The performing bug stretched its little wings early for me. My parents were horrified that I would never get a REAL job. They did not value the creative expression of a musician as a career option and saw no possible reward in any kind of financial fair exchange. Predictably I, of course, ignored their wishes, and now this genealogy is well reflected in the voices of millions of musicians and performers around the globe.
How many people in this industry have felt creatively stifled in their quest for legitimization of their choice to conduct an enterprise in this fashion? How many people field the relentless question “When are you going to get a Real Job?” 🙂
So let’s have a look at this real job from the perspective of someone who has managed a Music Agency since 1990.
Writing and performing music is a creative outlet and a channel for personal development. If you want to be paid for it, then it becomes a business. I love taking photographs and spend hours on the weekends locating the perfect shot and then fidgeting with Photoshop. It’s a hobby — a creative outlet and a channel for personal development. If I want to be paid for it, then I need to do a whole lot of other activities to transform my hobby into a business.
So how can you leverage the perception of who you are up on that stage or streaming out from that stereo? Artists and Musicians and Entertainers seek audiences and markets who desire to purchase their products. They seek audiences for their creative expression.
In this current ecosystem, we choose how we wish to run our business in the Music Industry. Challenges are only symptoms of the expansion of the business and the opportunity to create whatever you choose. Creativity promotes innovation.
We used to work in an industry where supply of product (CDs, Merchandise etc) were limited due to shelf space, shipping, storage etc. Now our market has an unlimited choice of what to buy and where to buy from. Product, thanks to our digital existence, can have a global impact instead of a local one. Anyone can set up a website, register a domain name, register any free social media platform, create an on line shop, set up a shopping cart and create a digital shop and brand.
The contrast between the digital and analogue worlds that we inhabit offers both creative resistance and tension for the majority of music artists. We may believe that music is to be created and performed on stage and in the studio but let’s be honest. We all live predominantly in a digital world. More device options, channels, platforms and bandwidth. Faster processors. Limitless data storage. Greater options for search engines and platforms than ever before. We live here. Our digital behaviour are the verbs that our days exist in. We swipe left, tweet, tik tok, Insta, post, google, do a live, stream, follow and zoom. Lockdowns moved us out of shopping centres and into on line orders, we uber eats instead of drive thru take outs, we uber instead of fighting for a car park, we replaced the local GP with a telehealth and subscribed to a variety of streaming services instead of going out to the cinemas. For businesses to survive, they had to create their digital pivot.
So as much as you would love to simply play music, without a digital presence to match your stage presence, your music business is doomed.
Darwin noted that “It is not the strongest or most intelligent that survives, but the ones most adaptive to change.”
By adapting to a digital landscape and working with the mostly free tools that are at your fingertips right now, you expand your capacity and resource your music brand to be able to complete with access to more data, more advertising avenues, product feedback and income potential. Private groups on Facebook, Telegram, Patreon and Discord offer a far greater capacity to build an audience than any global tour ever could. We can effectively create a new ecosystem for ourselves.
Let’s face it. The rapid expansion of the internet caught traditional music business companies with their collective pants down and as they struggle to iron out the various Digital Rights Management issues, telling your music business story via a digital conduit is the greatest opportunity your brand will ever have.
You have everything you need right here right now.
You are only limited by your imagination.
And Imagination is what inspired you to become a musician in the first place.
So get out there and create your real job.😊