A few weeks ago, a friend stopped over for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Under the pines in the front yard, he said something to the effect of, “you know, I really thought I wanted to work in the music business, but it’s just mean. Really mean.”
The past couple weeks have been rather hellish and people are starting to get really mean out there. Indie artists need to understand what they want, how to get it, and how much it’s going to cost. If they want to low ball a project, that’s fine. But when it comes to PR or any other promotion, they’re going to get what they pay for and that’s it. You don’t get a $50,000 campaign for a few hundred bucks. It’s not fair to the artists who actually do pay for professional services to give the same attention to the [sorry to say] cheapskates when others actually make an investment in their career.
Continually, I’m hearing more and more professionals on the admin side of music air their disdain for this behavior. Let these people do the job you’ve paid them for and stop micromanaging every move they make. Stop second guessing if they’re doing what they say they’re going to do, or what they say they’ve done.
Indie artists complain that “it costs so much” to get what they need done. Well, yes, it does cost a lot. That’s how these people make their living, and they are professionals. You don’t acquire the kind of skills they have flipping burgers at McDonald’s. And it’s also the reason record deals are so hard to come by. It’s expensive to be in this business.
It’s a risk artists take and need to plan for. Plain and simple.
Very simply, the Indie Movement exists, because, as another friend said so succinctly, “…they wanted an equal playing field. They got it, and now all they can do is complain about it.” Music has never been an easy gig. It isn’t for everyone, and if you’ve had some real success count yourself among the fortunate few. It doesn’t come easy or without a few battle scars to prove it.
No one can coast uphill. And there is really no accounting for the reasons some people are successful and others aren’t. It’s just a fact of life. But here’s another fact. It’s time that a few lines are drawn in the sand where respect and monetary consideration are concerned. Either you’re in this business for the right reasons or you’re not. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
If you’ve got it. Good. Hire the people best suited to help you and get on with it. Or in the alternative, if you think you know as much as they do, there’s always the DIY model. If there’s one saving grace in the Indie Movement, you’ve got options.