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Article : Debunked : "Your too old to start a music career"

Updated: Dec 12, 2019




Way too often when it comes to "urban" artforms, we witness the social phenomena putting dates / age groups on when it is acceptable for a person to continue being an artist.

This is an extremely controversial issue but for the sake of our loyal following as well as newcomers we believe it is greatly worth spending a short amount of time just considering whether there is any truth to this or not. So #LetsTalkAboutIt

When considering this matter firstly let's recognise something fundamental, there are musicians of all ages from age 0 all the way up to the end of life itself whatever age that may be. Throughout the decades there have been many great musicians of all age groups from young to old but what has happened in the last few decades in the western world is that musicians and particularly urban styles of music have had social stigma (negative associations) when it comes to artist exceeding a certain age as if it is an immature dream that must be outgrown.

We question this based on historical facts and evidence reaching back to all continents around the world which demonstrates repeatedly that music served an important social function within every society.


We are exploring this particular important topic, because it has a link to why age has become a factor in considering whether it is acceptable or not for people to make art forms of particular kinds, and its worth reflecting on because we could be missing an important part of our cultural development by stifling the art / creativity of people above a certain age group.

So before moving forward lets consider that it is highly noticeable that the stigma attached to certain artforms is less attached to opera, band music, country western as well as a variety of other widely consumed styles of music, yet it is regularly attatched to styles of music which have in noticably come from urban areas/communities.

Its also worth noting that the stigma of being too old to make a certain types of music disappea5s once they have been appropriated into to pop culture. The UK music industry is a good example of this as practically every artform since the 1960s has been stigmatised, reappropriated from Urban / Black / working-class communities and then later become acceptable after being assimilated by the British middle class.

From Ska, Punk Rock, Dub, Lovers Rock, Jungle, Garage and most recently; Grime. All of these genres and the styles of vocals used on the songs were largely derived from Britains Afro-Caribbean communities, yet despite the culture being spearheaded by these communities, somehow within 5-10 years of taking off, each scene is essentially purged of its original founders and replaced with middle class gatekeepers (Radio presenters, Disk Jockeys (DJ's) and eventually artists). Generally speaking, the use of such music past a certain age is seen to be more socially acceptable once this cultural (and economic) transition happens.

To further our example to elsewhere in the world; that stigma was similarly attached to Jazz, rock, soul and eventually hip hop, as well as a bunch of other genres that noticeably started after the 1960s.

The 1960s is important because this is the date in particular in which the industrialisation of the music industry went into full swing and the mass production of music as physical products (vinyl then later tapes and then CDs) became big business for record labels.

This is all relevant because in the years to come what would take place is a lifecycle for artists much of which oriented around how many contracts record labels believed and artist would be profitable for.

This industrial change to how people produce music and what the aspirations of musicians were changed the outlook of how musicians and people perceived music careers as a performer in these new industrialised music genres.

With each generation all the way up until the last 10 years that stigma about being an old singer or an old rapper had remained but we believe there is enough strong evidence to support the argument that the internet has dramatically changed the economic landscape of the music industry altogether.

In the current age there are artists of all ages and one factor that still stands out to us is that when considering all the artists that have come and gone over the last 30 years even before the internet had risen, the vast majority of artists that have made the history books in the last 30 years were in fact not child sensations, many of the stars which we know and love today actually launched their careers during their 20s, 30s and sometimes even 40s. The numbers go even further as there are exceptions that stretch beyond even those boundaries in both music and film.

In Conclusion

Our position at a grade is that whilst in the past there may have been industrial setbacks to an artist past 35 showing their worth. In the current age there is nothing stopping the 41 year old artist posting there music online and marketing it in creative ways just like everybody else.


There are no rules to who can get a stream, no gatekeepers with a complete monopoly on attention and there are no boardroom executives stopping you from releasing the next viral hit. It is completely down to how much time, thought, and also money, you are willing to put up to turn heads, Be it through using the major platforms, paid advertising, PR plugging or influencer marketing.


These are all tactics you can deploy in your own strategy for success and creating a sbuesiness model pout of your audience to make your career self-sustaining.

If there is something we believe in religiously it is that there are no rules and all rules involving the music industry were made to be broken.

