Recording Artist Advocate: Criticizing Success

“The Trees” is a Rush song from 1978. The premise is that the maple trees are upset that the tall oak trees get an unfair share of the sunlight, and they pass a law that the sunlight must be shared equally.

So their “equality” is enforced by “hatchet, axe, and saw.”  They force equality by destruction, and everyone suffers.

Let me apply this to you and your own music career. Let’s say you write some great songs. Then you practice playing and performing. You play bigger and bigger venues and even get some attention from radio and music bloggers. Things start to happen for you. Great! Congratulations.

But then you’re told that’s unfair. You should share with other bands that don’t write or play as well. You have to let them share your bill and take part of your pay. You had an unfair advantage somewhere along the way. Natural talent or parents who encouraged you… or something in your past that made it easier for you. You unfairly took too much fame/money/sunlight.

So you share, but they don’t rise to your level; they won’t practice or show up on time. The shows suffer and the crowds quit coming. Now there’s nothing for anyone.

This same scenario was posed to college students. They were asked to share their GPA with less fortunate students. They all said “GPA redistribution” would not be fair to them.  They said, “I worked hard for those grades.” And, “Why should I have to give points off my grades to someone who didn’t work as hard?”

You may not be making much money now, but this is a business where you can go from making a few bucks a night to several hundred – to several thousand. It can happen faster than you think. You will work harder than you ever thought you could. If everything works out you can be very successful. With every success you’ll need to do more to top that. Keep doing that long enough and you’ll be a tall oak among maples. No one else can do it for you.

Do yourself a favor now while you’re working your way up. Don’t set a trap for yourself by criticizing the successful. When you become successful you could get caught in it.