The music industry is a complete mystery to many music fans, while many people mistakenly think that it’s a glamorous business to work in. At Tone Deaf we like to always remember the quote attributed to Hunter S. Thompson: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” Let’s get your tips and tricks on the business.
Who are you and what do you do?
James Young. My wife and children don’t know what I do. I own Cherry Bar, manage artists, run two indie music labels, own an ad agency, am music reporter for Channel Ten’s ‘The Circle’, blah blah, blah… you get the picture.
How did you get in to the music business? Why are you still in what Ian Brown of The Stone Roses called ‘the filthiest business in the universe”?
Through passion. Because of passion. I’m addicted to music. There are healthier obsessions, I know. If I don’t see live music at least twice a week I go nuts… You wanna see filth, try Advertising.
The internet changed the music business fundamentally. What future developments in it can you see in your crystal ball?
Live music is the epicentre of the monetisation of the new music economy. The internet is the best way to let people know about it.
Is it true that everyone in the music industry is a raging alcoholic with a drug problem?
Who told you that? My Mum? No. Everyone in Melbourne is a raging alcoholic with a drug problem.
What was the greatest gig you’ve ever been to?
Rolling Stones at Enmore Theatre in Sydney. I don’t care how old it makes me sound, they are the greatest rock n roll band of all time. If you don’t own and worship ‘Exile On Main Street’ get out of the business…
What are your top tips for artists hoping to make a living out of the music business? How can they make themselves stand out?
Have another job. Make sure your live show is jaw-droppingly memorable! Don’t wait for some-one to discover you. Work your cunt off tell other people have to take notice of you.
What advice would you have for someone thinking of working in the music business?
You can’t plan a route into this business. You just end up in it cos your passion lead you here. Have an opinion and don’t be afraid to speak out. You’ll either end up on top or get out quick. Good result either way. Leave insincere arse-kissing to the Banks.
Everyone in the music business has an ‘I saw them back when/I knew them back when’ story. What’s yours?
I’m getting on now so how much time have you got? God. Sex Pistols. Ramones. KISS. Stones. The Cult. Nirvana. Smashing Pumpkins. Powdermonkeys. ZZ Top. Airbourne. Little Red. Eddy Current Suppression Ring. AC/DC.Stooges. Meeting Iggy Pop back stage in 1998 was a highlight. We talked about how great Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones were as frontmen.