In what is slowly becoming a free market, music executives and musicians are finding themselves in need of finding new ways to make money. They have tried everything from Kanye West vs 50, to Radiohead's "In Rainbows" with modest success. Kanye West outsold 50 cent 957,000 to 691,000 (Wiki), while Radiohead sold 3 million copies worldwide in physical and digital sales.
In 2007 Saul Williams attempted to use the same strategy as Radiohead. The following is from his wiki page:
“154,449 people had downloaded 'Niggy Tardust'. Of that number, 28,322 people chose to pay the asked price of $5 USD ($141,610 USD Total)”
Let's compare these numbers to Williams' previous self-titled album, which sold 30,000 copies. His recent "pay what you want" release helped expand his exposure. He made less money, but reached more fans than his previous release by using the "In Rainbows" model.
All that is old news, but where has the next "big marketing idea" been for the masses? People come up with ideas for their niche markets, but worldwide sales have declined along with pop artists' talent.
As a former hater of Lil Wayne I have learned to respect him. While he has not the best talent in my opinion, he shows emotion in his music and when he is serious you feel what he is talking about. With a constant onslaught of material for fans (mixtape after mixtape) he doesn't give them a chance to give up. His last album, "Tha Carter 3" sold 2.88 million copies by New Years Eve in 2008 making it the largest selling album of the year. Wayne has built a broad fan base over a long time.
So in an era of music where the value is lost, how do we make money in this industry?
Don’t give up, keep making contacts, and always make content for the fans. Money is not something you can make overnight and if you have true talent, don’t hold it in. You have to let the world hear it.
For those in the business world: Just because you can’t find “marketable artists” as available as before, it does not mean that the industry is dead. We just need something new, so find artists that sound different. As I told many people recommending artists who sound similar to Lil Wayne, “when his career is dead so will yours be”. Artists have to make their own sound and they’ll make their own path.
It’s not about strictly talent or marketing anymore, but drive as well. Never give up. For every person that does quit there's somebody who hasn't.
From the mind of