Art, Not Business

A businessman plays by the rules, an artist breaks them.

A businessman puts money first, an artist sees money as a byproduct.

A businessman has a plan, an artist flies by the seat of his pants.

A businessman is looking to sell out, an artist is looking to continue, forever.

A businessman is all about domination, an artist does not believe in competition.

An artist believes in inspiration, a businessman believes in calculation.

A businessman is a team player, an artist is an individual, a party of one.

An employee of the label is a businessman, an artist is not an employee, just check the paperwork, you’re an “independent contractor,” self-directed with no input from the company other than broad outlines, if this is not so, change your behavior or ask for health insurance and tax withholding.

Today, techies are artists and artists are businessmen. Techies try to surprise the public with that which they’re unaware they need and artists are giving them just what they expect.

Artists have skin in the game, the best businessmen do, but almost no one in the music business does anymore… We live in an era of corporatization, if it’s not your money to lose, you’re not going to stay up all night willing success.

Artists lead, business people follow.

Artists make people uncomfortable, businessmen seek to coddle.

Artists are cool, businessmen are not.

Artists challenge convention, businessmen seek to establish conventions.

Artists are independent, beholden to no one and can always say no, businessmen work for the man, execs come and go but the corporation remains.

The best businessmen are artists, but very few deserve the moniker. The worst, and sometimes most financially successful artists are businessmen.

They call it “show business,” but it’s nothing without art.

Artists shoot for the stars, risking it all in the process. Businessmen play it safe.

Artists are about the essence, businessmen are about the trappings.

Mediocre but cheap works in business, but never in art.

Cheap, fast and good…pick two. In both business and art.

Artists don’t confuse marketing with music, they realize that sponsorships and perfume are not the product, but ancillary thereto. Businessmen think of only how they can monetize the product.

Artists say no, businessmen say yes.

We are in an era where being an artist has been confused with being a businessman. The music world took a hit when Jay Z said he was a business, and if you consider yourself a brand you’re on the wrong track. Artists are always reinventing themselves, always risking the approval of both audience and gatekeepers. Playing it safe is anathema to an artist, it’s godhead to a businessman.

An artist takes responsibility, a businessman says his hands are tied and it’s not his fault.

A businessman lies, an artist tells the truth, all the time.

An artist runs on instinct and is not always sure, a businessman runs by spreadsheet and makes no move unless he’s confident.

An artist is tortured, a businessman tortures.

A businessman is about protection, an artist is about destruction.

An artist challenges, a businessman respects.

A businessman is all about hierarchy, the chain of command, the artist sees the world as flat, with the ability to move amongst all peoples, from the CEO to the homeless person.

An artist can reach everybody, a businessman just wants to reach enough people to make his numbers.

A businessman stops when he runs out of money, an artist never stops.

An artist relies on his mind, a businessman relies on his status and machinery.

A businessman takes advantage, an artist is always neutral, at arm’s length from his customer, purveying but never strong-arming.

An artist runs on feel, a businessman runs on intellect.

A businessman believes in resume, an artist’s body of work is his resume.

A businessman is on LinkedIn, artists see no need to be on the site.

Businessmen are confident, artists are insecure.

Businessmen prey on artists, artists prey on people’s souls.

Artists demand excellence, businessmen believe in good enough.

Today’s best businessmen are artists and few successful artists are anything but businessmen. Businessmen take risks and are beholden to nobody, wearing their everyday clothes at formal functions and artists are painting by numbers, constricted by their handlers, and eager to dress up to impress.

Artists know what’s inside counts, businessmen believe in appearances.

Businessmen are conniving, manipulation and underhanded activity never made a hit record.

Businessmen judge success by money, artists judge success by cultural impact.

Business is here today and gone tomorrow, Steve Jobs will soon be forgotten, whereas art is forever. We know who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but we don’t know who was Pope. We can sing Beatle songs, but we threw away our Walkman long ago.

Art takes practice, businessmen learn on the job.

Lose your job in business and you can find another, screw up in art and your career might be over.

Brands are hollow shells, bands are living organisms which must be nurtured and protected.

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