Things take time, there is no other way around it. In the music industry when you routinely have to go through two or three people just to get anything done you simply have to accept these unfortunate realities and then go from there. There are times when you’re going to find yourself endlessly frustrated with what the music industry does to you, people oftentimes need to deal with months of negotiations to get anything one and that can be really fucking annoying on both ends. I know this because I’ve lost clients after negotiations dragged out because of the multiple layers within the industry. I know this because I’ve given up on people who genuinely wanted to help because things were taking too much time. It’s frustrating, especially because there’s nothing that most of us can do. When you’re sufficiently in demand your options are pretty goddamn limited when it comes to expanding what you can do to help people out.
The key thing to realize is that a lot of the people who you want to get in touch with are in high demand. This ties in exactly to what we’ve discussed countless times on this blog about why industry people don’t answer your emails. They – like you – are too goddamn busy to deal with someone they don’t really know. Even if you are able to break down that initial wall, unless your project is going to generate serious income for them then they are probably going to need you to be patient. They want to get to you but they have to feed themselves and in an industry where the margins are so small it’s easy to get shifted to the bottom of the pile. The other thing is that in big projects like this there’s sometimes a lot of work to be done between each individual step, leading to an increased delay. It’s easy to say that you want to maintain regular communication but sometimes it’s hard if you’re just waiting to receive the information you need to move forward.
A lot of the time this is because there are so goddamn many people involved in many of these events. Think for example about your average month long tour. You’re looking at a minimum of 30 promoters (Assuming that some venues don’t have two or even three guys who handle it) a booking agent (Or maybe a team of agents), a manager (Or maybe a team of managers), the publicists, the labels and the bands who make up the package. Suddenly what seems pretty routine turns into fifty or more people trying to coordinate together on a single announcement. There’s a reason that so much of this industry is just email tag. You’ve got to make sure that everyone has their ducks in a row or else you can wind up looking very silly and potentially even screwing yourself out of money. It makes people a lot more quiet and forces you to accept some of the harsher realities that this industry is going to routinely throw at you.
Of course you need to focus on the positive, in many ways the amount of time it takes to get shit done is a good thing. After all it means that the odds of a fuck up are vastly diminished because people are taking the time to verify all is in good order since they don’t want the mistake to be on their end. This is also why I kick off a lot of projects months and months in advance. I want to be able to rest easy well before the project I have going launches and have plenty of breathing room for everyone who needs to be involved. It also means that you can start to get access to some pretty major resources. Odds are that there are a few people on copy in major projects who are big players but who aren’t really partaking in this particular project beyond a supervisor capacity. Yet if they see you acting professionally and doing well then they might just hit you up in the future!
When it comes down to it you just need to have a lot going on at any one time. Sure your distribution deal might be taking a while to come through, but that just means you can spend time working on tours. Maybe your label contract is held up by lawyers on their end, but that allows you time to focus on marketing with your manager. It’s all about juggling as many balls as possible and realizing that at any one time most of them aren’t going to be under your control. This means that you can take on a ton of projects as long as you make sure to develop them all sustainably. If you don’t have a ton of projects going though it’s also easy to get really lethargic really fast. It’s so easy to drown under your own apathy and if you’re only doing one thing at a time you will get frustrated. By the same token it keeps you from being annoying and grinding the people trying help you out with questions and slowly making them hate you. So think about that.
It’s frustrating sometimes to see how long these projects take and how long the negotiations are going to grind on for for even tings that seem like they should be easy. It’s a breath of fresh air when shit happens quickly – but most of the time shit is not going to happen quickly, it’s going to take its goddamn time. You just need to accept that and move on. This is a slow moving industry and if you think you can just grind things out then you’re going to end up frustrated as higher ranking folks show you that you need to be careful, think about things and make sure that they get done the right way. After all – what more is there to do than try and grow as a positive collective? This isn’t an easy path, but it’s the one you’ve chosen. Deal with it.