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Why Nashville Music Pros Matters.....

I just got an email from Bret reminding me and all of us NMP Members to log in and check in and stay active.  Guilty as charged!  It made me think about myself, the State of the Music Business, Social Networking sites in general and this one in particular.

This is different from Facebook, MySpace (aka Free Band Webpage Space), Linked In, etc.  This is for all of us in the Nashville Music Industry.  I don't know about you guys, but it's been getting a little lonely out there and gigs are harder to come by.  What has always worked for me in the past was to get out and do "the hang", hit the clubs, sit in, hand out cards, you know the old drill.  Nashville has always been about networking, but here we are holed up in our home studios, posting on Facebook where our musings get lost in Sports, Political Squabbles, Random Cute Cat Videos, etc.  It's fun, but it's not "networking" as I remember it. 
Maybe before NMP withers up and blows away we can make it what it was at it's best-a great way to connect, network and share ideas with fellow Musicians, Producers, Writers, Engineers, etc.  I'm all in!  Facebook's fun and all, but it's not helping the datebook too much (is it just me or is this a particularly stinky January?).  I'm going to hang out here more. And, since my January has been particularly stinky I'd like to remind everyone that besides teaching Electric Bass and String Bass very, very well I can also play them very, very well on Live Gigs and Studio Sessions if anyone has need.  So can a lot of my Bass Brothers and Sisters on here.  There is an amazing talent pool here.  Let's reconnect and shake things up a bit more in town!  How about it?

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Comment by George Lawrence on January 17, 2012 at 1:05pm

Roy, I am with you. Bret, thanks for sending out that reminder. I moved back to Nashville last year (is it already 2012?) after living in Ohio since 2002. (I am living proof that you have to move to Akron to get a gig w a major touring act). I didn't realize how great Nashville is until I returned. But the music biz has changed drastically in ten years and you are correct, Bret, that working relationships do fade. My old contacts and network from the nineties are not as full of gig and session news as they use to be. The recession has hit the music business hard. The government reports that the U.S.unemployment is 23% unemployment now ( not the 9 and 10% that the media and the politicians lie about). I'm pretty sure that unemployment is even higher, much higher in the music business. If you own a store or work for a store that sells that light bulbs, toilet paper, hamburger meat, diapers, and other necessary items you can see 23% unemployment reflected in your industry. But music is not a basic necessity. It is a luxury, and it does not thrive during recession and depression. It is always one of the first things to be knocked off the shopping list. As my sister once said "Music is free. It's on the radio!". I won't even go into the technological changes and electronic distribution changes that have hit our industry and trickled down to us scum sucking bottom feeder players. Promoters and night club owners have been hit in the same numbers. My band Poco's gigs are way down. I'd say a good 50%, and our demographic has the most expendable income of any age group.  I'm not preaching doom and gloom here. That would be stating the obvious. The online networking for musicians is a great boon and I applaud Bret for keeping this one going. But we are getting to the point that those who would hire us are holed up in their homes selling stuff on Ebay or working at Home Depot. Recording artists and bands have already taken matters into their own hands and do almost everything associated w selling their product; the recording, the videos, the website, the marketing, the fulfillment. We may be in the same situation where we, as live musicians, are responsible for promoting our own venues and gigs. I have seriously entertained founding my own live music venue just in order to have a place to play on a more consistent basis. A place to have that weekly musician's jam that I can't fine around town anymore. I really miss playing six nights a week and doing sessions six days a week. It's just an idea, but it might become a reality very soon. Mose Allison sang, "I'm gonna buy myself a night club and write it off my income tax!"  

My shameless plug? Will play drums anywhere, anytime, any style. I am one of them there edumacated drummers who can sight read music flawlessly and I'm a happy camper on a bus or a plane. Hire me. I give green stamps.

George Lawrence

Comment by Bret Teegarden on January 16, 2012 at 11:27am

I'll say one thing to all the long-time pros out there regarding this matter - I've met some very nice people who have recently moved to town and bring varying amounts of experience from other markets. Both young and old. They became NMP members because so many current members told them they needed to be on here. You never know where your next gig might come from or who might end up being a client... maybe there are plenty of folks out there who think their current working relationships will never fade, but as the industry has changed, most have seen their working relationships and how they approach getting gigs change drastically. 

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