Starting Your Own Label - Are You Insane or Is It Exactly What You Should Do?
"Anyone who's an executive at a record label does not understand what the Internet is, how it works, how people use it, how fans and consumers interact - no idea. I'm surprised they know how to use e-mail." - Trent Reznor (NIN)
"I certainly don't want to be a record label guy." - Guy Picciotto (Fugazi)
With ringing endorsements from two musicians I like and respect immensely, it makes complete sense that I'd leave my "normal" career of 20 years to try and do something that people I admire hate with a passion (insert sarcastic words or emoji's here). So, am I insane or was this something that I needed to do? The answer is Yes!
I don't know if it's because I've gotten older, started a family, become more open minded, realize how short life really is or a combination of it all, but now is the perfect time to do something so seemingly crazy, destined to fail and yes, even insane. Have I lost you yet? I hope not...let me try and explain.
At the core of everything this life has to offer is love. Love for our family, friends, our planet, food, drink, music, art, anything that fulfills us and yes, ourselves. That last one is the toughest to come to grips with in many cases. It feels a bit selfish and weird but I think we all come to the conclusion that without it, it's nearly impossible to productively do anything else. That's where the line of insanity and doing exactly what we should do is drawn in my opinion. In my case, I've known I wanted to have my own record label/music company since I was singing along to some 1970's AM radio hit in my moms house in Brooklyn, NY oh so many years ago. I didn't know what that meant back then but I knew I had to be a part of getting music out to people.
Life happens fast. Very fast! So when you wake up and realize you're in your early 40's and have dabbled in and around music for over 20 years but never fully committed, an alarm goes off. That alarm was loud and unforgiving. The clock was ticking and I now needed to do something to fulfill that piece of my soul that only music could fill. I closed my eyes and jumped into the pool head first...and I'm still swimming!
What I didn't know then that I know now is when opening yourself up to your passion and all that comes with it, you're allowing so much positive (and sometimes negative) energy you've never experienced in this way before in. It's not easy to describe in words but when it happens you certainly know it and become addicted to it. I've met and worked with so many amazingly talented and positive people I often wonder why I didn't do this many years ago. I've been burned a bit, learned who my real friends are and such (never a bad thing) but overall, it's an experience I could have never expected. Musicians, artists, photographers, writers, producers, radio people, the vinyl record community, venue owners, managers, the list goes on. I'm not claiming it's all rainbows and roses, but I am saying the cracks along the way are very much worth this crazy trip!
I try and teach my children that they should be learning every single day. Learn, question, feel and be aware of what it is they want out of this one life they've been given. How could I look at myself in the mirror or expect them to take my advice if they can't look to their dad for a real life example? Sometimes doing what's best for yourself is the least selfish thing you can do.