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Old 06-03-2017, 06:05 PM
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Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
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Default Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

SKF NOTE: At age 28 I realized my life was out-of-balance. Devoting so much time to drumming, music, and writing -- I had neglected the practical matters of earning a living, of understanding how business works. I'm still learning!

This piece is one of the rare columns I wrote for Modern Drummer. It's based on my experience as a working drummer -- and I guess my advice here still holds true.



Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:34 AM
Hummada Hummada is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

From 1984 to 2017 is a huge difference, and would say that article is ahead of it's time. Unfortunately music business is way worse than in 1984 and keeps declining.
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:59 AM
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Skitch Skitch is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

Sage advice, Scott! I printed this out this very article from my MD Archive ( a valuable resource which every drummer should have) some time ago and it is amazing how many people blame everything but developing a business sense for being able to earn a living!

Mike

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Old 06-05-2017, 05:05 PM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

I am in the middle of watching, Long Strange Trip, the story of the Grateful Dead, and although I was never a big fan, the documentary is great. Not to spoil so I'll be short, but Jerry Garcia, who hated posing for band photos, hated making movies just wanted to play. One of his quotes from the piece was, "Music should be spiritual not business." Drove his manager nuts. It's obvious their lifestyle was different from the norm, but it worked for them. All of this depends on your philosophy about music, art, and your personal goals.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:47 PM
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Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

Music and the music business are two different entities. I agree with Jerry Garcia's quote. But, The Dead was/is one of the more successful music business models.

Best,
skf
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Old 06-07-2017, 02:45 PM
Ghostnote
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

The band's I was in when I was younger and gigging all the time stressed creativity and personal fulfillment over business. We played the kind of music that we wanted to play and if there was an audience for it, then great. If there wasnt an audience for it, then so be it. A couple of bands garnered a good local following on the Vancouver rock scene and got good reviews in Music Express and other such publications, but I never once had delusions of making it big. I was just happy living month to month, scraping by and playing the music I liked.

At that time, to supplement my income, I subbed quite a few shows with older guys that were making a living catering to specific audiences and I noticed that many of those players had fallen into the trap of music having become just a job to them. They were great, competent players for the most part for sure, but they're playing lacked inspiration and it just seemed like they were going through the motions. Music had always been the one thing in my life that I truly loved and that would pull me through thick and thin, so I didn't want to tarnish it like I imagined it would have been had I followed in their footsteps. I was much happier back then being broke and enjoying playing music all the time than I am now, making good money and taking on a lot of financial and personal responsibilities as tends to happen when we get older.

Money has certainly made life easier in certain respects, but it sure hasn't made me any happier. That comes from doing what you love, doing a little good in the world along the way, and fostering good personal relationships with those around you.
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Old 06-07-2017, 02:50 PM
JohnoWorld
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

I just can't talk about business in music. I don't know what it is but I cannot monetize my drumming or turn what is a wonderful expression of my creative output into numbers and figures.

Being creative on drums is the very antithesis to business bullshit. I'm currently in India discussing outsourcing models and all I can think of is getting home to my drums.

People must've had band meetings? I hate them. Just so pretentious in my mind, even though they need to happen.

I always left the business and promotion side to people who are better at sales, I just jibber on too long.....

See?!!! :-)
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Old 06-07-2017, 02:57 PM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnoWorld View Post
I just can't talk about business in music. I don't know what it is but I cannot monetize my drumming or turn what is a wonderful expression of my creative output into numbers and figures.

Being creative on drums is the very antithesis to business bullshit. I'm currently in India discussing outsourcing models and all I can think of is getting home to my drums.

People must've had band meetings? I hate them. Just so pretentious in my mind, even though they need to happen.

I always left the business and promotion side to people who are better at sales, I just jibber on too long.....

See?!!! :-)
I completely identify with this. I've got a day job, and thinking about business is the last thing I want to do when it comes to music.

Of course, if music is your full-time job, you have no choice but to deal with it. That's one of the luxuries of being a part-time, semi-pro musician: Being able to forget about the business side. I have to remind myself of that every time I feel those regrets that I didn't pursue a career in music.
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:03 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

Playing music has been an absolute joy now that I do not have to think about the business side of it.

Looking back at it, a 3 album deal in 1993 would have put us $1.4m in debt with almost no chance of recuperating. We would have lost the majority of rights over our recorded and written material "forever". Only the record company stood a chance of making money. We would have to sell merch at shows to pay for gas money to make it to the next gig.


Now in 2017, bands can self publish with zero debt and retain their rights. People will find a way to obtain their material for free and only Apple and Google profit. Believe it or not, this is a big step up from 1993.

To put this in perspective, back in 93, Courtney Love was coherent and had a fair take on the issue. Example.

Last edited by KamaK; 06-07-2017 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 06-08-2017, 03:04 AM
Groov-E Groov-E is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Playing music has been an absolute joy now that I do not have to think about the business side of it.

Looking back at it, a 3 album deal in 1993 would have put us $1.4m in debt with almost no chance of recuperating. We would have lost the majority of rights over our recorded and written material "forever". Only the record company stood a chance of making money. We would have to sell merch at shows to pay for gas money to make it to the next gig.


Now in 2017, bands can self publish with zero debt and retain their rights. People will find a way to obtain their material for free and only Apple and Google profit. Believe it or not, this is a big step up from 1993.

To put this in perspective, back in 93, Courtney Love was coherent and had a fair take on the issue. Example.
Thanks Kamak, that is a great text by Courtney Love. Very articulate. And very punk ! I feel she is unjustly often portrayed as a caricature of herself.
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2017, 12:32 PM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish: Creativity vs. Business

I'm at the bottom end of the music business, in fact I'm probably not in it at all as I'm not even semi pro, I play in two bands for fun in pubs.
However that doesn't stop me having opinions and making observations.
First of all I detest the phrase "for love or money" and the thinking behind it. Things can be done for love AND money. Just because I'm playing Rock cover versions doesn't mean I'm somehow betraying my 14 year old self, I'm artistically empty and I hate myself when I look in the mirror (okay exaggeration but you catch my drift). In fact copying, or trying to copy, what far better drummers than I did when laying down tracks for a record has noticeably improved my playing. And while I can't honestly say that I love every single song that my bands play, I certainly don't "hate" any of them. In fact in 10 years playing covers I can't think of one song I've been forced to play or really strongly resented so much that it festered in my mind.
Monetising what I play. On a local music forum there are several people who bang on about "doing it for the love", one in particular used to put himself on a self appointed pedestal over all of us hacks getting a couple of hundred quid for playing what audiences wanted to hear. And yet you would regularly see him posting up asking who would do guitar set ups for free, who would take him and his band to play at a gig they'd agreed to play 40 miles away but they didn't have transport, who would supply a PA for free etc. Like it or not, money is a requirement at all levels of playing.
Back or "doing it because I love it". I used to think this was the case but on deeper reflection I realised it isn't. I don't love the music per se, I love the reaction to the music when a gig takes off. It might only be a small handful of people who are REALLY getting into it, or it could be a packed pub. The money to a degree doesn't matter, what puts a smile on my face is knowing and seeing that people are being entertained. I could play the exact same set two nights in a row and walk away hating one gig because it was like playing to tumbleweed and walk away from the other with my head in the clouds based purely on the crowd reaction. It's just ingrained in my personality and I can't change it but I'm unable to enjoy what I do on stage if no is there to appreciate it.
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