by Mike Orie of

This week was a moneymaking week for the music industry. But while somebody's making all the money, somebody else has to be spending it. And I can tell you one thing, it's not me.

My Tidal bragging rights got me through the first half of the week, but now that it's the weekend, I'm wishing I still had my Apple Music account. But if you're a freelance artist like myself, you've got to make some important decisions. Tidal or Apple Music. Mashed potatoes no gravy. Soul food no side items. (Still bitter about that Tinder date). It's like when you go to the food court at the mall and you keep trying samples while you’re allegedly trying to make up you’re mind. Well I just need enough to get me through the weekend. Overtime you get smarter about the game. I’ve upgraded to Trader Joe's and Costco. There’s nothing more satisfying than gluten-free, fat-free, organic Mac and cheese samples.

Drake dropped Views last night, and since I don't believe in illegally downloading, I've been plotting a solution on how I'm going to listen to it since it’s still only available on Apple Music. The plan is to throw an album listening party. I'll bring my Bluetooth speaker and one of my friends will bring their Apple Music account. Fair trade right? Don't act like you aren't sharing your Netflix account with at least three of your friends as we speak. You know it's gotten bad when the four of you have established a group text to see which two of the four can use it for the night. Last night was my turn, so I’m forced to look for creative and free things to do for the weekend.

Living in LA is far from cheap, but I’m learning how to beat the system. Rule #1: RSVP for every single free event, even if you’re not sure if you can make it. When you’re deciding on plans for the night, you’ll always have options. Always show up early to make sure you beat the line and to find one of the free parking spots before they're gone. I've gotten so good at being early to one venue that I get to fill in for the bouncer sometimes when he's running late. Rule #2: Dollar tacos. Since moving to LA, I've seen twice as many taco trucks as I've seen McDonalds golden arches. And while you can't eat them everyday, dollar tacos can be your best friend in a time of need. See, here's why you have to choose between Tidal and Apple Music as a starving artist. $12 worth of dollar tacos can last you two days. If you've got a big appetite like me, I'm eating three tacos twice a day. And if you're smart, you always take extra sauce to go for a rainy day. On the weekends, if I'm feeling good, I'll cop some tortilla chips and catch the NBA playoffs at my neighbor’s house. (Remember that bartering system we talked about?) Don’t be Felicia from Friday. Rule #3: Always bring cash. When you go into a place with a fixed amount, you’re more likely to be more accountable. Either that, or you won’t be able to pay your bill. Rule #4: Learn to say no sometimes. People don’t always have to know that you’re broke, but instead just that you’re not in the mood to go out. Step #5: Learn the barter system. Anybody willing to trade his or her Apple Music account for my Tidal for the weekend?


Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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