Every time I post this image I get a ton of comments throughout the social media realm… The responses are split 3 ways- 1 camp wholeheartedly agrees, 1 camp puts on their rebellious act proclaiming how they’re going to change the industry… and the 3rd camp spits venom at me for perpetuating and propping up an industry collapsing while picking the pockets of musicians as it falls.
Let’s unpack the later 2 responses and see if I can help you understand my point so you move on to the next stage of your career.
Before we begin I’m going to establish the audience- if you’re certain you’re destined for fame and international super-stardom, this is not for you. If you’re ‘all about the art’ this isn’t for you. BUT If you’re ready to pivot your artistry and walk the fine line between art and commerce, this is for you.
We should change the industry-
Not going to happen. Household names failed at changing the industry from the inside- we’ve got 40 years of history (that I can think of off the top of my head) that proves this.
Tom Petty couldn’t stop labels from over-pricing their albums, Metallica couldn’t stop MP3s and file sharing… NIN, Radiohead, Prince, and U2 all barely made a blip on the radar of history when they released free or pay-what-you-want albums. So, tell me how you and your 94 Facebook followers are going to change the industry.
The music industry is massive, with more moving parts than a freshly smashed anthill. Industry change will have to come from above. The label leaders are going to have to decide on the new model, but they aren’t in any hurry to do that, Their ship is sinking and they are either too lazy, too stupid or too short-term greedy to do anything about it. So we are left to either become one of those ants scrambling, or to carve out our own path.
You’re just perpetuating the enslavement of artists (actual comment)-
So often we musicians (yes, Kirk… I am a guitarist) have a hard time seeing gray. We live for our art, and in doing so, we embrace the extremes of black and white… c’mon, that’s where the ‘feels’ are, right?
The majority of artists see my call to action ‘quit bitching and start adapting’ as either “we need a revolution”, or “we need to give up and be a part of the problem”. This is where our creative minds fail us. There is gray area here- and it’s huge. In this gray area is the future of the music industry.
Adaptation does not imply acceptance. Nor does it mean revolt. It simply means surveying your surroundings, developing a plan to deal with the harsh environment, and thriving despite whats happening around you.
This should clear up some of the confusion regarding my sentiment. In the next post we’ll start looking at the the top problems and identify an adaptation or 2.
Till next time…
Thanks for reading… now get to work!