Most people think that the biggest competition in the music industry are the artists that are already established but this is not really the case. In fact, when you try to compete with the artists on the radio, you actually sell yourself short.
If you notice, the music industry is one big competition to be the next big thing, whether it's music sales, or a music trend. However, when you think about being the next musical sensation, what is on the radio shouldn't be the first thing that pops into your head. The people in the music industry operate by what is "in the now" instead of what is "up and coming". A lot of independent artists have a huge fan-base just by social media alone and that is thanks to the music industry.
Upon listening to the radio, realize that all songs sound basically the same. The same chord structure, the same background structure, and basically the same beat. A lot of it is as a result of the people in the music industry being in competition with one another. When you make someone else your competition, you block yourself from becoming even greater than they are, and even worse, there is always someone who is way better than the person you are considering as competition.
A great example of how the music industry "sells itself short" can be explained with one song: Lil Wayne's
'A Milli'. Truthfully enough, that song was great, in its own right, but it was mainly the beat, or background production that caused people to pay attention. Bangladesh came up with a "two beats in one" type of format to where he could have 8 bars of one beat, then 8 bars of another one, with a sample playing throughout. This sent the music world in a frenzy, because it was something never done at the time. But did Bangladesh pay attention to what was going over the airwaves, or was he being original, making himself his own competition?
When we try to be better at our music than what we already have done or what someone else has done, it makes our upbringing better, no matter what genre you partake in. When you try to do something that everyone else in the industry is doing, you prevent yourself from sticking out, thus you miss opportunities for recognition. The main thing that the music industry needs now: originality.
Look around you. Books are being made into movies because no one can come up with an original idea, or it rarely happens. The music industry that is really suffering is the rap music industry because every song sounds the same, has the same formula, and it is dying with every passing second. Most artists that are getting record deals are getting them because of their image and looks, not their talent, and that is why music is dying a slow and painful death.
Do yourself a favor. Don't try to be like everyone else. Be yourself. Be you. Don't allow anyone to tell what is good for the music industry. If you are talented enough to bring something to the table, you truthfully don't need the music industry...the music industry needs you. Get back to the originality that was brought in the 90s with music. Only then will music be saved. What comes from the heart reaches the heart. What comes from competition results in failure. Be original in your music.