There is a post I read on Seth Godin’s blog, called “The Compass And The Map” about a soldier who escaped a Japanese prison in Burma during World War 2.
For five months, he used a map and a compass that he had found to get him to India as he was too suspicious to ask the Burmese for help. He scribbled on the map, his turns and marked down the rivers he crossed.
When he showed the Intelligence Officers in India his map, it was a map of the streets of London. As Seth Godin concludes, “if you’ve got the wrong map, the right compass will get you home, if you know how to use it.
In other words you need to know where you want to go and be flexible with the route.
Do artists have these same ideals?
The days of a record label A&R person signing you and employing people around you to do the work, while you write and record and tour and make lots of money are long gone. For that era, the artists had the map which was controlled by a gatekeeper, as it was a step by step guide on how to get from playing to your bedroom wall to maybe getting an A&R rep to see you play live, to signing a deal and then playing to thousands of people.
But that map will not serve you well in the music world today. You need that compass that takes you in the direction you want to go, as long as you know your destination.