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How do you access empowerment as an artist? How do you create and claim the opportunity that’s already yours?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:25 – The Renegade Musician bundle
  • 01:24 – The starving artist stereotype
  • 02:41 – The value of creativity
  • 03:24 – So why do artists starve?
  • 04:55 – What is a Renegade Musician?
  • 06:49 – The Renegade Musician is a concept
  • 07:59 – The Renegade Musician is a philosophy
  • 09:49 – The Renegade Musician is an ideal
  • 11:53 – The Renegade Musician is a movement
  • 12:17 – Claiming your copy of The Renegade Musician

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

So, I’ve been sharing a little bit about The Renegade Musician digital magazine as of late.

The product was good, but the concept was especially memorable. Which is why I developed it into a full eBook.

And now I’ve bundled up the digital magazine and new eBook. You can purchase the bundle for $30 at Gum.co/RenegadeMusician as well as MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/renegade.

It doesn’t matter much to me which link you purchase through. The Gumroad version mainly caters to my Twitter audience, but if you purchase through the Music Entrepreneur HQ link, you’ll be able to set up your account with Content Marketing Musician, where my top-tier courses and products live.

I’ll be sharing more about the eBook in future episodes, but in this episode, I wanted to read the first two chapters for you. So, let’s get into it.

Introduction

Are you tired of the same old, same old?

The starving artist stereotype has been perpetuated through the ages, and we even have tortured genius archetypes like Vincent van Gogh to point to whenever it’s convenient. People wrongfully assume he lived out a tragic, penniless life when in fact he was just an eccentric recluse who liked to paint.

But it gives your parents and teachers more reason to say, “Becoming an artist is impractical. If a genius like van Gogh couldn’t do it, what chance do you have? Go to school, get good grades, and find a good job. That’s your path to security.”

To be fair, if your parents or teachers are still saying that, they’re probably gen X or older. Millennials were born into a much different world, and intuitively, they have always known the flaws with the traditional model. They have always sought to do things their own way. Play by their own rules. Seek fulfillment outside the accepted norms.

It’s plain to see where the old model has led. We see it in the eyes of those whose DNA we share. And we don’t necessarily like what we see.

It’s all well and good to do things your own way, play by your own rules, and seek fulfillment on your own terms. But to do it right, requires a radical shift in perspective and approach.

And it begins with thinking differently about creativity and music in general.

The value of creativity is beyond any thoughts we entertain or conceive of in our daily lives.

Creativity is crucial to a child’s development. It teaches them valuable problem-solving skills, and it can even aid in the development of social skills.

Creativity is highly valued in the workplace. Business without creativity isn’t just boring. It has a way of being needlessly rigid and dogmatic. Self-important even. Business without creativity is stale and unappealing.

Most importantly, creativity is divine. That may seem a bold statement, but if we were to entertain the notion that God himself created the world we occupy, then to create is a godly act.

So, why do artists starve? Who’s responsible?

You’re not going to like the answer. Are you ready?

We are responsible.

If a man is appointed king but refuses to take his throne, it leaves the people no choice but to appoint another man king.

Give an inch, they’ll take a mile. As artists, we have given more inches than anyone would consider wise or prudent. When there are billions available in the industry, why do we settle for a few hundred?

We must rise and take back our rightful place as royalty.

There is no space for laziness, apathy, and self-righteousness. Not anymore. Because that is exactly what led to the situation, we have been facing in 2020 and 2021. It’s not a health crisis. It’s an identity crisis.

You were not meant to live off the scraps left behind by the trailblazing warriors. You were meant to enjoy equal or even greater spoils.

As artists, we have the numbers. And there is power in numbers. But we haven’t stood up and fought for what is rightfully ours. At the first sign of battle, we turn and run. “This battle is not ours to fight,” we say.

Trying to get Spotify to pay us one cent per stream is not the fight. The fight is for equity in Spotify, because without our content, where would they be? We deserve equity, and we shouldn’t have to ask for it. We should consider a boycott if they refuse.

And so, we need to shake off stereotypes. We need to stop giving an inch when others come to take a mile. We need to bear metaphorical arms and stand together. We need to be willing to become a new kind of musician – a Renegade Musician.

What is a Renegade Musician?

A renegade is someone who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.

What I seek to desert, betray, or disrupt, is not a specific organization or country. But the principles by which artists have operated for decades. Centuries, even.

You and I know that we are so much more than just entertainers, though the value of an entertainer can easily be in the millions (just look at Hollywood).

Author Matt Haig said:

Music doesn’t get in. Music is already in. Music simply uncovers what is there, makes you feel emotions that you didn’t necessarily know you had inside you, and runs around waking them all up. A rebirth of sorts.

Author and professor of neurology Oliver Sacks said:

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear.

Musicians aren’t just entertainers. We are also healers.

The work we do is of greater importance than modern medicine because modern medicine has somehow forgotten what we’ve understood from decades and centuries of testable, observable, repeatable, evidence. It has become about dictates and rules, not about wellness and health. Anyone who says current circumstances have nothing to do with politics, hasn’t properly understood this distinction.

