Creative Career

I finished reading Maurice White’s biography. He mentions how happy he is to have had a career in the 70s and up to mid 80s. He talks about the fact that labels used to allow you to grow, to think long-term. Without that thinking no Earth Wind & Fire. No Rick James. No Prince.

Mid 80s, you needed to hit the jackpot within a year.

Now in the music industry you need to hit the jackpot in three months. In five months no one will remember you. It’s not just in music. It’s the same in everything we make. In the 90s, game developers used to have some time to figure out things, ship a bad game, then a decent one or maybe a great one.

Today you die at the first one that doesn’t sell, it’s not even a quality issue anymore.

Producers used to be all over the place. If you couldn’t make it with a big label, you would always have the opportunity to hit it up with a smaller one. There was no “Winner Takes All” paradigm. Smaller markets were fine. Maurice White didn’t sign with Motown, he went through that small company called Chess Records. He did well –financially and artistically- for years, unknown (compared to EW&F stardom). That allowed him to save some money and start his dream band and musical concept.

Big labels were ready to be patient, it was their job. Warner showed tons of patience with Prince, advancing money for his horrible movies etc. That would never ever happen in today’s world. Publishers and game developers used to do that too when games didn’t cost what they cost now. Need one more year to polish? There you go.

Today is more polarized and concentrated than ever before. If you happen to be working for the few companies ruling those creative industries –would it be Disney or EA or Sony Music- you probably have access to more resources than you could use. Outside those giants? Good luck maintaining. Good luck thriving.

Trust has disappeared from transactions and creative careers took the biggest toll.

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