Once upon at time, if you wanted to “make it” as an artist, you had a fairly-well defined path to follow to success. It usually started with some kind of post-secondary education, and then a few years of struggling while you worked a joe-job and practiced your art. If you were a musician, you were maybe working on your technique, going to jams and open mics, and writing songs. Eventually, you’d put together a demo of your work, and send it in to a record company. If you were really, really lucky, they’d listen to your demo and like it enough to offer you a contract. Although the reject pile was always higher than those that got the stamp of approval.
The invention of the internet, and, in particular, Web 2.o, has changed all of that. Technology has advanced to such a state that it is now accessible to you and I. If I am a musician, and I want to record an album, I have the power to do that–all I need is a Mac with GarageBand or Logic, and some decent-quality mics. To create a video, all I need is a Mac with IMovie and a video camera. Technology and Social Media has given the individual artist power.
For me, the greatest example of this is Justin Beiber. I know, I know, I’ve mentioned him before. And I’m not a 13-year-old girl, so I’m not even in his demographic. Bieber represents a new kind of way to rise to the top: self-made, self-propelled, and using the internet as a tool. Basically, by the time Bieber met the record company, they would have been crazy to turn him down: he already had a huge marketing machine filled with hundreds of thousands of adoring fans (13-year-old girls have a lot of disposable income and brand loyalty). The machine consisted of Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Twitter. Click here to read more.
It’s not just musicians that are benefiting. Aspiring writers art starting blogs, and it’s leading to book deals. Witness the Budget Fashionista. Kathryn Finney started this blog in 2003, and within a couple of years had been offered a publishing deal. How to Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less was published in June, 2006.
Lauren Luke is another interesting example. This self-taught makeup artist started a YouTube channel, and after garnering 43 million views, as well as 230,000 subscribers from 70 countries around the world, now is launching her own makeup line through Sephora.
Welcome to the future, folks.