The Struggle of Getting Music Out

2012 marks the tenth year that I’ve been a full-time artist. Without a doubt it’s the most rewarding career I’ve ever had.  It’s also the most challenging, although in completely different ways than my previous jobs.

I remember when I was considering resigning from my job back in 2001, I went around getting advice from other self-employed people, in hopes of getting encouragement or advice before I made the leap.  One of the people I spoke to was named Todd Buck and he ran an in-home studio on the west side of Cincinnati that I would routinely use for mastering the first few albums I ever released.  He had just made the decision to move his studio and business out of his basement and to a larger one on the opposite side of town.  He had only been self-employed for a year at the time so I asked him for some advice.

The first thing he told me was that the biggest difference is the freedom you will get and learning how to manage it.  Then he told me something that I will never forget.  He said “the biggest difference between being self-employed and unemployed is what you decided to do with each day.”  He went on to say “if you sit on your ass and don’t do anything then you’re not self-employed, you’re unemployed.

Out of all the advice that people have given me over the years, this is the one piece that has always stuck with me.  So much so that when other artists ask me about making the leap, I tell them this quote.  I took it to mean a couple different things.  The first is that a lot of people claim to be self-employed or full-time artists, but if they’re not making any money then they’re not, they’re just unemployed.  The second thing I took it to mean was that once you’re self-employed each day that you do nothing is a day that you move towards being unemployed, regardless of what you tell yourself you are.

About a year later I resigned and became a full-time artist and was able to experience exactly what he was talking about.  A lot of people think that being a full time artist means that you just sit at home high all day and write rhymes, and while it is that to some artists, it’s also a lot more than that.  Being an artist has taught me more about people and the human experience than any other thing in my life, enriching me in a way that is sometimes hard to describe.  Throughout the years I’ve managed to stay as productive as possible, but it is truly a daily struggle to stay motivated when you work alone and the job isn’t exactly a team sport.  I did have a stretch from 2006 to 2011 where it seemed like I wasn’t releasing any music because I hadn’t put out any solo albums or Soul Position albums, but even then I managed to release smaller projects like Blueprint vs Funkadelic, Sign Language, two Greenhouse EPs, and even produce an entire album for Columbus artist Envelope.  I’ve had my good days and bad days as far as being inspired goes, but i think that’s just part of the job, and the process of making music is always challenging and exciting.

But now I feel like I have reached a different point in my career, where instead of having years with very little output, I think I’m on the verge of having almost too much music on my hands. In the past this was never really a problem, but I’ve found that since I stopped drinking I get music finished a lot faster, and without so much second guessing.  Time that I used to spend wondering whether a beat was good enough to rap on is now spent actually rapping on beats that I know are good enough.  Time that was spent out at the bar is now spent trying to make a body of work that can stand next to any great artist, and as a result I’m on the verge of having a lot more music than I’ve ever had before.  I’m not there yet, but in a couple months I will be, and I’ve been finding myself a little unsure about having a plan for releasing it.

I’m sure that many would consider this a problem of convenience; the musical equivalent of a man with five attractive women who want to date him and claims to be stressed about the decision he must make, and I get that.

So I guess this ultimately leads to the question of what to do with all that music?

Well, I’m going to start releasing it, little by little.

And I’m going to release most of it myself, here on printmatic.net, and directly to you.

Some of it may make it’s way to digital retailers like itunes, but don’t count on it.  I would rather start right here with the people who have been reading this blog for the past two years faithfully, all the people who allowed me to take five years off between albums and still have a music career, and all the new fans that I have picked up along the way. I would like to interact with you all directly.  There’s so many projects that I put on the backburner while I was working on Adventures in Counter-Culture and I think it would be an injustice for these projects to never see the light of day.

So consider this a heads up about what’s about to happen here at printmatic.net.  I hope you will support me in this effort by picking up one of the projects or subscribing to my e-mail list.

Thank you.

Printmatic

 



BLUEPRINT
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    • Paul

      That’s good to hear. I’ll be buying.

    • Ant

      Ive tried subscribing for a long time, but it always says there was a problem processing your submission…anyone else seen this?

    • Justinv4779

      I tried to sign up for your mailing list but when I put my email in it says “There was a problem processing your submission.”

      By the way, I’m a huge fan.

    • Anonymous

      Let me look into that and see what the problem is

    • Anonymous

      thank you!

    • Anonymous

      hey ant. i just checked and you’re already on the list. thats why it gave you the error. you’re all good. thanks for signing up and for the support.

