Let's face it – the music industry is changing fast!
What might be a great or even incredible idea today could become outdated and irrelevant in a very short amount of time. I have personal experience in the form of a failed startup investment.
If you want to innovate in the music industry, you can't just dip a toe or two in the water – you have to dive right in. You have to get your ideas out into the marketplace as soon as you humanly can.
But before I get carried away, let's take a quick look at relevant sectors that are seeing considerable innovation.
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Relevant Sectors Where Innovation Is Taking Place
I'll be talking more about this in a moment, but if you want to identify components of the music industry with lasting power, you have to keep up-to-date with a tech-focused blog like hypebot.
Here are several sectors where we're seeing considerable innovation.
- Social media. Not necessarily musician-specific social media, but social media in general.
- Music streaming. More and more large tech companies are choosing to join in on the game of streaming.
- Video. Interactive video, video streaming services, and virtual reality are all trending topics in video right now.
- Mobile apps. With a growing number of online users taking to smartphones and tablets, we're going to see considerable innovation with device-specific apps.
This is not a comprehensives list, but I think you get the idea.
Now that you know where a lot of innovation is taking place, let's examine how you can get the edge.
Study The Industry – Relentlessly
The only way you're going to gain a better understanding of the industry is by studying it, and it's going to take time to form a picture of the industry in your mind. But this is really important.
This is why I suggest consuming as much industry-related information as you can reasonably read, listen to, or watch without losing your mind.
You need to see what's out there. You need to learn from the industry's past mistakes and present trends. Without this knowledge, you can easily repeat errors without any awareness of what has come before you – someone could have tried your idea and failed already.
After a certain point, there won't be anymore “catching up” to do. It'll simply be a matter of keeping up-to-date with the latest data and information. Until then, you've got plenty of homework to do.
Emphasize Speed To Market
Looking to try an idea? Want to see if your new way of doing things will fly in the music industry?
Then you need to get it to the market right away. Please don't wait – it will prove painful in the long run.
Bootstrap. Keep your operations streamlined, and don't spend money you don't have to. It's easy to justify spending, but if you truly want to innovate, it's all about creativity, not how much money you have (more on this later).
Run your business out of your basement, or start applying your business methodology to your company on a smaller scale. Then go out to prove it's effectiveness. If you can't make a few hundred or few thousand dollars in a year or two, you need to rethink your plan.
Master The Marketing Game
Marketing is a skill that will come in handy no matter what you intend to do in the music industry. Even if you lose businesses, you're not going to lose what you took the time to learn about marketing.
If you're going to take speed to market seriously, you also have to build connections, court industry influencers, utilize advertising and PR, publish a book, blog, or take advantage of guerrilla marketing tactics to spread your message.
And the good news is that this can all be done relatively inexpensively, though it's definitely going to require a lot of time and effort on your part.
You've probably heard about corporations that sink millions if not billions of dollars into marketing annually. But their shotgun method is the exact opposite of what you want to do.
You should create a message and a story so compelling that people can't ignore it. You want word-of-mouth marketing working in your favor as early as possible. You may even want to find ways to reward those who choose to share your idea with others.
Harness Your Creativity & Hold Onto Your Money
This is easier said than done, but when you really think about where innovation happens, it has nothing to do with capital (i.e. money). It's all about creativity.
Today, we live in a very disruptive world. Entrepreneurs are adopting different approaches to business. Some are entering niches that are littered with people that are talking about 8,000 square feet homes and Ferraris, and are instead choosing to be open, transparent and honest about the business journey they're taking one step at a time.
Others are moving away from religious gatherings over to philosophical forums that encourage open spiritual discussions. Disruption is everywhere.
What's disruptive in one industry isn't always disruptive in another, but you have the opportunity to change the game if you can identify something that hasn't been done in the music industry.
Also keep in mind that many are resting on their laurels of past successes. Does innovation happen in a company that's complacent? Absolutely not!
Even if you're starting from square one today, you have the opportunity to usurp the throne from existing powers. You just have to take them by surprise.
If you want to get the edge, be willing to challenge yourself.
If you keep travelling the well-worn neural pathways in your brain, you'll never see ways of doing things differently, and you won't strive towards greater levels of productivity.
Come up with new ideas on a daily basis. Recognize that not all of them are good, but that by building your idea muscle, you can begin to explore idea alchemy (the mixing of two bad ideas that create a single great idea).
Get good at one thing – taking action. Although you might make some mistakes when you're acting fast, it's better than sitting on an idea for eternity, never doing anything with it.