Julio, I think you've really hit the nail on the head. I think there is a period of doubt and scrutiny and maybe even insecurity that should be part and parcel of any act of creation. Particularly in the ambient genre, it is difficult to tell whether a piece is truly done or can or should be refined further. If we are truly honest with ourselves, it is rare that piece comes out fully and perfectly formed out of the womb. This sensibility can be at odds with the promotion/marketing side that an artist is expected to pursue, which is to convince the prospective listener that your latest work is the greatest thing since sliced bread and of course better than anything else you've done before. There is also the issue of whether the artist has enough distance from his own work or enough perspective to objectively assess it for others. I'd rather leave that heavy lifting for reviewers or listeners, who are likely to see things I am not in a position to see because I am too close to the work.
I also think we as listeners need to constantly revisit the question of whether "more" is better when it comes to the glut of music now available and the bloated size of digital libraries, but best to save that for another day.
Well put Forrest.....i think the issue is the idea of the "forced entrepreneurship ", specifically the "forced" part. Perhaps no one is really being forced but if you want to be heard you really are. Going back to the NYT article and the Russian factory selling knock off western jeans. By the very nature of being forced they sell what ever has the potential to bring in revenue. There is no quality, craftsmanship or pride involve, just money and in their case the need to survive. Not sure that these are issues for the ambient community....most I believe earn a live wage doing other thing. However the music created must enter some sort of marketplace if the intention is for that music to be sold, not just listened to. It is here that the artist is faced with a choice. One is the road to a possible audience using ways and means that the artist has no training and skill in or the other road that leads to the "quiet artist" and possible obscurity.
The "glut " of music you speak of Forrest I feel is a direct spin off of this.....there are no more checks and balances so to speak. Firstly it does not cost a lot to produce the music technically and create a format for distribution be it physical or digital. The outlets for this music are easy to set up. Whats to stop anyone. The old model was the complete opposite. Few got access and one can only hope the best is what came through really was the best, but thats history now.
The current music label even within the ambient genre can offer, and I feel it does is the nurturing quality that was so important in the old system. When artists were "developed". The music label has standards to be met and to be part of it, to call it a home, those standards should be met The "heres my latest music...sell it" should not fly just because. The label hopefully will insure that it is ready for release and if not send it back for more fine tuning. This does not exist in a forced entrepreneurial environment where I am my own advisor.
The flip side is that there is great music being made that could have only existed within the current trend of the social network and delivery through itunes, amazon and bandcamp. One has to take the good with the bad when all is said and done.