Some of you know me, most of you do not. My name is Carl Hitchborn and I am an entrepreneur, disruptor and innovator. I live to challenge everything and to pioneer on a daily basis. I am writing this letter to you because I have a vision; a vision of a better world for all of us. Not only do I have the vision, I also know how to make it happen. In this letter I will share with you the details of how I intend to build a ‘Brand New Music Industry’ in the hope that you too will clearly see this vision and come to believe in it as much as I do.
Exactly one decade ago I was a baker. This was my craft and my art. I had big ambitions. However I also had restrictions. I ran a bakery business with my family who did not share my limitless and global ambitions. So with no prior knowledge, experience or connections, I decided to embark on a completely new direction and I entered the music industry.
I did this because music is truly global. It touches and connects all of us. In one way or another people all over the world are consuming music on a daily basis and with that in mind, I decided that if I could truly impact the music industry, it would subsequently impact the world in a positive way.
I spent years learning about the music industry - discovering how broken it was and deciding I was not prepared to operate in the same way.
I set about creating a new way and I proved it to work in spectacular fashion by taking UK alternative rock band ‘The Hunna’ from obscurity to selling 10,000 tickets in London. I did this in less than 2 years from their first ever headline show - selling 60,000 albums in the UK and generating 150m+ streams in the process. It was all achieved without conforming to traditional music industry norms and in a way that was both replicable and scalable.
My vision was becoming a reality, until it all came crashing down exactly one year ago today. Well… this is how it might have looked from the outside. The truth however is very different.
What actually happened accelerated and reduced the time that it will now take for my vision to become a reality. The R&D had been done, the knowledge and experience gained and the history created. This could not be undone. They tried to break it but what they didn’t realize was that it was already too late.
At the time, I didn’t know exactly what the new world would look like. Now I do.
When the things I outline to you in this letter become a reality, this date will go down in history as the moment the seed to the creation of a ‘Brand New Music Industry’ was sown. A proven model has been created and now it is time for this to become the default model adopted at scale across the world.
The Time is Now! We are living in the era of the artist. The system has changed and below I will explain to you how all of this is going to happen.
My own definition of art is one that I hope you will be open to adopting:
“Any person who has an idea they feel truly passionate about, so much so, that they must make it a reality. They have the courage, bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. They make it their personal mission to make this happen and in the process they create 'art' that connects and is appreciated by not only the creator themselves but equally by the receivers.”
One thing that I am sure of is that ‘art’ is the answer to the world's problems - after all, we are creative beings. We all have the ability to create art which itself comes in many forms. There is no thing on this earth that exists that was not at first thought upon in our minds.
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” - Napoleon Hill
But for art to solve the world's problems we must all be prepared to make art; more so, we must dare to think that we can (despite what industrialists wanted and still want us to do).
For instance, the schools. For decades, schools have taught kids to comply, to fit in, to follow the leader. We were taught to feed into a system that controls us and which injects fear into us if we dare to think differently. This has created barriers to us freely being able to ‘think outside of the box’.
We have all been gifted with passions. However in order to know what they are, we must first open our minds to finding them and we must break through the barriers that have been put in front of us through the way we have been educated by both schools and society itself.
The industrialists wanted us to be workers to do the jobs they wanted us to do and the education system they created was and still is, designed purely to create workers. For many, the system is still this...
“You are involved by and large in a very strange business system which divides your day into work and play. Work is something that everybody does and you get paid to do it because nobody could care less about doing it. In other words, it is so abominable and boring that you get paid for doing it. And the object of doing this is to make money. And the object of making money, is to go home and enjoy the money that you’ve made. When you got it, you see, ‘you can buy pleasure’.’ - Alan Watts
But we're now living in a new world; a world created and fuelled by incredible technological revolutions, a world that the 'existing industries' are not yet ready for. The pace of technological and human cultural advancement has happened so quickly that the 'industrial revolution' that took so long to set into the minds of all people, has ultimately created a 'comfort zone' that sees people strive for the 9-5 job, the car, the house, the holidays; the 'everything' that stops people from making 'true art'.
I’m aware that many of you are currently suffering within the existing ‘Broken Music Industry’; I’ve seen this first hand and I’ve also been there myself. The culture within the existing broken music industry isn't designed for artists to make art.
The existing broken music industry currently stifles all types of artist (not just musicians) and there are many people within the machine who have the ability but are not yet empowered to be able to freely create art. People in every position, whether an intern, a digital marketing executive, a director of production or whatever position they hold; they all have the ability to create art - art that can add value and synergy to the musical artists that the big machine signs; art that when combined with the musical artists can achieve incredible things, can break new ground and can inspire others to follow their lead.
When true art is created on its own, it is an amazing thing. However, when true art is combined and connected with other pieces of true art through complete collaboration of people, this is when truly remarkable things happen.
But, there is a big problem…. The culture within the existing broken music industry isn't designed for 'artists' to freely make 'art'.
The people who are employed by the big machine are placed into a box; they're controlled and restricted. The culture demands that people cannot and must not fail, fostering a workforce who, through fear of getting fired, would rather do nothing than dare to try something new. The big machine encourages and indeed rewards people for empire building within the empire, creating a culture of individualism and one where ideas that could become 'true art' never see the light of day.
