It’s my hope as well, that with all the points previously discussed, that we’ll have an exponential renaissance of new important artists.
If the times were different, say 20 years ago – it’s possible that these artists would, let’s be honest, might not even have a real possibility of being heard! How’s that? Well, a lot of aspiring artists are on a timeline! If it doesn’t work for them - they have to actually get a real job, invest in a career they don’t even like, or even get forced into “pleasing their family” i.e. going to college, taking on the family business, etc.
With all the technology at our fingertips, new ways to create music, to be heard, create fanbases, have access to a global audience instantly through digital distribution and more – I truly believe we are giving new artists an amazing “highway” to have their stars rise, shine and flourish – like no other time in history. And most importantly, about 500% faster!
Artists have the ability to bypass a traditional rise to fame and “delete” the slow grind rising through the trenches or a “proof of concept” period.
With all the items mentioned above, what used to be a 10-15 years grind can now, perhaps be done within an expedited 2-5 years today.
But make no mistake – you have to be persistently great.
You have to make great songs that create and evoke an emotion.
Lastly, the one thing I think artists still need today – maybe more than ever – is a way to get heard, to get discovered. And that includes having an actual plan. (Gasp - yes, a plan!)
With all the above said – the real key downside and hurdle here – is we literally have 40,000 to 50,000 new songs being released – E V E R Y day! Yeah - that’s like 300,000 new releases per week.
That’s incredible. 20 years ago, it used to be around 70,000 releases – per year!
So how do you stand out? How do you get heard? How do you do this all with the wind to your back and not end up releasing to crickets with the dreaded less than 1,000 Spotify streams look?
Well, you need a plan.
And having released well over 100 recordings now via my own label, www.WeAreTheGuard.com having garnered hundreds of millions of streams – I’m actually going to give you my own release plan.
This is an online course and tells you exactly what to do when – starting 5-6 weeks from your release date all the way to the release date and all the post marketing things you can (and should) be doing.
I’ve actually made some key resources here for you to get to that next level, whether you’re a recording artist in any genre, an aspiring hit songwriter – or both!
Check it out below because I really believe you’ll dramatically shortcut your time in getting to the next level – and learn so many of the ins and outs, which has taken me 25 years to discover and learn (usually with my own money) in the music business.
Unlock the Hidden Song Matrix of What Makes Hit and Perennial Songs Tick in Any Genre!
An A-Z Guide, Showing You Step by Step How to Release and Set Up Your Single, EP or Album! (You’ve made your great music - now what?! This is the exact release plan that my label, www.WeAreTheGuard.com uses for our own releases, which have generated over 100 Million Spotify streams).
And don’t forget – since you’re a reader and friend here at the blog, use BENJAMIN20 as a coupon code at checkout for 20% off, for the full courses.
Lastly, for being a reader, you can also get my book “How Do I Get a Record Deal? Sign Yourself!” right here on my website at benjamingroff.com/book – It’s about 185 pages – and it’s free!
You’ll learn all about how to get your music to take off, catch fire, get on the major labels' data research reports, and hopefully get them all in a panic to sign – You!
Hope to see you there, thanks for reading, and I truly hope you are one of those artists or readers, which this post applies to. And who exactly is that type of person? It’s simple.
One of the new artists who’ll be able to make a living doing what they love – making music full time – and / or who knows – maybe the next music icon or legend.
See you there,