Why I Hire Musicians

SmallBox has a history of hiring musicians. This stems from the fact that Joe Downey, my biz partner, and I are musicians and one of the first projects we worked on together, before started SmallBox, was MusicalFamilyTree.com. Beyond the cultural affinity aspect there are some good reasons to hire musicians. So here's how I see it:

Creative Problem Solving: most musicians are also songwriters. If they aren't writing they almost certainly arranging. Songwriting and arranging push you towards creative problem solving- how do I express my feelings in words? How do I join the chorus and verse with a bridge? How do I get the right tone from my amp? Musicians, when they enter the workplace, are often experienced problem solvers. When they hit walls they know how to improvise their way around them.

Marketing: if you want to have any success in music you will have to learn something about marketing. These days that means a whole lot more than fliers, it means a full digital presence including PR. When I first met SmallBox's Marketing Director Daniel Fahrner 7 years ago he was the drummer and manager for Everthus The Deadbeats. I could see that he was in the middle of a marketing boot camp. After a few years he was ready for the next step and I was there.

Leadership: most musicians find themselves in and out of bands. Bands, much like families, have numerous points of conflict. Often it's a struggle over who is leading the direction of the band, whose songs to play, what gigs to take, tours to go on, etc. At some point most musicians find themselves in a leadership position. They have to learn how to have hard conversations. Bands are businesses and a few years in a moderately successful band should be worth more than a few business school credits.

Maturity: I spent most of my 20s working odd jobs and just getting by, trying to find a way to make money playing music. I failed miserably at that but when I did put my focus towards other activities, like starting businesses, I found myself prepared in ways I didn't expect. The energy and enthusiasm of a kid straight out of college is a wonderful thing but I also look for someone who has given music a shot and is now looking to take the next step. They bring a maturity and focus that most 22 year olds just don't have.

Work Ethic: I know the cliche- musicians are lazy, they don't have jobs, they show up late and stoned. Ok, so maybe some fit that bill but you might be surprised how hard most of them work. To be able to play music you need equipment and a place to practice. That means you have to hustle. Many musicians work 2-3 jobs often leaving work at night to go play until early in the morning. Many musicians are work horses. If you give them a purpose they can believe in as much as their band they will work their asses off for you.