Toxic people kind of dick around you in the industry constantly and there is no escape from them. This is one of those unfortunate realities where the sooner you come to terms with it the better off you are going to be. It’s a reality that you don’t want to have to stare down the mouth of but once you do t becomes a whole lot easier to deal with things. When it comes down to it, the music industry is often an inherently toxic place and one where we need to separate ourselves a little bit from unfortunate realities in order to build something greater. When it comes down to it, a huge part of what makes toxic people toxic is that they stick around and can ruin your reputation years down the line and this causes huge problems. Finding a way to cut yourself off from them is key, but also realizing that these things are sort of inevitable realities you are going to have to chew on no matter what is going to be important to your personal development.
So first off it’s important to examine why people in the music industry are so shitty. Now I understand to a certain degree that it started because tortured artists are a trope for a reason. It’s hard to be different and something about that makes humans really be attracted to their natural desire to create music. That being said there are also a ton of people who use an attachment to music in order to justify just being a shitty person. This is a much bigger issue than I think a lot of people care to admit and leads to some of the biggest circlejerks and most bullshit pity parties that I have ever seen. People claim to be dicks not for any fault of their own but because ‘they are depressed’ and ‘have a hard time dealing with the world’. If that isn’t some Barrack Obama community activist bullshit I don’t know what is. It’s hard to argue though because in an arts world dominated by depression and social anxiety you don’t really want to discount anyone. The issue is that rapidly turns into a really weird and negative thing, making you toxic. Toxic folks essentially have a shield.
When you have an industry that is so prone to toxic people this very rapidly turns into a place where anyone who has been around for even a little while and has done anything moderately legitimate is going to have a handful of hanger ons that you just can’t avoid and some of those hanger ons are going to be shitty people. What this means, unfortunately, is that most people who tried to be genuinely helpful and who have been around for a little while probably also have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet. When it comes down ot it, the music industry is such a hard place to work that it’s easy to feel slighted when in actuality you just didn’t have what it took and this frequently leads to problems that you can’t easily come to terms with. It means that you can feel offended for something that really shouldn’t be taken as such. But of course not everyone understands that, and that ends up meaning that there are a lot of angry people in music, and those people seem to think they are justified to get revenge.
Of course this being music the people who try to get revenge are usually incompetent and silly. In some ways it’s reminiscent of a monkey trying to direct itself by putting cast off bottle caps onto its matted fur. It’s not exactly an improvement, but I guess it’s something? When it comes down to it, the people who are actively trying to get revenge in the music industry are either so powerful that it’s legitimately terrifying or so out of the loop and cartoonishly stupid that it doesn’t really accomplish anything either way. That’s sort of the thing – there isn’t space in this extremely limited scene for people to be petty. In fact the more you try to be petty the more people are just going to make fun of you for being a little bitch. If you get a reputation as someone who constantly wines and has no clue what’s going on then do you really think that is going to mean something good for your career? Or is it going to be like so many who came before you? It will blow up in your face. The only thing that you can do is to keep on keeping on, I know it sucks but that’s the reality.
This is going to be something that haunts you for your entire career in the music industry and these people are going to say hurtful things and it’s going to keep you up at night. Odds are if you’re getting involved in this you’re probably not going to be super stable all the time and that’s going to make things tricky. That’s not your fault, that’s just how it is. You need to be able to put these toxic people behind you because they are just going to drain you for everything you are worth. There are toxic people all around you and many of the folks who are successful in the industry are certainly a little bit toxic, and that sucks. You need to have a willingness to separate and find your own peace within it and realize that you need to watch out for number one but stay focused on the community and make an effort to be a contributor.
So look beyond, separate yourself and be aware of the inherent toxicity of the industry. It’s something that takes a lot of time to fight through in order to find success and you are going to keep finding toxic people who you think are cool at first and steal your money. You’re going to struggle with this through your entire career because people are trying to find devilish ways to hurt you. It can be emotionally trying and people don’t want to admit that they are fucking with you because when it comes down to it we are all attached to the art too much to find real separation and that breeds problems. Accept, overcome and move on. It’s all we can do.