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Context : MusicalStuff

Quora Answer : Do famous musicians usually end their careers on a high note or follow their peak with bad music?

Mar 11, 2014

It's not a simple binary opposition. Most artists don't go out on either a high or a spectacular flop. Most fade away.

They keep making solid music. Sometimes it can be the best music they've made in their lives, from an artistic perspective. But it is out of fashion. The genre / tropes they use that were so hot 10 years earlier are considered stale and boring today. They don't tour as heavily as they used to when they were younger and their name is less in front of new crowds. Their latest albums don't sell so well. Their record label drops them and they move on to a smaller, more specialized label. Or start their own. They sell to a few loyal fans, but supplement their income with day jobs. Many rightly recognise that stardom was an ephemeral thing. They become A&R men or label owners applying their skills to discovering the next big thing. Or they start TV production companies. Or go back to college. Or teach.

Many (maybe most) of the best musical artists today aren't prominent stars. They're in this long-tail mix of creative retirement. Playing regular gigs to small but happy audiences and diversifying into writing, painting, cooking, living.

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