Report: Music Industry Execs ‘Depressed’ About Current State of Breaking New Pop Artists

The industry has grown and shifted in dramatic ways in recent years, resulting in major changes to how new artists break through.

person recording vocals
Image via Getty/Cris Cantón
person recording vocals

It should go without saying that there’s more than enough cynicism in the music industry to allow for one to get cynical about the cynicism itself, thus brushing it off entirely. And while some of this can certainly be chalked up to ageism and related Old Man Yells at Cloud behavior, others have raised some more nuanced concerns.

These issues, specifically as they relate to how the process of breaking new pop artists has changed in recent years, is detailed in a new Billboard piece from Elias Leight. In it, an anonymous manager is quoted as saying that those in the industry are “depressed” about the present-day realities of breaking someone new.

"Each person I talk to in the industry is more depressed [about this] than the person I talked to before them,” the anonymous exec said, joining similarly dire assessments from others.

One exec, for example, went so far as to estimate that “nobody knows how to break music right now,” adding that everyone is “lost.”

While industry-shifting developments like TikTok virality have indeed resulted in new stars, it's argued that these examples don't often equate to the type of full-scale pop stardom often used as a reference point.

The broader discussion surrounding these issues, of course, has been building for some time now. The oft-argued point of oversaturation, notably, is frequently at the center of such talk. Even artists themselves have weighed in on this, including Coi Leray.

“The music industry is over saturated," the Coi and Trendsetter artist said in a swiftly debated tweet in May. "Every song is a hit. Everybody is a star."

Thankfully, there are still those in the industry—whether oversaturated or not—who carry out their respective work from a place of genuine love and excitement for the art and those making it.

In a conversation with Jordan Rose for Complex last June, Interscope Geffen A&M exec Nicole Wyskoarko opened up about the unique experience of meeting a new artist before they've broken into a wider audience.

"Maybe they haven’t even put music out yet. The world doesn’t know yet, and when you see something and see their excitement and vision, and you get it and are there with them, that jouney is so fulfilling and exciting for me," Wyskoarko, who serves as executive vice president and co-head, said at the time. "When you get to be there early and be a part of the dream."

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