This is what happens when you tell people what they want to hear.
And it doesn’t only happen in politics. Music is one of the worst offenders. It’s built on the premise that anyone can be a star, when this is patently untrue.
That’s what people want. Optimism. They don’t want to learn that it’s almost impossible to make it, that few do, but even worse it takes years of hard work and dedication and a ton of luck and today even the talented don’t always succeed. No, sign up for this website, we’ll advertise your wares, you’ll get hits, you’ll go broke.
And then there’s Spotify. I’m poor, I’m a musician, someone must be at fault. Yeah, you and your label. If you’re so talented that you have reach and demand you can make good bucks on Spotify. Yes, the money is there for the taking if people LISTEN! But metrics, data, don’t apply to these people. They’re playing in the field, they feel they should be making money, it must be Spotify’s fault.
Some of the worst offenders are those who profited under the old system. Where the label kept you afloat, via advances and tour support, never mind making your name via radio and press. The dirty little secret is almost none of these acts even went into royalties. That’s right, THEY NEVER GOT PAID ON THEIR MUSIC! They’re upside-down on their account. Which is why it was a breakthrough when major labels recently said they’d get rid of the debt and start paying royalties for the acts from the last century… Yeah, when demand is low and the acts are dead, or close to it.
And the labels are the culprits. The English government looked into this and found that it wasn’t Spotify’s fault, but bad record deals, i.e. the label took the lion’s share of the money, that’s why acts were getting paid so poorly on streaming.
Even worse are all those articles saying musicians are going broke, having to get day jobs. How about all those kids who played high school and college basketball, but couldn’t make it into the NBA. Should they not have to get day jobs, should we support them too? It can’t be their fault, it can’t be that they’re not good enough, no, the system is broken, the NBA is responsible, they need to get paid!
And change is constant, but not when it comes to music. I had a record deal and now I don’t, it went from physical to virtual, I must be protected, I can’t lose out.
And then there’s ticketing, where even Congress got into the act, grandstanding for the public. Yes, Ticketmaster must be at fault for your inability to get into the building at a low price, hopefully in the front row. Yeah, I’m a fan and I’m ENTITLED! Somehow, supply and demand don’t apply when it comes to concert tickets. Never mind that the acts are at fault. Ticketmaster has said it would go to all-in prices, but the acts don’t want it, never mind that when Stubhub did this, sales went down, people were enticed by other sites offering a low face value and fees at the end. Did you see any major acts testifying in Congress? OF COURSE NOT! The system is working for them, they get paid and Ticketmaster gets all the blame.
Sure, the Fox people said one thing privately and another publicly. Secondly, the blind attorneys and brass didn’t realize you settle lawsuits to squelch bad publicity. Fox will never be seen as a news outlet again, it had little credibility, now it has none. And that’s bad, but…
What kind of world do we live in where the news follows the people?
This is where we are in America, people are dumb and uneducated and politicians and corporations play to this, want to keep them stupid. They demonize not only the truth, but the educated. Don’t bother to jump through hoops, that’s for pussies. Rebel. Stay at home. Be ignorant. Be poor. That’s where the fruits are. Huh?
But it gets even worse. Like the trickle-down theory in taxes. It’s never ever been proven true, quite the opposite. But people keep being told if the rich get richer, they too will gain spoils. Yeah, right.
It goes on and on. Let’s demonize the takers, yeah, the people partaking of social services. When the truth is living on little from the government is not a life of luxury. You wouldn’t want it. And if you don’t take care of the poor, they’re going to take care of you. Get a gun and lock those doors!
You can have everything.
Meanwhile you have nothing, or little.
Don’t force me to get health insurance, I’d rather get sick and die. And sure, the emergency room might treat me for free, a tax on the rest of the populace, but believe me, the emergency room does not provide regular checkups, and does not take care of your teeth, a key element of your overall health.
Our entire nation can’t handle the truth. And rather than tell it to them, those in power proffer falsehoods.
