OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC > Everything and Nothing

Editorial on "forced entrepreneurship" in music (NY Times)

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ffcal:
Chris and Anthony,

I think the danger with assuming that promotion is easier in the net age ignores the market realities that necessitate being heard over the static.  The flipside of marginalizing the old model is that you have fewer traditional labels willing or able to curate and a lot of subpar music being rushed to market before it is ready.  This has going on for some time since the dawn of Napster and the likes of Rapidshare, torrents and Megaupload over the years making music "free" have only made this problem worse.  I think it is also problematic to ignore the economic implications of this.  I think the current model discourages a lot of serious musicians who see barely any compensation for their work in favor of weekend hobbyists.  I think a case could be made that artists would generally release higher quality music if they had more "skin" in the game that they would stand to lose if their latest masterpiece stiffed.

Of course, I had to do a lot of "promotion" in the old days of distribution that included sending out promos and getting the attention of distributors, but I don't like the new version of self-promotion much better.

Forrest

petekelly:
Thanks for posting this Forrest,
Good points all round, I feel it comes down to a personal choice for the artist. I see the need for promotion but I want to spend the minimum time on it. For example, I keep getting newsletters from The Orchard and CDbaby telling me that I can 'monetize' my Youtube channel or I can create my Spotify artist profile or the like and I just don't know if it's worth the effort. It's a fine line indeed.

I do think that too much self-promotion is counter-productive in this little world of ambient music and that the things that established bands or indie artists do, isn't necessarily relevant to the ambient world either.
   

chris23:

--- Quote from: petekelly on September 27, 2013, 01:23:43 PM ---I do think that too much self-promotion is counter-productive in this little world of ambient music and that the things that established bands or indie artists do, isn't necessarily relevant to the ambient world either.

--- End quote ---

That's a good point. The potential audience is relatively small to start with and it is accustomed to taking a more active role in searching for music. Sometimes simply having the music "out there," mailing out a few codes/discs to reviewers, and being part of an on-line community is all the self-promotion that is needed to get some exposure.

Speaking of the digital era and promotion: I'm currently listening to some of Andrew Lahiff's releases. They are FREAKING AMAZING. I'm not sure if this guy does any self-promotion, but, thanks to the Internet and word of mouth, I was able to discover his excellent work.
 

Julio Di Benedetto:
Excellent post Forrest.....

Artist general are terrible business people....there are exception Im sure.....so the notion of artist as self promoter seems just as strange to me.... like oil and water.  Everything about the creative process be it music, painting, writing etc...is so opposite to what happens after the completion of the work. The artist has spent months/years working on a piece and then to give that work its fair due has  to spend months promoting it.  From being wonderfully lost in that unique space of creation to then have to put on a suit and tie, completely change perspective and commodify the work of art as though it never came from the artist.  It involves too many personality for one person to do it well.  Certainly theres not much choice today as the NYT article illustrates. 

Artist can be so indifferent to the works they create. They are often plagued with doubt and uncertainties.....regardless if the work is brilliant it will never see the light of day unless nurtured.  Not a candidate I would recommend for any PR department.  No personal experience in the legal field but I for one would not represent myself in a court of law.

I love the compositional musical journey. I love doing the artwork, photography & design.  I love communicating with mastering engineers, cd plant and web designers but then the love stops.  Within the old school big label model if I was lucky enough to have been a part of it Im sure I would have done none of the above except write the music.  That was this is.

The music label is still vital and necessary.  Down "here" labels are often run by musicians who are passionate about the music they curate.  That passion is such a driving force that its easy...I would imagine...to work hard to make the music you love succeed.  The music label offers home to the artist, a safe haven where the artist can focus on their gift and not be troubled by the details of getting their creations to market.  This sort of leads me to think about the opening part of the Simone NYT piece as it relates to the russian people she talked to and how they preferred the old factories ways as opposed to the new entrepreneurial map.  They did their part.  We should do the part we do best.

Has technology and the social network enable us to become super human.  I can do everyone else's job.

I have to ask myself....does the cream still rise to the top, or is it just the amount of noise I make when I Twitter.

ffcal:

--- Quote from: Julio Di Benedetto on September 27, 2013, 04:32:35 PM ---Artist can be so indifferent to the works they create. They are often plagued with doubt and uncertainties.....regardless if the work is brilliant it will never see the light of day unless nurtured.  Not a candidate I would recommend for any PR department.  No personal experience in the legal field but I for one would not represent myself in a court of law.

--- End quote ---

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.

Forrest

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