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"Does all this shit have anything to do with the music business?"

My phone number is on my contact page on Unsprung Media. At least once a week a random artist calls me direct to chat about business.

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? That’s me. I have the same conversation every week. No worries, I seriously enjoy these chats.

Bewildered and in disbelief, every artist eventually asks the same question: “Does is all this shit have anything to do with the music business?” Note: it’s not ‘stuff’, it’s ‘shit’ every time and without fail.

And, my answer is unequivocally “Yes please! All this shit has everything to do with the music business.”

Three years ago, some artists were still tickling the man’s jewels (I hear the stories…) just to perform upon his stage, and that was what…the music business? You needed his record store, you needed his radio station, and think about all the non-music related stuff (yikes) you did to get his attention.  

Things are different but the same now. Tickling is out, however be prepared to do a lot of non-music-related shit if you want to build a platform that’s big enough for your ambitions.

So yes, finding a way to work with fifty other artists may be necessary.

And yes, picking out the coolest shirt and hat designs is somehow economically related.

Or, building an online community that’s dedicated to spaghetti sauce, spirituality or the Dung Beetle is far better than paying for a radio promotion bridge to nowhere.

And, it’s going to be your ‘broadcast’ platform, your vision, and you and your partners are going to keep all the money when you sell this non-music-but-music-related asset (shit) someday.

Yes, it’s all necessary if you want to be successfully independent. You gotta do a lot of shit. It’s just different shit than the shit everyone did three years ago.

Wait, I said this last week…

Reader Comments (4)

Simply put, if you want to be in the music business, you have to do the "business" as well as the "music".

Ignore it at your peril - many of the famous artists who got ripped off didn't want to get involved in the "business" part, either. It's part of what separates the professional from the hobbyist.

July 20 | Unregistered CommenterJinsai

"It's part of what separates the professional from the hobbyist.

It's also what separates the artist from the naked profiteer. True artists couldn't give a damn if no one hears their music. The shit (money) just got in the way and marginalized the scholarly pursuit of creating art for art's sake. Mostly.

July 22 | Unregistered CommenterPat

True! and that's why I'm an artist and not a professional!

July 22 | Unregistered CommenterJinsai

With all due respect to Pat and Jinsai, is there anyone who makes music who doesn't "give a damn if no one hears their music"? This is not what makes an artist, and I believe you are fooling yourself if you believe this.

In my mind, what makes an artist is intent. The artist doesn't give a damn if everyone likes their music, but they still want to be heard. Otherwise, why do it at all, save for the immediate satisfaction?

And I don't think the words artist and professional are mutually exclusive. I am happy to be both, and agree with Bruce's premise that you need to focus on both aspects if you are to be successful and make a living.

August 22 | Unregistered CommenterJason Parker

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