Music Business

What artists ought to know about their competition [video]

The amount of music-related content available out the is truly staggering, and sheer volume can often be intimidating to bands and artists hoping to break through the noise but – if you know what you’re doing – it may not actually be all that tough.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The competition for attention in music is fierce, but it’s not as tough as you may think. That is, as long as you know what you’re doing.

If you look around the Internet, you will see startling statistics about the amount of content available online. At any moment, on any given day, people are uploading thousands of hours of video and audio content. More than 60,000 new songs appear on Spotify every single day. That’s more than 1.8 million new songs every month and over 20 million songs per year. Experts believe those numbers will grow exponentially in the years ahead, making competition among creative increasingly intense.

That brings us to a question that many up-and-coming artists ask: 

Is there a place for me in the music business?

Indeed, the amount of new music available to consumers daily is staggering. Still, it’s crucial that musicians not confuse the public’s access to new music with consumers’ desire for new music. Most people will not hear even 1% of the new music released on any given day. Of the 1.8 million songs added to Spotify this month, it is most likely that the average person will hear, at most, about 100 new songs. The amount of those tracks they listen to more than once is even less.

But do not let the overwhelming amount of music or the general public’s interest in most of it deter you from continuing to create. Most consumers do not want new music that challenges them and their tastes. The vast majority of listeners want something similar to what they already enjoy. They want to hear music that feels familiar yet is just different enough to feel fresh at the same time. Music is about pleasure and entertainment for most people. They want to enjoy whatever they enjoy, and they don’t want to overthink the song selection process.

Consumer behavior is a blessing. As host James Shotwell explains in the latest Music Biz update, understanding that most consumers want more of the same can help you build a lasting career in music. Suppose you can identify your niche, learn from those leading it, and consider strategies for success when developing your original content and ideas. In that case, the sky is the limit. Check it out:

Most of the music added to Spotify every day is not in direct competition with what you are creating when you think about it. There may be a few thousand songs by rock bands, but how many of those are targeting the same audience that you are? Thinking further, how many are good? How many are artists in your country or region? 

Many musicians make the mistake of thinking that every artist on the planet is their competition when nothing could be further from the truth. I would argue that 90% of artists or more exist outside the market you are trying to serve. As long as you can identify your target audience, cater to their tastes, and create quality contact, then you have no reason to worry about what anyone else is doing.

Music Biz is brought to you by Haulix, the music industry’s leading promotional distribution platform. Start your one-month free trial today and gain instant access to the same promotional tools used by BMG, Concord, Rise Records, Pure Noise Records, and hundreds more. Visit for details.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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