No. I’m not talking about the quality of modern songwriting. (That is a whole other topic!) I’m talking about the radical shift in HOW a song becomes a hit. Long gone are the days when radio play and chart position were the sole methods of measuring the “success” of a song. Today, an artist can have 15 million YouTube views without a single spin on a commercial station. A band might make big bucks licensing songs for TV commercials but never sell much beyond 5,000 copies of their disc. Instead of checking the Billboard Hot 100, now you’ve got to look at multiple indicators, including:
*Commercial, satellite, community, & college radio play
*Facebook mentions, tweets, etc.
*How often the song is shared on blogs
The good news is that we now live in a world where an indie artist has just as good a chance of having a “hit” song as a major label act. Compared to even ten years ago, there are so many more venues in which a song can wield its true power. You might not make mad millions, but more and more artists are earning decent livings off of songs that would have gone nowhere (not based on merit, but because of how the system was set up) in past decades. And that sounds like a very good thing to me.
If you’d like to listen to a related, 3-minute NPR story on this topic, click HERE.
-Chris R. at CD Baby