Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


March 07, 2011

The Surprising Truth About Making a Living with Music

Warning: The following rant will ruffle some feathers and just might upset your comfort zone. Read with caution!

John McCrea, lead singer of the band Cake, stirred up a reaction when he told NPR's Melissa Block that he is skeptical about the future of music as a vocation.

"I see music as a really great hobby for most people in five or 10 years," he remarked.

Keep in mind this was part of a segment about Cake's historic new album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in January. It was historic because the album earned the coveted ranking by selling just 44,000 copies — the lowest amount for a No. 1 in the 20-year history of calculating record sales.

I've been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts lately about the doom and gloom of the music biz — including depressing news about the state of independent music. There have been references to the failure of direct-to-fan as a business model, and the harsh realities that aspiring musicians, managers, and promoters face.

Really? Give me a break!

Sure, I agree that things have drastically changed. The "traditional music industry" has crumbled. All the new, accessible promotion tools have created a crowded and noisy world where millions of DIY artists are clamoring for attention. Things are in flux. Nothing is predictable. There's no sure path to success.

So tell me ...

How is this so radically different from the good old days?

When exactly was there a sure path to making a good living as an artist? What year or decade did a healthy percentage of musicians prosper in the Golden Age of Music? And in what era was the pursuit of the almighty record deal an accessible and fair arrangement for all concerned?

Wake up and smell the gigabytes! Please!

The truth is ... This Golden Age never existed. There's never been a time when musical self-sufficiency was guaranteed. It's always been the case — and always will be — that a majority of people pursue music as a part-time hobby.

Only a small percentage of artists make a living. That isn't a consequence of the Internet or piracy or consumer apathy or limitless entertainment choices. It's just the nature of humanity, regardless what business model is in place.

If you find yourself complaining about the current state of music, it's probably because you feel lost not knowing what direction to go or what "rules" to follow. I get that. At least — prior to the Napster and iTunes era — many people agreed on the steps you needed to take: get a record deal and/or get radio airplay, retail placement, media exposure, tour, build a business team, etc.

Now it seems nobody knows what the sure path is. As flawed as the old system was, at least you had some kind of map, right?

Here's another cold dose of reality ... That system sucked just as much as, if not more than, the current one!

Many musicians struggled then ... and they struggle now. Artists fought for attention then ... and they fight for it now. Self-promoters were confused about marketing and sales then ... and they are just as confused now.

And, back in "the day," there was never a set path to a record deal either. Nearly 20 years ago I organized a lot of music education events in St. Louis with local artists who had been signed to label deals. Each had to forge their own path to get noticed and get signed. No two stories were alike.

However, the one theme that many of them shared years later was the bitterness they felt after having gone through the corporate record company process. Hmm ... I guess that wasn't the Golden Age after all.

Honestly ... Do you really prefer the old system of having to impress a gatekeeper before you are deemed worthy of a music career? Do you prefer the stability of needing commercial radio airplay, retail space, and MTV video exposure to "make it"?

I think not! So ...

Please stop lamenting the good ole bygone days (that never existed to begin with). Please stop complaining about the hardships of social networking and all the work required to get noticed and engage with fans. Cry me a river!

Success in music has always required talent, desire, a quest for mastery, and consistent action. That was true years ago, and it's just as true today.

The modern-day whiners all focus on what's missing and what's difficult. Meanwhile, empowered indie artists such as Jason Parker, David Nevue, Rob Michael, John Taglieri, and many more see opportunities, embrace this new era and ... heaven forbid ... are actually making a decent living doing it.

So ... are you a victimized complainer ... or an empowered doer?

More on this topic coming soon ... In the meantime, I welcome your comments.

-Bob

P.S. This piece was inspired by this post on Hypebot and this story on NPR.
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.


Or just sign up using this quick and easy form:

Your First Name
Your Primary Email


Your email address will not be shared. Unsubscribe at any time.

