The last few months have proven to be a whirlwind of activity for me ranging from work on my album, gigging, checking out a LOT of live performances, spending time with new friends, and just living my life. In addition, to these experiences I have been brought face-to-face with the business side of my music career. I tend to discuss my creative process and inspirations on this blog, but I would be remiss to not address the business component of being a professional artist. I’ve always prided myself on being quite resourceful when it comes to handling the “industry” aspect of the music industry, but some days it feels as if I’ve been thrown into a Music Business 101 course that threatens to kick my butt on a consistent basis. What has helped me during these difficult trials is having a strong support system that includes individuals such as my manager to trusted friends around me who empathize with me because they have their own stories about the industry to share. Does it blow my mind all the craziness we as music artists go through navigating this industry? Hell yes! However, it is a necessary process for anyone who plans to thrive in this industry because it takes the utmost determination, persistence and faith to weather the storms thrown your way.
After spending some time to thoroughly ponder and assess some of my recent experiences within the music business I have some key points/advice to offer:
• Have a signed contract in place for any and all business relationships/agreements to insure clarity and to CYA!
• Conducting business with friends can be a “slippery slope” that could prove detrimental to a friendship. It is crucial that both you and your friend are on the same page about expectations and what it means to provide excellent customer service!
• Educate yourself about the music business as much as possible via books, classes/workshops, conferences, mentorship, etc.
• Build a supportive team of advisors comprised of individuals you feel confident believe and support your artistic vision. This is a MUST in my book because you need the right people in your corner to help you achieve success. You cannot do it all yourself. Plus, you need people who are committed to seeing your vision come to life and not what he/she thinks your vision should be.
• Know when to shut your mouth and listen so you do not miss important information needed to grow and prosper.
• Accept the fact that you do NOT know everything and it is OK. Just learn how to conduct the appropriate research and/or talk to the right people who DO know the answer to your question and do not possess an ulterior motive in sharing it.
The points above are by no mean the “end all and be all” of traversing the treacherous terrain of the music industry, but just some bits of wisdom I have learned the hard way in the past several months. I can admit if my head was not so “hard” I might have avoided some things, but we all acquire information differently. This proved to be my path of enlightenment.