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We’re in a recession and it is affecting everybody. Chrysler and GM will be closing about 4000 dealerships. Real Estate brokers feel as if they are in the midst of armageddon. Even the beloved hot caffeinated beverage hustler Starbucks has cut 7000 jobs and closed 300 stores (Nooooooooooo!) What about the artist who makes his/her living off of shows and merch sales?

Music ministry is somewhat of a luxury to churches and other venues (promoters, clubs, schools, military, non-profit, etc.) that book them. Most local venues will look for artists in their local vicinity before bringing in somebody out of town. And even locals will be asked to lower their budgetary expectations. The money is just not there and many artists schedules have slowed down…except for those who have found the key to continual success…

Relationships. Yes folks, people bring in people they like. Artists who are feeling the constraints of the recession might have great music, a pretty website, and guerilla marketing, but they might be jerks. I know promoters and churches who love certain artists’ music and even appreciate their ministry, but do not like their booking process or the artist. Artists who are consistently leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the people who book them will pay for this down the road of their music career (or lack of one).

There is a business principal called the 80/20 principal; 20 percent of your customers will bring in 80 percent of the revenue. Basically, it is more beneficial to take care of the relationships you have now than to ditch them in search for new customers.

Successful artists (meaning those with longevity and not just a hot song or two) take care of the few fans they have and those fans in turn will beget more fans (sound like discipleship, doesn’t it). In the same way artists who treat those who have booked them before with fairness, kindness, and (the anti rapper word) humility will continue to hit the road bringing great music and ministry, even in the midst of a recession.

– Sean Slaughter

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