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Thinking Out Loud About Music


Everybody wants to get paid. But if money is your primary desire, you’re not an artist.

First and foremost an artists want to create and have their creations experienced by as large an audience as possible. There is a local Australian artist called Ricki-Lee Coulter who is in the pop market game. She has spent the last two years making her fourth album. This process has involved her funding a three-month stint in New York to work with American songwriters and producers, paying rent there as well as back in Australia. Then there was a self-funded trip to LA to work with more American writers, aware of the need for an ‘international’ sound to compete on radio. Then she flew an LA-based writer called Brian Lee to Australia for a ten-day workshop to co-write three songs. She paid for his flights and accommodation. And this is how she sums it up;

“Over the last ten years if I added it all up I could have totally bought a really nice house with what I’ve spent on my career. But sitting in a big house with empty dreams? I’d always be wanting more. I always pay for my songwriting trips overseas. I don’t want to be reliant on anybody or answer to anyone. I want to have the freedom to do things the way I want, not the way someone else does because they’re paying for it. I don’t want to take away from the support I get from my record label, but if I want something I want it. Sometimes it’s me that has to suck it up and pay for it and that’s fine, because I don’t want to have any regrets. Record labels aren’t an endless source of money. I’m lucky with the opportunities I’ve been given and I’m not left wanting. But if I wanted to be a billionaire I wouldn’t be doing music in Australia. There’s plenty of other jobs where you can work as hard as you do in music and make a whole lot more money. But I don’t do it for dollars and cents, it’s who I am. I’d feel empty if I didn’t do it.”

If you are not investing in yourself how do you expect others to do so.


An artist creates constantly. That’s their job. You’ve got to keep doing it because you love it. You need to be trying to create something that connects all by itself and you have the fans spreading its greatness, not some marketing campaign.


How many Googles are there? How many Apples are there? How many Facebooks are there or Amazons?

The answer is ONE Major player. So why do you think that musical fans have time for thousands of bands.


Robb Flynn puts it out there with his journals and it is a great way to keep in touch with the fan base. It is him also creating art. His recounting of the “Through The Ashes Of Empires” album making off was brilliant.


Keep the likes for social media. They have nothing to do with music. Music has an edge and as an artist if you rub off all of those rough edges that make you unique, then no one will care about you.


People will try to change you. There are a million ways to screw an artist financially and career wise. Don’t change.


The tech game is all about how can I go from one to many. In other words how can I produce something so good that it sells itself.  It used to be the musical game however it hasn’t been that way in a long while. You will never make money from recordings if you don’t have hit songs. I don’t mean a Billboard Number 1 style of hit,I mean a Paranoid, Live Wire, Holy Diver, Lick It Up, Darkness Within style of hit. Apple as we know it today was built upon the iPod. That was their hit.


It’s a niche market selling these musical artifacts. Now, more than ever before, your success depends upon your music. The traditional recording sales revenue may have tanked, that does not mean new opportunities have not arisen.


Streaming is just too easy, and on streaming services everything is available. You need great music to rise above.


Recordings keep your career alive. Spend too much time on the road or leave large gaps in your recorded output then you are moving in the direction or being irrelevant.


One thought on “Thinking Out Loud About Music

  1. Shemrah says:

    Greetings! I am a recent subscriber to your blog and experience, knowledge, insight and foresight in the ever changing world of music making. Thank you for this!

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