FORWARD: I was writing a book on the music biz. From the artists perspective. It took 30 years to write. It began as 180 pages and ended up being two pages - and now that it is completely edited without the fluff, it’s just one page with four chapters a forward and an epilogue.
Art & Business: The music business is made up mostly of good intentioned people who are experts at the exploitation of musical artists. The artists are also experts, but at gullibility and vulnerability. Great combo. Welcome to the music biz.
It's The Lottery:: Trying to succeed by industry standards is like playing the lottery. Buy a ticket and you have one chance in a trillion of winning. Be great at what you do, know someone, be persistent and be independently wealthy that's like buying a lot more tickets but you still have one chance in a million of winning at their game. Of course we can buy more tickets to increase our odds but no matter what, we are still in the lottery. The delusion is created because we see only the success stories. The enormous amount of failure stories from even great (but unknown) artists are well hidden.
Know Your Odds: The business people know the odds and they play the odds. When they blow in our ear and tell us how great we are and how much they love us, we think that means something. And then they tell us they are going to get our music to the people. (I myself still prove to be an expert in gullibility). At one time the statistics showed that when you get an agent it is more likely you get less gigs than when you did it on your own, and when you get a major record deal it is likely your career is effectively over. That's the statistics. We need to know the odds. Then at least we know what we are dealing with. For instance, a contract (which an artist is effectively bound to uphold) is all but meaningless from the artists side - it doesn’t force a business to fulfill their promise - it just reminds them of the promise they are breaking.
Sleep-walking off a cliff: Do not follow your dream - you will be sleep-walking off a cliff. Wake up and open your eyes! Follow your joy! Follow your love of music. (When you are in love people want to be around you). And yes. You don't have a chance of winning the lottery if you don't buy a ticket - go ahead - play the music biz game full tilt if it doesn’t make you unhappy (we need happy musicians) - but don’t mortgage your home or put all your eggs in their basket.
EPILOGUE: And remember, we have the last laugh. We get to play the music. :-) Hope you enjoyed my book.
If you liked this book on the music business you might love the book on expression in music: :