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 JD Wilkerson story

 JD Wilkerson story

 The modern music industry has left many artists struggling to make a living with their music. The pittance of royalties offered by digital streaming behemoths like Spotify has even put the hurt on once relatively successful national acts who must now slog on the road non-stop, write books and beg for cash online to pay for production and marketing costs to release new music and pay the damn rent. Local and regional acts are risk poverty if they quit their day jobs. 

But it wasn't always like this. There was a time in America when selling goods meant doing the footwork, "getting out there" and hustling. Like many young music consumers are discovering, there's something to be said for the old ways. 

(click "read more" below)


JD Wilkerson "Life Has Meaning" 1994Yesterday I listened to yet another struggling musician bemoan the sad state of the music industry, in particular, the dismal returns he gets from streaming services like Spotify. He achieved 50,000 streams for one of his songs through sheer determination, tireless marketing, reliable podcasting, and fans reached from songwriting books he'd written. His reward for those 50,000 streams?  Less than a measly five bucks (well, "pounds" really, he lives in Australia)...

On the same day, I made my regular call to "Distortion" Dave Kupczak, owner and operator of Shady Lane Studio, a cozy, but fully-decked-out basement studio hidden in a Farmington Hills subdivision. It's a lovely neighborhood with large, luxurious lawns, old-growth trees, wildlife roaming about, and long winding driveways that would likely intimidate door-to-door solicitors.

Or at least you'd think so. But then you probably haven't met James J.D. Wilkerson

JD Wilkerson "Strong"James pounded on D.D.'s door that day, eliciting a grumble of "what the hell is it now?". Would it be another "we-can-save-you-thousands-on-your-electricity/phone/gas-bill" scam? Perhaps another "Doors, Windows & Roofing" contractor trying to drum up business? Possibly another election-year nuisance?


It was James "JD" Wilkerson II, selling art he'd crafted himself, namely his very own CD "Strong" (available on CDBaby).  Actually, he has two R&B / Lite Jazz flavored CDs available, the first being "Life Has Meaning", which was produced way back in 1994 and "Strong" which was produced in 2003- thirteen years ago. Yet, here he was on DDs doorstep still hawking that CD - and quite successfully by today's local-artist CD sales. 

Your average local band might sell a handfull of CDs at the best of shows. Yesterday, JD sold ______________ copies of a 13yr old CD the ol' fashioned way - door-to-door. 

And he ain't no spring chicken either. The trumpeter has been hustling in the music business for several decades, a seasoned veteran of the bar/club trenches.  Back in the 80s and 90s he was reportedly a member of a successful sould/funk troupe called Erasmus Hall (think post-Pfunk) which released two albums in the early 1980s.

While hawking CDs door-to-door thirty-five years after that fact might not be the best evidence of "success" in the music business, it proves that it can still pay better than relying on billon-dollar-behemoths like Spotify et al if your willing to do the legwork. 





If you would like to support JD and purchase one of his CDs or Mp3s: If you are interested in booking a show or party you may contact him at:  (734)941-7573 or (734)556-5483 (mobile) 


Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2017 @ 23:00:00 EST by Mitch
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