I read this article recently on a popular drum website that sparked some discussion in the forums. I’m sure many of you on my mailing list have read this, but If you haven’t checked it out I would suggest that you take a look at it. I’m posting this mostly for the people on my list who don’t follow the drummer discussion forums.
As far as the article itself, I didn’t agree completely with everything that was said, however the data here should be considered. Coincidentally, I happened to be in a conversation with a friend of mine recently who is a great guitar player from my hometown in California and we were talking about many of these subjects in relation to him getting his music heard. Every year or so we have the same conversation. It usually starts with “I want to get my music out there and I think I have something to say that is unique. I think I could make a living from my music because I have something unique to offer”. In the case of my friend, he does have something unique, however his approach, like many of us who came up in this business over the last 20 years or so is tailored to a different time. Many concepts in this article are related to the various elements of how much different things are now vs just a few years ago.
Artists have seen their most important assets collectivized by file-sharing. They no long control the distribution and exploitation of these assets. If this were happening to practically any other group of Americans there would be mass outrage and civil unrest. Other than Ted Nugent and John Popper most musicians are not heavily armed. Hence the lack of armed standoffs. Without the ability to effectively and fairly exploit their sound recordings the vast middle and lower class, the 99% of the music business has been impoverished.
So many of us are still applying the same techniques that would have worked even just 10 years ago to get our music heard, without realizing how much different things are out there. I have addressed various aspects of this on this blog over the last few months, and if you have seen any of my video interviews or blogs on this site you may notice that I’m often addressing what is different these days about how things work. The last video blog I put up was an interview with Billy Corgan. This is what sparked the conversation with my friend about the business and how he should get his music heard.
So many friends of mine are trying to get their music out there, and everyone is in the same boat. I personally think that it’s no longer about selling your music, but just getting it heard. There are now opportunities to get your stuff out there that were not available just a few years ago, but much like owning your own business, you will be responsible for all promotion, touring, recording costs, etc that would be related to any other business model or framework. This gives you complete control, but also makes you completely responsible. Most musicians have spent their lives operating as a small business whether they call it that or not. But when it comes to really getting yourself heard in the real world it’s a completely different ballgame.
This article and the discussion related to it really intrigued me. Rather than go to far into my own opinions on this I will post the article link and then the forum discussion link. I think it’s important that everyone check this out.