Thinking an artist has money because they’re signed to a label is like calling someone rich because they have a credit card.
That is EXACTLY what it is.
Labels are fantastic, because they’re the only institutions crazy enough to lend artists money. But if you’re like me, you probably don’t treat your $10,000 credit limit like money in the bank. At least I hope you don’t.
It frustrates me that people in the industry will charge an artist more because they know that a “bank” (for all intents and purposes) is backing them. As if money borrowed doesn’t have to be repaid with interest. It’s one thing for the masses not to realize that money lent to the artists eventually comes out of the artists’ own pocket. It’s another thing for people within the industry to pretend like they’re not taking advantage of the artist when they ask the label for more money.
I’m going on tour in March. A nationwide tour. A bigass, nationwide tour with a full band and everything. And the truth is I could ask my label to front some cash for it. I could also buy a boat and put it on my credit card. These are things that I could do. But accumulating debt in any area of my finances will always be a last resort. Instead of borrowing money, I’m going to do what a healthy business would do: work within my budget and offer services in exchange for goods. I know: it’s a crazy concept. Why would you choose to work for something if you can just get a loan?
A time may come when I need to ask the label for tour support, but now is not that time. Now is the time to ask myself what I can offer people in exchange for my skills. I have a few ideas, and I’m working round-the-clock to make them happen. Right now my main focus is what experiences I can offer fans, and what services I can offer companies in exchange for sponsorship.
If you have a problem with corporate sponsorship, you really need to get over it. From Michelangelo and the Vatican, to Michael Jackson and Pepsi, to Pomplamoose and Hyundai: artists have always had and will always need patrons. Maybe you are of the opinion that art should never debase itself to the point of product promotion. That is your opinion, and I hope that you are personally willing to sponsor all of the artists who cannot make a living off of touring and album sales alone.
Personally, I’d rather support an artist who works hard to get their art noticed: who isn’t afraid to ask for favors, to work with people, to write a few jingles, to make a few videos. My goal so far has been to make a living as a full-time artist, and so far I’ve been fortunate enough - thanks to my fans, my label and some licensing opportunities - to be living that reality. But it is a reality: I’m not “living the dream.” I’m not taking vacations and getting weekly massages in between radio interviews and televised performances from space. I’m just working hard every day and hoping that the sweat will continue to pay off.
Fortunately, it’s not all work. Sometimes I get to play too! Like this tour coming up. That’s going to be a lot of fun. You should check out my Tour page for show info and ticket links. My wonderful friend and talented songstress, Lauren O’Connell will be playing with me. We just put out this video to announce our month-long tour that begins in March. You better be there.
Seriously. Playing for you guys is what makes this whole thing worthwhile.