Connect with

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:40 PM   53 comments


53 Comments:

At Mar 8, 2011, 8:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True in the late 80's indie labels struggled too. My friend is an extremely succesfull Berlin booking agent and started booking promotional tours for his bands because his recordlabel failed...
almost no sales in records...

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:26:00 AM, OpenID vospi said...

"get to work"
for short

it doesn't matter what one is complaining about, it's not going to take you there anyway.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:31:00 AM, Anonymous Mark Shepard said...

Well said Bob! Ultimately we create our own "reality" with our interpretation of the world outside us. There's a great documentary about Phillip Glass where he says, "Ironically so many people disliked our music that we started getting a lot of attention." He pursued his vision and his passion at great personal cost. He even had a day job so he could pay the other musicians. I get discouraged sometimes but ultimately we now have more control over our musical destiny than at any time in the history of the world. Keep up the good work
Mark Shepard

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:41:00 AM, Anonymous Danny Grause said...

If this article struck a nerver with anyone, I'd like to make a suggestion. Google 'The Power of T.E.D' and read about 'The Empowerment Dynamic'. Great stuff to help get you out of the 'victim' mindest and into the more productive 'creator' mindset.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:42:00 AM, Anonymous Dave Yeager said...

I agree, Bob -- challenges serve to make us stronger. I personally choose to practice embracing my Life -- and I'd prefer to die trying to follow my dreams than to wallow in apathy or negativity.

One day I'll be dead. Right now, I'm alive. So I'm gonna embrace living!

If the world knocks you down 8 times, you've gotta get up 9 times!
And yes -- we need time out to rest, rejuvenate and recharge our hopes and dreams.
But we can't afford the luxury of dwelling on even one negative thought.

It takes incredible inner fortitude, discipline and persistence to leave a true and lasting legacy -- no matter what the conditions around us are.

Take the time to evaluate what success really means.
Play your best game -- regardless of the results. You're alive!!!
Dave
ps Sorry to be a bit "preachy"...been listening to some cool rap music outta Seattle lately ;-) And I'm also keeping myself on track to practice what I say as best I can.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:43:00 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

I love ya, man! Seriously, as usual, you are RIGHT ON! You have such a way of putting things into prospective, which is beyond valuable to those of us out here in the fox holes. I'm SO glad I'm on your mailing list!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:50:00 AM, Blogger Hillbilly Flamenco said...

Hi Bob,
As always, it really comes down to a good work ethic, and following through with all the baby steps.
It may not be as straight forward as a factory job, but it is a job (many jobs) and it pays when you work it.
Peace
Dave

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 8:53:00 AM, Blogger rth said...

Very true, and encouraging to hear someone knowledgeable say it.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:02:00 AM, Blogger info said...

Before = Illusion
Now = Reality

Peace
Alain Pernot

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:18:00 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

Good article. What stands out the most is when you say, "If you find yourself complaining about the current state of music, it's probably because you feel lost not knowing what direction to go or what "rules" to follow". I think that's dead on. Everyone needs some kind of a road map. And that's true whether it's the current music industry or the previous industry.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:31:00 AM, Anonymous Eric Normand said...

Great points, this is all true. I believe there are many different paths to obtaining a music career, it is different for each person. But for every person that finds a way to earn a living with music, there are probably 100 or more who don't.

Although it is true that the "traditional music industry has crumbled", there is still a "shadow" of this traditional industry still in place, and this means opportunity for at least a few, at least for the short to mid term future. For instance, in Nashville, which has a long history of country artists becoming successful in that old model, there are many artists, who built their success 10 or 20 years ago, still touring today. These tours employ people - musicians, sound engineers, techs, tour managers, bus companies, etc.

Not everyone cares about becoming a superstar, some people just want to earn a living from their craft, and working as a side man on a tour is one way to accomplish this. Of course, there are more people vying for these opportunities then there are opportunities. In the end, it still boils down to creating your own path that works for you.

http://nashvillemusicianssurvivalmanual.com

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:36:00 AM, Blogger Shangri-l said...

