Taylor Swift has a rich father. Florida Georgia Line auto-tune their vocals. Scott Borchetta built his company upon Scott Swift’s cash.

The wannabes complain, they could do it better.

But they hardly do it at all.

I’m not saying you have to like the work of those who make it, but you do have to admire their pluck, their perseverance, all the hard work they put into making it.

Sure, Taylor Swift got a leg up by having a rich parent. You grew up poor, it sucks. But the truth is many people are just poor-mouthing. You see it all the time in interviews. Some actor or comedian will say they grew up lower class, and then they’ll let slip that their father was a lawyer or a bank president… It’s the great American game, downplaying your advantages. When you’re not boasting about all the money you’ve made. I know, I know, it’s a conundrum. But never ever take Hollywood publicity at face value. It’s lies. It’s images. It’s for your consumption. Most of these people came from backgrounds no different from yours. Although they may have made choices you wouldn’t. Like screwing friends, stepping on others… Because it’s a jungle out there and you don’t get to roar by being a nice guy or gal.

As Helen Kushnick so famously put it to Jay Leno… “I’ve been serving you steak dinners for almost eighteen years, I just haven’t bothered showing you how I slaughtered the cow.”

Florida Georgia Line, hell, they’re not the best singers. But they have hit records, because they found a niche and exploited it. Mashing up hip-hop and country. With a beer/bro viewpoint that no one else had expressed quite the same way. You could have done the same thing, only you didn’t pay your dues at Belmont and you didn’t play without a net. Talk about risk… If you want to make it in music it can’t be your side gig, but your only gig. And it takes years to make it. So while others are coding at Google, buying houses and getting married, you’re renting an apartment, driving an old Nissan and have nothing to show for it. Are you willing to go that route? Almost no one is, not for a long time. As for those bitching that they’ve been playing but not winning, odds are inherently long, but these people never look at themselves and examine their flaws, their hard to get along with personalities, their lack of talent. Just because you desire something that does not mean it can be so. It’s like being 5’2″ and wanting to star in the NBA. Or being the same height and wanting to be a runway model. Impossible. Oh, now I’m gonna get e-mail about Muggsy Bogues and… That’s exactly the point, you’re trying to prove me wrong as opposed to digesting my lesson, which you’re free to embrace or discard. But you think by playing gotcha you’re winning, but the joke is on you.

Scott Borchetta ASKED Scott Swift for the money. Couldn’t have been easy. Then again, he asked so many who wouldn’t pony up before Swift. How many doors are you willing to knock on? How many times are you willing to hear no? And still soldier on with a smile on your face without sour grapes.

I’m not saying the winners are admirable people. I’m not saying all their work is of the highest standard, never mind a breakthrough. But I am saying you’ve got to applaud them for making it. And rather than point out their flaws, look at their attributes, what they have that pushes them over the line. People talk crap about Irving Azoff all the time, do you know that he’s charming and the life of the party? As for Michael Rapino, do you know he’s the best politician in the music business? Come on, he killed Michael Cohl! But rather than investigate his relationship with Greg Maffei, rather than uncover the choices that go along with the steps, you just knee-jerk your hatred. All the songs on the hit parade suck. The person singing or writing or agenting or directing has your job. That’s what it is, raw jealousy. And if you want to sit on the sidelines and carp, that’s your prerogative. But the truth is those who’ve won are ignoring you, they’re circling the wagons and leaving you out, you’re the one who’s empty inside. You could move to Hollywood, you could scrape and save and try to find a way in, lose your job and network for another. You could get a record deal and lose it and still keep making music. But that’s too hard.

America’s a great country. More doors are open than closed. Especially in fast-moving enterprises like entertainment where where you went to college is irrelevant and except for a chosen few who your daddy is doesn’t matter. It’s a roiling cauldron that might boil the life out of you, but might just yield riches and fame. This is not banking, a soulless enterprise where cash is the only dividend. This is not tech, where you have to know how to code. This is a realm where street smarts are everything, where emotional intelligence is key. Are you up to it?

Well step up to the plate and find out.

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