Making sense of the music business is often like trying to follow a diagram of a Rube Goldberg machine, or searching for a telescope to gaze at a distant galaxy but only finding a kaleidoscope. You can get bits and pieces of the picture soon enough, but gaining enough information and the wisdom to use it effectively can take years. Many times the wisest artists and music professionals paid for their success with long periods of obscurity, poverty and making mistakes again and again before finding the right path. This Hunter S. Thompson quote comes to mind: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side."
But why does it have to be this way? Why should the business that gives us the soundtrack to our lives so effectively drain the life from so many of its people? Why can't someone teach music artists and professionals how to be in the business and not just how to write or record? In 2011, this lightbulb went off for Rick Barker. After being a radio DJ, promoter and top manager, he realized the need for everyone working in music to have a better way to navigate their way to a successful career. He had used his years of experience to teach superstars like Taylor Swift already, and he opened up the concept of being that kind of mentor in creating the Music Industry Blueprint.
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