For musical artists, the existing broken music industry takes them into the big machine and churns most of them out in pieces on the other side. Many of them soon learn that this is their likely destination, after initially believing that they'd 'made it', destroying their creative souls in the process. They are forced to use cookie cutters as the tools to create their 'art', creating clones of 'art derived by others'. For the fortunate few who do make it, it doesn’t come without a price, as they are forced to compensate for the ones who don’t make it. This creates a mindset of resentment and one of immense pressure to constantly deliver for the big machine.
The existing model creates a situation whereby artist’s businesses are carved into pieces. Various parties control various parts, with each party needing to be involved in the creation of plans whilst having their own agenda to protect their limited skin in the game. Both of these facts, makes it almost impossible to create holistic, consolidated and cohesive plans. The result is a weakened outlook for the artist, before even starting to build their career. Each party takes their slice of the pie from day one, leaving little to no capital to reinvest back into further building and growing the artist's business.
Our 'Brand New Music Industry' will unite 'Musical Artists' with 'Entrepreneurial Artists' and together the ‘Brand New Music Industry’ that we've created will forge a culture where making mistakes is encouraged, where taking risks is rewarded (and constantly playing it safe is not), where teams can be forged from all over the world to create 'true art' together, using technology to centralise communication and ensure progress is made day by day, month by month, year by year.
It might seem like a big task, but together, we can create a 'Brand New Music Industry' and when we do this, we'll set about a chain reaction that shifts the 'comfort zone' for all, from one of operating inside a box, to one of operating outside of the box.
So, I am casting out my vision to the universe by writing this letter to you. I have the vision and because of this, I believe it is both my duty and my obligation to dedicate myself to doing everything I can to make it happen. I have taken on this challenge, but let me be clear, this is ALL ABOUT YOU. I am here, committed and ready for the challenge, but none of this is possible without you, without your help.
So - here’s how we’re going to do it.
It starts at the very foundation: Education. As with all industries, the existing broken music industry is fed by an education system, one that is drastically outdated. The landscape of the music industry has changed dramatically over the years with the advent of digital technology, but the education system has not evolved to keep up.
This is why a brand new education system is required, one that educates and empowers artists to build sustainable, profitable and creative businesses without the pain of the “broken” industry. This new education system would be designed for both artists and people who want to work with artists. It would be designed to be dynamic, progressive and continually evolving as new technologies and ideas become available. It would be accessible to anyone in the world and it would be available at a cost effective price.
My solution to this is called the ‘Artist Perfect Academy’ and it isn’t just an idea, it is already starting to happen. Since the beginning of 2019 I have been recruiting founder members who would be the first to go through the program. These people include artists, entrepreneurs and people who are working with or wanting to work with artists. I have now recruited 250 founder members, who come from 43 different countries. The founder members span across all genres of music and include people of all age groups. I have been and am continuing to work with them to build an incredible core program that is like nothing else that exists in the world today. Already, there are artists who tell me they are making more progress in just a few months than they have managed to achieve in years, and the overwhelming response has been that this program is already changing lives.
The ‘Artist Perfect Academy’ (APA) is an education, support, mentorship and coaching program, delivered as a membership. It is being put together to provide the knowledge, insight and community to help artists build their entire business.
The core program within the APA will be completed and ready to go live in January 2020, with enrolment commencing in the coming weeks.
The APA is the ultimate talent development and incubation system and is being designed to feed into the second part of my vision: to build the biggest and fairest music company in the world. This entity, called ‘Artist Perfect Music’ will provide artists who excel through the APA with a guaranteed investment route to build and scale their artist business. The single objective for every single project will be to break them on a global scale and to make a lasting and measurable impact on the world with their art.
‘Artist Perfect Music’ (APM) will become known as a music company that achieves a success ratio of 1:1; that is for every single project that is signed, they will become a success. A stark difference to the incredibly inefficient success rate of the existing broken music industry model, where a 25:1 ratio is considered to be acceptable.
APM will adopt the model I have proven to work under a unified system of every single project that is signed operating under the same fair for all terms. Artists will sign directly to APM or to one of many 50/50 joint venture entities - 50% owned by APM, 50% owned by disruptive entrepreneurs.
To that end, as of right now, I am also forming a limited space ‘Disruptor Mastermind’ group. Myself and this group of the world’s most disruptive and innovative entrepreneurs will gather together on four occasions every year, to connect, share knowledge and support one another in our quests to disrupt and innovate. 50/50 joint venture partners within the APM ecosystem will be recruited from this group of people, with the objective of collectively creating the biggest and fairest music company by the end of the year 2025.
Within APM the best partnerships within the existing music industry infrastructure will be formed, alongside the creation of innovative software tools and brand new infrastructure, that will allow for the rapid and efficient scaling of artist projects in ways simply not possible in the existing industry. The APM ecosystem will be for all creators: artists, songwriters, producers, photographers, videographers and everyone who works with artists in any capacity.
So it begins... and today, I am declaring the objective of developing and incubating at least 10 artist projects through the APA whom by the end of the year 2023 will have broken through on a global scale. I already know that there are founder members within the APA who will be in this group of artists and when the APA begins to open its doors officially in January 2020, the enrolment of 1000s of artists will mean that this objective is not just a pipe dream; it will be inevitable.
~ Carl Hitchborn (AKA The Baker)