You may not be a fan of the TV show American Idol, you may not even have a real interest in music at all, but you can probably appreciate the level of “thick skin” required to pursue a career in music. It’s grueling, it can crush the strongest spirit and traditionally, talent alone has not been enough to move you forward as a professional artist. Having a father in the music business for 25 years, I grew up seeing and hearing about much of the historical, ‘dark underbelly’ of the record industry.

Social and economic Darwinism, however, have changed the music industry…forever. Gone are the days of jamming on your Fender Caster in the garage with your buddies, hoping to get a gig. Todays technology has made it possible to craft and master music at home and produce real professional art. Social media, like YouTube and even this blog make it possible to share that art with the world, instantly and eliminate all “middle men”. Then, sell it yourself through Itunes, Amazon, Ebay, etc. and keep 80% of the proceeds instead of 20%. More and more reality shows, like American Idol have popped up and created stars of our friends and neighbors in our own backyards. Here is an example, from my backyard;

Jennifer Hirsh, as a young girl, was one of my martial arts students. I think she made it as far as Purple or Orange Belt. Her brother Robert is one of my earliest and dearest Black Belts and the entire Hirsh family are lifelong friends. Jen quickly moved on from martial arts to find her life’s passion and learn to master it, she found that in her music.

It’s very exciting to see her become that “Black Belt in her business”, it’s just as exciting to see what economic evolution has done to the music industry, that is, unless you own a record company still working on the old paradigm. The greatest thrill would be to see her win on American Idol!

And if my dad had been around today? He’d be thrilled to see all that economic evolution has brought in recent years, all that is now possible as a musician. He’d be cheering Jennifer Hirsh on American Idol.

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