I spent a couple hours on the phone yesterday with a friend who was recently dropped, in notably Machiavellian fashion, by a major label.
Music is a gnarly business. We’re commoditizing the parts of ourselves about which we’re fiercely proud, that require inordinate vulnerability to coax from their hiding places, and expected to entrust them to largely unvetted people.
That said, you won’t encounter anyone who’s successful who doesn’t have a few horror stories in their not-too-distant past. It’s sort of a right of passage.
The key is picking up the pieces, after an appropriate amount of fist shaking at the universe. Label dropped you? Fine. Release music however you want, and build fans that way. Label trying to sign you? Cool. Get to know the team. Ask LOTS of questions. Trusting people’s important, provided they’ve earned it.
Cry, disparage, curse, trash whatever room you happen to be in, and question whether anything’s been worth it, ever. Do it again. Then, sit down with a guitar, write a song, and walk around for the rest of the day with a smug look of satisfaction on your face, knowing that the fire’s still burning, and always will be.