So it goes on. The music industry continues to find itself in a well documented pickle. Never fear. Bands, Artists, can still be a success, without big record companies, by following this simple plan.
Make something that touches peoples lives in some way. Make this objective you're number one priority. Remember, it don't mean a thing if it don't mean a thing. And It's not just the music. It's as much about how the rest of it resonates. Malcolm says ideally a mix of sex, subversion and style. OK Radiohead have none of those and they have done ok, but there's always an exception.
Find your audience. There's no shortcuts here. Organise your own gigs, club nights, events or whatever. Try and hook up with 2 or 3 other bands/artists working in broadly the same area as you. Once there are 3 bands you have a movement. Assuming each band has about 4 members and each member has 5 mates, then you should have a crowd for your gig of at least 60 people. To the outside world, and particularly the early adopters, it now looks like something is going on. If it's controversial, even better. If you are any good, it will start to snowball.
Remember step 1. If your product is worth it, then your fans will start to spread the word. Now is probably the time to have some music online that the fans can start to distribute for you. There's plenty of tools online for this. but don't get hung up on that. Keep focused on being amazing, and give people the opportunity to opt-in at every touch-point, so you can build your fan club.
Make some stuff for fans to buy. Ideally physical objects that cannot be easily replicated digitally. And make them limited editions. True fans will want to support you and will pay for stuff. Just not mp3s.
Create a movement, play for the true fans, give them stuff to buy, if you are any good the masses will soon find you.