The digital music revolution has only made this tendency worse, for me. Now, I don't even have to buy or listen to a whole CD from one artist. I can preview and buy by the track, or read six gajillion music blogs and scope out new artists and the best tracks without doing the legwork myself (shout outs to Fingertips, my fave purveyor of 100% free-and-legal mp3s!). And, I can float from artist to artist and genre to genre, only getting the best of each.
Damn, that is awesome.
And, from the perspective of a musician, fucking scary as hell. I mean, my own experience trying to build a following and get people into my music....yeah, it's a full time job getting people to listen, and that's not even counting the making of the actual music. Or, you know, the day job I work so I can afford somewhere to make the music I'm trying to get people to listen to. This is where the old record labels came in and made it easy. They threw in money up front, and that meant musicians just had to walk in and make the music (of course, setting aside issues of who owned said music, and how it was made, and what it sounded like, and how it evolved, which is a whole other thorny issue). (Anyway.) My point, I suppose, is that without the record labels running the show (which is becoming more and more the case), the whole game changes.
I read this fucking brilliant post this morning, and was moved to tears and heartened and scared shitless all at the same time. Fun. Here's why:
Walk into the wilderness with me. If you believe in yourself, you’re never going to give up, you’re going to play until you make it. And believe me, if you put in all that time and no one is paying attention you will give up, that life is just too frustrating. But if you’ve got talent, you’ll see signposts along the way, enough positive feedback to keep you going.
That is a chilling statement right there, and it hits me in a sore spot. I make a lot of uneasy compromises in my life, trying to make space for all the things I believe and all the things I love and all the different weirdo pieces that make up Who I Am...and I worry sometimes that my failure to commit, really commit, to making a musical career isn't part of why mine is so stop-start-stutter-stop-start. I play and write almost constantly, I play gigs every couple months, I take baby steps wherever I can, wherever life has space for it, wherever I can push something to the side without losing my mind....but I haven't taken on the full time job of promoting myself and pushing myself and pounding the pavement the way I know is required of "making it," whatever that means in this Digital Age.
On the other hand, I don't even know that I want to make my living making music. I mean, sure, I love the idea of playing itinerant troubadour in my veggie-oil-powered RV...but would that kind of lifestyle even be sustainable? I don't know. Meanwhile, I'm trying to garner resources for a serious recording project, and fuck me if life doesn't keep making it fucking difficult as shit, between money or time or energy.
I don't really have smart things to say about this....that post just made me think about what I'm doing and why. Le sigh.
Getting back to my earlier point about me being a musical commitment-phobe, though, I recently stumbled onto Amie Street, which fucking rocks. Not only are we talking non-DRM files I can buy a la carte (sans eMusic's pesky monthly fee deal), there's no software to download, which are my major requirements for digital downloads I'm paying for. Track prices range from free to 98 cents, which is also awesome. I've been messing around with the site for a couple days, and just loving the hell out of it. I discovered a couple amazing tracks, plus found some new-to-me Dan Bern that has been blowing my mind. Also, Transglobal Underground, some of which I don't love....but some of which is so fucking groovy I can't stop drumming on my desk. Good times!
I will stop rambling aimlessly about musical things now. Back to your regularly scheduled day!