I once had a manager who told us, “there are 2 words in show business… and neither one is music”. Our passion for the music and performing is what has brought us all to this place and its importance IS imperative. But the words of that manager should also be a central part in every aspect of one’s career. 

The “show” and the “business” side of being a musician is frequently forgotten by performing artists. Ignoring the “business” side can leave you open to all kinds of problems – i.e. singing shitty contracts, tax problems, getting stiffed on gigs, etc. – and ignoring the “show” aspect can leave your audience disengaged and, in some cases, have you come across as unprofessional. 

The most impressive thing that I observed during my years with Robert Earl Keen is that he ALWAYS approached his career as a business. He intently worked every day on the business end of his career. Musically, he knew that he ( and the band, and the show ) was the product he was selling, but without the solid business end of things, his career would not grow. I have no doubt that is what separated him from the rest of the industry and maintained his career for over 40 years. 

Elvis had the “TCB” logo plastered everywhere on his tours in the ’70’s and it was even the name of his band from 1969-77. The initials TCB stands for “Taking Care of Business”, a personal motto Presley adopted in the early 1970s. 

TCB is a reminder to take care of business on and off the stage! Let’s set a goal this new year to focus on the “business” and “show”, as much as we do the music!


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