Being Wrong Doesn’t Matter, Being Curious Does.

P24_curious-mind Before we get back to our regularly scheduled programming, i.e. the music industry deathwatch, social media wizardry, and gentle major label bashing, I need to clear something up. Right here.

Right now.

In the comments, a reader said that if I continue to make bold predictions and declare things "dead" that I'm increasing my chances of being proven wrong.

That somehow, being "wrong" is something I should be ashamed of. Notably, said reader argued I'm only helping solidify the "Hype" in Hypebot. And my answer to this is? I don't care.

Bruce and I don't publish here day in and day out because we're hoping to be right. In fact, I'd argue that there are many, many things that we hope we're wrong about. But still dear reader, I'm afraid that you're missing the point or, at the very least, misunderstanding why I write about the music industry. I understand that in order to be taken seriously as a publication that we can't constantly make bold, yet wrong predictions and declare multiple facets of the music industry dead.

This I understand. To this, I offer you this thought: being wrong doesn't matter, being curious does. I may be proven wrong about many things in my lifetime and feel foolish for ever have making such unwise, rash predictions. I may live to see that in the next thirty years that commercial radio still thrives, the major labels aren't screwed, and the CD-Release Complex remains. That's all fine with me.

I don't have anything at stake here except my name: Kyle Bylin. I don't have investments in any companies and financially I'm not set to benefit no matter what future unfolds. Do I have biases? Sure. Who doesn't? And I may have a few strong opinions too.  But I don't care if a year from now someone writes a post and rubs my nose in the fact that I was wrong about this, that, or the other thing.

Expore First

When I was twenty, I read the book Tribes by Seth Godin. In it, he talks about the difference between a fundamentalist and a curious person. "A fundamentalist is someone who considers whether or not a fact is acceptable to his faith before he explores it," he writes. "As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications." Once I read that, I discovered that I was in fact a "curious person" and decided to remain one.

For nearly three years of my life, I've devoted my waking hours to thinking about the music industry and trying to understand the chaos of our times. When I write an essay or daily post, I don't consider whether or not an idea to acceptable to my faith, my beliefs, before I explore it. I just explore. Once my journey ends, I publish it for all of you to see. But each post doesn't represent different journeys, because they're all part of a much larger adventure. I don't know where I'm going or what direction I'm heading. You'll be just as surprised about where we end up as I am. Why? Because. Curiosity is the beauty of a journey that may never arrive at an absolute answer. That's what this is. Curiosity. Therefore, I hope you dear reader will ride along with me on this adventure. I can't promise that I'll be right or wrong. I can't promise that I my predictions will be correct. No one can.

The only thing that I can promise you is that if you join me on this adventure is that we're going to create chaos, challenge the status quo, ask big questions, and most of all, remain curious. I promise. Before I ask you to join me on this adventure or go full speed ahead, however, there's one final thing I should clarify.

Curious Enough 

I'm not technically qualified to lead you. I don't have a fancy degree. I don't have a proven career track. I barely even have "real world" experience. It doesn't matter.

Why? Because. I care more than you. This matters to me. The music industry just so happens to be a part of this, and I'm quite passionate about that too.

So what is this exactly?

I'm not sure. But this or it rather, is what drives me to write upwards of two to three thousand words of copy every day, put together several thousand word essays, read dozens of books, and think about the future of the music industry for hours on end. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I decided to be curious and engage in honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent, and often subversive. Maybe it's because I understand that for every answer there arises another question. And upon discovering that question, I burn down the world in hope of answering it too.

Is the answer that I arrive at always going to be right? No. But what you must understand dear reader is that I'm not done exploring yet. Not now. Not ever.

Each is essay is a journey, but this blog an adventure. Are you prepared to create the chaos, ask big questions, and be curious? Then join me. Join us.

We're not afraid of being wrong. We're afraid of not being curious enough. Being wrong doesn't matter, being curious does. Fear of being wrong hinders curiosity.

Stay curious. Create the chaos. And don't let anyone tell you different.

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  1. Good read. It always amazes me to find someone so focused on one specific subject. Though the problem could be that I may just have ADD…

  2. Very well said. I don’t comment much here, but I do read most everything and applaud your critical thinking towards the current landscape of both the music industry and the technology industry. This “new music industry” is still very much in infancy and there needs to be challenging discussions amongst all involved if we’re going to succeed on an artist/fan/business level. Keep it up!
    – Ivan

  3. As always, outstandingly well said. While we may not agree at every turn the direction you take, we admire your fortitude, your intellectual consistency. So long as you stay curious we’ll be here, reading.
    the SonicTribe

  4. Cool! Yoda-esque even. Thanks for your focus and tapping into the mother lode on occasion. Vinnie Ribas over at Indie Connect seems to be someone else resonating along the same lines. I appreciate the bridge between the creative and the commercial. In a curious case of synchronicity I was just reading “The Paul Simon Companion,” a collection of articles edited by Stacey Luftig. On page 57 there is a Garfunkel quote, “To be unafraid of calling it as your ears hear it, is to have TRUTH, and AUTHORITY and IDENTITY and COMMITMENT and EARS.” (sorry for the caps, I am html challenged.) Thanks for the ears.

