The Business of Dance Music: Episode the Eighth

Ever heard of a man named Andrew Carnegie?  He was an industrialist back in the 1800’s who founded a company called Carnegie Steel, which later was bought by J.P. Morgan and because US Steel.  He came from humble beginnings as a Scottish immigrant, to becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world.  He achieved this through hard work, dedication to a task, and having good people around him.  Carnegie is one of the people I try to model myself after because of his work ethic, but also because of a little philosophy he had called the “Gospel of Wealth.”

In his book Gospel of Wealth, Carnegie used the following words, and I quote….

“Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment, which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.”

It was this philosophy that made Andrew Carnegie one of the greatest Philanthropists the world has ever known.  Ever been to a library in Pennsylvania?  Andrew Carnegie probably gave the startup money for it.  Ever watched Public Television?  The Carnegie Foundation, which he started, is one of its biggest supporters.  To this day, people all over the world know of Carnegie’s goodness through his works.

By now, you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with the business of dance music?”  The answer is quite simple; we need to help each other out.  

You’ve seen my writings on networking, getting started on a small budget, throwing events, etc.  The bottom line is we ALL come out better if we pool our collective resources and help each other out.  This is a big step in networking, as well as friendship and fellowship in the Lord.

What can you do?  Well, there are many things you can do!  The first on my mind, which also happens to be the most important, is being supportive.  We’re all in this thing together, so there’s need for petty bickering and complaining.  We have a common goal, and it’s best if we put differences aside and help each other.  Being supportive means many things.  It means buying music from others within our scene.  It means giving honest feedback on works if someone asks. It means showing up for events and making yourself known amongst the community as a person who’s always down to help in whatever fashion.  As musicians/performers, we all get discouraged at times.  Sometimes, all that’s needed is a friendly note or message of encouragement.  These shouldn’t just happen when people are down though.  We should encourage each other every chance we get.  Someone’s just had a major accomplishment?  I’m sure they wouldn’t object to an email saying “Hey that was really good, and I’m happy for you.” This is a community, after all.  Let’s try to be there for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Another thing to do is find a local group of likeminded people.  This can be within your Groove Fellowship, or it can be with other Christian friends in the area.  Pool your resources and try to make something happen in your area.  You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars; it can be as simple as a gathering at someone’s house.  If you are the type to go out on weekends, the money that you’d spend over a month or two going out can be converted into putting on a really nice show.  That was a thought thrown at me by a friend that has WAY more experience than I do, and has been quite successful at his endeavors (and I hope you’re reading this, brother.  I’m pretty sure you are!)  Making something happen is more about setting a timetable and achieving goals than having a large bankroll.  The most important thing, I’d say though, is start off small and work your way into larger things.  Getting in over your head is no fun whatsoever, and very likely to influence you into never wanting to do anything again.  That being said, don’t give up!  Sometimes it takes several events before you notice any sort of impact.  It takes a business on average three years to turn profit.  Don’t expect any less from your events.  Look at the money put into an event as an investment, as well as money you are willing and able to lose.  Turn a profit?  Congrats!  You’ve just leveled up!

Lastly, we can share knowledge with each other.  Sure we all have proprietary knowledge that we don’t want others to know.  After all, having something different is what sets musicians/performers apart.  We can be helpful to others in our scene without giving away all our tricks.  I’m in favor of us starting a collective knowledge database where we each share our talents.  Are you a good writer?  Then you need to write.  Have a knack for hearing those miniscule frequencies only heard by South American Albino Alpacas?  Then you need to do mastering.  Millionaire at age 25?  You need to share business tips.  Bald and fat at age 26?  Then you need to be writing this article.  We each have talents.  We’ve been instructed to not hide our talents, but rather bring them out in the world and use them for God’s glory.  I challenge all of you to do this.  What are you particularly good at?  How can you use these abilities to help your fellow Christians?  Are you going to just sit back and hide your abilities, or are you going to use them for good?  There is no such thing as a useless person.

Support structure is important for anything.  As Christians, it’s our duty to support our brothers and sisters in our walks.  We can do this by simply being there for each other.  A kind word every now and then is essential to building a true fellowship.  We have to remember to be supportive of our community, and support those who support us.  We must get involved in things.  Start your own Groove Fellowship with friends.  Find a church that is supportive of your activities.  Nothing going on in your area?  Get something going then!  Use teh internets to it’s fullest potential by sharing your knowledge and abilities with the world.  Don’t hide your talents, but instead let everyone know what you can do.  Just remember; as a Christian, you never walk alone.  

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