A Career in Music & The Reality Behind It All!

Updated: Mar 4

There’s so many things that make up everyday life. There’s only so much that I can share. In regards to that, I have to admit that there is an ongoing assumption that everyone at large wants to see everything about our lives. Well yes and no. Our lives have to be interesting. Even if they appear boring on the surface, if we can identify and become fascinated by the cycle of activities of anyone’s life it will then become interesting. Alright what am I writing about? Well I’m pointing to connections. The ones we make, break and maintain as artists. In the good ole days all we had to do was make music; Find some wealthy benefactor to endorse our endeavors and with that we would have instantaneous liberty to explore our art form without worry. Today it’s a little different and at the same time it’s still the same. In recent times that benefactor has become a record company/label operating in field of “The Music Industry”. That was the ultimate convenience if you were able to get signed on as a recipient of their inexhaustible set of resources. Now if that all sounds too good be true it’s because it absolutely is! There is an incredible trade off. Why would any corporation offer you everything you need to be successful in a quick and timely manner for nothing? I’m glad you asked because in that inquiry is the age old problem we all encounter as musicians. We always seem to be at the mercy of the individuals who fund us. And that would be okay in a prefect world where everything was fair and just. However…………That’s not what history tells us. History gives a different account. It tells of artists being robbed, used, underpaid (if paid at all). Stripped, pimped and discarded without notice. Doesn’t sound too hot now does it?


Q: So why would any artist take this type of risk? A: For a shot to pursue their art form in peace.

And there it is! What would be the alternative? How could anybody afford to be free to do nothing but music indefinitely without worry? That thought is enough to make you think that there really isn’t an alternative. In truth there probably aren’t that many solutions that would compare to the accessibly that a major label deal would offer. Yet, we haven’t touched on the trade-offs have we? Here’s were it all goes out of order. First things first. Under a label deal your music is no longer yours. If you are to get funded to make and record music, that music now belongs to the entity who paid for it. Sounds fair doesn’t it? Well it is! You’re in debt even if you don’t know it. Did you know that? If someone is taking care of your needs what sort of compensation are you providing for that type of care? The answer is your music and your musical activities of course. Those need to bring in enough profit to repay all that you’ve been so generously given. Well what if you can’t payback that kind gesture? Don’t worry. This is where the pimp strategy of the music industry shines. You just won’t receive any monetary compensation. But why would you need money? You’re already taken care of remember? And furthermore why would it matter to you if your music generates a profit or not? You already don’t own your music! You know the more we look at this compensation structure it begins to resemble that of a corporate employer employee arrangement! I wonder why? Illusion is the name of the game. As an artist in the music industry you’re granted the illusion of being in control of your career. The reality is you’ll barely have a career. And the opportunities for a raise or promotion are slim to none. But let’s move past all that and sum things up. If you’re going to engage in the practices of the music industry, make sure you know exactly what you’re going to get out of it. If you can identify whatever that is, you’ll be able to make the exchange a fair one. Now what are the alternatives available for artists these days? There are many but there is a catch! Not a deceptive catch but a catch none the less. The catch is the assumption of loss! That’s right you are going to have to give a number of things up in order to gain what you ultimately want! You will have to trade in the things that most people hold onto without realizing it. You know things like doing weird pointless activities just for fun. Hanging out aimlessly at odd hours of the night (or day for that matter). There’s more! While they can help; You won’t be able to depend on a job or someone else to fulfill your creative ambitions. Yep! You’re going to have to take control of things that many people don’t even think about! Money, money, money! While this would have been a really big barrier in the past, as of now it’s not that big of problem for the clever artist. You see now you can fund yourself, instead of depending on a gracious sponsor! In short you can work a job and be a musician. You can save a large nest egg, and when the time is right you can go all in on your art knowing that you’ve created your own bank to support your endeavors. For the multitaskers out there you can have a multiple stream income structure where your art can reach your clients in a direct to consumer business structure. This in particular obliterates the business to business structure that artists had to abide by for so many years. There s nothing like having a direct relationship with the people who actually buy your art!


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Essentially what has to be done is make a serious effort to remove the illusion of the artist life that many onlookers may project towards what we do and how we live. We’re real people with a plan for our lives! The only reason we need to devise a plan is because the typical options for survival in our current society make no allotment for a career in music. Therefore, for the musician, survival is a real life ordeal. Illusion then finds its place in the music itself.

Now the real question is; Do you really want to sacrifice that much just to be able to make music? Is it that important to you? I think for most people the reality is that it’s not necessarily the music that’s that important. It’s the freedom to be able to make music or anything else if desired. I don’t think people care about music or any art form more than they care about their personal well being. It just so happens that for any creative type, a happy state of being is essential. If we’re unable to find a way to be creative, many unhealthy issues can and will present themselves. So with that, the freedom to choose what you want to do and when, is what should be looked after first. From that point on the decision to be creative is always an option that can be pursued if preferred. It’s literally the concept of generating Creative space! Alright! Alright! What’s it actually like! How does the money situation work? Well for me at the moment my company is in it’s initial growth and strategy stage (if that means anything). More specifically it’s a climb that promises rewards if the present trajectory is maintained. Am I relying totally on my musical endeavors to live? Of course not!!!! I live in Toronto! Do you have any idea of what the cost of living is in this city? Does what I make from my musical endeavors contribute to my overall income! 1000% for sure! So again it all boils down to freedom. If I was worried about money I would be in an emotional economic prison.

All I can say is chasing freedom (as much as it’s available to me) is what’s important! It’s something that I’m not willing to trade for money or any commercial compensation! That’s what allows me to get up everyday with very little worries about what I’m going to do with my time. Because it’s my time now. I’m able to schedule my activities as they suit me. That’s a major thing! I don’t know or at this point care what the rest of folk out there expect of me in regards to my direction in life. All I know is that I want to be able to make my music whenever I feel like it. I’m not interested in picking up scraps that any so-called music industry doles out. I just want to be left alone to do my life’s work. I’ve given up a lot for it and it’s a choice that I’ve earned in every sense of the word. So behind it all, art is a necessity for the likes of folk who just can’t seem to let it go. We have to do it at all cost. That is something that you can never judge looking from the outside in. We may be poor or rich. That’s becoming less of an issue for me these days. I still enjoy the act of being a business man however, I’m really making an effort to put it in it’s place; and that is behind the music. Maybe you’ll read this and think I’m off my rocker. Maybe you won’t. I just want to accomplish what’s in me to do. Thank you for reading!

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