Friday, November 9, 2007

Own the Ladder

Y'all are in trouble.

I'm reading financial books again.

Get ready for the barrage of wall street analogies, and me trying to be professional.

Has anyone read Rich Dad, Poor Dad? What a great book. It stirs up the evil capitalist that exists within me, and sets me plotting, scheming, and of course, lecturing. And have I got a good deal for you folks today!

What the heck does this have to do with music?

Well, I'd like to squarely tackle the baloney that my elders always spit in my face whenever I announce my career choice.

"You're best off getting a good, safe, secure job, and then do your music on the side."

In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the author disagrees as much as I do with that statement, albeit for different reasons. He states that the traditional job is the reason that the poor and middle class stay stuck in the same financial position, working hard to make the government and the rich man richer. He says it's vital to mind your own business. Meaning - create your own business, take a different view of finances than the mob, and develop financial aptitude.

I read the book first thing in the morning, and then I go out jogging. I see the groggy commuters stumbling off to work, coffee cups glued to their faces, and well, after reading this book about thinking differently, it makes a profound impression.

Stock guru Jim Cramer says in his book Mad Money that you must take care of your money, because sadly, no one else will do it for you. Another case of minding your own business.

And in music, this is a DUH with a capital D. How many horror stories have we heard of rock stars going broke? Of managers, agents, and record labels ripping off the "poor artists?" Of starving artists?

OK, fellas, but if all we do is play guitar, and loudly proclaim we don't care about what happens with money, we're walking around with a big neon sign over our heads saying "Mug me!"

And the industry will.

Wow, this sounds pretty darn depressing. But check this:
If there's money involved, and people being ripped off, it sounds like....a business!

I was disappointed when I figured out that the music industry is just that, an industry.

But now I'm excited! If you want to rise to the top of the heap in software design, people don't say "oh, that's just lucky if you can pull that off." No! They say "better get up early!"

This is very exciting. If music is a business, that means that there's ways to get to the top!
And can artistry survive in business? Of course. Just think of the incredible art in advertising. How about the pure elegance of luxury cars? And so too with music. Just because we acknowledge a business side of it doesn't mean we've sold out, or thrown the life out of our art. No sir! It means that we're adding an exciting new field to our knowledge base.

By learning about business, the music industry, and how to manage our finances, we're liberating ourselves from financial ignorance.

This does not mean we have to be money hungry. Of course money will make a difference in life. We need it to survive. But we certainly don't want to step of folks to get it. Learning about
business, money, and the industry will only help us, and you know what? It's really cool!

Here's a few things to get you started. (I told you I had a good deal for you today!)

Consider buying these books:

One of my favorite ideas from Rich Dad, Poor Dad is when the author is advised by his "poor dad" to get in with a good company, get benefits, and climb up the corporate ladder. His "rich dad" just laughs, and asks......

"Why not own the ladder?"

And why not?

Rock on!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Too often, musicians view this subject as a choice between being a broke but outstanding musician or a well-off but less outstanding musician (because of the time invested in the business end of things).

I see it as a choice between working the boring, secure day job or working as a musician. You have to make a living one way or the other just to survive. Those who view learning about the music business as sacrificing artistic integrity are unwittingly taking a running start on the path to that boring day job. I'd rather do my homework.