How to Make a Comeback

One of the never-ending sources for musical inspiration in this business is how many artists manage to make a comeback after seemingly fading from relevance. We’ve seen this yet again recently, with Garth Brooks coming out of nowhere in the last few months with a new music service that might actually be good.

Since “launch a new music site” isn’t in the cards for most of us, let’s take a look at some other ways a once-faded star might shine brightly again.

Garth Brooks Trends Again: How To Make A Comeback


1 – Get discovered by the kids.

There’s no magic formula to get teenagers to listen to your music. However, ever since grunge drove ‘90s kids to their parents’ LP collection, teens haven’t been nearly as scared to listen to “old people” music.

Don’t assume the <24 crowd is all alpha broskis and pop princesses. Many younger fans are eager to listen to anything good if it ends up in their headphones.

2 – Tell some truths.

People often listen to songs for the message as much as the music, and messages can be truly timeless. It’s easy to get snarky about hipsters and the Bob Dylan renaissance a few years back, but honestly: Dylan’s music said things that were just as true in the 2000s as in the 60s, and the listeners recognized that.

Musical inspiration goes both ways. Inspiring music will breed new fans.

3 – Make a move no one would ever expect.

Think Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters getting back onstage for The Wall in 2011. Think Queen getting onboard for Highlander.  Think Hootie Darius Rucker singing about Burger King.

For that matter, “Hours” is one of David Bowie’s best post-’70s releases not named “Scary Monsters,” and it was written for a video game.

Making a totally unexpected move that makes everyone go “huh?” is often a surprisingly successful tactic, even if it’s not something that’s been long-dreamed like a Pink Floyd reunion. It also gets you in front of a totally new audience, which breeds new fans.

Which comeback stories do you take musical inspiration from?

One Comments

  • Brian Oinas 11 / 10 / 2015 Reply

    It’s still takes the iron wheel to make a comeback

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