Pay special attention to the term we used, great not good, because it does have to meet the average production standards: clean mix, clear recording quality, somewhat modern sound, and on-pitch vocals. Once you’ve met the common industry standards, you’re just as good as Justin Bieber or Drake. That’s why they keep putting out mediocre music continuously and profit off of it. It works. Here’s 5 reasons why once you are good, nobody forces you to be actually great.
5. Planning for number one hits is impossible
When it so happens that a song goes viral, you, and your whole team, label, got to run with it and make the most of it. Even if you might have never expected it, now you got to perform it, promote it, shoot a video for it, and go all in. It is rare that truly remarkable songs go mainstream. Most artists’ best songs never broke Top 40. They just happened to be at the right place, at the right time, heard by the right people. Your moment will come too. But when it does, drop all your doubts, all your self-criticism, and even if you don’t particularly like that song, keep in mind that gaining this traction might never happen again. A grim perspective, but trust me, being a one-hit wonder and getting monthly royalties is better than never having had a chart topper.
4. Time passes by really fast
You know who are ridiculous to the point of being stupid? Artists who work for years on their albums. TIME GOES BY TOO FAST. Nobody in this world is going to wait on you and your craft. Don’t believe us? Ask Beyonce who flopped badly with her ”4” album, thinking people were excited to hear her songs after a year of absence. By the time you think you got the perfect product on your hands, the whole sound tendency will have changed and you’ll end up sounding like what was hot 5 years ago, but not today. So cut the perfectionist excuse and once your songs are good enough, you release them and promote the hell out of them.
3. You get more exposure by working with certain recommended producers
You might have your own ideas and song demos, that actually sound amazing too, but… when the label got their own producer on deck, that has many more years under his belt and is connected to other major artists, you drop your idealized creations, and do what you’re told. You’ll have time to be great later. Now it’s time to get accepted and respected by your peers. That pretty much happens automatically when you work with the same producer that X, Y, Z artists worked with. You become approved by that producer’s circle and many, many doors will open much easier for you.
2. Your fans start idolizing WHATEVER you put out
Another reason for why once-great artists seem to release basement songs after a while is because they enjoy enough of a fan base to make a comfortable living for themselves and their team to put out indie-sounding projects. The peak of their fame has passed, they saved enough money and invested in other businesses, so now they can experiment in all kinds of forms and ways. They don’t have that hunger to prove their artistry anymore, because…. they already did! they made it!
1. The excitement goes away
And that is completely normal and part of life. Everything that’s new is fun! The career path of a musician is not much different than the usual path a romantic relationship follows. In the beginning it is all about those butterflies and doing new things to surprise your partner to continuously show how worthy you are of their commitment. Once you get that commitment and reciprocated love, you start feeling comfortable. Then, in time, you might even start taking him/her for granted. Then something weird happens and you’re reminded how precious he/she is for you. Then you feel that excitement again. Then you feel comfortable again. Until something weird happens again. The. Same. Damn. Thing. You want your music to be recognized so you give your all and put all kinds of videos together. You start getting fans. You feel your dream is within reach. You put in more effort. You get your fans’ commitment, and if you’re lucky, the industry’s commitment too. Then you get comfortable. After a couple of years, too comfortable. Until you put out a song and it doesn’t do much anymore. So you get scared and do some great songs again, and it works. Then you’re back to feeling comfortable. Until you get shook again. Just a few examples of the great=>mediocre=>great=>mediocre cycle: Katy Perry, Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Jay Z.