Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Music Business Intellectual Deficit

Over the last couple of months I've been really busy, as usual, dealing with my duties in this industry. I operate on two tiers, one as musician and the other as administrator. Not many people know much about the latter as it relates to my experience and I find it makes it easier for me to fly under the radar and get to the truth because people don't see me coming. I've also been advising an up and coming pop group. I've had a few conversations with some so called managers and taste makers and let me tell you the fix is in people. We all know that the industry has changed but do we REALLY know HOW it's changed? The powers that be would have us believe that since sales are down and the Internet provides so many, sometimes too many, options that we should resort to giving our music away for free. In my conversations with these management types they are in the game of selling success. It's now a pay to play game all the way around. I had one guy tell me that kid acts have to pay to get on these so called educational tours to gain "EXPOSURE". Keep in mind that not only do they have to pay the organizers to be on the tour but they also have to pay their way there and their hotel costs all while the organizers are getting paid to provide talent but not paying these young artists a dime. This is happening through out this "NEW" music industry. Managers are asking for money up front before they agree to represent an artists. We are suffering from an music business intellectual deficit. By participating in these types of arrangements we are teaching the next generation of artists to value fame more than finance and we are not educating them on how to make others place value on their talent. The truth is that the only people that have a problem with things changing are the old label types who were use to making ninety percent profit on a project and not paying the artist. Now with the Internet giving more distribution access to us all, these people have to be fair in their dealings with us but they know that ninety percent of us are still not willing to do the work or learn this business for ourselves so they have just flipped the script. Instead of raping you from record contracts and sales, they are now charging for admission. I remember when a manager was a person that believed in an artist and  invested time and money into growing that artist's career all the while knowing that he/she would only make money if he made the artist money. Now it's being sold in quite a different way and a lot of us, young and old, are falling for it hook, line and sinker. WE DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE OUR MUSIC AWAY FOR FREE!!!!! No one else in this industry is being asked to work for free so why are we told that we should. The studio time still costs, publicists still want to be paid, manufactures and designers don't work for free, SO WHY SHOULD WE!? It's time that we stopped drinking the cool-aid and make these people place a value on who we are and what we do. We have to build our music business intellect. Enjoy the journey.

The Truth
All Rights Reserved by Airtight Productions 2012

1 comment:

  1. Hey D',

    Good article. Yes, that is all just ridiculous. Some things never change. On the plus side, it is the very decline decline of the music labels which has created an opportunity for musicians to now actually take the reins of their own careers.

    A career is a very important, and yet foreign, concept to musicians. It goes beyond the transient concept of being Pop. It is by definition the spirit, down to your core DNA, that allows you to provide for yourself via the culmination of your independent ingenuity. This concept alone has been completely smothered from artistry and musicianship for a long time now.

    The problem is that children have fallen victim to believing this most recent mutation of old-school music industry ideology. -of believing that what they see on tv is real, and this is how careers in music are created.

    This is wrong. Like any art, you work at it, you hone your skills, you learn from them, you create, and you define your own vision. From that you become noteworthy, celebrated -celebrity.

    Anyone who believes that by winning "the Voice" you are a legitimate artist, is gravely misinformed. What your are, is gravely unprepared, and will inevitably watch it dissipate into your 15 minutes of fame. And, it is from these misdirections we've continued to foster old school music industry leeches. We are at an important crossroads in what is defined as real music.

    The idea that anyone can become a star is false. Not everyone deserves this. Those who truly achieve it actually worked their asses off. -And, they just make it look easy. There is something to be said about knowing that you deserve everything you have worked for at the end of the day.

    Manager's careers have somehow become designed only to feed off of the insecurities of the new artist reared on reality tv fantasies that in no way acknowledge that you can't pay for success. Artistry is the real commodity. The artist is the venue -not the inverse.

    There will be a lot of people out there who look (who need) to ride your coat tails to the top. That is the manager.

    Managers should be employees of the artist. What they have become is flailing parasites grasping in a last ditch effort clinging to the decomposing carcass of a business model that had long ago murdered any semblance of artistry out of music into a dilution into prefabricated jingles and genres no longer supporting creativity.

    We are in an amazing time of unprecedented ease in communication via digital media and social networks. More tools are at anyone's disposal to market and promote themselves in ways that classic music industry cannot even begin to fathom.

    The most important value you can instill in your children (new artists) is to redefine what to consider success in this life. They already have the tools innately to achieve anything their heart desires. Only then will we see a renaissance of real music, and true individuality.