What will the road ahead look like?

Throughout this journey, new role models will arise. More and more independent artists will use modern technology to make niche music that resonates. And they will share their experiences. There will be more public discussion about methods, attitudes and business models. This has already begun, but we’re only just seeing the beginning.

Over the next five to ten years, it will become more commonplace for artists to earn a living making niche music. Eventually, it will become accepted that artists no longer need to be famous in order to earn a living. A few thousand fans is a drop in the ocean of cultural consciousness – especially as those fans will likely be spread across multiple cities, states, countries and continents. It’s entirely possible that vast numbers of artists will be financially sustainable in relative obscurity, all due to producing emotionally resonant and powerful music for their niche.

Thankfully, we’ll also see less finger pointing. Presently and in the past, artists have tended to complain about issues they believe are preventing them from making money, such as music downloading and major label politics. Instead of adopting a passive sense of entitlement, artists will focus more on making their audience care enough to gladly give their financial support. Instead of blaming others, they will listen to their audiences and involve them in their conversations.

Ultimately, music lovers are the ones who buy music. They’re paying for this party. They need to be included, respected and acknowledged. Artists must shift their focus from complaining about the ‘industry’ to finding ways to make emotionally resonant music that people are willing to pay for.