The Double-Edged Sword of Amazon Prime

Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash

Andrew Vait

Aug 28, 2017

As I wait for my brain to settle, imagining the creative juices that are responsible for my very career in the arts are reaching a rolling boil, preparing to write about Amazon Prime, I am tempted to check for deals on Amazon Prime. I don’t check for deals on Amazon Prime, largely due to sheer willpower, and partially because I’m driving through Idaho writing on my laptop and my phone is dead.

But I want to check Amazon Prime, because I’m obsessed with using it to grow my business.

As musicians, we learn early the rush of spending money on gear. I had my first taste (and God, what a lasting flavor) walking into a snowmobile parts store that doubled as a music shop in my hometown of Homer, Alaska. I wanted a distortion pedal because I was just mad for Nirvana at the time, and to my blissed-out 13-year-old boy joy, that shop miraculously carried the same iconic Boss DS-1 as is pictured in the corner of one of the photos in the liner notes of Nivana’s live album, From The Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.

I bought it (with my parents’ money), and I opened a door that I’m not sure will ever close. Eventually, I would play paid gigs using that very same pedal. Thus, on that fateful day in Homer, Alaska, I was unwittingly making my first gear purchase to grow my business.

My band, SISTERS, now utilizes an intricate live rig consisting of our own personal mixing system and in-ear monitors, a bevy of synths and other electronic instruments, as well as drums, guitar amps, saxophones, and vocals with individual microphones and cable looms for each.

As our live set evolves, our gear needs to (inevitably) change. We need steady access to a reliable source for everything from iPad holders and chargers to XLR tips for building our own custom-length microphone cables, and we often need them at a couple of days’ notice, and always for a competitive price. We’re not always familiar with the brands of gear we’re purchasing, so customer reviews and product comparisons are critical. Enter (need I say it?): Amazon Prime.

Having an efficient live rig is essential for growing our business, because with live music, from the moment we load into the venue, every move is on the clock, and any time spent fiddling with malfunctioning gear eats into our allocated time on stage. When the band is up and running on stage, it has to sound as though the Gods themselves are smiling from across The River Styx (b/c it’s rock and roll), which means we need the best gear our budget will allow. Amazon Prime makes keeping up with gear stock needs as easy and pleasurable as licking the last of the custard from a dessert spoon. But it isn’t without its drawbacks.

Spending money frivolously on Amazon Prime is as easy as licking the last of the custard from a dessert spoon. It’s always sweet to smash that “Buy With 1 Click” button, and it’s always like your birthday when those tidy little packages arrive on your doorstep. Every. Day. Jeff Bezos and Co. make you feel like the generous boss you never had until your bank account is empty and you’re left with a room full of 73 backup sets of Tortex .6mm guitar picks.

Creating a quick and simple spending budget is a very mature big-kid business move and completely necessary for understanding your spending patterns. Kindly copy and paste your wish list from Amazon Prime into an editing document, and divide that list into two categories:

  1. Must Have

  2. Nice To Have

By all means, purchase the must-have items. Your business can’t grow if you don’t have access to the resources you need. You could use a quarter to strummalum the guitar strings, but those strings will break, and you’ll need to buy new strings in no time — you can borrow a pack of Tortex guitar picks from me.

As for those Nice To Have items? Oogle them as you nod off with your phone on Night Shift mode (never done that). Fantasize about the day you are playing stadiums and your personal shopper, Raz, who is conveniently your exact size, is acting as a living mannequin, displaying wardrobe options for the world tour upon which you will embark as soon as your Pomeranian, Cappuccino, is back from his day at the spa.

If that big sync from House Hunters hits your bank account and you want to treat yourself, chuck that Amazon Prime piggy bank against the wall and go full hog. You’ve earned it.

_Andrew Vait is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and educator. He currently lives in Seattle, WA and performs and records with his pop band, SISTERS —

< How to Create Your Niche To Stand Out Sink or Swim: Here’s How You’ll Know When It’s Time To Jump Into Self-Employment >