I’ve spent something like 30 years in and around the music business now. I love it more today than I did when I started. There is so much happening. Technology is simultaneously creating both opportunities and havoc. But it’s always been like that, maybe just not ever as dramatic, but it’s been like that as long as I can remember; vinyl, eight-track, cassette, mini disc, cd, etc. The landscape will always be changing and it will always cost some money, time, and sacrifice or at the very least, risk, from all involved to find success.
It’s important to remember that those that dedicate themselves to the craft and learn enough to put the right team around them are finding new ways to succeed. In fact, that’s how it’s always been. At this point in my career, I’ve seen it all. A world of fans chanting about an “independent” artist that is, for all intents and purposes is with a label, artists in their early stages that refuses to sign with a label but is still succeeding.
Technology will never replace the process. It can only help to make it more manageable, making equipment more accessible, and services more affordable. In all of the panels, Q & A’s, consultations, & new artist meetings I’ve done, the most common questions always relate to how one can circumvent putting in their 10,000 hours to master one thing and be successful in the music business. The answer is always put in the time. The answer is always to do the work. There is no shortcut to success in almost any business but definitely not in this one.
I know there are significant challenges facing our business today, & in the future. I know that as a community we are making an effort to address these challenges today. I also know that there will always be challenges, piracy, ticket scalping, pay for play & companies such as Spotify, Apple, Pandora, YouTube (and by default Google) that often appear to devalue our content. But it’s always evolving and I don’t believe that they don’t value us. They need us as much we need them, especially in the early stages for emerging artists, you can not afford to hold out from any platform. Simultaneously, these platforms depend on breaking new artists more than you think. Besides, you’re not Taylor Swift or Jay-Z. You can’t afford to not use every resource at your disposal. After all, isn’t this all supposed to be about the fans?