I once read a story about Slipknot and Kanye West. In it the lead singer of Slipknot “told” Kanye that he (Kanye) was “NOT the greatest living rockstar.”
This is probably a true statement but maybe not for the reasons you might think.
Within the same thread someone posted a list of people more deserving of the title. This list included the likes of Prince and Paul McCartney (Prince is now dead, but when I read the thread he was not). Which is fair to say, they are certainly rock stars and certainly living.
Except, every single person on that list was famous before the age of the Internet.
Have You Listened to Acoustic Black Metal?
I have and it’s one of the coolest things I have ever heard. Don’t worry, no one expects you to fall in love with it.
It has an incredibly small audience (when compared to the likes of rock stars) and that audience loves it. This is what the Internet has created:
Instead of a couple absolute smash hits in the music world, the Internet has made it so a million small time acts can find an audience.
Which means ambient drone music makers can make enough money from Youtube revenue to actually have a living (okay, to be fair Youtube changed the rules and this is no longer true, the ambient drone music maker will now need to rely on Patreon and merch sales). Every little niche that can exist will be covered by someone who loves it.
Niche is the Culture of the Future
There is a great Ted Talk about the filter bubble, and this can most certainly be a bad thing.
As a quick explanation: you know how the people around you can have you perceive news in a unique way? As a simple example if all of your friends are liberal, you’ll probably see mostly the liberal point of view of a news story. The Internet takes this to a whole new level with us generally going to the same websites with the same point of views.
It can also be a good thing in some circumstances in that every single possible idea is out there for you to find, you just have to break out of that bubble.
As the Internet matures we are getting further and further away from these comfort zone sites and finding new and wonderful places.
This is why we are going away from having a few ‘hits’ or rock stars as I am using here and instead going towards having millions of somewhat successful creators doing unique things.
A basement musician is no longer competing with Ozzy for the rock title and is instead looking for an audience for their own unique style of music.
It’s not Just Music!
This goes into almost all creative industries (and BEYOND!). I point you now to Etsy. A little startup that simply put craft makers with those who wanted crafts.
This little startup has helped millions of people build businesses and start careers just making stuff they love. There is no one super star an Etsy, instead there is exactly what you are looking for.
Back to Music
So a bedroom musician is no longer competing with super stars… What now? The thing is, technology has improved in so many ways. A bedroom musician is able to make music that sounds just as good as the pros for very little money.
The main thing holding them back is knowledge, which is the easiest thing to find online.
Some kid in their bedroom is able to record a few songs (who needs albums any more?) that sound incredibly professional but with his own unique style and build an audience, for almost no cost.
While you may not like his music, this is exactly what catapulted Owl City to where he is now.
Which begs the question:
What the hell are record labels even offering any more?