Why I'm Done Trying To "Make It"

A decade ago, I asked a friend of mine (who played guitar) if he wanted to start a band. After a few jams sessions he decided he wanted to. We later acquired a bassist, a second guitarist, and a drummer and we became the band "Ever Since Tomorrow." We all shared similar goals, we wanted to make it big, we wanted to tour, and we wanted to make lots of money. Easy enough right? Naivety is a son of a bitch. 

A year or so later, after gaining a somewhat decent fan-base. Another local band was changing things up and needed a guitarist. Both guitarists left to join their band, due to timing (in other words, we got rid of our old drummer before finding another permanent replacement and could never find one that fit). So they did what they thought they should do and joined the band Capital Lights. 

No harm No foul. I completely understood. They were talented, and shortly after they were signed. I joined up with another band called Captions. And once again, gained a decent amount of fans, and then splits-ville. Still, No hard feelings, we are all still friends. It just didn't work out.

Performing music has always been a passion of mine. That's always been my dream job, that's always been my final goal; to be a success in the music industry. I quickly realized I didn't want to start another band, and that I should try my hand in rap. After all, I love rap. I grew up with rap, why wouldn't I want to rap? So i picked up my iPhone, wrote lyrics to a couple of beats I made, and called it a song. I met some guys in town who dug it, and we started a group called The Outsiders.

Now, keep in mind this was four years ago, maybe five, so my naive brain is still thinking success is right around the corner. I'm going to be the biggest name in rap. I'm going to change everything. Turns out that wasn't the case. I forgot about the competitiveness in hip hop. I was also blissfully unaware that people will blatantly ignore you, to get their name out before yours. I had absolutely no idea, that you could write a song for fun about partying, and have everyone immediately discredit everything you put out afterwards or beforehand. 

What's so funny to me, is I used to chalk it up to people being "haters". But no, that's not it at all. It's as simple as this: No one cares. But none of the aforementioned really matters. If it was simply for people bashing me, I would continue doing this to spite every last one of them. No, that's not it. What's next is why i'm done.

The older I get, the more I look at things with a business mindset. And music is not profitable to me. (I would say i just suck ass at rap, but I've never been told that from anyone who has actually listened to my music. So that can't be why.) Let's take for instance beat selection. I purchased, in February, fifteen beats for an album to release later this year. I spent roughly $250 on them total. Some were cheaper than others, but let's just say they were $17 a piece. I also spent $200 on a nice condenser microphone for recording, a $150 audio interface, and a $40 pop filter because i don't want my recordings to sound like shit. So, $390 is what i'm set back for recording equipment (roughly). A $17 beat, over $390 worth of recording equipment. It costs $10 to get a song mastered on Landr. Which is nice, but then it costs $10 to get a song digitally distributed. 

Now wait... Let's forget about the recording equipment for a minute. Let's just focus on the total amount of $37 for the song to get distributed as a finished product ($17 beat + $10 master + $10 Distribution). My single Nite Lites has been out since May. I have earned $13 since it's release. That leaves me with a Negative balance of $24. Add in the studio equipment and I'm further in the hole with $414. See where i'm headed?

I released another song a couple in June called "On Fire", So we'll add another $37 to the deficit. $461 is now what i'm in the hole, and so far On Fire has earned me $3. Yay. -$458 is now my balance in music. 

And I'm supposed to release an album? It's hard enough to get people to care about a $0.99 single, much less a $15 album.

It costs $30 to release an album ($50 after the first year). This is where the $250 worth of beats come into play. $250 invested in beats, $390 in recording equipment, $150 for mastering, and $30 to distribute. An $820 album probably doesn't sound bad to a record label. But to a guy who has mouths to feed and bills to pay.... It's a bitch. 

So let's take this $820 album, and sell it for $15. Lets project I'll sell 10 of them on iTunes in the first few months, because realistically that's what has happened with the singles. iTunes takes a cut of the profit and I receive $0.70 for every $0.99 song. So they take out 30% of sales, which means if I sold Ten albums, I'd get $105. Which then takes my investment to a -$715 deficit. After the first few months, sales disappear. I may get one or two more for the rest of the year. So lets say two more sales happen that first year, that's $21. Which takes my deficit to -$694. But wait!!! It's time to renew and now it's $50 to renew, so i'm back to -$744. 

Now I understand why people are at quiktrip's hustling their cd's. This isn't worth it. I love music. I will never stop making music. But as an adult, sometimes you have to make adult decisions. I can't afford to rap. As odd as that sounds. So any further releases will be done through this website, and this website alone. Most likely for free download, because i refuse to spend any more money that could be spent on my wife and kids. 

If I have to weigh out my success in music.. I've been slightly successful, I did the intro song for BMMS for two years, and I've had the privilege of doing a verse for Capital Lights on their sophomore album. (Not much of a resume, but it's two things I'm very proud of). 

Let's not forget to mention I run (along with Brian Breaker) a very successful podcasting network, that is 100% ad-free with simple word of mouth promotion. I'm extremely proud of that, and we continue to do it because it's enjoyable to do!

But if I had to weigh out my success in general... I have definitely become a success, because I have a woman who loves me and puts up with my bullshit. I have two kids who do the same, and already think the world of me. So really, fame doesn't matter to me anymore. I'm already successful.

Thanks for reading my rant.