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A disconnect between the music industry and talent. Both do not see eye to eye. Why?

Posted: September 3, 2023

Diversity and inclusion are two words that you don’t hear often outside of corporate America. However, it does exist even within the music industry. Maybe even more often. Some complaints do not get reported due to fear of repercussion. It is easier to set up rules and regulations for corporate America because they are enforceable. It is common for most corporate businesses to have an HR department or rules that govern the work environment. What are diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion are a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage. Companies that create diverse and inclusive work environments are more adaptable, creative, and become magnets that “attract top talent”.

Wow, that was a mouthful. Now, think of the application in the music industry. How does this apply? Well, your first thought might be, how it is geared toward the agencies and organizations that represent “talent”. Which would be correct. It does apply to them. However, there is a bigger picture and one that is often overlooked. Think about how the application fits the individual artist, songwriters, and musicians. When you think about it, remember the words that define diversity and inclusion. ADAPTIVE, SUPPORT, AND BIAS. Can you picture how those words would impact you, as you work within the confines of the music industry?

How often do you think about “entitlement”? Are there certain practices that prohibit you from receiving support, in an environment that is unbiased? Do you even care? Some may think that if I am getting paid, that is all that matters. Really? When do we start putting less value on ourselves as human beings, just for the price of admission?

There is a disconnect between the music industry and talent. Both sides are not seeing eye to eye. The agencies that represent the talent often find themselves in a difficult spot. The bias and lack of support often find their way into the pocket of those trying to make a living. The talent has less in their pocket to take care of themselves and their family. This is not because the talent doesn’t have

1. The following

2. Singing ability

3. Draw

4. Other.

 

The solution for both sides is to bring in the two words that often govern create a conducive work environment. Diversity and Inclusion need to exist in every facet of the music industry. Regardless of the reasoning, talent should be respected. The talent should receive more support in an unbiased environment. Will diversity and inclusion represent a problem that doesn’t exist or the remedy for issues that have gone unresolved?

I would like to bring in an artist to get their views on diversity and inclusion. We have enjoyed our experience with Brandon Paul. He is of good character and has worked within the industry for many years. So, he would have the tenure or experience to relate to this topic.

 

ABOUT BRANDON PAUL

Hailing from Los Angeles California, Brandon Paul is not your average guitar player. Well known for his capabilities on the guitar, he is also a singer and music educator.

Hearing Van Halen’s monstrous “Eruption” at the age of 16 was an awakening to pursue a music career. Coming from a family with no musical background or immediate lessons, he found that transposing from an athlete to a musician was no easy task. After spending 6-10 hours a day honing his craft, it quickly became evident something special was on the horizon.

Brandon plays/has played with artists such as Lizzy Borden, Bobby Kimball of Toto, Fran Cosmo of Boston, Dave Evans of AC/DC, Wally Palmer of The Romantics, Kurt Deimer, Frankie Grande and so many more. He also has a strong passion for education and teaching; with a bestselling rock guitar course on Udemy and an online guitar school A strong social media presence can be felt across his channels- with over 10's of millions of views and 100's of thousands of followers. Brandon has been featured in Guitar World Magazine and currently endorses Iconic Guitars & Ernie Ball strings. And the recording and composition game is no stranger to Brandon- with multiple albums out and yearly releases, new music is always being brewed.

 

INTERVIEW WITH BRANDON PAUL AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: Hello Brandon, it is a privilege to speak with you today regarding an important topic. It may come as a shocker to musicians or artists, that this problem exists. Maybe, they are aware of its existence, but can’t relate to it as diversity and inclusion. Let’s break it down into terms everyone can relate to.

 

GT: How long have you been an artist in the music industry?

Brandon: About 15 years now I would say.

 

GT: Would you say that you have the support you need from the music industry? What has been your experience?

Brandon: The support is all around us. I believe it’s all about getting in alignment with your goals; learning from mistakes, how to be better professionally and skillfully, and adjusting calibrate yourself on track. The gigs are out there, you just must truly be ready to receive them.

 

GT: I have worked within many facets of the music industry and have seen the pitfalls and the shortcomings of those that represent it. Oftentimes, it is unfair, and no one is being held accountable. Have you personally experienced biased practices as an artist? If so, can you specify?

Brandon: Not for me personally as I tend to have an open mind. I suppose when I was very young and immature there were styles of music that I thought were much “better” than others. But I have worked with artists in the past that have had a fairly bias outlook, though.

 

GT: You have worked within the music industry for a very long time. Some would say that you haven’t realized your full potential as an artist. I personally believe that you should have gotten much further with your talent than many others have. Do you see it as a lack of support or a matter of timing?

Brandon: Timing and market may the biggest factor I would say in this situation, for sure. We are not exactly in a time of guitar heroes like in the 70’s & 80’s- nor is rock n’ roll the most sought out/trendy genre currently by the younger generation. With that being said, the music business to me doesn’t put all the eggs in the “talent” basket anyway; timing, networking & professional development play a bigger role in success than talent and skill alone. Now, if you can have those things together and be a strong talent, the sky is the limit in my opinion.

 

GT: No doubt, this is a topic that is sensitive in nature. However, it is a topic that needs to be addressed. Changes need to be made. Guidelines and rules need to be implemented. Pay needs to be increased. It comes down to respect for the value that each artist brings when they perform. There should be a minimum that any artist should receive. What do you think?

Brandon: That’s tricky I believe. As we know, art is extremely subjective. A lot of this is context of a situation. But nonetheless, to me it’s all a business at the end of the day. If you don’t develop yourself and calibrate than you will inevitably earn lower amounts. But if you shift your mentality and grow, you can earn any amount you decide on. This has been the biggest lesson learned for me on the monetary side of this music business. The money is out there no doubt, but aligning yourself with it is where the growth lies.

 

GT: I really do appreciate your candid and honest responses. As I mentioned, this isn’t a topic that you read about daily. However, it is one that many artists are concerned about. They just don’t talk about it.

 

GT: While I still have you for this interview. I want to talk about what is happening now. What are you accomplishing in the music industry?

Brandon: Currently I am touring and performing with artists such as Kurt Deimer, Icons of Classic Rock, Pyromania & Lizzy Borden. I am also educating and teaching students every week when I am home from the road. Within the last 2 years I’ve probably accomplished more than I ever have in this music business.

 

GT: What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?

Brandon: Probably meeting my projected income goals in music. There was a point where I honestly didn’t know if I’d make a good living playing music, but now the fear is gone, and I feel confident I can keep doing better. Music isn’t about making money, but the reality is we all want to make a good living.

 

GT: Tells us about the brands that you use while performing? What makes them unique, and how do they contribute to the success of your sound?

Brandon: Currently I endorse Iconic Guitars & Ernie Ball strings. I love the performance of these brands, the people who work within them & the support they give me. Things being a 2-way street goes a long way for me. Essentially, they make it easy for me to simply be, me. They provide an amazing quality vehicle if you will for me to create and deliver the music. I endorse these companies because I believe in them, and they believe in me.

 

GT: We want to know about upcoming releases and what we can anticipate?

Brandon: I will be releasing more of my solo music in 2024. I have songs recorded and done that just need the proper push and campaign. Everyone can expect more of Brandon singing and playing!

 

GT: It has been awesome talking with you. We look forward to speaking with you soon. Please keep us up to date with your music career. Thank you.

Brandon: Thanks so much for having me, this has been a treat!

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