Category Archives: op-ed

Wednesday Wisdom: The Female Pioneers of Hip Hop

By: Sacha Walton, SWI Management Group

It was 1984, and I remember listening to the radio to what we now know as old-school hip hop flooding the airwaves. The days of Beat Street, New York City Breakers, Pumas with the fat shoe laces, DJ battles, UTFO, and The Rapping Duke, while everyone was doing the Wop and singing La-Di-Da-Di. “6 minutes Dougie Fresh You’re On!”  Listening to DJ Red Alert Hot 97 mixtapes, with female duo Frick and Frack.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of hip hop, I can’t help but give a shout-out to the queens of hip hop who blazed the trail for many female rappers for Women’s History Month. 

Read more

Beginning Your Music Career? No More Procrastination!

Humans are masters at procrastination, especially when it comes to taking on a difficult task. As we all know, starting a music career – much like any creative endeavor – can be synonymous with the word “difficult.” You’re building a platform from zero, with no clear indication of how long it will take, or what challenges lie on the road ahead. Scary stuff!

Not only is procrastination a great way to not accomplish your goals; it’s harmfulA 2013 study from Psychological Science shows that procrastinators “end up suffering more and performing worse” than their counterparts. Indeed, those same fears that appear in place to protect us are actually hurting us in the long run.

The antidote to those fears – and the key to achieving your creative vision – is simple: Just start. Today, we’re going to take it a step further, and break down the excuses we make that often get in the way.

Wednesday Wisdom: The Growing Impact of Women in the Music Industry

Women are constantly rewriting what it means to succeed in the music industry — on their own terms. The music industry is filled with powerful women, from artists releasing record breaking singles and breaking ground in songwriting and production, to shattering the glass ceiling in the boardroom.

Read more

Wednesday Wisdom: Navigating the Music Industry as a DIY Artist

Our music industry has changed significantly since I started at Warner Bros. Records in 1993. However, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s that there’s no such thing as a DIY artist in the traditional sense of DIY, which is “do it yourself.”

Faith Hill, the first artist I saw at Warner Bros. Records, had a massive team around her. Someone to tell her where to be, someone to make sure she made it there, someone to greet her when she arrived, someone to make sure the place was prepped for her arrival, and so on. I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t have Faith Hill as we know her today without that team and their contribution to her success.

What about Russ, the poster boy for doing it yourself? Honestly, there would be no Russ if there was no “us.”

In fact, you need people in order to be a success.

Read more

Musicians: Watch Out for These Bandmate Red Flags

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s as good a time as any to be on the lookout for red flags.

However, we’re not focusing on red flags in a romantic partner. Instead, let’s focus on what traits to look for — and perhaps avoid — in a musical or business collaborator.

I took to the Muze blog to share some of my favorite bandmate red flags. However, these can also apply to just about any professional relationship. Dive in, and let me know if I missed anything!

Tax Strategies for Independent Artists

As an independent artist, the task of running a business is not easy. The challenges of staying ahead of the competition, keeping up with industry trends, and growing your fanbase can be daunting. But with the right resources and a little bit of dedication, it is possible to make your music business successful. 

Whether you are a rising artist, or someone who has been in the game for a while, understanding taxes and business ownership is key to success. This article will help you make sense of the different tax strategies that apply to music artists, as well as strategies for structuring your business and minimizing your tax liabilities.

My name is Sacha Walton, and I help independent music artists operate as business owners to better navigate the business of the music industry with ease. It is my belief that “An Educated Artist Creates Leverage,” which is a quote from my book, Beyond The Music: A Music Artist Entrepreneurship Guide.

Read More

Wednesday Wisdom: How to Get Booked for Gigs

We kick off our Wednesday Wisdom series with Jeannie Jones. Jeannie is an award-winning journalist, media personality, actress, producer, director and brand architect. Jeannie’s Los Angeles-based multimedia firm, Ready Set Impact, specializes in music, film, and radio production; publishing; social media marketing, branding, and casting.

Jeannie is no stranger to the live music scene, and she dropped by here today to offer some insights on how you can book more shows, more often.

