I was inspired after reading about electronica musician Tycho, also known as Steven Hansen, who started his professional career as a software developer and graphic designer. Born and raised in Sacramento, this tech geek has used his knack for fixing things to his advantage when venturing out into the music industry. What's really cool about this musician (besides that he's also from my hometown of Sacramento) is that he was able to fuse his love for design and technology to make in the music industry, a career he's always had a passion for.
However, today it's hard for artists to distinguish themselves in a world where selling albums don't necessarily generate the same revenue as they did in the 90's. Now artists spend much of their time on tour playing for live audiences where they can sell their merchandise and generate buzz on the Internet amongst blogs, fans and social media. In Tycho's case, most of the money he makes comes from playing sold out shows where fans get to see all three of his specialties put to work.
This is where I've found the importance of self sufficiency in artists to play a significant role, especially for artists who aren't highly popularized in the media or through the radio. It's important for up and coming artists to put a lot of effort into their live shows, creating something memorable for fans and media to talk about. Hansen's background in graphic design gives him the ability to create all his own live visuals for these shows as well as the graphics for his merchandise, and his knowledge in technology allows him to know the ins and outs of all his equipment giving him full control over his own production behind these live shows. Instead of hiring a VJ (live visuals person), graphic designer or marketing team, Hansen has done all of these tasks on his own while producing his own music.
In an article discussing Tycho and his experiences in the music industry, he emphasizes the importance of knowing as much as you can about the industry you want to go in, and if you don't know it, having someone you trust working for you that can do it or has knowledge to help you to get through your obstacles. So moving forward, for all the up and coming artists, entrepreneurs and visionaries, it's important for you to harness your craft, but it's also important for you to be knowledgable about all aspects of the industry from creative, to technical and the business side of things, so once you've generated an audience you won't be screwed over by record labels, artist management companies, or anyone who wants to work with you for that matter. Self sufficiency is also key for artists on the rise, understanding and being capable of doing everything you need for your business will help you have full control over operations and eliminates the time and cost of hiring someone to do it for you.