So if comments are welcome I'll post a little one ; but I have very few to say... Just that I'm myself a musician trying to promote his music for almost ten years - And I was in bands far before that, and even back in 2002 when we issued our first EP wih the band I was in, we knew the old path was doomed and never tried to get a record deal - instead of that we put the songs online.

Also, nowadays nobody talks about getting rich with music anymore, but simply about making a living.

I agree a lot with the post, and I would like to add that being a musician always required a lot of self-abnegation.

In the meanwhile, I still have records for sale (and for free download), I still create music, and I hope I can make a few people happier with my work. As I thought a long, long time ago, back in my teenage, I only hope there's somewhere a kid listening to my music in his/her headphones while going to school, like I used to do years ago listening to my favorite bands. To quote a famous one, 'I just make rock'n'roll for kids to dance'. And to quote another one 'I don't care about the money - I ain't seen none'. (first quote is from Johnny Thunders ; second one from Tuff Darts).

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:38:00 AM, Anonymous mama chill said...

All true, as is neeeding to be pr-pubescant and have famous parents, good to see some things never change huh? lol! ;) xxx

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:39:00 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

I'm an opera singer, but totally agree with this post. The business has never been easy and only the talented, driven and creative survive.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:43:00 AM, Blogger Kole said...

Couldn't agree more, I was signed at a young age with no input and shows from time to time I was stuck. I have control of how much money I make now. Let's be honest, making money isn't easy and keeping a budget and low cost isn't easy BUT if musicians spent 40 hours a week (or more) on their craft, education, booking and networking they would make the money they needed if they work smart. I live on a poverty level but my costs and bills are so low I can live on much less.....I am happy this way as I continue to grow---Tour this fall!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:45:00 AM, Blogger Allen said...

Music "Business" - keyword: business. Sure, creating music is how we express emotions in an artistic manner; but we must make doggone certain that we understand the 'business' of our art. Music "business" is not so different than the challenges any brick and mortar operation face. Just because our emotional art is worn on our sleeve won't necessarily move people to empathize and buy our stories. We still have to write great songs that have universal appeal. That will always be the determining factor of product sales. The uncertainty of success is just as nerve racking for the shoe store as it is for the musician. The business mindset-gotta have it. Good ranting, Bob. Thanks. Bring it home!!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 9:49:00 AM, Anonymous Rock Wylder said...

You just have to keep on keeping on. You have to maintain your skill level. If you are in music solely for money, your in the wrong business. I am about 3 months away from releasing a download that is hands down the best thing I have ever done. I don't care if it sells or not. I know it is quality. Do what you can and do it well. Sometimes, not giving a shit will get you some attention. Do I pay the bills solely by musical income? No.But music keeps me sane enough to function in the rat race. I will never stop creating and trying with every fiber in my being, NEVER! If your not passionate about music you don't stand a chance. So pull yourself up by the boot staps and just do it.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:08:00 AM, Anonymous Matt Eaton said...

As an independent artist/label...if I could sell 44,000 copies...that's a very good living!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:15:00 AM, Anonymous Alan Nu said...

I've had more than one friend land a record deal, only to see their hard work shelved when the VP that favored them left the label. Even after the deal, there was really no 'sure thing'. You could still have label support and have no sales. Or you could be an indie like Missing Persons ('demo' release) and do huge numbers.

McCrea's (Cake) statement is interesting because he pretty much renounces the labels and the old system in another interview (Electronic Musician March issue).

They seem to have spent a lot of time figuring out how to get this one out there, since it's been six years or so since their last release. So if there's anything to learn from Cake, it might be about planning and timing.

It's not harder now than then, just different...I'm looking forward to more future feather ruffling, Bob.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:22:00 AM, Anonymous Natalie Gelman said...

