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Entitlement Disease

January 31, 2012

Without painting too broad of a stroke of the industry I love so dearly, the vast majority of performers I meet almost always have a sense of entitlement. Sometimes this entitlement is earned and other times it is completely unjustified; but more importantly it is almost never needed, especially for new artists.

You see, over the years I have had some opportunities to work with a variety of artists at different stages in their career, including many emerging up and comers and even a few highly successful 10-20+ year veterans. Over this time I have noticed one recurring trend: the longer a band has been around and the more deserving they are of “rock star” entitlement, the less likely they are to act on it. In fact, from booking/promoting shows some of the most difficult bands I have ever dealt with are the emerging artists on their way “UP” in the industry; who feel they deserve an unreasonable guarantee, a highly inflated rider and a 50 person guest list. Yet the bands who I’d be willing to bend over backwards for, seldom ever ask.

Much like how a zombie plague spreads from one bite, too many artists get a taste of success (acceptable guarantees, catered meals, etc.) and it shoots into their bloodstream and consumes what little rationale they have left. Instead of being grateful for the opportunities they receive, they are too focused on deserving their success instead of enjoying it. This not only clouds an artist’s judgment but overall turns them into an unreasonable fucking rock star, which can often lead to many of these bands disbanding over the most superfluous things.

Luckily, many artists that have been around for decades have weathered the storm and realize that most of those things are trivial. Had they not, they would have self-destructed like many of their younger peers. A smart seasoned artist treats it like a job – they show up on time, do their work, get paid and move on to the next town. As with any other job, it doesn’t mean situations won’t arise, yet those with their egos in check will never cause unnecessary commotion with a venue/promoter/etc. over minor things which aren’t worth the hassle. They realize it’s “just another day at work”, whereas an ‘Entitled Ego’ will surely create an unnecessary amount of stress for all those involved (themselves included).

To survive and maintain a long, prosperous career an artist must remove the ego figurehead that mass media has brainwashed us with as an ideal of “success” and focus on what is truly important to them. For some bands the incorrect premium vodka and non alphabetized meat-tray can overshadow why they are there in the first place – to perform their art for their fans. Sadly by the time this happens, all of the magic is lost and no amount of Grey Goose or money can bring that back.

Although being humble and grounded may never be the cool thing to do, it will always be the right thing to do.

-Josh

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 5, 2012 11:25 PM

    This is bang on! Nice post and something many artists should give some thought to

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