How changes in music industry affect the length of an artist’s career

Washington: Musicians who hit the album charts, spend, on an average, a little more than five years there, a new study has found.

According to the study by Storm Gloor, MBA, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts and Media (CAM), more than one third will be “one-hit wonders”.

The study, based on the detailed analysis of American pop music data, is the first phase of a research project to determine how the popularity of an artist and the length of their career have been affected by changes in the music industry.

Data from more than 50 years of Billboard music charts was used in the first phase of the study.

It showed that artists maintain their presence on the album charts for anywhere from 3.95-6.16 years, depending on various chart criteria. Thirty-four percent of artists who debut on the album charts only hit the charts once. On the pop singles chart that figure rises to nearly fifty percent.

“The research is important to aspiring artists in understanding their own long-term planning in light of such realities. They need to know what they are facing as they start planning for their careers and beyond,” Gloor said.

The second phase of the project examines trends in the music business and their effect on the duration of the popularity of charting artists. Preliminary information shows artists may become nationally recognized sooner in their careers but may not maintain their popularity as long.

“In that phase of the study I’ll be taking more of a longitudinal look at artists’ chart presence as the music marketplace has changed through the years,” he said.
Gloor points out music companies could also benefit from the research by using the information to develop strategies for promoting artists in the future.

The study has been included in the 2011 edition of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA) Journal.


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