Whoa - hold on there... read this article in its entirety before you judge me. I chose that title because it speaks with such high intensity and vibration. Its meaning has depth.
It is time that I speak my truth. I have been quiet in regards to the music industry for far too long. I speak mostly in whispers to my close peers whom I call friends. I say whispers because only they know. Everyone knows that I am no whisperer.
But, enough is enough.
I wrote this post because today I was inspired by Ari's Take mission with regards and respect to the independent artist - the trailblazer, I would say. For so long many have walked over and benefited from the very hard labor and creations of independent artist. It is extremely beautiful to know that there is hope and that we are now in a space as artists to control our destinies and, most importantly, our work. Many may find it very odd that on my website, you will find that each single comes at the price of $33.33 each, a $22.22 increase from its once $11.11 price. Why do I charge this price many may ask? Well... hmmm... let's do the math: an ISRC code (only one) is $160, Bandzoogle hosting for my website is $19.99 a month, cost of production, team players, time, energy, marketing and promotion... a big ass LMAO. I laugh because writing the price here, as I reflect, is almost an insult because I am going to assume that you could already guess the cost of marketing alone, let alone the price it cost to create in general. The tears, the sweat, the late nights, the crying, the wanting to give up, the confusion, the failure, the rip offs, the lies, the misinformation, the wins, the woe is me, the sacrifices... these all come at a price. It is a tumultuous ride that many often fail to see. They always see the end product but never what it took to get there. For me also, let's add in the fact that I am a mother of two teenage children who have extremely expensive taste. Where they get it from is besides the point. I say that sarcastically, by the way. The point is, why in the world would I conform to such a horrible return when most, actually almost all, of the work is done by me. It is I who was given the talent and the vision to be able to execute into this physical world. It is I who fronts the money. By no means am I saying that the team is no important factor. For sure, the team (if there is one) matters, is crucial to the overall success, and should be paid accordingly and with value. Consequentally, I, the artist, most definitely should be the one who reaps the most as a result of the work that I have put in. If there were no artist, there would be no art. If there is no art, there is no way for anyone to profit.
This entire system that has been set into place has truly become one that causes great insanity to the artist. Undervaluing themselves and believing that they are unworthy is the main culprit and struggle of the artist, meanwhile, everyone else gets to boast of their ability and capacity to feed and live off of the artist - like its cool. The artist though, starving or making money but have no business sense whatsoever. They, too, look cool but being ripped in every which way is usually the story of the artist of the past and some of today.
Let's definitely take a close look at the fact that so many artist lack the knowledge of what it takes to thrive in the music industry or industries of the like - period. There are so many ways that money can be made but one must do the research and yes, we can definitely blame the artist in this way but why? Especially when this industry has been made so hard to navigate? Or even controlled by ones who hold the key in which it runs. And certainly more, when those who know, traditionally, hold onto the knowledge with their dear lives rather than pass it onto you. What do we call those? Gatekeepers? Assholes?
I feel that each one should teach one. They do in other fields. What is the problem with this one? It has become a staple and culture of this industry to benefit from the ignorance of the artist. It is repulsive and simply, honestly, the reason I want no parts of it. It is everything contrary to my belief system so I am doing everything that I can to become my own gatekeeper. This is the reason I have, intentionally, chosen the independent route.
So, the cost of $.99 cents per record - kiss my ass.
It is an insult in so many ways.
So, do I support these mega streaming services? Hell no. And if many knew as a consumer what the artists they love so much actually gets, they would probably do us a favor and stop supporting them to. Although, I digress.
I am, however, able to see the benefits of streaming services and major record labels and know that they serve their purpose. Therefore, when the opportunity is presented, one should be knowledgeable enough to know what is a good deal and what is otherwise. One should be able to determine their worth and know their value enough to walk away from anything that has no service to their highest self, potential and, most importantly, to their art. I could go on and on but I shall stop here for the moment. However, this post is the catapult to my undying desire to speak my truth and to speak up as I seek to navigate and conquer this new music industry.
And, so mote it be.
I see no gatekeeper. I am my own gatekeeper. Thus, I am in control of my art and its destiny.
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