Reflection #2 – Critical Research Question/Thinking

My critical research question has evolved over the course of the semester from the specific focus on making music as a musician to eventually focusing on how to survive in the music industry to make touring a viable career, and how this works in the current music industry itself. In the beginning of the semester, I have been focusing on success stories and what it takes to survive in the industry to focusing on how to be careful in the industry, because the music industry can have some shady dealings especially with some greed-oriented major record label executives. Before I explored this research in detail throughout the semester, I came with the misconception that musically hard-working bands are often gone unrecognized because bands that were image-oriented, such as many pop bands, get more recognition. My views on this has changed because in the music industry, besides being musically educated, you need to hard-working in the business and marketing aspects of the music industry. Music, marketing, and business are core elements of the music industry because touring musicians need to play quality written music, touring musicians need to find ways to target their demographics successfully, and touring musicians need to learn how to sell merchandise, and also deal and negotiate with the contracts of records companies or labels (unless they plan to be completely self-sufficient by going completely DIY).

I feel that it takes these skills of a decent level expertise in music, marketing, and business dealings to survive in the music industry. Many touring musicians learn these skills by experience and by the advise of fellow bands that have prior experience in the industry. These skills can prevent musicians from being exploited by greedy people in the music industry who are looking to exploit musicians. While some musicians may use income from a side job as a catalyst to help raise money to start their tours, if bands have the skills to save on expenses and market themselves to an audience, bands have to potentially to be more than self-sufficient and make good profits at the same time. In the music industry, musicians mainly deal with promoters, venue owners, fans, distribution companies, record label companies, sponsorships, and more. It is the job of the musician to approach people in the music business with caution, by reading contracts carefully. The ability of staying prudent and cautious with various forms of music management decisions by the tour musicians will help their career profit comfortably, while playing the music they enjoy to create and play.

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