Is there a recipe for survival in the music industry?

As the semester comes to a close, I feel it necessary to talk about endings — hopefully this won’t be my last article.

I’ve always thought of the “beat” as something that represents not only music but also a metaphor for life. Just like a melody lingers after the song has ended, through the hurdles we climb and chapters we enter and exit throughout our lifetime, we carry on.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that when everything around us seems to be changing, we turn to music to heal. Even though sometimes I get bogged down on certain music passages and as a semi-perfectionist myself, I become quite annoyed at myself, and subsequently the music. Each of us has our own specific interests, tastes and musical niches — so then, what causes an artist to last the test of time?

Is the staying power of musicians fleeting?

The media is a vast and ever-evolving space, one where information is more accessible than ever. It has undoubtedly changed the way we interact with music. While we all may be listening to different niches, certain songs reach a point where they’ve been shared so frequently across media platforms that they gain momentum in popular culture and quickly become widely known.

With this change in pace, it can be difficult to distinguish an artist’s longevity today. Given that we have the liberty of exploring hundreds of genres and subgenres at any time, you can be a connoisseur of one style of music and be completely unaware of what’s going on in the next.

Some musicians fade out and some remain in the contemporary loop of popularity for what seems like forever. Therefore, there is no single formula to lasting success and it can be a challenge to identify the specific elements that determine whether a song will last through time.

According to Billboard, the most popular musicians tend to circulate the music scene for nearly 24 years. Obviously, there are outliers in the mix, such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Prince and The Beatles, who’ve endured much longer. However, today, it’s hard to pinpoint when and what exactly turns a musician into a multi-platinum selling, generation-crossing, international superstar.

One determinant of music’s lasting impact is whether an artist can consistently release quality records that are both well-received and praised by fans and critics alike. Another factor to consider would be the timing of a song’s release and what’s going on in the world at that time. Finally, and most apparently, music that hasn’t been done before, that’s innovative, new and revolutionary in some way, tends to attract the eyes of many.

Ultimately, the longevity of an artist depends on who you’re asking. In the end, only time will tell what soars to the top and what fades out.

Through every beat of life that comes and goes, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy the music.
With that, this is Mai and thanks for following my articles the past semester!