Why We Write Hypebot: A Look Inside Our Heads

Kyle BylinAssociate Editor


Bruce and I can’t speak from the perspective of what it’s actually like to be an artist, because, as you may have guessed, we’re not artists.  While Bruce has spent many years interacting and speaking with artists, booking them on a regular basis through his role with Skyline Music, I, on the other hand, have an even more limited scope and opinion on the matter, because I don’t personally know that many artists myself. But, as I’m sure anyone who knows us could attest to, both of us have a deep passion for music and would want nothing more than to see a healthy, sustainable landscape emerge that allows musicians who work hard, are dedicated to their craft, and love their fans to be able to keep doing what they do best: making music.  Music that matters, music that moves you, and music that helps listeners connect with themselves on a deeper level…

As Bruce puts it better, “Thanks to te digital age the possibility of a much larger artistic middle class is more real than it has ever been before.  I strive to have Hypebot help, encourage and empower that new era of artists who make a decent living (financial stability, health care, etc.) from their art.  I also hope that I am encouraging a new group of entrepreneurs to support those artists.”  In other words, the goal of Hypebot coverage is two-fold.  On one hand, we want to provide various roadmaps, examples, and technology updates that encourage and empower artists to take their career in their own hands and make a living off of their passions.  On the other, we’re trying to provide some degree of hope for entrepreneurs who wish to create platforms and services that would ideally make it easier for artists to be artists.  Ideally, these entrepreneurs could make enough money so they could keep doing what they do best: driving innovation.

Why do I write for Hypebot?  Well, because, in my mind, to embrace curiosity is to embrace the beauty of a journey that may never arrive at an absolute answer. A curious person, Seth Godin once wrote, is a “person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wanted to accept the ramifications.” Whereas, a fundamentalist, he says, “is a person who considers whether or not a fact is acceptable to his religion before he explores it.”  I am a very curious person.  I explore ideas, right or not, proven or unfounded, under the belief that as long as  I am able to cause a person to think more deeply about an issue, whether or not they agreed with the viewpoint I directed them too, that, in the end, I have then done my job as a writer.  That being said, I hope that I have caused you to think differently about the topics that I present, that maybe you learned something, because to me, that is more important than whether or not, I, myself, am right.

“Hypebot,” Bruce says, “is a mix of industry news, information on trends and technologies, plus commentaries and advice that reflects my (and now Kyle’s) perspective with guests occasionally chiming in.  It was started as a research project for and conversation with my own circle of stakeholders (team mates. artists, managers working with Skyline Music) and that circle of influence has grown. But at its core, Hypebot still just a conversation that begins from the viewpoint of its authors.”  As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, neither of us can speak from the perspective of the artist, but all members of the Hypebot community are encouraged to add their wisdom to the mix.  “I hope that they do,” Bruce continues. “Their contributions make Hypebot far more interesting and useful.”  That's the point here, you know, that it doesn't matter what Bruce and I think.  It matters what you, our audience, thinks, and we care.

“Good writing,” Malcolm Gladwell argues in the preface of What the Dog Saw, “does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade.  It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head – even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”  So, when someone from our audience doesn’t agree with a news or commentary item we publish or simply doesn’t “buy” the opinion we express, it’s important to ask:  Why are you angry?  We realize that we discuss music from a business-and-technology standpoint.  However, we don’t believe that music and the industry that has grown up around it is like basically any other business enterprise with a product to be marketed and consumed.  We realize and truly believe that art has intrinsic value and if you're creating something vital, people will support you.  Of course, we think it is important that we discuss music as culture and not only a product.

Inevitably I’m afraid, Bruce and I may be ill-equipped to write about music as culture, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t think about music as culture.  While Bruce does write advice about how to make money as an artist, that doesn’t mean that he thinks that’s the top priority of an artist.  Seeing as neither of us can speak from the standpoint of artists, of course, we would benefit from getting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the mind of someone who is a true independent artist.  In saying that, I encourage readers to help us bridge the sleight disconnect we may have in these aspects by either sending us an email or commenting below.  If anyone would like to go a step further and consider preparing a guest post on the perspective of what it’s like to be a true independent artist or talk in greater depth about music as culture, we would greatly appreciate you helping us take the conversation on our blog even deeper.