Not everybody can be rich, not everybody can be a star. Hell, we’ve had these TV singing competitions forever and not only can no one name who won “The Voice,” none of them have become stars. It’s all just grist for the mill.
As for playing the lottery…a tax on the poor. Buy tickets at your peril. Add up all you’ve spent at the end of the year, you could have at least gone out for a good meal, or a few fast food meals to add to your obesity.
I’m sick and tired of all those in power giving people false hope.
What I always tell people about entering the music business, on either side of the desk, is DON’T! Yes, I want to scare people away. Because those who really need to be in this business will, best for the rest not to waste time.
You want to work in music? People are lining up to work for FREE! They’re not lining up to work as garbage men for free.
As for acts… Sure, there are barely talented beautiful people propped up by the system, but that number is lower than ever and most don’t sustain. As a matter of fact, few sustain at all. And the best way to be able to sustain is to be able to play and go on the road. And that’s much harder than being able to sing.
Are you really that good?
Do you really want it that much?
Are you willing to sacrifice everything to make it? Not have a family, not own a house, be broke before you possibly break through?
As for the fiction that we’re in a golden age of creativity…
Sure, the tools are in the hands of the proletariat. But the end result is not a plethora of musical acts, but wankers on social media doing stunts to get famous and rich when few do. Despite the hype, it’s hard to get consistently paid in social media, even harder is to sustain, never mind the endless work involved, almost 24/7.
To say that everybody having the tools means we’ve got more and better stuff is to say that since everybody had a pen and paper, we should have had an overwhelming number of great writers and books. But that didn’t happen. There are a limited number of people that dedicated and that talented, and even so, ultimately rendering something that will appeal to others is incredibly difficult. Yes, superstars put out stiff records, but the hoi polloi in their bungalows are going to deliver the next “Sgt. Pepper.” No way.
If anything, the music of today is worse than that of yesterday because there’s just not that much money in it. I mean if you want to be rich, do you want to be a musician? And look at so many of the players, they’re in it for the riches and fame. Hell, Rihanna hasn’t even released a record in years. It would interfere with her true business, selling cosmetics.
I mean if you’re smart and educated, if you have portfolio are you really going to go into music? How many billionaires are there in music? But there are tons in finance and tech. That’s where the brains go. Music is the realm of the underclass. It’s not the sixties and seventies anymore, dominated by the middle class.
And where is the plethora of music entrepreneurs?
Yes, at the turn of the century everybody with money tried to strike it rich in music distribution, i.e. Napster, etc. But other than Spotify, few had any success. But that was all business. As for the art?
But you can’t say this. You’ve got to say the music is as good as it ever was, even better! You’re just old and don’t understand it.
Let me ask you, was the television of the sixties, even the seventies, eighties and nineties and first decade of this century as good as it is now? NO ONE WOULD SAY THAT! So why is music flat, always the same in quality?
But this fiction is sold to keep the enterprise going, the people behind the curtain. People are invested in the fiction, they want you to pay them so they can eat. That’s their scam.
Come on, those online sites that are going to host your music, get you gigs… It’s about them making money, not you gaining success.
So now you’re depressed. Bob, you rained on my parade!
Smart, informed people, who need to make it, who need to be in the game, will find a way, they always have. And when you hear their story it will not be that they signed up for all the websites, gave people all their money, no, they worked really hard on their craft, until they were really damn good, and then they sacrificed and sacrificed, built upon their successes one by one, two steps forward, one step back, until…
Maybe they had a life playing in wedding bands.
Or their band had regional success.
Or they became Elton John or the Beatles or the new Bob Dylan.
Not only do we have no new Elton John or the Beatles, they’ve been searching for over half a century and have never found a new Bob Dylan, not even close.
But no, the field is wide open, you’re a winner, you can make it, and if you complain loud enough, the hurdles will fall, the doors will open, you will rightfully march forward into the land of luxury and ubiquity, as per your god-given right.