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How to "Fix" the Music Industry
by Bob Baker - The Buzz Factor, July 2006

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There are many reasons to get frustrated by the music business "system," including ... Lack of variety and access to mainstream radio and retail. Live venues that don't support new artists. Record labels that are mostly concerned with safe, least-common-denominator hits. The shocking reality that Nick and Jessica couldn't make it :-)

When these factors rip at a musician's heart, there are often two results:

  1. The musician feels like throwing up his hands, walking away from music, and spending the rest of his days as a Buddhist monk in isolation.
  2. The musician rages against the system, gets angry about the way things are, insists that things need to change, then joins a Motley Crue tribute band.

Well, if you're truly passionate about your music, walking away from it should not even be an option. And if you're one of those creative types who wants to cure all the ills of "the industry," here are some thoughts for you ...

Changing the music industry is not unlike trying to change where and when the sun rises every morning. You can expend all the anger and energy you can muster, but the sun is still going to do its thing -- blissfully unaware that you're even unhappy with it.

Stop trying to fix everything and change everybody else. Your focus on frustration just creates more of it. The best way to make an impact in areas that need improvement is to take Gandhi's advice:

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Unless you're Clive Davis or one of the Dixie Chicks, you won't be able to influence the industry at large. (Okay, let's amend that to "unless you're Clive Davis ...")

You can't control what happens to the overall music business, but there is something you can control directly: How you conduct yourself and your own place in music. Focus on pursuing a career on you your own terms -- not terms imposed by the industry.

The more successful you are living by your own set of standards, the more energy and attention you'll create. And if other indie artists are likewise successful operating outside the traditional lines, that influence will grow stronger.

Rosa Parks didn't set out to change the entire civil rights system. She simply did what see thought was right and sat down where she felt she was entitled. That simple act of conviction created a social tidal wave that's still felt today.

Use that same philosophy with your music career. Be the change you want to see in the music world. Steer away from people who don't support your indie values. Find victories where you can. Build on them.

Through your positive example, people will take notice and ... the music industry may be slightly altered forever. Heck, maybe even Nick and Jessica will get back together


Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that deliver free music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas to musicians of all kinds. Visit TheBuzzFactor.com for more details.

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