    • Anonymous

      i just checked and it appears that you’re already on the list.  for whatever reason it just shows you an error instead of saying that you’re already subscribed. thanks for signing up.

    • Mwsfch7zh9

      Great article!  I loved Todd Bucks quote and wrote in down in my “little book of quotes”.  Secondly, although I’m not a musical artist but a self employed translator I could relate to a lot of what you’re talking about.  Anyway, best of luck and looking forward to hearing the new music you’re working on! Cheers
       

    • Anonymous

      thank you! what languages do you translate? seems like a great job.

    • Rick from Portland OR

      Hey Print, you are such an inspiration.  For the past 15 years I’ve been making beats.  Started out as a freshman at a new school, and while I eventually got past being the new kid, making beats (and hoops) was my happiness and what got me through the awkward stage.  In college, I moved away and studied music production until the money ran out.  With no money, I moved back to Portland and paid out of pocket to take a summer course at a community college.  The course was an introduction to Engineering and Studio Production and an A grade was required to get into the actual 2 year course.  Killed it, got the best grade in the class.  But when fall term started, they denied my student loans, thus denying my pursuit of happiness and subsequently I wasted hundreds of bucks to take that intro course.  Last September, I had my MPC, Microkorg, turntable and all the music I ever made stolen (not to mention all my clothes, kicks etc).  Since then, I’ve snagged another MPC and continued following my passion.  I have endured many hardships involving this dream of mine, but for some reason, no matter what happens, I find myself back in bed with this pretty lady named Hip-Hop.  The thing is, I haven’t done anything with my craft in terms of getting my music out there.  My goal when I first started was to sell just ONE beat.  That’s it!  I don’t want to be famous.  I don’t want cars and fame and money and all that shit.  I do it because I love it.  I’ve had jobs behind a desk making good money.  I’ve had jobs that could have turned into “careers”, but I’ve never been happy.  I’m 31 now and I work retail (I’m winning).  In this economic climate, I’m not complaining though.  Plus, my job allows me to make music fairly often.  I guess I’m writing this to you because as an inspiration and someone in Hip-Hop that I truly idolize, I just want to hear from you what it is I can do to finally start making this dream a reality.  Thank you for your time Print.  I’m sure you get this kind of stuff all the time.  If i get even one response from you, I’ll be thrilled.  With love from The City of Roses (and rain)……Rick

    • Anonymous

      hey rick. it sounds like you have definitely been through a lot when it comes to music. i think it comes with the territory, and anything we love. my first piece of advice would be to create some sort of goal, and then move towards it. it doesn’t have to be the biggest goal, but you do need to have one that you can achieve. if you do beats then it could be to make 2-3 beats a night until you have 20 beats that are really good. then after that make another goal and work towards that. it could be anything from getting your stuff on soundcloud, to getting your stuff in a beat showcase or beat battle, to just having a beat cd to give to rappers in your area you like. if you start w/ some realistic goals then you can definitely do it man. just realize you have to chip away at it every day, and that it success might be a series of little goals being achieved and not one big thing that happens. but if you can finish the smaller things the bigger things get easier.

    • MPLS Dan

      I’ve been getting your stuff since the first Soul Positon LP and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. You put it out , I’ll pick it up because you actually ARE the main reason I don’t turn my radio on (except NPR, which is the shit).

    • Richard Lodge

      You put it out, we’ll pick it up. As always.

    • Anonymous

      fuck yeah

    • Anonymous

      NPR is awesome! ha! thanks Dan!

    • Dub Ekoms

      peace. can’t wait…  and much appreciation for the quote in this article. useful. i struggle between being self- and unemployed regularly as i run my screenprinting business with my girl along with our brand. personally, when i need some extra motivation, i use all the hardworking underground emcees as inspiration…thanks again. also, i met you up at the vast show december in orlando. you ever rock those tees i passed off?? we got more coming your way!! later.

    • I can’t wait to hear the new shit. Your music always gets me writing… Any plans to make physical copies?? I gotta have the CD!

    • Damian

      this was an awesome piece print. i try to make it here as often as i can, just because i feel like what you put up here is a very different perspective that is on most artists “blogs”. you give good reviews and perspectives on alot of interesting topics, and on what it is to be doing what you do as an artist. cant wait for the new stuff, so ill just keep rockin the oldies till then!

    • Anonymous

      thanks for the kind words.