Great article Bob! Everything in life is what you make of it - and definitely as an artist/entrepreneur you have to make the decisions to stay motivated and on top of your career. A lot of times the opportunities and folks who can help you can also make the momentum you built up stall out because they don't "get it." So choose wisely... and then just have fun! :)

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous dobs@publicsymphony.com said...

Whether you agree with Bob or that front-man depends on your expectations. Maybe there hasn't been a Golden Age for 20 years, Bob, except for the 90's clubbing boom, which employed me. But before that? Paul McCartney said he knew nearly all the UK bands in the 60's, there were so few compared to today. Buying records became so popular that by the 80's, the industry was at its rudest peak and signed artists 'made it' big money-wise, unlike now. Now new music is like tap water, flooded with supply and free if you want. It doesn't suit Bob to admit the decline in professionalism because he is trading off peddling the enduring popular myth that pop artistry is glamorous or does pay. Well, less and less. Not enough for me, and luckily I have built a career as a TV composer. It's tempting to spend more on promotion than to earn as an artist, and that's why that front-man predicts that most musicians will 'hobby'. Ironically my album is called 'inspire', and it's successful if you go on sync licensing and awards, and I'm proud of it, but it's not profitable. The truth will out: the prospect for making a living, either signed or DIY, is not impossible but truthfully the odds are longer than ever.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Mama's Dirty Li'l Secret said...

Hey Bob,
As much as running my own career is annoying, frustrating, "WTF-am-I-doing," it's still so much more rewarding than having to please someone who didn't even care about you in the first place.

I, wholeheartedly, embrace the new paradigm!

Rock Hard! Rock Sexy!
-The Deacon

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:39:00 AM, Anonymous Chuck Lindo said...

Great article, Bob. It comes down to, and seems to always have, figuring out what you're good at, then, as Steve Martin said "be undeniably good". Show me one artist (in any era) who was undeniably good, kept at it, and didn't at least get the opportunity to reach a mass audience.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Lee Fox said...

That must've been a tough call for you, Bob. You rarely let go of the "never confrontational" style you adhere to.

You're correct, of course. Things have never been "easy" for musicians.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great read, cheers

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Rob Michael said...

Funny how it seems to be such a surprise to so many that it's 'coaster salesman' that are going out of business. Not musicians.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Katie Pearlman said...

"If you find yourself complaining about the current state of music, it's probably because you feel lost not knowing what direction to go or what "rules" to follow."

I liked this comment in your blog. I also like the positive nature of your blog...very inspiring.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 12:59:00 PM, Blogger brdaily said...

Anyone who wants some seriously inspiring info about making a living with music in the digital age must read "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired. Amazing stuff.
Bruce R.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:00:00 PM, Anonymous Kidd Blast said...

It is a business! No different than your day job and a 40 hour week! You either work for someone else (record companies)and take what they give you. Or you work for yourself, do your own paperwork, pay your own taxes, and pay your own way! You will either help them succeed at THEIR business, while you whine about it, or you'll work hard OWNING and RUNNING your own business, and succeed by your work ethic, quality of product, crossing your T's & dotting your I's, and paying attention.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:01:00 PM, Blogger Katie Pearlman said...

I love this quote that you said also...

"Success in music has always required talent, desire, a quest for mastery, and consistent action. That was true years ago, and it's just as true today."

Man, that's good!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:04:00 PM, Anonymous Motel Beds said...

Brilliant. It's such a basic mentality, but it'll never stop being true. Want it? GO GET IT.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:08:00 PM, Anonymous Mario Vickram Sen said...

Hi Bob,
I totally agree, it's been the same since the '60s when I started. It's always been difficult to make a living in the music business for most of us, regardless of ability, and very easy for some lucky few who stepped into the right pile of something... also regardless of talent or ability.

This doesn't mean I don't have criticism of the system the way it is... there was time when the audiences were better served, with a larger amount of creative talent coming to the market than there is now. Still didn't make it any easier for the musician.

