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martin atkins quotes

17 Famous Martin Atkins Quotes on Music Career


Martin Atkins is a former drummer of PiL, Pigface, Ministry, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails and more. He’s also an accomplished entrepreneur and a bad-ass DIY music marketing guru. Atkins has taught at Columbia College in Chicago where he instructed the course “The Business of Touring”. Atkins has written the book Tour:Smart which he calls “the first real book on touring.”

Here are some of the most famous phrases and tips he’s known for:

“Its not a problem if 20,000 people download your music illegally… it’s a problem if they don’t!”

“Strategy #1: have a strategy!”

“Free is the new black.”

“If the chorus of your song doesn’t belong on a shirt it doesn’t belong in your song.”

“Quitting your day job” is no longer the yardstick of success. It just means you don’t have a job.”

” You can have you – the band, the producer, the manager – come up with what you think is perfection but if it doesn’t have input from what could be your potential audience, how can it be perfection?”

“There are no airbags in the music industry. When it goes wrong YOUR head is going through the windshield.”

“Technical proficiency is a dead-end. There will always be someone better. Instead focus on diversifying your skill set.”

“Nobody gives a fuck about you, your band and your music except you”

“Small is the new huge” (venues)

” There’s enough great music in the world. Give people a reason to care about you and they’ll excuse slightly shitty mixing, slightly crappy lyrics and they’ll go on that journey with you as you develop that band because of the people that you are.”

“Never take your country to war unless you know the outcome; find out where your fans are and go there, don’t just tour the entire country.”

“If you’ve got the vibe, and you’ve got momentum – you can get anything else you need.”

“How do you fit twenty thousand people in a stadium? Well, I don’t know how you do that – or, you can’t do that. But what you can do is make friends with two people on Monday, two people on Tuesday, two people on Wednesday and after five years there’ll be twenty thousand people in the stadium.”

“You need to make your own rules for your own unique specific situation”

““you gotta serve your dues!” But I mean I do it now with my book and my lectures – and I used to do it with music – twenty eight hours a day otherwise you fail.”

“If you know that you’re fucked – then you’re not. If you think that you’re not – then you are.”

Extracted from:

The Punksite

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