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The Business of Music

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wsmerwin@hotmai, Apr 19, 2010.


  1. wsmerwin@hotmai

    wsmerwin@hotmai

    Jan 30, 2008
    I didn’t want to post this because I didn’t want to claim “sour grapes”, but I decided I could benefit from the opinions of friends and others on this matter. Perhaps music is a young man’s game where you can make the same sound (s) over and over again and repeat the same “lyric” (s) without embarrassment or rancor. It is easy to despise what you cannot get is the moral of the Aesop fable from which sour grapes comes and perhaps it’s true I lack the talent, ambition, good looks and or drive to make it in the world of perpetual youth. I’d look like a fool shuffling around any stage with my underwear showing trying to make my pear shaped body jerk and twitch in some “exciting” fashion. Neither abs of steel, long floppy down hair, chaps, dark sunglasses, an inordinately large timepiece, a hat or trousers worn backwards, a cool name (like Spike), or the picture of Dorian Grey will make me any more marketable in this time of cultural famine (but maybe a Mohawk would do the trick. Everybody looks cool in a Mohawk, Grace Jones and Sonny Rollins did, but I digress). I don’t mind looking foolish for entertainment’s sake. I don’t like posing, pretending to be hard when in reality I’m a suburban softie, or pretending to be aloof when I can be just as star struck as the next guy. Unapologetically, I find solace (?) in the traditional forms and styles of my peers and forbearers. I appreciate Ellington and Basie, I loved Weather Report and Passport (though some of that music has paled over time); I still love Miles. Music has informed my life and I am on the verge of embarking on what might be the initial phase of a long delayed career as a writer, producer, and performer. Like anyone, I’d like to succeed in my endeavor. Looking at the potential audience and their “tastes” I know my success will come by the grace of GOD. Quincy Jones seems to get this new crew of talented stars and its audience in a way I don’t. Maybe he and I will have an opportunity to discuss art and audiences in the future, but for now I must rely on all of you. Music, always the seat of rebellion, has been co-opted by American Idol. We seem to be having too good a time to worry about the lives we lead outside the concert hall (both patrons and performers). I hope you can tell me something I don’t know; how I can maintain my focus in the face of tremendous odds; how I can accomplish my goals of success and service to GOD.
     
  2. Wait...Sonny Rollins had a mohawk?!?!
     
  3. I’m not going to address the religious connotation of your post, but I’ll say this: No matter who you are (or whom you ‘serve’), if you do what you love and the art comes from your heart, it will find its audience. Now, how many people it reaches and how accessible it is – is up to you.
     
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Its not about the music of the performer, its about the demographic of the purchaser.

    Adults don't purchase much music at all, they're perfectly happy listening to what's on the radio in the car. Young people however, purchase lots of music and do so almost weekly.

    So, if you want to sell music and make money, you have to offer a product that the purchaser wants. The purchasers are 10-19 years old, and they don't want to see some old fart making good music, they want to see some hot young thing dancing around with flashing lights and a simple melody they can understand.

    You said it in your original post - its a young person's game. Sure, Sting still sells records to the adult crowd, but not nearly a fraction of what Lady Gaga is selling in a week.

    Same thing for live music. At least at a local level, college aged kids have more time to hang out in bars listening to live bands while older adults can't because they have to be at work in the morning and have kids at home.
     
  5. uethanian

    uethanian

    Mar 11, 2007
    sorry but.........what?
     
  6. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
    I think it was Robert Fripp who said something like, "The music business is a place you have to visit but you don't want to live there".
     
  7. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    lol yeah I was thinking the same thing..."who's doing what now"?
     
  8. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I have to respectfully disagree with that. The local radio is the LAST thing I want to listen to in the car. It's either the satellite radio or iPod loaded with 400+ of my CDs and various purchased tracks. I buy music at least monthly, even though it may not necessarily be 'current'.

    To the OP, make music that you enjoy listening to, and then see if anyone else does. If so, there's your market. If not, oh well. Life is too short to churn out crap that's played on the radio one week and gone the next.
     
  9. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    With sites like pandora and the cavern I don't have to purchase music anymore
     
  10. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Paragraphs...
     
  11. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    I didn't understand anything...
     
  12. OP...I'm not sure what you're asking, but I'll take a stab. Two words: Day. Job.

    Having the bills covered by something else makes me the happiest musician I can possibly be. The freedom to say, "No thanks" is one of the world's greatest joys. I turn down projects that don't inspire me and pass on gigs with people that I don't trust or enjoy being around. Conversely, I'm open to working with some amazing musicians (and even better human beings) and I'm not burdened by my own needs and concerns that have little or nothing to do with music.
     
  13. wsmerwin@hotmai

    wsmerwin@hotmai

    Jan 30, 2008
    Ok, assuming you have a job, obligations to home / family / others, and various supporting duties (laundry, shopping, transportation, sleep) how many hours does that leave for you to pursue your art ?
     

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