I love Sundays. Whether I'm working from home, on vacation, or in the middle of a massive project, there's something about the energy of a Sunday that allows me to slow down and connect, regardless of my to do lysst.
I also love books. For a long time I was on a "book ban" because Phillip & I couldn't fit in our bunk on the tour bus anymore because of how many I was buying. Now that we have a home and I have a bookshelf, the ban has been lifted and Sundays have become a day I'm able to add to my collection.
We spent this morning at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown and just like most Sunday brunches, the conversation still ended up being about our work. I found myself asking Phillip what his perfect record deal would look and feel like, before we wandered into a thrift store looking for furniture for our bedroom.
We returned with no furniture, but I was able to buy a book: "How To Survive The Scams & Shams Of The Music Business."
I didn't buy this book for research, I bought it for inspiration: why are musicians being scammed? Why do we need books about this?
Someone as powerful as Taylor Swift, (who many would argue single handedly influenced pop culture for the past decade) is still fighting with Scooter Braun over her masters to songs she wrote. Bands are being offered "360 deals" where record labels are taking huge percentages of everything- touring, merchandise, publishing- just to have their music heard.
The one industry responsible for bringing so many people into harmony needs hardcover books, lawyers, and representation to learn how not to get manipulated out of their own art.
I sat on the tour bus during festival season last year when a lead singer of a very successful rock band told me how many years it had taken him to receive money owed for songs he wrote from poor management and bad deals. He had begged me never to be that type of manager or sign that type of deal, out of respect for artists and creative everywhere. I've never forgotten that conversation.
I like to look at problems as opportunities. Most people, my past self included, would take the opportunity to complain, argue, or fall victim to the circumstances. I choose instead to look at the opportunity to create the circumstances that better serve the highest and best good of all.
Record companies and management work hard (hello, I gave up my life for this,) but there would be no work to do without the artist. Musicians, and hairstylists: two of the most creative groups of people I've ever personally worked with, are offering love and service to the world and receiving so much less than what's deserved. How do you put a price on creativity? How much do you charge for someone's heart?
If the record labels and the artists were able to stay in tune with each other, the concerted efforts would be a divine orchestration.
Whether you're working in a hair salon, touring the world in a rock band, or working as a professional wrestler, feeling valued and supported is a prerequisite for creating quality work. Our basic human needs go beyond food and shelter: we need to feel seen and heard.
My mentor asked me last month, "Alyssa, are you an artist or a manager, you can't be both," and I beg to differ. I believe there's an art to everything. There's an art to me crafting record deals that support the artist, there's an art to the way the waitress delivered my to-go food today, and there's an art to the way Phillip hung the bedroom curtains. Everything is an opportunity to create, and we can create solutions.
We don't like graffiti on the streets but we cut funding for art programs. We don't want to hear our kids screaming and yelling but music programs are the first to go. There's nothing worst than a bad haircut, except admitting the hairstylist is worth more than minimum wage or tips. Music creates culture, creates joy, and brings us together, but why would we ever pay an artist for their music?
Sundays and music both are pricelyss, but musicians still deserve to get paid.
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