It is only with this outlook that you can be an innovator in your field and this is what we believe in as an ethos for our brand so we advocate strongly that no person on earth who has a passion for music quits in the name of being too old or not hip to the young crowd because there are audiences that love good music on every street, in every city, in every country and every continent, on Planet Earth.

BONUS SECTION :

FREE GEM ON MUSIC CAREER CHOICES

So as a confidence booster, below we have created a useful list of all the careers that exist in the Music industry in which they are all earned off the MERIT and quality of their work (and promotion) and NOT age.

1. Disk Jockey :

From the UK to the USA to Jamaica to Europe, there have been DJ's of all persuasions that have come to public attention as well people that are not necessarily "public figures" in the same light that artistes are; but none the less they are highprofile and their skills to "impact" a party remain high in demand; in fact we can somewhat guarantee that as long as the industry of people wanting to throw "killer party's" be it birthdays or actual events exists; we can somewhat guarantee there will be a place and demand for skilled DJ's, whether it's an ability to run the latest hip-hop, Dancehall, Reggae, House, EDM, Drum and Bass/Garage, or Techno raves, each of these skills will continue to be in high demand for some time to come.

2. Musician / Instrumentalist;

The purpose of this article was to highlight the less known corners of the music industry which; behind the scenes are well known facts to anyone working in and around many artists of different backgrounds. The middle classes (in Britain in particular) are often regarded for teaching their children to play an instrument from a young age; what isn't necessarily understood as well is that there is in fact a real, and strong demand for strong, talented instrument players in specific fields.

What usually stumps people is that to play or be employed by a prestigious orchestra or band which plays formally to a wealthy / upscale audience usually requires a player to have a certain amount of knowledge of music theory as well as to be well acquainted in specific social circles.

While these may have degrees of truth to it; the point we are making here is that one should not feel restricted that you "can't" do that simply because it's not the most trendy/popular thing to do; and furthermore, that actually have the potential to create your own independent leverage here too.

A less known fact that we can testify to is that many active artists are willing and actively seeking to find live instrumentalists that can play something in a session to give their music a more organic feel. We know as creatives ourselves, how touchy artists are about "their art", so this is more a recommendation than it is gospel for everyone, but if you are ever low on money or short on stable work; do understand that this particular skill can act as a doorway to alot more work and an extremely interesting network if you market correctly.

3. Music Teacher:

Again; we are making sure we cover the less trendy/popular fields for a reason; what we are promoting here isnt just glits and glam, but rather options and in particular options that create a good quality of life.

For a person seeking a work-life balance and doesn't necessarily have the ideal to "be on the road" all the time; don't doubt the stability that can be achieved in teaching music. And also; don't just assume we only mean classroom teaching, that is a great possibility and opportunity to inspire the next generation within the schooling system; but you also have the option of marketing your services independently or through a music school or college which each produce different environments and results.

4. Songwriter / Ghostwriter:

Most people who write songs do it out of passion but what happens in the process of this is people completely underestimate the amount of income and networking they can do by essentially renting out their songwriting ability to other artists.

There is both the potential to be paid upfront and through royalty payments on songs that you have written but are performed by other artists so if you can build a strong infrastructure for yourself, it is possible how to build an independent and strong line of income through songwriting alone.

That is not to oversimplify or make it sound easy to become a professional songwriter, honestly it usually takes years of networking and growth before one can develop a stable income off of it but if you have the ability heartfelt songs that could be be received all over the world. Ask yourself; what's stopping you ?

An interesting fact is that most pop songs particularly of the 90s 80s 70s and 60s but not in fact written by the artists which are most famous for the songs. In the background, there were songwriters for Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson amongst many others that receive royalty payments to this very day for songs they wrote over 40 years ago.

5. Music Producer:

This one goes without saying but because of the way the industry is currently exploding again, it is no doubt worth mentioning in this article. Music producers and the income that they can accumulate is dramatically underestimated.

Traditionally music producers would only really see great returns off of their music if they managed to land a placement with an artist that has either a song or an album that blows up on either national or international level or is being financed by a major record labels or an indie label with a sizeable budget.

In conclusion:

Here's what's changing, in this current era music producers are having multiple new ports of revenue opened up to them and the beauty about these ports of revenue is that they are completely independent.

We hope this article has been helpful and inspiring to many.

Much love

A-Grade

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