I also must question John McCrea's comments about nobody being able to make money in the music business soon... perhaps his definiton of making money starts at a much higher income bracket than mine does, but somebody's making a lot of cash.

Have you seen the price of tickets to live concerts these days. Anybody who's decent is charging way over a hundred dollars for a pair. Even Fab Faux (a cover band, mind you) is charging $120 for a pair of tickets now.

Just try and get in to Paul Simon, Ian Anderson, Randy Newman, Santana... I know, I know, all older superstars but I'm not that interested in most of the younger bands. I wonder how many of them will be getting these kind of audiences in thirty years.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:43:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

It has always struck me as odd that musicians think they'd be no good at the business end... it's a creative use of ideas and resources. Who's more qualified than a creative individual?
As usual, excellent work Bob!
Thanks!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 1:57:00 PM, Blogger DON PEDRO said...

Interesting Bob, all major labels left Africa claiming there was no profit in the business anymore. I am leaving London to re-establish my management biz back in Africa-why? New musicians have taken over and helping themselves without the so called labels.There are numerous talents abound now and free to work with anyone. Its a dawn of an era for us down there.This my friend is the golden age. Pedro Okojie (UK)

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 2:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't much of what is happening just the result of supply and demand ? I mean, look at what's available online. 100's of thousands (maybe millions) of songs in every genre is represented. This wasn't the case in the 50's-90's. If you wanted a recording you actually had to go to a record store to buy it either on an LP, cassette tape, or CD. Now, it's possible to find any song online plus find songs and recordings that are near to impossible to find on an LP or CD format. Computer technology has made it possible for anyone to make and sell recordings adding to the glut of music inundating the marketplace. There is also the fact that video games, online movies have contributed to the publics bombardment of available music and also competes for the same dollar that people use to spend on music Cd's. P2P sharing has contributed to waning sales also. I have been a musician, composer, session guitarist, touring musician for over 30 years and I can tell you that the public is being hit over the head with music 24 hours a day and that in itself produces an apathy towards music in general. That being said, I would like to point out that not much has changed for musicians over the last few hundred years. I remember seeing a PBS documentary on the Strauss Bros. and it showed them being screwed by managers, publishers, booking agents, and even the King and other royalty that commissioned them to write music. When they had to take live gigs in restaurants and cafes because of the war, they even got belittled and screwed by the establishments owners. Music has never been an easy road (just ask any jazz musician who has tried to make a living over the last 40-50 years ! ) I will continue to compose and play music because that is what I do in life and hopefully I will continue to make a living doing it. But with the current state of things, I really question if the future of music can flourish on the scale we have been part of over the last 50 years. Perhaps the public is simply burnt out on too much music ! I almost forgot another huge and perhaps primary factor in the declining sales of music and that is the crappy economy ! Many people just can't afford the luxury of being able to spend hard earned cash for items such as CD's or even iTunes, especially when one can find many online sources of free music (Youtube, P2P and Torrent sites). Bottom line is, and as a Musician "I make music not because I want to, but because I have to" and even if no one buys my music, I will continue.

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 4:26:00 PM, Blogger Praverb said...

Great article that highlights how stressful the industry is...

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 7:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard many say... "I guess it is the economy"... But in any economy through out the years somehow people still like music! I agree you do have to work at what you want to do... but everyone always has! We have at our disposal today more means to reach people than ever in history! Use your e-mail contacts... use the social networking... use who you are as a person to make yourself grow as a musician. Easy? Nothing is easy... we have to work for it... make friends, make fans, make great music, and have fun!

 
At Mar 8, 2011, 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All salient points. The one I see reiterated most, and the one I think is most important, is WORK. John Mayall didn't just "luck" into all those great guitarists. Thy were contractually required to practice at least 8 hours a day.

Complainers don't like to hear "work". It takes away from their complaining time.

Meanwhile, successful people in the music biz have learned to ignore most complainers as a waste of time better spent on more positive things.

