Rock bands: Intrinsic endeavours or money-making corporations?

I’ve recently starting managing a new, up-and-coming band. The band is the workings of four best friends who love to play music for the sake of it. They released their debut EP in June, and play shows a few times a month. As much as we would all love to see our project succeed, first and foremost, the band started as a fun undertaking: Best friends who like to make music.

The other day, we had the chance to meet and spend some time with another relatively new band that have recently exploded among the Toronto music scene. They’ve managed to succeed and gain fame rather quickly. Chatting with this band, they gave us some advice. They said we should be looking at our band in a more financially strategic way. They said we should be treating the band as if it were a company with one goal: to make money.

This didn’t sit so well with us. We are doing this for the sake of it, for the love of it – not to make money. Isn’t that how all true artists should feel? Of course some dollars would be nice, but surely that is a secondary goal to what we are doing?

This got me thinking about music, and how bands succeed especially within the music industry today. Of course it’s every budding musicians dream, or at least secret dream, to gain rock god stardom. Don’t we all kind of want to become Kurt Cobain-status legends? However, I’ve always thought that the drive to create music comes from an initial passion for the art itself. We do it because of our love of its history, its meaning and the importance it provides to our lives.

With all that is happening in the industry, should we be looking at our band as a company? Should our ultimate goal me to make money? Is this how majority of bands, and all the big ones – the greats – viewed their music?

I don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t care. I love working with the band. They are incredibly talented and I truly believe the music is worth listening to. I know this could be something big. But even if it’s not, at least I will know that at the end of the day, we were a part of something significant.

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