How Can I Make It When My Style of Music Isn’t Popular?

How Can I Make It When My Style of Music Isn’t Popular?
It’s far better to create the next trend than to ride the back of a wave -says Mark Baxter, acclaimed vocal coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls and many others.

Ironically, your chances of making it are far better if you don’t sound like what’s popular today.

Music changes like fashion; what people are wearing today is out of style in just two years. It takes at least that long to build an audience — so successful artists take a different approach.

They make music that moves them and then set out to make it popular. It’s far better to create the next trend than to ride the back of a wave.

Twisted Sister’s Rebellion Against Disco

Back when I was performing in a rock band, disco was becoming popular. It was so pervasive that many groups were being tempted to sway in the direction of that genre.

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There was one band, though, that stuck to their guns: Twisted Sister.

I was lucky to be their opening act often and I learned a lot from that experience. They never apologized about being anti-disco.

In fact, they repeated “disco sucks” chants until everyone in the room joined in. It became their battle cry. By the time they made MTV they had been honing their sound for years.

Find Your Like Minded Listeners

In the week ending on September 30, 2012, Mumford and Sons’ second album debuted at number one. Not since AC/DC released Black Ice in 2008 has a rock album debuted at number one.

It’s hard to imagine two more different sounding bands.

Let their success remind you that whatever your genre — especially if it’s not the most popular at the time — it’s your job to find like-minded listeners.

Don’t apologize about your style (even if it’s Disco!).

-Mark Baxter


 The Ultimate Guide to SingingMark is a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Singing Available in print and Kindle versions in the US, the UK and across the world.

Mark Baxter Professional Shoot

Mark Baxter has worked as a coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls — and many others. He is the author of The Rock-n-Roll Singer’s Survival, creator of The Singer’s Toolbox instructional DVD, Sing Like an Idol instructional CD. Mark operates vocal studios in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and online via Skype. Visit his website: VoiceLesson


  • Michael Vaughn

    A couple of points:
    First… The music industry was very different when Twisted Sister was coming up. Today it’s totally cookie-cutter. Record companies won’t take a chance on anything new or different today. All they seem to want is the latest version of what they already have.
    Second… I would hardly call Mumford and Sons “Rock.”

  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    Yeah, I see what you are saying Michael. Very different music industry today. I still agree with Mark Baxter on the idea that you have to be true to who you are and set out to make whatever that is as popular as possible. Maybe the big labels won’t give you the time of day if your genre is a bit out of the box, but you could still achieve a certain amount of success independently … and at least you wouldn’t be trying to force yourself into a genre that is just not you…