A musician myself, I hear a lot of sometimes hard truth in Herstand's reporting on how he's made a living in today's musical world. Now that earning most of one's income from recordings has ceased because of free downloads, he explains how to use social media, local fans, bookers, and club owners, YouTube videos, etc. to sell concert tickets and merch (T-shirts, CD's, art) as one's main source of income. Except for a brief period near the sudden end of the CD's heyday, when certain debasers of the Grand African/American Musical Tradition made obscene profits, recording contracts have historically paid low remuneration to musicians. Record companies did often invest in "artist development"; now, if your first record's not a big hit, you're gone - ("99 out of 100 modern recording contracts don't result in a second album release.")
Therefore, your career is really in your own hands, not some record company's. A.H. wisely points out that even if you do eventually want to go the traditional company route, you'll be in a far better negotiating position if you've already built a successful career and fan base. As Steve Vai (not in this book) says "You can sit and cry that things have changed, or you can realize that, with hard work, musicians now have more power than they've ever had to build and shape their own artistic destinies."
By far the best book currently available on the realities and strategies of making a living in the contemporary music industry.
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