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September 10, 2010

The musician's third leg

If you want to walk the walk in this industry, it's not enough to stand

on your own two feet - you need a third leg.

Although a musician's esteem begins with their songs and performances, the highest level of esteem that can be harnessed needs not relate to their music at all. The preceding pages mention ways in which musicians' visual image, political stance, community activities, innovative marketing activities, can all be used to build esteem.

Similarly, it is just as important that an act be seen as professional, ethical, or environmentally aware as it is that they be seen as talented composers and performers. This is the point at which the artistic aspects of a career in music sit down in a meeting with the industrial aspects.

Being a brilliant artist is not enough. History is littered with the careers of brilliant artists who proved too unreliable, volatile or inconsistent to make a living. On the other hands, the charts are full of acts of mediocre talent who gained the support of the industry.

The key to building non-musical esteem is to ensure that all of it is consistent with the musician's image and musical stance. Of course, some counter-intuitive examples exist, such as AC/DC's Brian Johnson writing songs for Celine Dion - but these make sense when the sources of the esteem are properly understood.

The following pages examine the groups of people who grant esteem to a musician and the ways in which their esteem benefits a musical career.


The highest level of esteem a musician can aspire to does not relate to their musical output. It relates to their contribution to the industry and to the culture more broadly. This kind of esteem almost guarantees the relevance and future value of musicians.

This post is the summary of Part 2 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at September 10, 2010 4:55 PM

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