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A musician friend sent me the link below- the truly horrifying/mortifying/eye-opening story of Pharrell Williams making $3000 from 43 million views of “Happy” on the streaming site Pandora.

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Pharrell made less than $3,000 from 43 million Pandora streams of “Happy” – FUSION

Of course, Pharrell Williams is Pharrell Williams and hardly hurting for money. He has his own clothing line, all his other Pharrell branded businesses, his fees as a producer, royalties from music publishing, appearance fees, a fat contract being a judge on “The Voice” and much more that makes him a one-man corporation.

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One certainly cannot begrudge the man his success nor can one- not at this stage of the game- start pointing fingers and saying, “Look what they did to my song, ma, and look how they are screwing us poor musicians.” That’s like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

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We all saw what was coming our way- an unmitigated disaster involving unfair payments, grey Copyright laws, correct royalty payments, accurate accounting, one-sided recording contracts, Ownership, the perils of doing anything for free- and even after some blows to the head and ego- we let it happen. Fight for our Rights? Oh, please. We rolled over and got rocked, rolled and robbed by those some mistakenly took for “visionaries” and “saviours”. They were Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs full of Wooly Bully.

Wolf in sheeps clothing

We- each of us involved in music for all the right and honest reasons- opened our hearts, our doors and our legs and allowed in all those “entrepreneurs” and “promoters”, but, mainly, flim flam men and shysters to con us into playing- and giving up our time and ideas- for free- for “promotion”. To, gawd no, “Save The Music”.

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It was many of us who invited these serpents to eat and sit at our table and enjoy all those free lunches where we were tempted by empty promises of projects and ideas that never saw the light of day, and constant name droppings that bamboozled many with absolute bullshit. Sadly, many bought into these cons. Many still do.

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We gave our art- and art is from the soul- away for free- for “promotion”- because, amongst others in this Goon Squad, some old school American blogger said it was the thing to do for unknown musicians in order to be heard. And instead of driving him out of the temple along with the gamblers and the whores, we let him and others cut from the same cloth in and listened as if theirs was the only Voice of Reason. Many still do despite reason being treason and these people being loud circus barkers with a schtick to feather their own nests. But, hey, hey, hey, it was nothing personal, it was just business, and those who blindly followed and listened and believed and supported the platforms for these cons got chump-changed and dumped.

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All this chanting to rock for free in the free f***ing world is why musicians today are royally screwed. This and throwing themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous, parasitic- count them- agents, managers, music companies, charlatans, musicians clinging onto their past glories and, when everything else had failed, signing those life-binding contracts to appear on all those television karaoke competitions and be judged by, usually, a panel of celebrities playing out their scripted roles. It’s not only the Kardashians who are fake.

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Mel B? A JUDGE on the X Factor? Why? She was Ugly Spice or some other condiment for fucks sake. She couldn’t sing, dance or have a hit. She was a No Direction before One Direction.The woman is a no-talent, never-talent has-been only known these days for a crass reality show based on a dysfunctional marriage.

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Since the beginning of time, musicians have been used and abused one way or another- fed drugs to make “the monkeys” perform for peanuts, and then become so dependent on their handlers that they were used, abused and discarded.

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Looking back, one can only admire someone like Frank Sinatra who saw what was happening, bailed and cozied up to mobsters, presidents and Hollywood dolls. It made him more than just another singer. It gave him the power to break all the rules and call all the shots.

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Fast forward to the reinvention of Jay-Z, Dr Dre, Sean Combes aka Puff Daddy, Fifty Cent, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West- how they so quickly broke away from whence they came, and left behind the likes of the once-powerful Lyor Cohen and his Def Jam label, and made that grand, street smart transition from “gangstas” to Wall Street power brokers owning their own brands, running their corporations and controlling their own destinies- plus owning and controlling some Beyoncé, Rihanna, Drake etc.

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LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES:  Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (L) poses with her boyfriend Sean "Puffy" Combs (R) for photographers at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles 23 February, 2000.   (ELECTRONIC IMAGE)  AFP PHOTO    VINCE BUCCI (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)

Grand Opening of RYU Restaurant - Inside

Hell, they weren’t gonna be the white man’s bitch- especially Lyor Cohen’s bitch.

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Music is power and the business of music, like any other business, is about having this power. No power, no respect, baby. Ask Aretha Franklin. Ask Madonna. Ask Beyoncé. Ask Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift vs Spotify

The days of forming a band are still around- kinda- as is being a musician. But there is a need for a chorus of New Smarts as opposed to giving up and being a witless cry baby expecting others to bail you from some self-made reclusive, regressive prison.

It’s not about taking one day at a time. It’s about getting out there and making every day happen.

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To make every day happen, force yourself- you, in any aspect of music- to realise that you can’t afford to be a purist or a side player, anymore. It doesn’t pay the bills, it does nothing for your career, nor your value as an artist, nor your bargaining power, nor enhancing your brand.

Grow up, get out, enhance your brand, create a business model, and smell the money along with the muffins and opportunities before ageism happens, and it’s too late.

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Power doesn’t necessarily corrupt.

At least in music today, working to a point, where one has the power to deal and conquer, throws up career and business options that were never ever there before. Look what Dr Dre accomplished with Beats Electronics and where he is today.

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Sure, it’s not the most unique idea, but he made it look new. Yes, Timbaland might have been able to do the same thing. Or you could have. But you didn’t, so move on. What else do you have? Where’s that Power switch?

Power gives you the right to Just Say No, call it as you see it, and, finally become the prick that’s been lying dormant inside of you for too damn long by being able to look shysters straight in the eye and say, “F*** off, you wanker.” It’s liberating. Try it.

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Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk