“The music industry is cruel.”
Have you ever heard that? We certainly have. People remind us all the time that we’re a little bit crazy to be working musicians. As a society, we view the “music industry” as a dog-eat-dog business, only successfully navigated by those who can climb over others to get the top. It is represented in films about Motown stars who get screwed over by their producers and turn to drugs. We watch lawsuits being fought between hurting artists and the labels who keep them shackled (#FREEKESHA!), and Making the Band episodes about estranged bandmates whose relationships crumble beneath the competition and pressure of creating and performing. These images of the industry lead us to believe that the price of making music as a profession is high: the people you love will screw you over, and you have to screw them over. It’s every man for itself if you want to “make it.” Yes, it’s cruel.
This may be true. The “industry” may be cruel. However, The Promise is Hope is not part of this same system. We have not embraced the “industry” mentality that says in order to be a successful musician, you must get signed to a label, make others lots of money, and screw everyone over in the process. One of the main components of our model is centered around community as an industry. Nepotism and competitiveness may benefit a few, but it does not benefit the system as a whole. Working together with a family of creatives to support and value one anothers’ work is key to working as a successful independent musician. We may call ourselves “independent”, but we are never alone.
Every now and again, we work with incredible artists & venues who share our vision. We’ve met many musicians who are working their butts off creating and sharing their work, and who help us do the same. We’ve collaborated with them on booking tours and shows, embracing the old adage that “Alone we go faster, but together we go farther.” We’ve played in venues (cafes, restaurants, clubs, even book stores!) who value, celebrate and support independent musicians with love, encouragement and a great place to return on tour. In this blog series, we’re going to celebrate and share our appreciation for these wonderful people and the mutually loving and supportive relationships growing in the independent music community. We want to change the perception of the music industry. We want more musicians to be welcomed into this community, and not be afraid to enter due to the idea that it’s every man for himself. We want to welcome everyone into this beautiful world of beautiful people with our stories of kindness, hospitality, joy and music.
Being a working musician does not mean subscribing to a cruel industry. We, instead, have been warmly adopted by a world-wide family of truly phenomenal humans who believe, like we do, that music is important, valuable and worth celebrating.
To read the first post in the Better Together series about our friend, Joy Ike, click here.