This year's Music Issue tackles the question of how to succeed in the music business. With the old economic model in the shitter, perhaps permanently, how do aspiring performers and impresarios find their audience?
Selling yourself as a musician in 2012 requires not only talent but innovative marketing — and a lot of hustle. Here we spotlight the musicians Stolen Babies, Jhene Aiko and Spaceships, as well as label owner Leeor Brown and party promoter Perish Dignam, all of whom are making it through passion and unique branding.
Then there are the Flemming brothers, whose dance-party enterprise, Do Lab, has become a juggernaut and is headed for Egypt.
And, as our oral history of Dr. Dre's canonical album The Chronic shows, artists found innovative ways to succeed even before the industry's collapse. The beloved work came out 20 years ago but it wasn't funded by a corporate machine. Quite the opposite: It took nontraditional sales tactics and the deep pockets of an incarcerated drug dealer to make it famous. Then as now, the do-it-yourself spirit was critical.
This issue is our tribute to those who have it in spades.
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