Category Archive: Music Business

If you want to be a rock star be prepared to persevere: in most cases the four year minimum applies.

Posted on | December 13, 2008 | Comments Off on If you want to be a rock star be prepared to persevere: in most cases the four year minimum applies.

I know this is a bold statement. And let me be honest, it’s not really based on any empirical evidence, just my observation of a lot of rock bands. Nevertheless, I stand very firmly by this statement. Of the bands and solo artists I’ve seen achieve success in the music biz game (e.g., get a […]

If you make music, know what kind of flower you’re growing. If you sell music, know what kind of flower you’re selling.

Posted on | December 13, 2008 | Comments Off on If you make music, know what kind of flower you’re growing. If you sell music, know what kind of flower you’re selling.

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

One of the hardest things to do as a musician is to see yourself and your music as strangers see it. (Let’s face it, your friends love you. So they’re inclined to support you no matter what. It’s great to have them there. But it’s foolish to read too much into their reactions.) Processing audience […]

Most people make less money playing music than you would think, but some make a lot

Posted on | December 10, 2008 | 1 Comment

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

Statistics tabulated by SoundScan, an independent research firm that monitors U.S. record sales, confirm the [recording] industry’s predicament. Of the 6,188 albums released [in 2000], only 50 sold more than a million copies. Sixty-five sold 500,000 units and 356 sold 100,000 or more. In other words, more than 90% of last year’s releases flopped. Generally, […]

Business or Art Project? You make the call.

Posted on | December 10, 2008 | Comments Off on Business or Art Project? You make the call.

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

This is a critical call to make, especially early on when you’re likely to be spending your own money. Unfortunately, most people never think very consciously about it. To a certain extent, this is understandable, because art and commerce are always intertwined in the music business. Nevertheless, it still helps to be clear about these […]

What do you want?

Posted on | December 10, 2008 | Comments Off on What do you want?

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

The music business is filled with dreamers. That’s part of its charm. At some level, anything is possible. But too often people aren’t clear about what they want from the music business. All they know is that they want to be a “star” or a “success” or “a respected artist”. But what do all these […]

Why Indie? Why not?

Posted on | December 7, 2008 | Comments Off on Why Indie? Why not?

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

Before we move on to talking more about you and what you want, let’s take a little closer look at the landscape you’ll be operating in. I’m going to start with some pretty obvious stuff here, so pardon me if you already know it. I just want to make sure everyone is on the same […]

By the time you get wise, it could be too late

Posted on | December 1, 2008 | Comments Off on By the time you get wise, it could be too late

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

So 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 […]

Welcome to the Fog Machine

Posted on | December 1, 2008 | Comments Off on Welcome to the Fog Machine

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Navigating Fog: Thoughts on the Music Business

Back in the 1980s, Jeff Calder played in a band called the “Swimming Pool Qs.” The band built a regional following in the southeast, and eventually spent some time on a major label. After the band was dropped, Calder wrote an essay about the experience for Atlanta’s alt-weekly, Creative Loafing. He titled it  “Living By […]

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