The Beatles became the most influential band of all time because they spent 10,000 hours practicing. Or, at least, that is what Malcolm Gladwell concluded when he coined the ’10,000-hour rule’ in his 2008 book the Outliers. This ‘magic number of greatness’ is deemed a rule of thumb to symbolise the fundamental time needed to develop expertise or skill in a certain craft. However, the music industry as we now know it no longer accommodates for such long term practice and, in turn, brand building.
McCourt (2005) states that the way in which people consume and experience music has also changed greatly, as traditional music services have transitioned into digital distribution platforms. Hence, kids no longer mull over album shelves or the poster aisle in HMV to find their favourite artist’s new and heavily awaited release.
The online music industry has adopted a long tail approach when distributing new artists, as opposed to the years of dedication and fandom that bands like The Beatles experienced. For example, anyone can now spend a day producing a TikTok which could go viral, instead of 10,000 hours mastering and investing in a high-risk album that could get lost in the noise.
Therefore, the introduction of music on social platforms and via voice activation devices has removed the search element for young audiences, who consume the audio without any tangible devotion. We’re not saying One Direction and Little Mix don’t still have diehard fans formed from the early 2010’s; but we want to investigate how digital developments in even the past five years have reshaped the way in which kids find and connect to artists.