Yes, you read it correctly! You can hurt yourself doing what you love the most. You may not physically hurt yourself (although it is possible), you can definitely do some damage to your: finances, emotional well-being, and your company! What's a symptom of this malady, and what are the causes? That's a great question! Let's look at a general symptom, shall we.
Let's say you love making music, and you want to do this for a living. No harm there, right? Cool! Now let's focus on what the business does, I mean you do intend to live off of the "fruits of your labor", right? Now as we've discussed before, there are many ways to make a living from music. Because you want to diversify your company, you look to earn royalties, produce your own songs, produce other artists, distribute music online (via Tunecore, for example), and in stores nationwide (via Amazon, for instance). You further diversify your company by writing jingles for TV and radio, and collect royalties from there as well.
We'll pretend your doing great at it, we know that you're great, this is just an example! You have your hand in so many pots that you neglect to see that demand has gone up considerably. All you see is more request for newer songs, requests for mechanical licenses, more artists coming to your studio, and your website traffic has increased so much that it overloads your server daily.
You upgrade your server, costing money, you now can't record in your basement (your spouse can't stand the late night sessions), and you're looking for a building to facilitate the process. Now in addition to making music, you now have to draw up a business plan (unless you have a bunch of cash around! If you do, feel free to give me some!). You find venture capitalists and investors who believe in your plan! They'll invest in your company, but they'll expect a return on their investment, and a share in the ownership of your company.
Now the pressure starts to build up. You have to constantly produce and sell music just to keep up with the cost of operating your business. Don't forget that you gave some ownership up to investors. If they don't like your process, they can now have a say so in running your company. To compound the situation, demand for your services has settled down a little. Bills are coming in and you now focus on staying afloat. You dedicate more hours of the day to working, and sacrifice time with your family.
Overtime, you begin feeling "burned out" (that's the symptom of this malady), and you begin to hate music all together! It's not fun anymore, you only see it as a job. A job that you have to do to get by. You dread going to the studio, your patience is thin, you have more "writer's blocks" than the Great Wall of China, and you just want to take a break. If you don't take a break, you'll have a nervous breakdown!
By the way, because your looking at music now as a job, you start taking short-cuts to quicken your production time. Well I hate to break it to you, but the music supervisors and radio listeners can hear a difference in your albums. Not only do they stop buying your songs, they un-friend you from their Facebook, the stop following your Tweets, they bury your Digs, they unsubscribe to your newsletters and blogs, and stop coming by your studio. The bills still need to be paid, and now people are looking at you to get their money back.
After they took everything but the shirt off your back (and that's only because they felt bad for you), you file for bankruptcy. Your spouse didn't sign up to be broke, so they pack up their stuff and files for divorce. Your kids don't respect you anymore because you missed so much of their lives for nothing, and they fault you for breaking up the family! You now have to find a way to get money back into your now empty house. Although you hate music, it's the one thing that you're good at! You decide to play local gigs for peanuts.
Most of these gigs are at low brow bars, and they put you in a small corner that really nobody will pay attention to! During the breaks in your sets, you belly up to the bar and the bartender (who feels sorry for you) sets you up with some stiff drinks. You try to drown your sorrows in the bottle and end the night and go home. With a massive headache, you contemplate how you ended up where you are. You conclude that your love for music, became a job. You started to hate the job, but didn't quit because you put too much into it. Now you see too late, how much this love really cost you! You've become another "washed up has been". You used to be bright and cheerful, now you're bitter and contentious. You listen to the radio with great disdain for the artists who are doing what you used to. You drink so much now that you have to cry yourself to sleep!
How can you avoid this scenario? This happens everyday and just about anywhere. There are some ways you can avoid falling into this lonely hole. I'd hate to hear a story about how you used to…. To avoid that; in part two we'll talk about how you can make a living doing what you love, and protect yourself from getting burned! Learn practical steps you can take to enjoy doing what you love.
Well family, until next time!
Long live music, and rock on!
D. Grady Scott Jr
Don't forget to subscribe to the Low Key Music Entertainment Family newsletter! Not only will you get the inside scoop on deals and more, you'll have access to some private material as well! Keep in the loop by subscribing, either below or on the right side of this blog!
Looking forward to hearing from you soon! Don't worry, we won't clutter your in-box. We certainly will never give your information to anybody, period.