Music Industry Vet Offers Blueberry Muffins and the F-Bomb

Musician and entrepreneur Martin Atkins gave the crowd a series of belly laughs

Martin Atkins throws blueberry muffins into the crowd at his One Spark Speaker Series talk.
Kara Pound
Martin Atkins during a portion of his talk, “Welcome to the Music Business. You’re F*CKED!”
Kara Pound
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Easily the most entertaining speaker from the April 18 roster, Martin Atkins warned the crowd before things really got started.

“If my language offends you, get out of this world. Actually, find another planet,” he said. And so it began to rain f-bombs.

Atkins talk, titled “Welcome to the Music Business. You’re F*CKED!” aimed to help struggling musicians tour smarter, be wise about their social media usage, and formulate a strategy. These, Atkins said, would help you get through this “swirling pile of shit.”

With more than 30 years in the music business, Atkins was a member of bands Public Image Ltd. and Killing Joke and owns Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios. He’s also the author of “Tour:Smart” and teaches at Madison Media Institute.

These days, Atkins spends a majority of his time traveling the world and giving talks about the music industry.

“Strategy number one is have a strategy,” he told the 40 or so audience members gathered for the One Spark Speaker Series. “Strategy number two is get the fuck out of bed.”

Throughout Atkins’ talk, he went through different strategy methods. They weren’t in any kind of special order or even numbered appropriately, but the message was easily understood. You are the master of your own destiny. That and don’t tour the west side of the country.

A map of the United States popped up on the projector. “I drew a line from Minneapolis to Dallas,” Atkins said. “Did you know that out of the 100 most populated cities in America only 15 of them are west of that line. Just stay east of that line. Don’t go over that fucking line.”

Another great tidbit offered by Atkins was “free is the new black!” While musicians hold onto their music with tight fists – not wanting it pirated on the Internet – Atkins advised that you give it away for free.

“You get paid by starting a relationship,” he said. “Give someone anything they want and then you can fuck them for the next 25 years.”

Then he quoted Dale Carnegie from “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Atkins finished off his talk with random one-liners like “small is the new huge,” “aim low, get high” and “always be nice to everyone.” Then he grabbed a paper Winn-Dixie shopping bag and threw packages of mini blueberry muffins into the crowd, said the f-bomb another 50 times or so and walked off the stage.

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