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Learning from the Past, Moving toward the Future

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Did you know that the music industry experienced a 136.1% increase in the sale of cassette tapes between 2016 and 2017, while audio streams only increased 50.3% during the same time frame?1

Cassette tape

Granted the actual numbers of cassette sales are much lower than streams, (only about 99.4K compared to 376.9B), but we can learn some startling insights from digging into the data.2

Just like the starfish story3, if you’re one of those artists who has seen a 136% increase in sales over the past year, you’re probably shouting hallelujah, while the rest of the music community trying to sell digital albums is getting squeezed out.

The traditional wisdom is to learn from history to avoid repeating mistakes that have already been made.

But what we have now in the music industry is a little different.

Instead of looking to the past for models we can employ to benefit our musical bottom lines now, we are finding instead that the tried and true models of the past simply don’t apply today in many aspects.

What does apply?

Principles such as quality, mastery, respect for our suppliers (musicians, co-writers, artists), and for our customers (fans, film and television production houses, artists and record companies), and so forth.

Using our Songpreneurs model of working toward mastery, and developing our unique value proposition as a business and brand, we can start to make sense of this new music business, and our own place within it.

It’s in the nature of a paradigm shift for most. Instead of trying to pitch songs to the industry, our focus becomes working on our mastery skill set, and self-releasing content related to our own unique value proposition as demonstrated by our brand and platform.

What is a platform? It’s a consistent body of work that has a theme, a strong central motive, and a purpose in line with viewing our artistry as a service to our fellow human kind.

Take a few minutes now to write some notes in your journal about what your unique value proposition is for your music. What makes you different, unique?

How is your music a service to others? And what steps can you take to help clearly define that message and purpose?

Need help?

Apply to join the Songpreneurs group online, or pick up our Brand You Workbook and get started working on your own from home.

Brand Yourself Workbook


1. BuzzAngle Music 2017 US Report p. 8

2. Ibid.

3. Starfish story – summary – a kid is throwing starfish from the beach back out into the ocean when a man comes up and tells him he’s wasting his time because there are too many to save them all. The kid tells him that it matters to the individual starfish he’s saving and carries on trying to save as many as he can. Credited to Loren Eisley.


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