In the opening chapters of Here Come the Regulars, Ian Anderson's authorial debut, he comes right out and says what everyone contemplating entrance into the music industry suspects--it's hard, failure is to be expected, and everyone in the industry survives on borrowed time.
But rather than be a hard-knuckled naysayer, Anderson, the head of Afternoon Records, manages to torque these realities into something more than pessimistic determination. In fact, these admissions of the reality of the music industry seem to be arguments of liberation--in a smaller, leaner music industry, the little guy has a fighting chance to do what he loves.
That's the value of Ian Anderson's manual on success in the record industry--the book is written with a genuine love for his trade, a love that has powered his label, Afternoon Records, into the fore of local music. And it's a book that redefines success for a cadre of fledgling music entrepreneurs--no one, says Anderson, should enter the business with dreams of dollar signs. Rather, entrants to the industry must act on purer, more impassioned impulses--a love of music, and a desire to help the scene.
"When I talk with my friends, I make jokes about how you have to have a certain level of insanity to enter this industry," said Anderson in an interview with Gimme Noise this morning. "It's a tug of war, you work all the time, and there's no money. But the bottom line? It's super fun. Straight up, it's the funnest job ever."
Though being only 23, Anderson is more than qualified to dole out advice on getting by in the industry on a shoestring budget. Through faith in grass roots localism, Afternoon records has become a titan in its own time, managing the careers of such luminaries as Haley Bonar and We All Have Hooks For Hands.
Haley Bonar's "Devilish Man." Bonar is one of many outstanding acts on Anderson's Afternoon Records.
The hope of Anderson's message is pure futurism. A present that sees the major labels toppling under their own weight has left the landscape traversible to little indies who are prepared to travel quicker and lighter.
Even better, the book manages to balance hard truth and advice in a readable, colorful package. The language is clipped and attractive, even when he talks about the need for label heads to be their own advocates, managers, and attorneys. In short, it does precisely what it seems intended to do--it informs and inspires a generation of future label CEOs to take on the innumerable challenges they face in an age where the music industry's future is a total unknown factor.
"I want people to know that, though there's no money, this is a great job," says Anderson. "The spiritual and soul fulfilling results are worth all the labor and all of the mucky muck that comes with the job."