Jesus H. Christ...
Now, it seems I've done nothing but spew vitriol the last few days, and believe me when I say I'm normally an optimistic, cheerful person. But I gotta call bullshit when I see it, and I've been seeing a lot lately. And this article takes the cake. To wit:
To succeed in mainstream, you have to know how to do it. You have to be able to analyze musical styles that are transitioning from cool to mainstream, and recreate those styles in a way the mass market will find appealing.
Don't waste energy aspiring to be an artist. Few mainstream artists come from the ranks of home recording studio owners. Find a niche that you can master - songwriting, production, management, musician - there are plenty.
Those have to be the most incredibly annoying pair of paragraphs I've ever seen commited to print. I had to read the article a couple times to make sure he wasn't being sarcastic. It is important to note that the segment in question is taken slightly out of context. He's saying that you shouldn't aspire to be a particular artist (e.g. 50 Cent); he's not saying that you shouldn't aspire to being an artist (i.e. one who makes art.)
At any rate, let me answer the two points raised, and in a succinct fashion. To point #1, no you fucking don't. To point #2, are you fucking high?
The key ingredients to "mainstream success" are (a) an intense desire to achieve same, and (b) absolutely blind luck. And "cool," whatever the fuck that is, is both transient and context-sensitive. For instance, you're at a gay rave. (Keep up with me here.) If you're, say, a heterosexual male in a suit, you're not cool. Now, take one of those gay ravers and put him in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. Now he's not the cool one.
I can't even believe I'm arguing this point. Let's just say that David Mellor doesn't have the faintest idea of what he's talking about and leave it at that. I've just formed an opinion that Record-Producer.com is the Behringer of music journalism (if we broaden the term to include those that can spell).