Posted on | December 1, 2008 | No CommentsSo the Fog Machine is spewing it out in a thick cloud. Lots of folks are stumbling around in it. They’re all trying to make something happen. Maybe you’re one of them. What do you do?
First, take a quick breather and clear your mind. Then consider this: By the time you figure out what’s going on, it could be too late for this knowledge to help you. But this outcome is not preordained.
Along the way, you get to choose what details you’ll pay attention to. You determine what your consciousness level will be. Aware? Ignorant? Somewhere in between? The answer is actually less obvious than it seems.
Some people do really well operating in a haze of ignorance and then dealing with the bitter fallout when it all invariably comes down. They don’t think much about the sort of stuff I’ll be addressing in this series, and I can’t say that’s an inherently bad strategy.
Truth is, callowness can be very appealing to certain segments of the music business, especially when the person in question also possesses an intuitive gift for music making, is attractive, has charisma, etc. It’s a pretty irresistible combo: so pure, so genuine, so easy to manipulate…
If you want to take the Mr. Ignorance approach, more power to you. Roll the dice. Go for it. Good luck. You can stop reading now. You probably won’t find my other thoughts on any of this stuff very useful anyway.
Of course, if you were a person who didn’t like to think about things, you probably wouldn’t have even started reading this. So as you read the remainder of this series, think about this.
In the fog, experience will be your best guide. And if you don’t already have it, you’re going to take some lumps getting it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also let other people’s experience work for you. Be smart. Look for maps and guidebooks to help you on your journey.
The remaining posts in this series are intended to be such a guidebook. You might say they’re about a philosophy as much as they are about facts. I don’t make any claims that they’re the be all and end all. I’m just trying to provide a summary of my thoughts based on my years of participation and observation in the music business.
You may decide my thoughts are bunk. But if you read the rest of this series, I’m confident it will get you thinking about a lot of important stuff. This, in turn, will enhance your ability to puzzle through the judgment calls. And this is a very valuable skill to have, because most important stuff in the fog hinges on these sorts of calls.
Do I use this producer or that one? Is this the right label for me? Should I take part in this promotional opportunity? Shall I tour with this particular band? Spend money on this area of promotion? These are all questions that don’t necessarily have a clear “right” answer. But you’ll still need to have an answer.
So the real question is what process will you use to get there? Will you punt and let a so-called “expert” make all the tough decisions for you? There are certainly plenty of people in the fog ready and willing to give you advice (including me). So it’s easy enough to just defer to them. But this approach usually doesn’t improve the likelihood of a good outcome. It mostly just gives you someone to blame when things don’t work out.
Advisers aren’t there to do it for you. They exist to help you analyze and frame your own decision-making process. You need to have your own sense of direction. You need to have a plan and point of view about how you will utilize the advice various people offer. You need to take responsibility for yourself and your choices. If you don’t, it’s very difficult to navigate effectively in the fog.