Some of the many great advantages of being part of el-live Productions are that we interview and meet literally hundreds of musicians from Berklee College of Music in Boston to McGill University in Montreal to musicians from all walks of life.
We’ve had the pleasure of working or sharing the stage with so many amazing musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and different nationalities that we’ve become quite in-tune with many types of personalities. We’ve also grown to realize how musicians view the world in so many different ways, some productive and some flat out destructive.
One common feeling that sometimes exists among a number of younger musicians (and sometimes old-school musicians), is the disdain they have for the business in general and especially big business. They feel that it takes away from the purity of music, it takes advantage of people, rips artists off, “…100% you won’t see ME being a part of all that crap…” they boast.
Honestly, I’ve never subscribed to that point of view and I find it quite naive, pompous, and self-defeating.
Whether I’m in the office or on stage, I embrace business and the products it has created to help me build a better future for all the artists at el-live Productions.
A bleak and barren but business-free world
The truth is, almost nothing would exist without business. My own MacBook Air, which I adore, wouldn’t be on my lap right now for me to write this article. Your instrument, whether you’re a drummer or guitar player, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for business. There would be no fruit on your table. How else would you get a fresh orange for breakfast in New York if an airplane, ship, or truck didn’t bring it in from Florida?
Try to imagine a world with no hospitals, no roads, no churches, no CDs, no iTunes, no violins, no opera houses, no Roland gear, no Marshall amps, no clothes, no jewelry, and lo and behold… no TV! What?!
When we stop to think about it for a minute, business is everything.
Of course, some big businesses are “evil” and so are some medium-sized ones. Your local grocer could be “evil” as well. There are enough stories to support this. Business, in and of itself, is not “evil”. The “evil” lies in some of the people that run the business; from your church minister to your local butcher.
I love business and I love music. I always have. They must coexist, and as musicians, we should learn everything we can ABOUT business because we are its product. Yes, I know how we all hate that word “product”. Call it what you want, dress it up, fancy it up if it makes you feel hipper but that’s exactly what we are: a “PRODUCT”!
As soon as you say: “I want to make money with my art”, it’s a product – period.
Sellout success or successful sell-out?
If Stevie Wonder recorded his music on the hippest and latest equipment (Manufacturing), made sure that his latest album cover was beautiful (Packaging), that its profit margin was healthy (Finance) and then, went on Jimmy Fallon or a radio station to promote it (Marketing), would his music be any less beautiful?
His music would be just as beautiful as ever and because of his business sense, he has been able to maintain a career for over fifty years while other very talented people never had more than their mom hear their music. They had to settle for jobs they hated and never wrote another song all because business is “evil”. So instead, they took a job they disliked in someone else’s business! It’s absurd to say the least.
el-live Productions was created on July 14th, 2008. We started with 14 musicians and since then we have grown to 73, traveling all over Asia and the Middle East and if it wasn’t for this business, none of our wonderful artists would have gotten the opportunity to see this beautiful part of the world. Whether they come from Texas, California, New Zealand or Cuba, they are now traveling the world because of our business. We are very proud to have created this musical gem and I dare to say most of our artists’ lives have changed forever
Business is beautiful and it is an absolute necessity for this world to survive. So tomorrow, go register your new company, print some beautiful business cards, and proudly let it shine: John Smith, CEO of Bass Player Inc., Open for business, “How may I help you”?
Thank you for reading, It’s good to be el-live.