“If you’re in a small town, you have to get down on your hands and knees and dig a ditch so that the water can run”

With no foreseeable end in sight for rising rents in the cities, expect this trend to continue.

But with the same cities stricken by intensifying affordability crises – premiums on space that make somewhere to live, let alone rehearse and perform, available to a dwindling few – they don’t beckon young punks like they used to. And though reports of music scenes’ deaths tend to overstate, news of shuttering venues (see eulogies for The Smell, The Know, and LoBot) deters some of the intrepid transplants needed for invigoration. Dissipating metropolitan allure, however, helps account for the strength of scenes in outlying towns.

Source: Rock in the suburbs: why punk moved out of the city and into the cul-de-sac | Music | The Guardian

#WhatILearned: The Hustle Economy

The Hustle Economy, edited by Jason Oberholtzer and illustrated by Jessica Hagy, is an anthology of insights and advice for creative entrepreneurs by creative entrepreneurs, representing a wide spectrum of artists and makers.

If you believe, as I do, that we’re entering a new era of work, freed from the factory, yet even more connected by the internet, and you do creative work of any kind, then it’s helpful to have a guide…and this is a good start.

The whole book is great, but here are a few of my favorite insights:

Nick Douglas

  • Just make good work and put it out there
  • Over time, a creator convinces people that their work is consistently good, enough so that their next piece of work will be worth betting on
  • It’s really rewarding when you can help people who are a little behind you in their career. Not selfishly, not to “earn points,” but because you genuinely feel they deserve more opportunities than they have right now”
  • Pick your collaborators by their talent, creative ambition, and ability to work with others

Jason Oberholtzer

  • The typical journey is part willingness to get by with less at times, part luck, and part grace – in different proportions for different people
  • Being involved in the hustle isn’t about arriving anywhere – it’s about being “in the mix”
  • When you aren’t focused in one area, building specific, marketable experience and skill, you are cultivating another broader skill: getting good at getting good at things
  • …embrace that which motivates you to action rather than that which taxes your energy so much that its toxic energy reaches into other areas
  • Invest in yourself in concrete ways…learn new tangible skills

Jessica Hagy

  • You’re always still learning
  • Make room for the next bigger, better thing
  • Surrender is not an option
  • Every chore can be a creative exercise
  • Just. Keep. Going

A few tips:

  • Spend at least 15 minutes making something new today
  • Figure out a natural first starting point. Want to write a book? Write a chapter.
  • Now is the time to articulate what you want
  • Reach out to others, and reply with generosity when others reach out to you
  • Start working on something that is worth working on

It’s a collection intended to inspire. And it’s filled with Jessica Hagy’s illustrations, which are great for opening your mind to a different way of thinking about work. I hope you check it out and it gives you a kick in the ass to bring something new into the world.

“The connection economy values the bridges between the nodes as much as the nodes themselves”

If you’re looking for as good an explanation as I’ve found about the shift from factory work to the connection economy, read Seth Godin’s post linked below.

No, the good jobs aren’t coming back. But yes, there’s a whole host of a new kind of good job, one that feels fundamentally different from the old days. It doesn’t look like a job used to look, but it’s the chance of lifetime if we can shift gears fast enough.

You don’t have to like this shift, but ignoring it, yelling about it, cutting ourselves off from it is a recipe for a downward spiral. It’s an opportunity if we let it be one.

Source: Seth’s Blog: The computer, the network and the economy

Neko Case: “Employing people in a shitty economy is a good motivator, too, because you want them to have health insurance and homes, you know?”

Some really great insights here from Neko Case:

“Early on I would have loved to be signed by a major label, but the greatest thing that ever happened to me is that I wasn’t,” Case says. “I really had to do it myself at that point. Now I have accomplishments that, to me, seem pretty far ahead of their time. When it comes to being in control of my own business, I was way ahead of the curve. I’m really proud of that. And the most important thing was that I didn’t have to fuck people over to do it. They want to make music sports, and music is not fucking sports. There’s this idea that you have to have some sort of hard-ass management that treats people like shit. Those people are a representation of you. If you think that sort of corporate stuff is gross, it’s because it is gross. It’s not a competition, and there’s room for everyone. You should be proud of what the people in your scene accomplish. It sounds cheesy, but generosity opens doors.”

Source: Neko Case on punk rock and the importance of staying independent

“the only scarce resource left is the artists themselves”

Perhaps musicians’ renegade spirit is what ultimately will save the next generation of recording artists, who are increasingly forgoing record deals altogether and going it alone. As true independents, they work the margin between the technology that makes recordings cheaper to create and a public that is steadily buying fewer of them. Without a label taking a bite out of multiple revenue sources, the numbers can actually work. Others are coming together in groups centered on advocacy and pressing for changes to the laws that dictate royalty payments in the new streaming economy — something that could mean all the difference when injury, accident or age brings a touring musician’s career to a halt. But in the meantime, the vans and buses roll on.

If musicians have to rely on touring for the majority of their income, is that ultimately sustainable?

Source: Touring Can’t Save Musicians in the Age of Spotify – The New York Times

What Can We Learn from Nashville about Building and Supporting a Music Community?

Looking forward to reading a new book, Beyond the Beat: Musicians Building Community in Nashville, which:

identifies the rise of three new types of musicians, or “artist activists,” who take a more active role in shaping their careers and communities: “enterprising artists” who are entrepreneurial and career-focused, “artistic social entrepreneurs” who combine music with a social mission to build community or maintain social spaces, and “artist advocates” who are remaking unionism for music and the arts (a few of whom are chronicled in the book). These three types of artist activists not only work to develop their own careers, but to support and help one another. In turn, they have created an inclusive peer community, strengthened the broader network of musicians, and bolstered the very fiber of Nashville and its music scene.

Also interested in reading about what the city of Nashville has done to support music:

Local public policy has sustained musicians and the industry in several ways. On the demand side, economic development has focused on music-themed tourism, museums, and festivals that attract consumers of music and related retail and hospitality services. On the supply side, the city has encouraged the development of affordable housing for musicians and other artists, as well as arts districts that provide studio, performance, and display spaces for performing and visual artists, and their fans.

Source: What Drives Nashville’s Music Industry – CityLab

“In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue”

Michael Passman has a pretty interesting piece on the challenges Austin is facing….problems that seem pretty common to a lot of other cities.

In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue, there are fewer venues for them to do so, and those venues left are threatened with going out of business, not to mention less time in the evening for musicians to actually play.

We know the causes. People come here for SXSW, SXSW gets bigger and bigger, people decide they want to move here, the tech startup boom is ongoing, the economy is healthy, and buildings get torn down and replaced by high rise condos. It happens everywhere.

Source: Michael Passman: The Beginning of The End: Austin’s Public Face on Live Music Contradicts Reality – Blurt Magazine

“Go start something. There’s no locks on the door.”

From a solid interview with Seth Godin linked below:

I would say that I’m inspired by two things. The first is the opportunity. This is the first time in human history that somebody sitting in their living room has a chance to contact more than just a couple of people at a time. And more important than that, the revolution that’s going through our world right now is opening more doors for more people than ever before. When I look at the combination of those two things, I see an opportunity, and I wake up every morning hoping I won’t waste it.

Source: Seth Godin: Inspiring Millions to Start – Learning for Life – Medium