The facetious, but true answer, is to have been a big star in the past system. If you were, you are a Golden Superman. The reason for this is that music, peculiarly of all the arts, has the ability to transport us to a much better place, meaning our idealized past. Crappy music makes you immediately recall a 7th grade dance, wrecking a car, getting.... oh well, enough of that. You know what I mean. Whoever was playing on the radio will always be memorialized, and the generation gap is more and more meaningless.
I mean, the hitmakers of the last 50 years are the luckiest individuals on earth. Their songs are still played and they can still sell tickets, unlike any other popular music in the history of mankind. Imagine, like I did last week, listening to a song recorded in 1926 in 1968 and having it part of your regular musical lexicon. Jimi Hendrix, and the other fortunate old system lottery winners do this every day. Of course, it is popular for them to blame the system for homogenizing the sounds, but it is exactly that homogenization of tastes that made them gazillionaires with lifestyles that would make Caligula blush.
The way for future artists? Sign up with Disney or some other video/movie/TV conglomerate to mass market your stuff to a certain segment. Of course, this isn't really proven to work except for the 6-12 year old girl market, one that is particularly fickle in their music buying habits and a market that doesn't have much nostalgia value. No one is nostalgic of being a 10 year old. 16, maybe. 10 never.
No, I am afraid the serious artists of tomorrow are going to have to accept they won't sell out stadiums. Stadium owners might factor this in for future long-term revenue predictions. Without the old-style machine that created few, yet massive acts, the future will be regional acts that might get a little national play due to a movie soundtrack or some other mechanism. They will be popular for a while where they live, and the decline curve of sales will mimic that of the old system, just with lots fewer units. Of course, they are doing it for their art and not popularity, so no one will be a sell-out under this system. They can still have sybaritic lifestyles, but the pickings will be regional and not supercharged with Bentleys or cash. On a more positive note, it also means that our kids won't be incessantly preached at by Sting and Bono and others of their ilk who have been given some sort of special insight into the human condition, apparently via G4 jets and access to star-struck congressmen. The big stars of tomorrow will be like the musicians I know today. Day jobs after 23 or 24, some great memories, and a steady, if not life-supporting low decline sales over iTunes or their websites.
COMING NEXT- PART 3. A Surefire Method On How To Write A Hit Song.