For Music Monday, I’m finally sharing a post I wrote a few months ago as homage to producer, artist, and dj, 14KT’s upcoming release tomorrow, “Nickel & Dimed” (8/27/2013), stay tuned for the review…

Lately as I’ve been recording more and getting in a creative flow with music, I decided to write this post with love to all the amazing artists I know, have worked with, and hold in high esteem.

The other day I was listening to artist, producer, multi-instrumentalist, Zo!, during a radio interview, where he spoke quite candidly about wearing many hats as an artists, as well as some of the challenges of independent artists. As someone who has managed independent artists, as well as interviewed and worked with a variety of emcees, producers, managers, promoters, djs, and the like, I could definitely relate to much of what he openly shared.

One of the things I’ve often spoke to is the concept of valuing the work of artists. I’ve seen the challenge of artists trying to get free beats or tracks from producers, promoters offering little to nothing for artists to do shows, fellow artists wanting to get into each other’s shows for free every rip, and much more. This never ceases to amaze me, because at the end of the day, everyone wants to be compensated for their own work, so why do they feel like others shouldn’t want or expect the same.

When I first got into business for myself, one of the first lessons I took to heart is that if someone truly has love for me, what I do, the best way to show that is in supporting what I do. Honestly, yes, many wanted “the hookup”, but I quickly took from early experiences that if someone truly respected and valued my work, they would be willing to compensate and support what I do. From that point, I embraced that for those I choose to work with, or whose work I truly love & respect; I WANT to support, to compensate them…I want them to succeed.

The challenge of artists’ work being minimized is not a new thing, especially if you’ve been in the business for a while. This has been one of the underlying issues that have plagued the music industry for years.

One of the first questions I ask, not just music artists, but anyone I want to work with (videographers, photographers, writers, visual artists, etc) is what is their fee? I want to know what it takes to work with them, the value they place on their skill, talent, or work. And even if I don’t have it in my budget, I keep that in mind as something to create a budget for, pay in installments, or some type of agreement to give them the value of their work.

Even with the financial struggles people may have today from individuals to corporations, labels to promoters, however, that shouldn’t allow for minimizing our own or each others’ work. It’s just as disrespectful when people manipulate others’ work and claim it as their own, give false impressions to use others’ names or to ride the success of someone else, or to come across as if you are doing someone a favor, such as promoting them or using their work for one’s own gain, especially having never even spoken to or asked that person.

I just felt like stating this so that folks could take away from it the idea of valuing the craft, the work, the money, the time, the heart that people pour into their music, videos, projects, that is often taken for granted, overlooked, and undermined.

To individuals that cop music for free online (or from other people), use others’ creative work with no dialogue with or contribution to the artist, and other similar acts, it really shows lack of respect, and undercuts the sustaining of peoples’ work, revenue, businesses and careers.

So let’s show true respect to our fam, friends, folks that we are fans of by buying their music, opening up a conversation, building relationships, even accepting ‘no’ if you are not able to work with them; ultimately supporting what they do…particularly so their success can give us more of what we love.

..And go ahead and cop “Nickel & Dimed” tomorrow on ITunes and on CD – 9/3/2013 or Vinyl – 9/10/2013. Trust me, you’re gonna want this!

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