If you stick to the electronic music industry long enough, you’re gonna get screwed…..no sorry…. you’re gonna get fucked….hard…..sideways…..and any other way you can imagine. Look I don’t mean to be the pessimist here as I’m actually quite the opposite most of the day but let’s face it….people suck, and (most) people in the electronic music industry are inflated with egos and entitlements which means they suck even more than regular people.
We all have heard stories of label owners stealing music from artists, promoters canceling shows or worst not paying people, agents/managers over-promising (we got you bro……Nah!), authorities shut down parties, girlfriend/boyfriend leaving you because they’re sick of this bullshit life, business partners taking loans on the company’s behalf and leaving you with the full responsibility and any other BS you can think of that happens in our industry has probably already happened to someone (if not you). It really is inevitable if you’re gonna take this path as in anything you do in life that you pursue….you’re gonna hit bumpy roads and deal with nasty people and situations. How you overcome them is what’s important, not the actual shitty situation you will encounter from being screwed.
Depending on the amount of blows you take along the journey, getting screwed, backstabbed, and betrayed can be detrimental to your confidence, trust, and morale especially when you begin to feel helpless and hopeless. I certainly know what that feels like during my earlier days when I first started out and it really sucks….when I think back to those moments it still brings me disappointed feelings and resentment even though I know I should move on (fyi I did already), and whatever happened has nothing to do with my current work and progress. One thing I know if you make it through the trenches and hard times is that you will get stronger (mentally and emotionally).
In Phase 1 of ArtistMap I go over the 12-pillars of mental process in order for artists to build a bulletproof mindset preparing you for the rough and long journey ahead. Well, part of building up a strong mindset stems from your ability to recover from the blows while relentlessly pushing through no matter what. Many artists have given up by hitting these road bumps, getting screwed, and losing it completely by some of the tough situations they have encountered.
Mindset has been a focal point for ArtistMap and the foundation of our entire mantra. Simply put, you’re not gonna be able to get anything done in life without first getting your head straight and screwed on right. Let’s dive into the perspective you need to put yourself in when the industry gives you a big fuck you….intentionally or not :)
You’re probably thinking….”WTF dude….how does a label manager screwing me on licensing rights or a promoter cancelling shows my damn fault!?”
TRUE! That last part where you get screwed may not be your fault BUT the beginning or middle part where YOU made the decision to have your music signed to that label or when you agreed to play for that promoter was a CHOICE you made. If we take a step back and pull the magnifying glass you’ll realize that you had control over those situations….you just made the wrong choice during that moment in time (whether intentional or not).
Look, no one pulled a knife to your neck begging you to become an electronic music dj/producer…no one. You made that decision on your own and you asked to be in this journey so if we want to take that magnifying glass even further that’s where the root lies….the moment you decided to take on this journey! Understanding that you asked for this and this is what you wanted will help you recognize that this is part of the process. Show me a musician who didn’t get screwed by the industry and I’ll show you someone who never left their bedroom studio. Welcome to the club…stop pointing your finger outwards, for every one you point out there’s 3 fingers pointing right back at you.
A simple question you can ask yourself after getting royally screwed is this:
“What did I learn from this experience?”
Before you answer that question you need to first put your mind in a positive state….ok maybe that’s asking too much considering you just got punched in the face by the industry but try to at least be NEUTRAL. The reason being is this…..when you answer a question with a pissed-off or negative mindset what type of answer or mood do you think you’ll respond with?
I call this the “artist black-hole” and it’s detrimental, here is an example:
“I learned that I can no longer trust people in the industry and don’t think I can work with anyone. This whole thing is a joke, it’s unfair, bullshit, and everyone is doing it for attention and their own benefit. I also learned that hard work is not what it’s about….it’s about taking shortcuts and who you know.”
Yeah keep feeding that shit to your head and see what continues to happen….have you ever met those people who seem to have been through it all (name dropping the good ol’days) but never actually made anything of themselves in the industry? Or had glory days that are no longer relevant since 2004? Yeah….that’s who you’ll end up becoming if you go through each blow with that kind of mentality while continuing to struggle to hang in the industry….don’t be like that person.
“I learned that this is part of my journey and to not get overly excited (or naive) at every opportunity that comes my way and I should do some due diligence (homework) on the very people I intend to work with. While I know not everyone is doing this for the right reason(s), I believe there are people and groups who are and I will do my best to lead as an example on my own of who I wish to be in this industry (and vice versa)”
What you feed your head after suffering a blow determines the attitude that shapes how you move forward and as much as people downplay positivity as cheesy or whatever, I much rather be the artist with a positive perspective than that of a negative one. However, you answer that question is all up to you but my best advice is for you to answer them when you’re at least in a neutral state of mind to avoid the “artist black-hole” because that thing can spiral down to the point where you pretty much give up on everything before you start anything new….I have encountered a lot of these older industry people who are just fucking bitter….as if life cheated them but they still hang around the scene….for what? To spill their negative spirit onto you….don’t become that virus in our industry and don’t let that virus enter your nervous system.
Do yourself a favor and always try and turn a shitty situation into something positive that you can learn and grow from or else you literally will get stuck and continue to live your life dwelling and creating excuses as to why things will never work out for you.
Part of getting screwed also symbolizes that a bridge has been burned in the industry. I am personally not a big fan of burning bridges but a good buddy of mine explained it the best.
“If we have to burn a bridge, may the bridge we burn light the fire into a new path of success”
A setback such as getting screwed shouldn’t be the reason you give up especially when you know you can get back up, tho I’m sure there are REALLY tough situations that might put someone at quits but if you have the will to recover, your immediate next step is to surround yourself with the right groups of people. Go out there and give yourself another shot, use what you learned to ensure you take the right approach moving forward. The overall community is growing globally, you can find ways to connect online or in-person (most effective) and just understand that the bad situation you went through was just that….a bad situation that you will eventually overcome.
By surrounding yourself with the right groups of people it will be the fastest way to redeem your sense of hope, provide a fresh re-start, and give you the willpower to continue on no matter what situation comes your way.