Amy Mantis


Gambling and Music

April 26, 2013 1:23AM

My dad’s a gambler.

His uncle was a gambler.

I’m a gambler, too.  I’ve only been of legal gambling age for a bit more than a year and a half.  But I’ve been gambling to a degree since I was 12.  My friends and I used to play cards for candy when we were younger.  But my gambling tendencies came a year earlier as a result of getting lucky at a church raffle (of all places) and winning the grand prize.  The kicker - I didn’t even put my name in the raffle.  My mom did (she’s a gambler as well, but not like my dad).

Gambling and the music industry have a lot of similarities.  Especially when more people in the industry were willing to take chances.  A true gambler doesn’t always have to win.  He just has to win enough to break even.  I know from experience.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but as long as you’re breaking even or close to it, you’re okay.

There are some games that are completely luck based.  Slots and roulette are nothing more than luck.  You very rarely hit big more than once in either game.  Those are your one-hit wonders.  The one-off YouTube sensation.  Those people try to do it again and tank when they should have just taken the money and sprinted away as fast as possible before they blew it.

Then there’s a game like Black Jack where if you pay attention and stick around long enough, you can win pretty consistently.  You might say those are your hit songwriters and producers (pun somewhat intended).  They know the formula and they keep using it and winning.

True gamblers, regardless of the game, don’t look at the money they’ve won as their own until they’re done playing.  They look at it as the casinos money.  I would argue that an artist could have looked (they’re not quite the same anymore) at an advance from a record company the same way.  Until she breaks even, that money from the advance isn’t hers.  It’s the record company’s (which it actually is regardless).

Gambling takes patience, the will to risk, trusting your gut, and the will to lose and the knowledge that, given the odds, you’re gonna win it back eventually.  Music needs all of that as well.