Are You Making Art Or Making Money?


There will almost always need to be compromise between what you want to do… and what makes you money.

The progressive rock band Yes is a great example. They rose to fame making complex mystical art-rock in the 70s. But it was in 1982, when they adopted a more pop style, that they experienced their biggest commercial success with “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. It was their only #1 hit and the album sold over six million copies.

Quite often your career will be faced with that dilemma.

Will you make art, or will you make money?

There’s no right or wrong answer.

If you’re fortunate, your art will make you money with little compromise. But quite often you’ll be torn between creating your art and creating your profit.

In rock ‘n’ roll, they call you a sell-out when you compromise your art too much in the name of sales figures.

Just remember that selling out is impossible if no one is buying in. 


Yes 137 Comments

Making A Dent In The Universe


His band had a few minor hits in their home country, but he wasn’t a worldwide rock star by any means.

One night in late 1983 he was at home, watching the news on TV, when he saw a BBC report about starving children in Africa. The report told how millions of people in Ethiopia were on the verge of death because of a lack of food. Thanks to drought and political strife, millions were about to perish.

Bob Geldof didn’t have a political science degree.

Bob Geldof didn’t have connections in government.

Bob Geldof didn’t know the first thing about delivering aid to developing nations.

But he had two things:

1. Connections in the music business

2. A desire to do something meaningful

With those two things, Bob Geldof created “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid. That led to Live Aid in the summer of 1984. Millions upon millions of dollars was raised that year because one man decided to use the only tools he had in order to do something meaningful.

Bob Geldof simply did what he could, with the tools he had.

What will you accomplish?

What tools do you have?

Never underestimate your ability to make a difference in the world.

“We’re put here to make a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here?”

- Steve Jobs

I’m really proud to be putting dent in the universe with musician Brian Byrne. Brian is the lead singer of the Canadian alternative rock band I Mother Earth, and he’s also a talented solo musician.

Last year I heard him perform a beautiful song acoustically at a concert, and I reached out by email to find out where I could find a copy. He replied to tell me that he hadn’t recorded it yet, but he would email a copy when he went into the studio.

A few months later he proved good on his word, and he emailed me the song “Arizona (I Miss You Most)”. The song was inspired by the suicide of a friend, and Brian told me that he wanted to dedicate the proceeds to suicide awareness and prevention. As it turned out, I was able to connect Brian to a group called Collateral Damage who do exactly that. The Arizona Project was born.

The song is a haunting and powerful piece of music.

The music video features real people who have felt the impact of suicide on their world.

Every cent from every download goes to Collateral Damage to help change the dialogue on suicide and save lives in the future.

You can download a copy of the song in the Canadian iTunes store here.

You can watch the video here.

And thank you, in advance, for helping us make a dent in the universe.

Brian Byrne 172 Comments