I'm sitting here at Road Side Studio while Mr. Notes is messing around on the keys. We are supposed to be finishing up the song selection for Arnold Randall's art exhibit, "Canvas" next Saturday. Instead we just started reflecting on our year -- and then some.

So I took a little break from finishing this because Akapela Jonz rolled through the lab. While we went to get something to eat at In-n-Out, I brought him into the whole conversation Mr. Notes and I started -- reflecting on this past years music.

A lot of good artists came and went this year, but more importantly a few great artists surfaced. Never has it been more relevant to say that good artists just aren't good enough. You really have to be a great artist to sustain a career, and that in itself doesn't necessarily mean financial stability. I feel bad for the young kids that pursue a music career in hopes of finding riches because their "role models" in the music game talk about how good they're living, or how much money they are making. When in reality they really only see a small percentage of what their record made. You get paid after everyone else gets their cut: Distribution, AR, Producers, Writers, publishing, etc.

Bob Lefsetz said something that really stuck in my head, "If you want to get rich, start shooting hoops...isn't that fascinating, no one thinks they can play in the NBA without a wealth of court time, but people think they can succeed in the music game without paying their dues whatsoever."

What I took from this is that the rock-star lifestyle that was once synonymous with being in the music industry is no longer comprised of musicians -- or maybe it is and those musicians who actually live as such don't talk much about it.

The point I'm trying to make is this. The reason that the rock-star life style is becoming less and less associated with the music industry, and its artists, is because there is less and less money going to the artists. Now on one hand this does phase out the cookie cutter artists, but it still doesn't leave much for those great artists to thrive/survive off of financially.

This is the dilemma we're facing today working in the music industry. Technology has served as a great means to catapult independent artists, who lack the funding to get major level exposure, into millions of peoples play-lists. Now in the same swipe of the sword, music is now that much more accessible for the consumer -- and in most cases free, legally or illegally. People will always gravitate towards the most convenient way to obtain a product, in this case its downloading online. So with the way the current trend is moving, music is ultimately going to be free on all levels; legally. That puts us as artists in a bind because we now have to figure out how to generate income from our product. Yes, I said product..the difference between a career and a hobby is a career generates income --side bar: Any career you chose to pursue, whether it be social sciences, public servant, or artistry for example, it has little to do with natural talent and everything to do with consistency, dedication and work ethic (10,000 hours. I'll expand on this later)--. While this weeds out those who don't learn the importance of being a performing/recording artist, it significantly increases the demands of being a performing artist -- effects which are especially felt by a family.

With any career or business venture -- including art, artists and the music industry -- you need to make money off your product to survive. Its as simple as that. If we aren't making money off our music, we must find new innovative ways to generate income from our product. That's where I intend to create my wave and expect others to ride the trend.

So here we are. Everyday we are presented with challenges or issues that must be solved. Sometimes we solve them, sometimes we don't, but in that moment when you are searching for resolution you can't think of anything more difficult than what you are currently up against. As a new day presents itself and its new challenges, we are quick to learn that yesterday's challenges, although difficult, were in retrospect nothing compared to today's.