I produce for a major jazz label. Most of our artists are older and well established. As long as they keep gigging, we'll sell a lot of CD's. We handle limited promo, like comping radio stations that play that style of music. We phone first, making sure they still have the same format. We NEVER broadside every station (like many indie artists do). Getting a reputation for this is a sure fire way to NOT get air play. PD's and DJ's get unbelievable numbers of CD's. We get play because we send only what they want, mark the tunes we're featuring, remove the shrink wrap, and generally include a few covers (we call 'em "Standards").

Common sense stuff.


-Mike Curtis

 
At Mar 9, 2011, 4:26:00 AM, Anonymous Scalino "Le Scal" Corleone said...

Hi Bob,

Not at all surprising for me, but yeah, nothing but the truth... :)

Well, the essential has been said, I just wanted to add 2 things:

- historically (on long term basis), I think the era of "making money selling records" was the exception; to my mind, any performer should only be paid while they're performing.

- the current era is nothing less than the greatest empowering period in all human history... :)

Yeah! Rock on!
Scalino "Le Scal" Corleone

 
At Mar 9, 2011, 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Darci Monet said...

Rock on, Bob! There's CERTAINLY no room for the whiners in the business of music, be it a full time endeavor or part time hobby. Do your work and do it with joy. End of list.

 
At Mar 9, 2011, 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Mister Billy said...

Hey Bob,

Yes things suck now, but they have always sucked.

Truly great artists or artists that are truly great at marketing and gathering "ravingfans" will always work and pay the bills doing what they love.

The rest will not do the work, make the necessary changes or give their target audience (if they even know who they are) what they want and will buy.

The screaming voices that cry out why not me, it's not fair, I'm too old, how did he make it, I just need to be discovered...whatever...will continue till the end of time.

There will be artists making a living and getting paid, but as there are so many more people out there flooding the market, the time to do something that really stands out is more important than ever before.

Case in point, I have a friend that has a typical 3 pc blues band that plays typical blues music...nothing special. When I ask him about his new CD he says, "it's the same crap I always do"...and he expects a record deal. It breaks my heart.

The Mighty Mr. Billy
http://www.misterbilly.com

 
At Mar 9, 2011, 1:37:00 PM, Blogger Tom said...

How about this idea: Just don't make your life happiness depend on "making it" as an ARTIST. Rather, make it your priority to "make it" as a HUMAN BEING alive in his world for 70 or so years, who lives a life that he/she finds worthwhile and at least a few other people find worthwhile too. The real work of ART that matters and which you are the creator of is YOUR LIFE. Your Life is a "song" or a "book," and it is the one that matters. How about that? Is that any good?

 
At Mar 10, 2011, 1:03:00 AM, Blogger Ike Bennett said...

I have been writing songs and recording on my Home studio, playing and singing in a Piano Bar for many years.Just seeing the reaction of people when they hear my originals makes me feel good and know what direction to take. I read the "Guerrilla Music marketing Handbook" by Bob. Just a few pages of the Book, and I am on You tube and started my own website. In four months I have 127 hits. If you have talent willing to do what you don't want to do, and do away with false pride(which was one of my greatest faults), one can make a decent living. After I got over the hurdle of asking for the sale..it was all good.Sooner or later it will happen, persistence ...but the talent is necessary and one has to recognize that for him/herself. Read Bob's book and ...ask for the sale. By the way I am not trying to sell his book, just facts.

 
At Mar 10, 2011, 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous Scott James said...

Well Said Bob!

 
At Mar 10, 2011, 5:01:00 PM, Blogger Tom said...