Booking a gig is always an exciting moment. The anticipation of an upcoming live performance is a huge motivator to finish songs and prepare to perform. There’s nothing more exhilarating than the in-the-moment feeling of playing live music. 

Now that venues are reopened after being paralyzed by the 2020 pandemic, promoters and managers are eager to work with talent that’s prepared to perform. That’s why you need a plan to book your next (or first) gig. After all, it’s your chance to be heard by fresh ears in a live environment.

Let’s look at a handful of tactics you can employ to book a gig, get on a great bill, and get invited back. 

Read more

Identifying Your Fears (and Ways to Push Past Them)

My “Navigating the Creative Journey” series (which I’m officially titling for the first time, right now) continues at the Muze blog with an acknowledgement of something that all must face and address.


This idea was actually inspired in part by some of our previous work here at Muze. Back in January, my colleague Luke wrote an insightful piece – which included personal examples – about the fears that hold musicians back from performing their craft, and wrapped it up with a beautiful resolution that encourages aspiring and emerging artists to douse their apprehension by enjoying the creative process itself.

Now that 2022 is winding into its final stages, I thought now would be a good time to re-visit the topic of fear. Specifically, I’m interested in diving into the specific, existential fears creatives may encounter when stepping out into the professional wilderness, and ways that we can navigate through them.

If you find yourself held back by overarching fears, my hope is that this piece provides you with the antidote to overcome – or at least, manage – your fears.

Control Your Controllables: Remaining Focused on Your Musical Journey

Over the past several weeks, we’ve generously acknowledged the up and down nature of the creative journey. There will be triumphant highs alongside disheartening lows and, as we well know, the key to enduring is to ride the waves, stay level-headed and focused, and keep pushing forward with patience and persistence.

Today, I’m here to throw another variable into the equation: the notion of control.

Along your journey, you are virtually guaranteed to encounter circumstances beyond your control, and they just might throw a wrench into your plan.

  • Playing an outdoor gig? That gig – and many times, the number of people in attendance – is at the mercy of the weather.
  • Have a co-write scheduled? Sometimes, life happens, and people need to reschedule. You might even run into an unavoidable conflict once in a while.
  • Did you put your best foot forward when submitting to an opportunity? Well… it’s still up to somebody else to decide if you will receive that opportunity, and the music industry — much like life itself — offers us no guarantees.
  • Even if you’re the kindest person on Earth, you will encounter people who are not kind in return. You will have conflicts, and you will run into criticism from time to time.
  • Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the early 2020s have presented industry-wide challenges that were, in many ways, completely out of our hands. (Lookin’ at you, ‘rona…)

Even despite our best efforts and wishes, the fact is that countless factors exist outside of our own influence, and some of them can lead to disappointment. However, the more we focus on that disappointment, the more powerful it becomes.

What’s an emerging musician to do, then? Simple.

Control your controllables.

No matter what the world throws your way, you still have an opportunity every day to re-center and focus on what is within your own individual sphere of influence. As you’ll see in this article, the list of your controllables is not especially long. Nonetheless, it’s important to know where to direct your attention when everything around you seems to be going haywire.

What are these “controllables,” you ask?

4 Ways Your ‘Day Job’ Can Help Your Music Career

If you’ve been reading along at the Muze blog over the past several weeks, you may be noticing a pattern: we’ve been talking a lot about the creative process, and how success in the music industry is not a destination, but a journey.

We’ve covered ways to find joy in the process itself, and we’ve shared tips on how to keep yourself functioning at an optimal level as you move, step by step, toward greater artistic fulfillment. These ideas are great to keep in mind, no matter where you are on your road to success.

For many of us – especially those starting out – continuing down that road and keeping all aspects of our lives in balance can feel easier said than done. This is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of us who embark on a creative path do so without industry connections, and with finite resources (i.e. the cash necessary to feed the beast) to help us along the way. At one point or another, most of us will be employed outside of our passions in order to keep them going.

Although it can feel daunting to get up and go to a job – especially one you don’t like – when you’d rather be working on your vision, the good news is that there are still many positives to take forward from this leg of the journey. In fact, your seemingly unrelated “day job” might hold the keys to your success down the road.

« Older Entries