Music holds a belief system and tells a story. It’s a view of the world that makes the artist a thought leader, an influencer, an agent of change. Artists are visionaries who help us to see the world in a new way. An intense vision or purpose can be the reason for wanting to make music. It can also be a means to take care of your personal needs, your family’s needs, and the needs of your community. But what happens when an artist broadens their mission to include the industry, the world, or beyond?
Fast cars, cheering fans, and your name in lights. This is the dream, everything you worked for, the reward for all the hardwork and setbacks. Success is generally measured by income, accolades, and fame – the trappings of music industry success. New artists can go from zero to hero overnight making money, lots of money, and even more money, but then what?
The dilemma of selling to the highest bidder or doing something for the greater good will always be in question. Money can be a great indicator of how well you are doing, but is it the only goal? Some artists have used their influence for a bigger mission non profit and conscious capitalism business models to donate to good causes and social issues. But is it the artist’s responsibility to give back or flag up issues that might be destructive to their community? Some might argue that an artist’s job is just to make good music. That may well be true but once released the music becomes public property meaning the artist holds a responsibility to the buyer.
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Deb McKoy is the Founder and Consultant at Peppergrain Ltd, London, UK. She began her career as a recording artist, achieving success in the UK national charts before going on to help businesses and individuals maximise their brand.