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Navigating the Business of Music: An Unabashed, Uncensored Tale (Pt. 1)

Navigating the Business of Music

For as far back as I can remember, it was always a dream to work in the music business. Starting out at the age of 17, I found myself working county fairs in rural Ohio, helping to setup and tear down equipment for emerging artists.

I moved on from show production into security for major label entertainers and large well-known musical festivals. I was really good at security and crowd control, so much as that I was among the top five guards that were called whenever a big music festival came to town.

After my time on the festival tour circuit, I found myself working 14-hour shifts, six days a week, in the steel mills of the Ohio Valley. The music industry still called out to me like a siren luring sailors into jagged shoals. I began working security again, but only on a local level. My first one was Ozzfest tour in Burgettstown, PA at Starlake Amphitheater (it has since changed names) and that was an experience in itself.

Fast forward to 2015: I decided to give the business of music a try. To say it has been a learning experience would be an understatement—from lame-duck booking agents to drama-creating internet radio people.

I’ve personally dealt with so called “booking agents” who were long on promises, but short on results.

The belief that anyone can be a booking agent is more of a fantasy. One person booked a local band at a gig in their hometown where they were normally paid $3,500 for the show; she booked them for $300 and was upset when they turned it down.

Anyone can buy the indie bible, but it doesn’t make them a booking agent. There is a certain degree of finesse and cordiality involved to booking shows and performances.

Another problem is the belief that internet radio is the “it” thing. This might be true if it they were stations backed by a larger broadcast and media company. The problem lies within the mentality that anyone can jump online, play submitted music, and boom, they are an internet radio station. These hobbyist internet radio stars all present a myriad of problems from small audience reach to playing anything that is submitted. Often times quality takes a backseat to quantity with the hobbyists. They will do whatever they can to become relevant, even if it means creating drama where it’s not necessary. If they see another individual doing better than they are, they will viciously attack them on social media. They do this because they know their small fanbase will pander to them, giving them the attention they are starving for.

Not all internet radio broadcasters are bad. There are those that actually have legitimate celebrity status and have made a good reputation for what they do. These are the ones who stay above the drama and constant need for attention. I’ve made a lot of great contacts, and some that I refuse to work or associate myself with. I cannot preach enough that you are who you associate yourself with.

I have even been told that nobody really pays attention to my blog. Yet the outpouring of encouragement and respect from people has been phenomenal. Honestly, whether people pay attention to my small time, nothing blog or not, I could care less. I never started the blog to compete with what everyone else was doing. I’m sure if I regurgitated what everyone else was posting that our fanbase would be larger, but it’s not always about numbers. It’s about doing what makes you happy.

We have had several outside interests wanting to work with us and help us to restructure things a bit, and we have begun to see results in such a short time of working in partnership with those entities.

The point to all of this is don’t allow others to stifle who you are or muddy your creativity. Surround yourself with good people. The kind that will deliver tangible results within weeks of beginning to work with them. Be sure they have the same vision of your dream that you do.

In part two, we will address the independent record label: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Navigating the Business of Music: An Unabashed, Uncensored Tale (Pt. 1)
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