To me, this is an agonizing, gut wrenching issue, to which no merely verbal statement can ever really be satisfactory. Therefore, this is just the right topic to SING about! Music is the supreme articulation of things that cannot be seen, show, felt, said, received, perceived any other way. Feel despair in your gut over the thought you might not "make it" as an artist? Well, I think we shouldn't just necessarily paste over that feeling with a bunch of positive thinking affirmations, but should perhaps write and perform music about that. If I remember correctly, Billy Joel's first hit was "Piano Man," which is an autobiographical song full of despair about not making it as a musician, and being stuck performing in bars performing for a bunch of drunks and people who deem themselves "losers." But, this is not just an issue for musicians, writers, and other artists. This issue of "going for dreams" versus "settling" is one that most people face in a way that tear their guts out and put tears trail down their cheeks. Who can show the light, show the way, or at least a hint of light, to all these people? Isn't that the role of artists? Either artists or preachers, but this blog isn't about religion, so that leaves the artists. So, does life have its terrors and heartaches? I think so, and thank goodness it does, or there'd be nothing for artists to do. The "civilians" need, above all, the half-nonverbal, musical, mystical "solutions" that artists come up to the problems of life. Have the business dimensions of the music field changed radically due to technology? Yes. But technology is radically changing every career field, and will keep doing so. Who is going to mediate and meditate a way through all this, if not the artists? Music is about life, and all this scary, terrifying, upsetting, depressing, confusing stuff is a part of life, and as such is the very stuff for artists to work on and work with, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the non-artists who are scared or discouraged too. Music can do more than any pep talk can, even if pep talks are sometimes just the right thing. I've read all the other comments to this blog post, and the blog post itself, and much that is good and true has been said. But I don't see any of this as really providing the full answer. But, when I hear a great song, or a great set of songs from a musician with conviction, passion, skill, and heart, I do see the answer begin to reveal itself. I believe in music.

 
At Mar 14, 2011, 3:51:00 AM, Anonymous Latest Punjabi Music said...

i like tom's comment on this post.he is clear all things in comment ...

 
At Mar 15, 2011, 8:16:00 PM, Anonymous Zuric Productions said...

Thanks Bob, It is true that you have to have talent and everything else. especially there has to be craft involved like in the 60' and 70' which comes from professionals. I can hardly hear any good stuff from the new releases. It is mostly self pity in the the new music and not much thought given to giving audience some fun times.

Meantime, WWW has to be be treated as a media and pay royalties like TV and radio do. Than we will have some sense in the industry. At the moment is a jungle out there.

How come the Internet escaped the scrutiny of the licensing authorities?

www.zuric.net

 
At Mar 21, 2011, 11:46:00 AM, Blogger danny said...

It's true that there are so many good opportunities to get your music out there these days and sell direct to fans & not have to wait to make it past the team of A&R gods to put out your record etc. However; we have a release out right now that is getting some airplay, across the board great reviews, great live show, unique sound, young good looking band & it still seems impossible to monetize the project to the point where we can move the needle out there. Any thoughts??

 
At Apr 8, 2011, 10:19:00 AM, Anonymous Howie Campbell said...

Someone has wisely stated, "nothing worth having comes cheap." I would add, nothing worth doing comes easy. Bob has indicated the underlying keys to success have to do with talent, diligence and hard work. Agreed. "So stop all the whining" already. The complainers will alway complain and workers will attain. Go for it.

 
At May 4, 2011, 2:37:00 AM, Anonymous online music promotions said...

last 10 years music has become hobby of people.Every person finds a way to earn a living with music.But only successful who are devoted to their work.....

 
At May 15, 2011, 6:27:00 PM, Blogger INAYA DAY said...

You're SO right, Bob! Thanks for that reminder.
I complain BUT take action, as well.
After reading your blog, I'll have to abandon or alter my complaints :-)
Thanks again!
Inaya Day
www.INAYADAY.com

 
At May 27, 2011, 6:16:00 AM, Anonymous aalina387 said...

Great article bob,to tell how tough music industry is....

 
At Jul 22, 2011, 9:47:00 PM, Blogger Indie Leap said...

This is what I keep saying. Seems like there is more opportunity now than ever. Even if its really the same amount of opportunity but it seems like an independent artist has more control now than before.

Tom Siegel

 

Post a Comment

<< Home