My name is Paul. I work in music. I have done for the last 15 years.
I read a lot about the business of music and 'the industry's' hopes and ambitions of creating a sustainable financial model from a commercial landscape that hasn't stopped challenging the old norms for 15 years now.
I started working in music in 1999 - the year that Napster launched and the corridors of power originally shook with the realization that, in the business of music, nothing was ever going to be the same again.
I started in the music business at a company that specialized in sending fans items of post (old-fashioned snail-mail to avoid any ambiguity) informing them of new single and album releases. The business was hugely successful and deserved to be - and then email and the marketing opportunities it presented killed the business. And it killed it very quickly.
And then if we fast-forward to 2007 I set-up my own digital publicity company. It was called La Digit.
As a company we were fortunate enough to work with artists like Metallica, 30 Seconds To Mars, Bastille, Gotye, Cee Lo Green, Green Day, Weezer, Blink-182 and many more..
I think people liked us because we were low on the 'BS factor', worked hard for people and we often had some sort of laughable / crazy idea that probably would never have worked but certainly illustrated our creativity and some out-of-the-box thinking.
In late 2013 I started slowly shutting the doors on La Digit and moved to San Francisco with my wife to start afresh here.
La Digit is now all but 'asleep' and in the interim a band I co-manage has signed a worldwide deal with Roadrunner Records (well done Empress AD!). And a new band I manage called Shrine have some influential people excited about them.
And after all sorts of work permit delays I'm also now working for an incredibly exciting music incubator in Oakland called Zoo Labs (you should check them out).
What the move to the US (and the delays in work permits!) did mean is that I've had tons of time to think about the industry that I've spent my whole professional life in. And I've come to realize and affirm to myself something that I think I've known for a long time. That I love music people. But I think for the first time ever I can truly explain why.
The sheer breadth of skills that most music professionals have in their repertoire is amazing. The creation of degrees of commercial certainty from an unequivocally subjective medium (that's music by the way) is brilliance in itself. But, when you add to that that many people who work in a record company, a publishing company, music management, the live arena, an aspiring artist, an established artist or just about anything else at the 'coalface' of the business of music will probably have a solid grasp of a huge number of business areas I'm consistently amazed.
Analytics packages, clickthrough rates, content and video creation, channel management, social media optimization, CMSs, licensing, merchandise, branding, publishing, revenue splits, PR, uploading, downloading and let's not forget good old-fashioned A&R and the laser-sighted ability to spot an exciting new talent from a cast of thousands. And all this is done as a commercial speculation of an artist's future success.
And the odds are massively stacked against you from the start!
Music people are very rarely paid handsomely. And many (generally the best ones) work in music because it's in their DNA. There's no particular 'choice' to the profession they ended up working in. The lure of the art form was just too strong.
So, this is my tribute to the multi-skilled, the highly qualified, the entrepreneurial and the well-rounded 'can do' kings and queens of the music business.
I salute you. Now and forever.