“Everybody in the music business is an entrepreneur.” Thoughts from Miami Music Summit

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[Derek and I having a natter onstage.]

I had a fun time today at the Miami Music Summit- they used my little “Delusional” critter for their official t-shirt, as well as getting me on stage to live-draw alongside three of the panels.

Then afterwards I had a chat onstage with the MC, Derrek Ashong.

Here are my takeaways from the day:

1. Artist, technician, executive, it doesn’t matter: Everybody in the music business is an entrepreneur. Everyone in the business is on the hustle. Cushy jobs for life don’t exist here, nor did they ever. That, and the fact that music is sexy, means there’s a lot of energy in the business. That energy will always be an integral part of it, that energy will ensure the industry will always be with us, through both the good and the bad times.

2. One of the reasons I became an artist was, back in the pre-Internet days, this was the best way I knew how one could make a great living, being an entrepreneur, without having to leave the house, without having to commute, without having to build a factory, without having to get a loan from a bank for get VC funding, without having to have  a lot of employees and office politics to worry about. You just do your thing quietly in your own home, then send the finished result off to your gallery or publisher, and take care of your fans. I liked the idea of being able to hang out in a coffee shop, doodling away, and make money at the same time. Internet startups understand this appeal perfectly, but artists and musicians understood this before them.

3. Music is no longer a stand-alone product. Now musicians have to sell themselves not just to their fans, but to ad agencies, marketing companies and brands.

4. Spotify is still not profitable, so I was told. OK, so they raised a billion dollars to buy a bunch of unprofitable customers (the worst kind of customer IMHO, even worse than the non-existent customer- at least the latter aren’t sucking up your bandwidth).

5. I swear, the older I get, the more current non-tech conferences sound like the tech conferences from a decade ago. Software is eating the world etc.

6. For all the stick people like to give the music industry, the fact is, there’s no better medium for expressing what REALLY matters to people at scale. Music has a spiritual impact like nothing else, we must never forget that.

7. To quote Frank Zappa: Music is the best. Exactly.

Thanks again to everybody for having me along. I had a blast.


photo 1

[Fun t-shirt. Fun logo. Yay!]

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[More fun t-shirty goodness.]

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[My wife bought me that shirt. I think it's my new favorite shirt. Thanks, Ana!]

photo 3

[Me drawing onstage- the panel are to my right, off camera.] 

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His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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