Dreams are Free: Hustle is Sold Separately


Recently I was giggling with a good friend and fellow songwriter about what a typical day looks like as an indie artist. This particular day, in addition to my eight hour day job, I...
  • Reviewed and completed a music license for specific TV pitch
  • Reviewed and completed a music license for another company to represent a song of mine
  • Had a conversation with a friend about possible music for her weekly podcasts---and researched typical rates for podcast licenses
  • Followed up on a local play that is licensed a few songs
  • Finished a song in a co-write
  • Spent an hour on social media scheduling and interacting
  • Spent an hour on email following up, replying, reaching out, etc.
I'm not sharing this list to try to impress anyone---and I'm certainly not complaining because it took me a long time to build my career to the point I have this much to do! I'm just saying that unlike popular opinion THIS REALLY IS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. Day in and day out.

And it's what I want to explain to people when they say, "Oh I'm so jealous! You're living the dream!" Now, I fully agree that pursuing any dream is a privilege, but that privilege comes with a ton of hard work, grit and disappointment. And we as artists tend to forget that it's day by day, inch by inch.

For example, I once heard an artist announce that their goal was to write a hit song that year. That's a good goal, right? The reality was, though, that this particular artist didn't schedule co-writes, didn't work on writing alone and had never even finished a full song. And at the end of the year (and the following three years) there were no songs at all---forget about 'hits.'

I loved this blog post from MusicConsultant that described the way the media views success as an artist, and how certain stories are more compelling than others.

So, I think my point here is that in general no one wants to hear about the work---they want to skip to the big payoff. At the same time, in my opinion, the work is what makes you who you are as a person and an artist. And, personally, I would never want any success just handed to me.

Pretty much this quote says it all: "Dreams are Free: Hustle is sold separately." And there is a of lot hustle in the music industry...

So what do you think?

1 comment

  • Mark Williams

    Mark Williams Allentown, Pa

    You are absolutely correct. The reality is Songwriting is an art. To sell it is the nightmare sometimes. It is an ongoing never ending sales pitch no different than selling any other product. I learn everything I can about the art. My family roots were from the mid-west to the Northwest Territory from farming, cattle drives, poultry and there were outlaws and road agent. The business side of Singer/Songwriter reminds me of that. I so hold up such the persistent life of writers and artists. All the behind the scenes activities is not for a lazy soul. That is why I wrote Singin At The Bluebird Cafe. It's refected the positive attitude of Bill Deluigi and freinds who have alot of perseverence to reach a level of sucess in such a hard business. I really appreciate the music and determination of your circle. If your are fishing at the right fishing hole and the right technics the catch will soon be more frequent. The big catch is icing on the cake. However: you are only as good as your last catch. It doesn't stop there. It helps you survive to the next and the next. Rick Norheim and I are two old farts writing song for the love of it. I have the utmost respect for you Shantell. I always pray for the songwriter. especially Jeff Prince.

    You are absolutely correct. The reality is Songwriting is an art. To sell it is the nightmare sometimes. It is an ongoing never ending sales pitch no different than selling any other product. I learn everything I can about the art. My family roots were from the mid-west to the Northwest Territory from farming, cattle drives, poultry and there were outlaws and road agent. The business side of Singer/Songwriter reminds me of that. I so hold up such the persistent life of writers and artists. All the behind the scenes activities is not for a lazy soul. That is why I wrote Singin At The Bluebird Cafe. It's refected the positive attitude of Bill Deluigi and freinds who have alot of perseverence to reach a level of sucess in such a hard business. I really appreciate the music and determination of your circle. If your are fishing at the right fishing hole and the right technics the catch will soon be more frequent. The big catch is icing on the cake. However: you are only as good as your last catch. It doesn't stop there. It helps you survive to the next and the next. Rick Norheim and I are two old farts writing song for the love of it. I have the utmost respect for you Shantell. I always pray for the songwriter. especially Jeff Prince.

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