Don’t forget to give back

Everyone I know, even those happiest with their position in life, ultimately wants more. They want more time with their family or a better career, better pay, etc.

We all want the best of everything and we would like it sooner rather than later. It is only natural to feel this way, and I’ve learned that such feelings rarely ever go away.

But something that has stuck with me, which took years to learn myself, is how good most of us already have it.

If you’re reading this now it is highly likely you are more than just another person dreaming about the music industry. You are either working in music, interning in music, writing about music, performing music, or in school studying music. You may not have ‘cracked the code’ to this business, but you certainly know more than when you started.

It is because of this that I must implore you to give back. With every bit of success you find there should be a part of you that looks for ways to lift other up as well. There is no one way to become a music professional, but that doesn’t that others cannot learn from your experiences.

Every year I return to my college alma matter. Some years they ask, other times I do, but the goal is always the same: To show the next generation of dreamers that finding a career in music is a thing anyone can do. I share war stories and success, but more than anything I tell them what I wish someone told me. 

There are no rules stating that you have to give a damn if anyone else succeeds in music, but you should. You should want the industry to be the best it can possibly be, and I am willing to bet you know some people who could push it in that direction. Their – and your – chances of success rise drastically through teamwork. You don’t have to work together on everything, but you should always be looking for ways to help one another get ahead. That way, should one find success before the other, the person with work will be in a position to help the unemployed find work down the line.

Even if none of that comes to pass, helping one another is a big part of what makes us decent human beings. There is enough evil and hardship. Anything you can do to make someone else’s journey a bit easier without putting yourself in harm’s way should be a no-brainer.


James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also the host of the Inside Music Podcast and a 10-year music veteran. You should follow him on Twitter.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.