How do modern Boston musicians succeed? Has social media rendered the old industry obsolete? Bradley Jay investigates in part five of The Boston Music Scene.

BOSTON (CBS) – Not so long ago, the path to a successful career in music was pretty well-marked. Everyone knew the drill, especially record execs such as Alvan Long from Curve Of The Earth Records.

“Back in the day you’d put the band together, write the songs, make a tape, and try to to get on the radio. Maybe put out a local single and try to get signed,” reflects Long. “Today everything is so much more confusing.”

While many veterans of the music industry are pessimistic, Northeastern University music business guru Dave Herlihy feels the shift is not necessarily a bad thing.

“People complain about the passing of the scene of the old industry, but the social aspect of music is ascending. I think that kind of one-to-one social connection is infuriating the old guard because they can’t control it.” Herlihy said.

“But the passion that people have in Boston for music is going to fuel a whole new micro-system of a scene that will sustain artists and fans who will find out about each other because they have a love for the music that can’t be co-opted by a large media system.”

The music business has changed so much that focusing on the old recipe for success may not work anymore.

“Success is certainly a motivator for a lot of people to get into music, but not necessarily the smart ones. I might argue that a lot of the most successful ones did not approach it from that standpoint,” Fenway Recording’s Mark Kates observed.

In the next segment of our series, The Boston Music Scene, Bradley Jay talks to musicians about what happens when live performances go wrong.

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