In the digital age, music is only a single click away, our playlists are never-ending, our favorite songs are on a loop, and the idea of music consumption has become all too familiar.
Streaming platforms—such as Apple Music and Spotify—have revolutionized how we access and consume music because they offer an endless array of songs at our fingertips. As a result, platforms like Spotify now have over 500 million active listeners and the streaming numbers are growing.
This convenience has improved our lives in many ways: We can now listen to music whenever and wherever we please. That said, it has also ushered in a new era of challenges for musicians and artists.
In this article, we delve into the impact of music overconsumption on artist development. We will explore how the relentless pursuit of novelty affects the way artists create, the difficulty they face in building a loyal following, and the toll it can take on their mental health.
What is the Era of Overconsumption?
Music overconsumption has reached unparalleled heights in the last 15 years. Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube have made it extremely straightforward for listeners to uncover new tracks and artists.
Though this accessibility is a godsend for music lovers, it presents a puzzle for artists. For example, to stay relevant and maintain their fan base, musicians often find themselves churning out songs at a spectacular rate. That’s not always a good thing because it leads to creative burnout and—more importantly—work that isn’t their best.
In the past, artists had the luxury of time to craft their albums and release them with anticipation, which created a sense of occasion and buzz among their followers.
Do you remember the days when people would stay overnight outside record stores to purchase the latest album in the morning? The ‘good ol’ days’ many would argue.
Nonetheless, in the era of heavy music consumption, the pressure to create new material constantly is robust and often damaging. This shift in dynamics has changed the way artists work, with many feeling forced to prioritize quantity over anything else.
The Changing Artist Landscape
There has been a new creative process for artists since the growth of the digital age. Instead of taking months to create an album—which has a typical time frame in the 20th century—artists now need to release singles and EPs regularly to stay in the loop.
Of course, this strategy helps music businesses manage artists in a way that keeps up with the latest industry demands, but it often spoils their precious creative process. The journey of an artist isn’t always simple; it requires experiments and refinement.
The result? Artists are now heading towards homogenization with their music. They have become far less likely to produce alternative sounds and lyrics; instead, they’re aiming for mainstream music that makes money.
Furthermore, the overconsumption of music has led to a quicker shelf life for songs. With countless new releases drowning the market daily—songs that would have once enjoyed longevity are fast overpowered.
This transient nature of music can be demoralizing for artists who put their hearts and souls into their skill, only to see their work lost in the digital racket.
The Struggle to Build a Loyal Following
One of the most important problems facing musicians due to the overconsumption of music is trying to build a loyal following. In the past century, artists—such as The Beatles—were able to build loyal fan bases by releasing carefully crafted albums every year or so.
In many cases, these albums—such as Abbey Road—formed the soundtrack of people’s lives by creating a healthy emotional connection between artist and listener.
However, that’s no longer the case: The constant barrage of new music has left fans without the feeling of something new. Consequently, artists continue to struggle to build true loyal bonds with their audiences.
Is it still possible to grow a loyal fanbase? Of course. Look at Taylor Swift and her absolute army of loyal fans. Still, it takes time, patience, and extreme diligence.
The Damage to Artist’s Mental Health
The pressure for artists to continually produce new material is so immense it often causes immense mental health issues.
For instance, the constant need to create, produce, and promote music can lead to burnout and fatigue. Musicians find themselves in a never-ending cycle of content generation, which can be emotionally taxing.
Likewise, the immense scrutiny of social media—which is also fueled by intense online reviews—adds another layer of stress to artists' lives.
To combat these challenges, some artists are increasingly turning to self-care and mental health practices; they know the importance of keeping their emotional and creative equilibrium in an industry that demands so much from them.
How To Work Around This Problem?
- Diversify Their Creative Portfolio: Without a doubt, artists must explore different genres and styles to showcase versatility. They will need to experiment with various forms of content—such as acoustic versions, remixes, or collaborations.
- Focus on Quality over Quantity: Although the pressure to produce many songs can be fiercely overwhelming, artists can still focus on quality over quantity. However, the music business will have to choose the right balance.
- Engage with Their Audience: Artists also need to foster a big online presence through social media and streaming platforms. They should connect with fans through live streams, Q&A sessions, and behind-the-scenes content alongside music stream options.
- Plan Thoughtful Release Strategies: Artists must work around the current constraints of overconsumption by thinking of thoughtful release strategies.
Although technology has created many opportunities for artists, it has also created some problems that aren’t likely to go away. If artists want to successfully navigate the digital age, they must create new strategies for the growing music overconsumption.
If you run a music business—you need to find an essential balance between the artist's mental well-being and creativity, mixed with the demands of an ever-changing music business. It’s not always easy, but it’s essential to figure it out.
At Reprtoir, we offer the essential tools to skyrocket and nurture your music business. This includes catalog management, release planning, precise royalty accounting, seamless music sharing, and a wide array of additional features.
Reach out to us today for a complete understanding of how our service can elevate your music business!