The Hypebot Team 


  • kyle.bylin(at)gmail(dot)com

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  1. Wow, brilliantly put.
    I’m an artist who reads this blog regularly. Not because I’m a cold~hearted money freak but because I want to know how to have control over my own music and career. I love creating music so deeply that I don’t wish to do anything else with my life, and if I can be empowered to reach towards that end whilst still being able to have a roof over my head then all to the good. Even if I don’t manage to make a living souly from writing, recording and performing, I still want to be involved in as many aspects of music as possible until I die.
    I might be naive but I don’t hold with the idea that you have to dilute your art in order to find an audience. I don’t know one musician who would ever do so, it would be soul destroying.
    I think people, and artists in particular, can be hostile towards the perspective of making a living from art because of the way the industry has been for the last few decades. It has become synonymous with an absence of soul, ethics and artistic value. To the point where there are people that I *know* would love to earn their crust through music, and dream of “success” but would be hard pressed to ever admit it, and certainly never publicly.
    Perhaps it’s part of human nature to tear down rather than praise. But I guess I’m writing this because I’d like you know know that your blog is appreciated by at least one person. Cheers

  2. Don’t know how well qualified I’d be for this (as I’m kinda far from the middle class musician motif), but I’d love to potentially write something for you all. I’m in college, majoring in poli sci, I work a day job, and I gig once or twice a week. I have two cd’s out (insert je-music.com plug here), but music is far from the only enterprise I feel called to. I think I can speak from the perspective of someone who will always enjoy performing music, but isn’t necessarily expecting middle class status from the institution.
    Any topics in particular that you’re looking for?

  3. I would recommend Rich Huxley for the task – he recently contributed a guest post to Creative Deconstruction that provides an overview of his life as an artist and that of his band Hope and Social.
    It’s a great piece and I’ve already gotten a ton of feedback on how helpful many have found it to be.
    You can read it here: http://bit.ly/177g8N

  4. Interesting stuff – and something I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to myself in recent weeks and months.
    I’m part of the Interactive Cultures Research Unit at Birmingham City University and we’ve started an umbrella project called Music as Culture.
    Within that, we’ll be developing projects to look at all sorts of themes and threads that fall under that banner. We’re kicking off in earnest within the next week or so with a project about live music venues and local scenes, but exploring the ways in which independent artists see their music as something other than purely economics would be a fascinating project to get involved in.
    Our modest start is here: http://musicasculture.org
    It’d be great to help develop this into something we can all learn from, and I’d be really keen to take this conversation further.

  5. I work for EMI and consider this blog an essential on my industry reading list and a great inspiration and influence on how I do my job. I think it is important to note that most artists begin their careers with very little knowledge of how the industry works or their responsibility in the marketing and PR of their own brand and properties. I often use this blog as a resource in finding new ways to explain how important having a business mind is to an artist. At the end of the day, they need to understand that selling songs and albums and shows is what this is about. And sometimes they need to think about the dollars and sense in tandem with the music!

  6. I’m reading this blog for quite some time, as well as Andrew’s. It’s one of my most inspiring sources for understanding the current music industry.
    I’m an artist myself. I play in two bands (Colorless Green Ideas and Amatorski) and I actually left a higher music education (jazz double bass) to become a music tech entrepreneur. Before I was at the university (PhD in linguistics, economically quite useless after all), which made me already 29 when I finished the second year at the music conservatory, with still 3 years ahead to get my degree. I decided at that moment I would make myself more useful if I became, as you put it, one of the “entrepreneurs who wish to create platforms and services that would ideally make it easier for artists to be artists,” because I saw a great opportunity there. I must admit that I sometimes had my doubts about this choice the last two years. Shouldn’t it be better to focus on being an artist myself instead of an entrepreneur trying to help other artists? However, when a path is chosen, it’s difficult to change directions abruptly. Especially if you don’t have the technical skills and if you don’t have the money, the life of a music tech entrepreneur is quite hard. Maybe even harder than the life of an artist. Or maybe I have better skills as an artist than as an entrepreneur.
    So here I am, wondering whether I should go on with the struggle of an entrepreneur or should I change strategy again and become a struggling artist? Or can I find a way of life (another company?) where I can combine my aspirations as an entrepreneur and as an artist?

  7. why do u assume that anyone that disagrees with u is “angry” ? ….so, you’re not a musician & not equipped to write about music as a culture, hmmm…maybe u guys should stick to music news

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