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December 9, 2013

Be like North Korea to build your business empire

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Written by: jay

North Korea has been getting some pretty bad press lately. 1 million man army, autocratic rulers, nuclear weapons… The list goes on… But every cloud has a silver lining, they say, and this case is no different.

No we’re not talking about oppressing your bass guitarist and locking your drummer in a behind a minefield of explosive guitar pedals, no no no! North Korea – a bit like Soviet Russia has a philosophy which any aspiring business owners, whether a guitarist, a band manager, software entrepreneur, or advertising guru should know. It’s called the ‘Juche Ideology’.

The juche ideology was originally authored by North Korea’s first communist leader and ‘local hero’ ‘Kim Il Sung’. Yeah, we all know he was an oppressive dictator, but this one of his ideas has some merit. Basically, the meaning of juche is that you will produce everything yourself. In the case of North Korea, this means making all their own shoes, firearms, fighter jets, and even food. Given the nature of course, of obsessive dictatorships, when one guy is given all the power with no care for anyone else he will just choose to make lots of weapons and not as much food. Oh, and keep them all for himself, too. Oh, and point them at the people who made them and tell them to make more.

Anyway, without getting sidetracked, when you’ve got the whole world against you (which often feels like that when you’re producing your first commercial album without any financial backing), embracing this concept can be rather useful. You see, if you (and your bandmates) become the dictators of your own creative world (as opposed to the record executives) then you have the opportunity to develop your own skills. Don’t have a mate who’s a photographer? Find out which of your bandmates has always wanted to do that, get him a modest camera, and let him begin the journey. If you don’t know anybody who can do graphic design, draw some straws and let somebody learn that too.

Before you know it, you might just have a nuclear arms research program of your own happening. Photography mixed with a bit of design skills equals great album artwork and having everything just the way you want it. Now wouldn’t it be great if one of the band members could do marketing? Or even management in all it’s spreadsheet and logistics glory? The same goes again, give each job to the remaining band members and when they get together you will have a potent marketing and management brain… and that’s just where the fun begins. What will happen when your photographer, your graphic design guy, and your marketing guy sit down? All of a sudden your team is not just multi-instrumental but multi-talented.

Of course, though, this method may not be easy. It requires taking responsibility for your own destiny as musical artists. No more hating the successful because they were ‘lucky’ and got a record deal. They simply missed out on the chance to contribute even more (and own even more!) of their creative project. Once the jobs have been split up, if each person puts in say, 5 proper hours per week, they will quickly find themselves able to contribute in ways to the band that they never imagined.

Plus – even if this album doesn’t turn out to be the smash hit you expected – you’ve gained the eye to hire designers, managers, etc. who are talented and not just who are available… and if it does? Well you’ve just become a nuclear power, haven’t you? Maybe people will have no choice but to take you seriously!


About the Author




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