Crisis v Opportunity

The hills are full of opportunities. We just have to climb up there to see them. A lot of the people who climb up the hill and meet us are artists looking for fame and fortune and everything that goes with it.

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When I started out in a band 20 years ago the only way to get your music heard was to get a record deal and get your record into stores. There was no internet. Equally, for record labels to find out if something was going to work they had to sign it, record it, release and market it.

Cut to 2011. Creators of art have an immense array of avenues, tools and opportunities with which to make music and take it to market. Consequently, record labels can and will wait until an artist catches fire. No longer do they have to take a wild guess. And they won’t. No matter how much you protest that they should invest in your dreams, they will not do it unless and until you are the hottest thing on the planet.

If you are an artist, DON’T spend a minute of your day spamming hundreds of music companies in search of a lottery ticket. Throw away the tired old rule book that some tutor at a provincial music college wrote about “how to make it in the music business”. Firstly, he’s not in the music business, he’s in the education business. Secondly, as a direct consequence of the former, he doesn’t know his onions as the vegetable metaphor pertains to the changing world of the music industry.

A lot has been written about the crisis of the recorded music industry brought on by advances in technology. Too many people concentrate on the crisis. I heard that in Chinese the word crisis also means opportunity. The “crisis” of there being precious little interest in developing what you do is just a flip side the “opportunity” of having the technology to do it nonetheless.

The world doesn’t owe you a living. It doesn’t owe you anything – it was here first.

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