Why should artists starve? For that matter, why should anyone starve when there is an overflowing abundance of supply for everyone who occupies our world?

We don’t need to convince anyone of our value. We need to internalize it. We need to feel it and live it. Then we will command what we are worth.

We all know that confidence carries with it an aura. And that is how we should carry ourselves. With a sense of confidence and sureness that precedes any fight over cents when we should be fighting for dollars.

Welcome, Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician is a concept.

The American Dream is a concept. You know what it is, without explanation. I am a Canadian, and even I know what it means.

But trying to explain it to someone outside of North America is sure to be an uphill battle. Where do you even start?

You can’t just say “it’s about 1.93 kids, a golden retriever named Charlie, and a white picket fence.” That might be your dream, but it doesn’t do the concept any justice.

You and I know that it’s about equality, opportunity, and the freedom to pursue and achieve your highest aspirations.

A concept that’s well understood in Japan but is largely misunderstood and over-explained in English speaking countries is Ikigai.

I grew up in Japan, so I know without a shadow of a doubt that Ikigai simply means “a reason to live (that shifts with priorities).” There are no accompanying Venn diagrams, or at the very least, there aren’t supposed to be.

A Renegade Musician is a concept. Which is to say, it’s not easily explained, but one knows when they see one and when they are one. It’s a way of life. And this is better understood through the chapters that follow.

The Renegade Musician is a philosophy.

As with the arts, philosophy continues to be devalued over time. This has led to brainless compliance and blind acceptance of what is plainly illogical, harmful, and even dangerous.

“Philosophy” has mostly fallen in the hands of loudmouthed charlatans and shills whose shotgun approach to business has somehow propelled them to guru status, when they themselves don’t even know what they stand for or what their methodology is anymore. Even they don’t seem to know or care that what they’re teaching is closer to mindset than method.

It’s time to reclaim the vitality of philosophy, along with the arts.

Why would we continue to quote Socrates through the millennia if his realizations were insignificant? Even Bill & Ted seemed to have some self-awareness in this regard.

No one seems to be willing to have open discussions about life and possibilities anymore. And having hosted a TEDx style community in which we encouraged open philosophical discussion for a couple of years, I can honestly say apathy has gotten the better of the human spirit. We rarely attracted more than a few in attendance, and maybe 20+ on the odd night.

Is it any wonder that politics have turned to dictates and orders, when it should stand for principles that protect and serve humanity, the everyman? Because right now it’s going in the opposite direction.

Open discussions can lead to new realizations. It can lead to a fresh perspective. It can lead to a reasonable and meaningful compromise, and sometimes a better, improved way of doing things.

The Renegade Musician is a philosophy. Because, as I said, philosophy should be made a priority again. And a new kind of musician needs to embrace a new philosophy. There’s no breakthrough available in clinging to the past, only in understanding it.

The Renegade Musician is an ideal.

Not an ideal as in, “oh, he’s so idealistic – that will never happen.”

An ideal as in, “this is the way the world can be.”

The fact that I would need to make this distinction just goes to show how little confidence we have in ourselves and how little trust we have in anyone making lofty promises.

We have fallen for the lie that life is what happens to you, not what you make of it.

We are preoccupied with the daily struggle of trying to make money and staying afloat financially, instead of living by the values we hold near and dear to our hearts. Living in alignment is a near impossible task when faced with mounting financial pressure from every direction. And this pressure is largely engineered, just that we’re too afraid to notice.

If you say your number one value is your family, but yet you wake every morning at 6 AM to go to work and give the best part of your day to your job, then your number one value is work. I’m sorry, it’s reflected in your actions, even if your intentions say otherwise. It’s a harsh reality, but one worth facing.

In a world with overflowing, unlimited abundance, the system is the issue. And we can’t usher in a new system, nay, a new era, without a unified front. Not a front built on unanimous, unquestioned agreement. A front built on diversity of beliefs, views, and perspectives.

Artists have the power to change the world. No, not love. Artists.

Because to create is divine. When we create, we express love and all that is by default.

When we take the next step of connecting with our fans and add value to them, we do more for their lives than we can even imagine.

When we share our music, lives are enriched. They are saved. They are offered the inspiration to carry on another day and the courage to face an uncertain tomorrow.

No more lying down when we should be standing up for what’s right. We make a difference in people’s lives. We are entertainers but we are also healers. And the work we do should never be considered anything less than essential. Never.

The Renegade Musician is a movement.

Finally, and most importantly, the Renegade Musician is a movement.

It makes no difference if it’s a concept, philosophy, or ideal unless musicians like you can take ownership and proudly self-identify as a Renegade Musician.

But we’ll get there. Now it’s time to step out of the shadow of the old music career model to become a new kind of musician.

So, if you’re ready to be empowered, you can claim your copy of The Renegade Musician at Gum.co/RenegadeMusician or MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/renegade.

This has been episode 232 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

David Andrew Wiebe

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