If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance. - Ralph Marston
I have always had a passion for music. I loved producing music and I loved to DJ. It was something that defined me and was in my control. I had an ear for the right sounds and the right mixes. Overall, I knew this was a gift that God gave a few and I was on the receiving end of the few lucky ones.
When you work for something you realize it is easier said than done. You will have so many choices and opportunity to make yourself better but you will be hitting a few potholes in the ground before you see any return. That's with anything in life.
The reason why I didn't expect to be a music journalist is because I always had my mind made up on being a music producer and DJ. As a music producer and a DJ, you need to keep up with the latest trends in sound and mixing styles. I have met other producers that are younger than me and can even body my own beats, even though they have been making music for only 2 years. As a DJ, the community is divided. We have older guys complaining about the advent of new technology and younger guys deciding on pressing the "Sync" button on their laptop or iPhone DJ App to perform a mix.
This is not what I wanted at all and because of that I realized that the music industry I knew when I was growing up in the 90s was officially gone. We rarely have producers that have the drive like Timbaland, Pharrell or Just Blaze when they re coming up. We hardly have any lyrical rappers in the game unless it is J.Cole, Drake or Kendrick Lamar. That is not to say that Hip Hop or music is dead, it's just that the economy is stuck right now and people are finding new ways to make money off of their music with the internet and such.
That brings me to my next point, the internet. While it is a gift and a curse, the internet has made many opportunities possible for musicians alike but hurt them at the same time. The early blogs like Hip Hop DX and iLL Roots revolutionized music publicity on the internet, resources like bandcamp and soundcloud make it easier for artists to drops projects, and sites like my flashstore and soundclick give opportunities for producers to sell their beats. While these are blessings for seasoned musicians that knew how the game worked before the internet, it provided as a struggle for newer musicians. Everyone was trying to get on blogs but with 1000+ submissions a day plus music coming in from sponsors, it's tough to get on the once small now bigger blogs (like the ones mentioned above), bandcamp and soundcloud make it easier for artists to drop projects but you can't make a living off of your project like you used to back in the day without a distributor/investor, and myflashstore and soundclick do give opps for producers to sell their music but honestly most producers that just start out on the site are charging 1 dollar a beat and 5 for exclusives which would make most artists think thats how much beats are worth.
Since it seemed like with these obstacles yet incentives in my way to do what I loved, I tried to figure out what can I do to bring in an income off of something I spent a majority of my teen/early adult life doing? I didn't want to only resort to working jobs that weren't fulfilling, yet I didn't want to be broke and live with my parents until I am 35 turning from a resident into a caregiver to them (it won't work when you have a girlfriend that you see as your wife one day anyways). Where is the gray area in all of this?
After rocking a bunch of college shows, running a label and dropping DJ iShine albums, I decided that the best route for me throughout all of this would be for me to be a music journalist. Thing is this actually crept up on me. I originally set up Doing Justice iShine LLC to get customers by posting artists up on my blog site, but most artists aren't really interested in getting beats from a blog...they want exposure first then trust. My website actually blew itself up and I just put the pieces down and did the necessary things to optimize it on SEO. My site has been featured with Praverb.net (Rest in Peace) and even Hip Hop DX. People like Mack Wilds, Solange Knowles, Eric Benet and Bad Boy's Red Cafe have shown their social media endorsements to the site. My site is truly a blessing, it is my golden egg. As a career in music journalism, I have the opportunity to
- Build relationships with great artists
- Monetize my traffic into my website
- Create membership opportunities for artists
- Write and be creative in my grammar
- Listen to good music all day
- Eventually allow me to get back into music production through my recognition as a journalist
I am in love with all 4 of these benefits but the 5th one is really what I want to do. If I can build up a following and be somewhat of a Sway Calloway of the blogosphere world, I can then sneak my producer swag back in. I am overall patient throughout this process, because I am blessed to be doing what I love to do. While it may not be the way I pictured it, at least I am a happy entrepreneur with potential to leave my mark on this world instead of waiting on a pension.
That's the plan but we will see what will happen. I am now a journalist first, music producer second. Thanks for reading and become a member of my site!
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