While he's been in the music business for 35 years, Jim Hudak agrees that many of the old rules no longer apply. Music business veterans everywhere are scrambling to figure it out. "Part of it is the economy, overall," said Hudak recently. "Everyone's talking about reinventing themselves, and many are out of work. That applies to all industries, not just the music business." In spite of the challenges, it's also a time for opportunity, with avenues available that didn't exist even 10 years ago. Says Hudak,"It's great to be selling digital downloads of my music to people in Italy or Korea or anywhere else. Certainly that would have been unlikely as an independent artist on a tiny record label until the relatively recent past. In that sense it's great." But since a worldwide audience is now available to so many, competition is fierce. It's as if everybody and his brother is suddenly a musician and a recording artist. All an artist can do is put his material out there and hope that he connects and gets his share of the business. "We've all got studios in our home, now, which has really hurt the studio business and put some very talented engineers and producers out of work," Hudak continues. "It reminds me of when I lived in Western Pennsylvania. Most of the steel mills had recently closed and people in that industry were scrambling to redefine themselves. Of course many of them simply had to change careers. Or else hang out in the bar all day, crying in their beer." Why continue as a musician? "At this point, it's so deep in my blood that it's hard to imagine doing anything else. So much time, energy, and money has been invested in my music and art. I can't stop now." "Besides, music is still the greatest thing on earth. There's nothing like being moved by a song or a piece of music that grips you emotionally. Sure, there's a lot more music to sort through now in order to find what you really like, but it's out there. In fact, if you know where to look, music that appeals to each and every individual is more abundant than ever before. It takes patience and perseverance to find it, but it's there." For Jim Hudak, more recordings, compositions, and performances are just a way of life. "I've been lucky to be able to do what I love for so long," he explains. "With a little luck, I just might be able to continue doing it indefinitely." Yes, it's the new music business. But maybe it isn't so different from the old music business after all.

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Jim Hudak

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