If you’ve checked into any of James C. Hunter’s books you’ll see his focus on leadership relies heavily on the word servant. Do not let that deter you from looking into his writing more fully. Hunter is exactly right in using the term, as no matter what business we are in, we are there doing business as a service. In music we create art as a service.
If you’re an indie musician or even if you have a label contract, there are certain aspects of the old label system most people abhor. Basically, the distasteful reaction comes at the realization the artist belongs to, or becomes the property of, the label all in the name of money. The signed artist is at the service of the label. A hired gun with a contractual obligation not contractual entitlement.
The illusion that rock stars exist is ridiculous with the exception of a slivered fraction of people who’ve been in the music industry for years. Not one year or two, but eons because they understand how to work within the business perimeters. They’ve been blessed with exceptional business sense along with exceptional creative ability — a rare combination.
Most people tell me their music is a labor of love. Hunter’s concept of servant leadership is based on principles of unconditional love for everyone involved in their circle of influence. Those who use this philosophy to their best advantage find the strengths in those around them and support that strength, ignoring weakness in a person’s character, unless of course, it’s so destructive it cannot be dismissed.
The world is made up and balanced on cause and effect. The effect of music is to serve others through entertainment, emotional release, and simply providing an artistic moment that supports a person’s emotional point of reference at any given time. No one can truly measure the impact exceptional music creates for one person or millions of people.
How you reach the tipping point where your music makes a difference is where the leadership comes in. If you follow the current dance of anger going on in music the entire process is more than overwhelming and frustrating. Make it easy on yourself and step outside that chaotic circle and become a leader of those who support you already. Build community around yourself, and around your music for a strong and solid base where everyone uses their personal strength in pushing the music to the next level reaching even more people who have similar beliefs.