Why Having To Constantly Hustle Is Bad For Artists

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In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Alina Simone, who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times called “The End of Quiet Music.” In the piece, she depicts the struggles that  artists face and the sacrifices they make. She has released albums sung in both English and Russian, and is the author of an essay collection called "You Must Go and Win." We discuss the myths about the artist-as-entrepreneur and why having to constantly hustle is bad for artists.




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  1. This was pretty painful to listen to. It’d be lazy to say this is just an hour of three people whining about how hard it is for broke musicians, but that’s essentially what it is.
    Also – EXTREMELY short-sighted view of crowd-funding services.

  2. Give me a break. The way you act like having a child is the end of the world as a musician is nonsense…as if all other indie musicians without children have it so much easier. Yes, a child is a huge financial responsibility but a single, 20 something year old student, living on their own with some low paying burger flipping job feels just as much financial strain and time consumption as a person with a child. I agree with Manager Jim (above)…this interview was embarrassing and hard to listen to. The fact that Alina talks about certain genres of music being deemed acceptable as art and others not making the cut is the EXACT reason schools and organizations have a hard time funding creative arts. ITS SUBJECTIVE!!! Sure some music is more traditional than others but you should be ashamed to call yourself a musician as you tear down different genres as if they’re not worthy. Music is expression of self and shouldn’t be confined to the template of what once was. It is forever evolving. I honestly listened to 9 minutes of this and shut it off. I couldn’t stand to hear another second of the one sided OPINIONS delivered as facts.

  3. I thought this was a great conversation, with many valid points made. @Manager Jim … ‘whining’ is a harsh put-down, and undeserved in my view. Alina clearly has empathy for the position of artists from unprivileged backgrounds … maybe you lack this?
    @CASH3WIS … if you only listened to the first 9 minutes you missed out on most of what was said. I think it’s true that crowdfunding for unknown indie artists depends on them soliciting their friends and family for funds … and if they don’t have a large circle of friends and family with disposable income, how can they make this work?
    “a single, 20 something year old student, living on their own with some low paying burger flipping job feels just as much financial strain and time consumption as a person with a child.”
    Having experienced both of these situations, I respectfully disagree. It is much more difficult being a low-income parent.

  4. I love that Alina says, at around the 11-minute mark regarding radio promotion’s costs, that “Radio promotion, which if you go to an agency, will run you easily $1500 minimum and up to $3500 if you want to try to hit every radio station the country.”
    What planet is she living on where radio promo is that cheap?

  5. It’s really good that you mentioned the need for capital.
    I’ve reinvested my music earnings several times and it’s very worth it for how it’s grown my music business and exposure. Great interview. Thank you, Alina Simone and the Upward Spiral!

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