There have been many debates about what it takes to become successful in show business. With faith, most of us still believe that talent must come first, followed by hard work and, yes, a bit of luck.
Let’s look at one of the most famous and interesting rumors about making it in the music industry. In order to get his daughter discovered, Taylor Swift’s dad is rumored to have spent over one million dollars (US) buying up Taylor’s first album just to make sure she stayed at the top of the charts. Moreover, in order to have 100% control of Taylor’s music career, both from an artistry point of view as well as commercially, Swift’s dad bought a major share of Big Machine, the label to which Swift signed. As we know, Taylor did get discovered, becoming one of the bestselling, most profitable artists of modern times. She continues to write hit after hit. In hindsight, she may not have needed her dad’s help (if the rumours are true). I personally think she is a brilliant song writer and performer who genuinely loves her fans.
It takes quite a bit to become a success in the music world. Record companies pay large amounts of money to get their artists’ songs on the radio. The same is true for exposure on iTunes and Spotify. But let’s come back to the question, does it take more than just talent to get to the top? The answer is a definite yes. Artists cannot sustain their careers without hard work. Even musicians as famous as Bono from U2 still tour the globe to make sure they don’t lose touch with their fanbases. From Beyoncé to Lady Gaga and Coldplay (the list goes on), all of these performers do hundreds of concerts to make sure they stay connected to their fans. That being said, luck is still a part of an artist’s success. Being in the right place at the right time is also very important.
But where is the right place at the right time nowadays? Social media is replacing traditional platforms like print magazines and television in the promotion of new artists. For example, Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube in 2008 by talent manager Scooter Braun. Within one year, he was signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher. Justin then became the first artist ever in modern history to have seven songs from a debut album make it to the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, over 300,000 fans show up his free concert in Mexico City. To put things in perspective, Justin Bieber’s Mexico City performance would probably rank in the top ten highest attended concerts by a male artist in the last decade.
So, was Bieber’s discovery by Scooter Braun a pure coincidence? Would Taylor be as successful as she is now if her dad did not buy a share at a record label? Would these artists be as popular if Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram didn’t exist? It’s hard to say, but what musicians like Bieber and Swift have in common is that their talent came first, followed by a lot of hard work and, of course, some luck.
In short, relying purely on just luck is not going to make you an successful artist, but a bit of luck will certainly make your career move faster.