Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland, your host.


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This is episode #22, entitled, Business is Business.


I worked for over forty years in the music business. And like any business—the music business is about making money. And although there are still a few music executives out there that are in it for the love of music, over the last several decades, the MUSIC business has become the music BUSINESS. But that’s neither here nor there. As they say, “business is business.” And that’s what I want to address.


In business, many will do whatever it takes to make a money, to make a profit. Wrong-doing, omission, fudging, it’s all pretty much “acceptable” behavior in the business world. Whether or not someone gets harmed, defamed, or destroyed in some way, is par for the course— “it’s just business.”


When entering the upon the business world, especially the world of big money and huge egos, such as the music industry, Hollywood, and Wall Street, at the start, as a newbie, at some point you’re integrity will be tested. Which is why your principles should be somewhat sound and solid to begin with, before beginning your career. Inevitably, you’ll be put in a position to make the choice of doing something outside of what is ethical, compromising your integrity. And this decision can make the difference between moving up the ladder, as it were, or being looked at as uncooperative and not a team player. These can be tough choices when one has to put bread on the table and pursue their goals and dreams.


We need to have clearly drawn lines, because once we turn a blind eye, once we essentially start lying, once we go down that rabbit hole, it can be hard to find our way back. One lie can lead to another and another, and before one knows it, they have gone down into the abyss of deceit, cover-up, crime, and heartache. Such wasn’t quite the case in regards to the folks I dealt with in the music business, at least not to my knowledge. Nevertheless, there was a great deal of dishonesty and deceit.


Initially, when I started working for the many employers that helped me develop a fruitful career, I found myself becoming friends with them, as was the case with my fellow musicians and business colleagues, such as booking agents, personal managers, and promoters. The people I worked for achieved great success, made names for themselves, and had good reputations. And I was treated like family. All was well—I was traveling the world, meeting influential people, making money, and having fun. Yet as the years went by, and the excitement somewhat passed, things started to seem suspect. It some took time to figure it out, or should I say, it took a awhile to compute it all. Because my gut was telling me one thing, and my mind was telling me another. Could it be so? Could these seemingly sincere, good-hearted people have another side to them, a hidden side? Were they not what they seemed? Were my intuitions misguiding me? Were these people lying to my face? Were they cheating me? Were they befriending in order to manipulate me more easily? It was baffling. How could they caringly smile at me, and turn around and treat me unfairly? How could they act and behave as friends, and on occasion screw me over behind my back? These were good people, with spouses,

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