For most entrepreneurs, there is no mindset of a 9 to 5 workplace when you’re trying to be successful and make ends meet. For Curtis Roach his artistry, creativity, and music has continued to pressed him forward through these economically uncertain and challenging times.
Roach went viral when he created the song, “Bored in the House” in 2020. It hit the social media wave where he literally sat at home and created an organic video, a beat and lyrics which resonated with most people at the height of the pandemic and state-ordered shutdowns. With most social gatherings closed, it was an abnormal time where people felt bored.
The native Detroiter not only found ways to leverage the song into a Tiktok hit but used the lyrics themselves to create merchandise to sell and now a business to scale. Independent artist like Curtis Roach are finding ways to navigate a changing music industry while also being in business for themselves even during economically challenging times.
“I think a lot of it is playing it smart,” Roach says. “ We’re in a day where independent artist can thrive. We don’t need a middle man, we can speak for ourselves and have our art speak for us and we can turn it into a business.”
Roach says what artists like himself sell in their music and merchandise is an easier model today than it was years ago. Social media has been a great outlet for artists to be discovered and a resource to make money.
“We’re taking out product and our name and showing it to the world and if it stick, it’s usually a successful business.”
Roach adds that outside of traditional record labels there is still a middle man component in the music industry and its through some streaming platforms seeking to make a percentage of money by artists as it relates to music downloads. A balance artists in some ways understand but not entirely if the money distribution isn’t fair.
“It just makes artist like myself work that much harder on social media. Sometimes, we just want to make the music, be creative with videos but sometimes you have to go harder and be extra in order to increase your streaming numbers.”
“A thousand streams isn’t going to pay someone’s rent, but if it couldn’t, I think that’s why you will continue to see artist develop that business mindset.”
Roach says there’s still a need to do traditional concert shows, more he has on the ways which the pandemic era paused.
For Ashley Stevenson, she’s discovered her work and way life is anything but traditional. Her career trajectory has put her in corporate rooms, but now her creative spunk has her creating room to elevate businesses, people, and their brands.
Stevenson leads Seven Anchor Social, a digital agency aimed at promoting creatives in all facets of artistry. She took a leap and faith into the world of entrepreneurship one year ago and despite early learning curves and economic uncertainty she found a way to be inspired and grown clientele.
“The first article I ever wrote, it was called ‘Creating in a Crisis’”, Stevenson said. “It covered an artist still doing art installations during COVID. It got me to thinking that artistry never stops, if anything during the pandemic, it highlighted how badly the world needed creativity. I realized very soon that social media and technology were important to communication, but today those tools lacked feeling.”
“I wanted to create art that help people still feel and understood that business model would always be valuable and it translated very easily into dollars.”
Stevenson said she never wanted to be a starving artist and has pursued an financial structure for herself and business that would be aligned or neared her previous corporate salaries.
“I structure my business on a platform where instead of opting for lump sum our clients pay biweekly or bimonthly.”
Digital creativity has served artist like Stevenson well in this economy, a cashflow she predicts will keep following.