From the barstool of the publisher

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On the last night of our deadline, I sat at my desk listening to NPR’s coverage of President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Shortly after the speech, the coverage switched to the BBC World Service, which re-hashed the talking points over and over, and had critics and supporters giving their very obvious reactions to the speech. Never did anyone, on either side, stop and identify the obvious issue, which is that the medium, a short speech, is not a forum where you can get into any details or say anything of real importance.

But, whether you agree with the politics of Obama or not, whether you gave the speech any credibility or not, the one thing that could not be missed was Obama’s call for bipartisanship. And while Obama is calling on legislators around the country to roll up their sleeves and get down to work, I feel like we in the music business need to do the same.

I think some of the bickering that happens amongst all of us has got to stop. I realize sometimes we have hard feelings; about the band that got the time slot you thought you had, or the promoter who stole your show, or the club that didn’t treat the band with respect. But now, more than ever, is the time when we have to find ways of working through those differences and moving forward, or we’re just going to keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

Every club, every band, every show, publicist, promoter, indie label and studio is — in essence — a small business. And our businesses need to start working together to help each other be stronger.

We all have our alliances, and that’s great.  I’m truly thankful for ours. I’m suggesting that we all broaden our scope, and make our alliance network even larger. We need to stop putting up walls, and instead start busting them down.

The Colorado Music Gear Swap Meet, which was a huge success last month is a great step in that direction and the upcoming Colorado Music Business Organization Exposition in April will hopefully carry forth that momentum. But meet-and-greets are one thing, actually stopping to think about how all of our projects can help each other — and to consider what we can give, just as much as what we can get — should be the paramount priority.

There are a lot of obstacles that we can’t control. Working together is something that we can control, though. So, this month try really hard to reach out and lend a hand to someone, and trust that even if your efforts don’t come back to you immediately, eventually, the universe will get you back.

See you at the shows.

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