Brent Ryan

Bands In the Black – A Different Approach to Musical Ambitions

Posted on May 14, 2019 in music, Music Business, Opinions, Updates

Sometimes I gripe and moan about how I got into this music business late in life, and had I started doing this when I was 19 years old I would likely be famous by now and performing for thousands….no wait, billions, of screaming college kids.  Statistically though, the odds are more in-favor of the scenario that, I would have pursued music ambitiously during that age when living homeless was of little consequence, eventually out-grown that attitude, and faded out of the music business frustrated and forlorn, without a college degree, working a low to middle wage job to survive while relishing the old days when “maybe I could’ve been someone”.  There are some advantages to entering the music business later in life. Myself, always the optimist, seeks out these positive perspectives. They are real.

One of the biggest advantages is that I have some real-world career and financial experience under my belt.  I have already learned many of life’s big financial mistakes the hard way.  I will still make some big mistakes, no doubt. But I’m grateful for the little inkling of wisdom that I have found.  A little background first. After graduating college I pursued a graduate degree (and obtained it).  But circumstances changed my direction in life away from that career.  I was sitting on a degree that didn’t seem to be of much use for me, and a lot of student loan debt to boot.  I began the frustrating journey of seeking a new career, and I was doing it rather blindly. I found my way into various sales jobs. And they weren’t the easy sales jobs, if those even exist, but were the kind of sales jobs that require you to pull yourself up by your boostraps every morning, go “beat up the sidewalks” as they say, and look for people every day to present your product to.  It was extremely emotionally draining to me. Turns out it was draining to my bank account also. During that difficult time in life I sold off most of my favorite musical gear simply in order to get some spaghetti on the plate for two days worth of food.  I wasn’t a good salesman. But I learned some processes and understanding of the sales mentality that have been priceless in my approach to my music business.

I also was a professional photographer for a time. In that industry I observed a characteristic of the industry that is also profoundly present in the music business. It is this…there is no shortage of people who are eager to make money off of your greed for fame and glory! Fame and glory is an enticing carrot to dangle in front of a client, and many many many people will go into debt, spend sickening amounts of money, live in pathetic circumstances, wreck marriages, neglect children, and destroy their lives all in the name of their “passion” for their music.

Those of you who read my blogs, and the numbers are few I’m sure, are well aware that I can be a bit of a ranter at the commonly prescribed music business template being sold to us from the supposed Industry Experts.  Interestingly these Industry Experts usually make their income based upon musicians entering into that template path. This is not unusual, and it’s not evil. It’s just something to be aware of. This is America, and everybody is in business!  They may somewhat want your happiness and success, but trust me when I say, they want their own first.

Bands in the Black.  What is it?

I’m in the process of building a new resource for musicians who are ambitious, creative, and passionate, but who recognize that their best musical contributions are contingent on developing a healthy, balanced, responsible approach to their music career.  In other words, musicians make good music when they stay alive, and when they stay musicians.  So, I want to work together with other musicians to keep more of us alive and making music.

I won’t reveal too much of this today, but I’m developing an approach (or approaches) to launching a music career that keeps a budding musician “in the black”, in other words debt free and earning a consistent profit.  Why? Because I believe whole-heartedly that discouragement is the number one killer of musical dreams, and that financial mismanagement is a powerful contributor to discouragement.  Here are some fly-by topics I plan to cover, learn about, and help musicians with in Bands in the Black…

There will always be plenty of musicians out there who are going to keep spending thousands of dollars on studio production full-length albums, radio single marketing campaigns, and waste hours upon hours of their time boosting their ego with social media followers who don’t actually care about their music and who will vanish when that social media platform fades into a ghost-town of lost profiles.  (Social media fades. Real people don’t.)

Maybe there is a better way. Let’s find it together. Stay tuned for more announcements about Bands in the Black.

-Brent