I got an mean tweet today from some young gal who is probably really nice and in reading some of her other tweets noticed she had sent my husband a nasty tweet a couple of days ago accusing him of speaking ill on twitter of a band he happens to be fond of. Now I can take the heat. I’m aware that my attempt at sarcastic humor often falls flat and I will take the shots when deserved. But Mr. H on the other hand is by God the closest thing I’ve ever met to Gandhi and I’ve met a lot of fucking people. Seriously the dude is kind, genuine and just flat doesn’t talk ugly to or about people. So when this little Christian girl who in between posting Scripture verses bashed both me and the Wylie Llama it got me all riled up, after it got me all sad. I thought it might be a good time to clear up some misconceptions floating around lately regarding the way things work in the music business for those fans and artists who may not otherwise know and may make judgments based on incorrect information.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that that my lack of formal education may in some eyes deem me less than qualified to expound upon numerical hypothesis. But I’d have to be eat up with the dumb ass to not be able to figure out a couple of things hanging around the music business as long as I have. The first is that getting to the top of the charts means one thing and one thing only. That your record got more spins than someone else’s that week. It doesn’t mean that you paid a promoter to do some back room deal to run your numbers up the magic chart flagpole or that Mr. Billboard or even Katie Key has decided to sprinkle success fairy dust on you that week. Frankly it’s preposterous to think they have the power to do so. The numbers are easy to check by anyone who wants to take the time to do so. Radio stations send a weekly report of how many times they play each song to the people who compile the various charts who then add up those numbers and bada bing it’s posted for all to see. Does being in the top ten mean you are more “successful” than someone else? Nope. Does it mean you are now on your way to fame, tour buses and piles of money? Nope. Is it an ego boost? Yep. Is it nice to brag about? Yep. Can it get you laid? Yep. Does it pay your light bill? Nope. It just means for that week your record was played more than someone else’s. It’s simple arithmetic really.
Now if because of those spins listeners go buy your record and attend your concerts then bravo; you’ve got something people respond to which could lead to success.
If on the other hand you get lots of spins and still don’t sell records or garner respectable numbers at shows then who are we to blame? I wouldn’t think it’s the stations or the promoters or the venues or the person at the charting company who compiled the numbers. Wouldn’t we blame the fans for not coming to the show or buying our record? Why of course not, that would be silly. So I guess that leaves the artist. As painful as it may be and believe me I have been on the lean end of the scale as often as the fat end (no puns on my ass size that’s not what we are talking about here) there is no one to blame for our lack of success but us.
Getting along with those in the industry certainly helps as it does in any industry. Networking is a large part of this business of music. Lashing out at others can, as should be expected cause people to not want to help you or do business with you. It takes a tremendous amount of work, a team of talented people, a good business plan and perseverance to make it in this industry. Being nice to people can make it easier. In addition to that you have to write good music, put on a good live show and eventually you will attract a following regardless of what your current status is on any chart and no single person or group of people in the business can do anything to control that. There are no victims, only volunteers. It sucks not be able to blame someone else.
We all have struggles regardless of what position we are in. As a fan, a manager, a blogger or a record promoter none of us are immune to the daily challenges of this business and none of deserve to be blamed for others mistakes or failures.
There was a guy that said a long time ago and I believe that it still holds true that we should treat others, as we would like to be treated. We all came to the party because of the music, those of us who stay do so because of the music and when it’s all said and done that’s all that should really matter.