  5. One would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated individual in the music business blog space. At times, I totally disagree with some of the positions you take. For someone so young and with no real experience in the business you have amazing insight into multiple aspects of music, artists and the business. You challenge my thinking regularly which I think is the whole point behind any type of industry blog. Bruce made a good decision when he hired you. Keep up the good work.
    David Sherbow
    CEO, LiveMusicMachine.com
    @MusicBizGuy on Twitter

  6. It seems to me that the internet is a venue for those who won’t show face to say whatever to whomever whenever they want to. I have a BA in Philosophy and understand that if I go to a person’s online periodical, I do so with the understanding that it is written by a person. If I don’t like what that person says, I simply don’t partake. That’s why I don’t watch Fox News! Seriously though, don’t let the busters get you in a frenzy. If you weren’t getting some sort of negative feedback, then you aren’t doing it right!
    Andre From Idlewood
    Please “LIKE” my page and support local/indie music!

  7. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being “wrong” from time to time. Look at traditional media and count how many times they’ve been off-the-mark.
    The fact that you have an outlet to voice your opinion – one that you voice under your own name – is what matters.
    Honesty is more important than “right” or “wrong” ever will be.

  8. You can’t write one thing, and then come back and say you meant another. If you’re “curious” and just thinking about stuff, then say you’re thinking about stuff. If you want to say you’re a writer, then write what you mean the first time. If the point of those articles was not to say an opinion or prediction, then you shouldn’t have declared “_____ will die” or however you worded it. You should have said “I wonder if ___ will die” or prefaced the whole thing with a “this is just a thought” disclaimer.
    You just can’t after the fact post another article saying “that’s not what I meant” when the article clearly states otherwise. I wasn’t the one who left the comment before, but I certainly agree with it. It goes to credibility. If this is supposed to be some place for analytical thought or any sort of thought whatsoever, you can’t make predictions or constantly say something’s going to happen with such conviction and constantly be wrong, because then people will only be reading here to read your opinion article and then assume the opposite or to just laugh at you.
    You need to ask yourself this: do you want to be a writer that people have respect for, or do you want to be the maniacal idiot standing on the street corner screaming about repentance and holding a “the end is near” sign?
    Like you said, it’s okay to be curious, and it’s okay to say things might end up a certain way, but you have to state that as the intention or scope of the article. My main criticism of your writing is that it’s way too emotional. I understand you’re passionate about the stuff (as am I), but if you have to, write something and then don’t publish it for a day or two. Case in point, your whole “we have to clear this up. right here. right now.” line above. This isn’t an Internet tough guy competition. And then you say you don’t care, but writing a whole post about it tends to say differently.
    What is your purpose in writing here at hypebot? Hell, what is the purpose of hypebot at all? From what I can tell, it’s Bruce posting articles that just plug somebody else’s product or service, and Kyle posting his hopes and dreams and amateur perspective on the latest “music 2.0” scheme that won’t work, and saying it’s the future that will save the industry.
    All that stuff you say above “I’m not technically qualified to lead you. I don’t have a fancy degree. I don’t have a proven career track. I barely even have “real world” experience. It doesn’t matter.”
    Yeah, actually, it does matter. Why? because in your articles you’re acting like you do. You write as if you’ve been there, and as if you know what’s coming. If you’re just being curious and casting out wild ideas into the dark for the sole purpose of provoking thought and nothing more, then make a new blog series, call it Kyle’s wild fantasy ideas based on nothing but the press release I read saying it’s the greatest new service, and then it will be accurate.
    I hope you get what I’m saying. I know I worded things a little tough, but if you can dish it out then you better be able to take it. Just in case, one last time, don’t use misleading titles, be clear in your writing, and state your actual purpose at the time of publishing.
    Two last things about writing in general:
    1. In your article you said “I care more than you.” Excuse me? No, you don’t. I’d bet that holds true for a majority of people here too. I don’t know who you think you are, but don’t EVER make presumptions about your readers, and don’t ever insult or scold them by saying “I don’t have any actual investment in the industry other than my blogging job” and then saying you care more than somebody, particularly people you don’t know. Nobody likes an arrogant prick, and boy do you come off as one in this article.
    2. If you have to post a second article to clear anything up, then the problem was your delivery. You’re the writer, and it’s your job to communicate exactly what you want to communicate the first time. If it’s one or two meatheads that aren’t getting it, fine. But if you see a trend of miscommunication, it’s YOU, not them.

  9. Pretty defensive, eh? Certainly true, though, that if you fear being wrong or making what’s PERCEIVED AS the wrong move, you won’t really make much progress with anything.

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