notes from waaay underground, Sept 2012
It’s hardly an original observation, but we’re in an unprecedented place with music right now. And that’s leaving aside the hopelessly blurred question of illicit downloads.
What we’ve got is an ever-more-entrenched top tier – the trad music biz – with a chokehold on all outlets still, despite everything. Shrinking but sucking up all the gravy, digging in, skimming off as much short-term profit on karaoke, lukewarm EDM and career-path indie as possible… (The money nowadays is in being a middleman – a 360-degree platform, or whatever… basically smoothing a load of unexpected bumps out of this level playing field, or claiming to.) And then there’s practically everyone else. Okay, there are exceptions when someone interesting somehow gets over the fence, but you know what I’m saying.
“Everyone else” being the huge semi-pro DIY mass, squashed in a corner, playing the long game. Doing it for the love of it, waiting for a break, gambling on longevity – or persistence – or bloody-mindedness… (If the volume of ever-accumulating stuff out there on the internet hasn’t made a nonsense of ideas like “back catalogue” and “posterity”, for unknowns anyway.) This in itself isn’t a new thing; it’s the extent of the lower tier that’s new. There simply aren’t enough outlets that pay – either in terms of making a living, or the finer commodity of sustained visibility. Of course the situation could eventually stabilize, even improve; something unexpected might come along and change the game again. Until then, though…
They believe in what they’re doing, these hidden musicians, so they roll the dice and carry on regardless.
As will I, despite the discouraging recent experience of having a band blow up on the launchpad. Discouraging, not fatal – with 20/20 hindsight it’s best in the long run, for reasons I needn’t go into here. Gave me ideas on how I’d like to continue, which is something; time now to get on with it.
Another year, another gamble: thankfully, the work is its own reward. Clearly lots of other people feel the same.
September 3, 2012 | Categories: Music, Thoughtz | Tags: alternative musician, band, burning conviction!, DIY art (art povera), downloads, music versus crapitude, record labels, solo | Comments Off on the longest game of all
…and pulling down the shutters till 2012
Okay, that’s enough for this year. It’s been full, varied and interesting, which is all one can ask of any bunch of days. (That’s in a personal and musical sense, btw. On a wider political and economic scale, it’s been fucking terrifying.)
Currently trying things out with other musicians and finishing off album #2 – more news on that next year. Also, my 2008 EP Episodes is due for re-release early 2012: further details in January. All I’ll say now is that it’s loaded with bonus material and will have proper digital distro this time.
It’s interesting putting out music mainly via internet – there’s now no such thing as a hidden track, for instance: not really. (One of the tracks on the original Episodes CD was hidden – it ain’t anymore.) Even if they don’t spill every last bean, most sites actually say in the download spec, “this album/ep, whatever, comes with a hidden track”. Don’t get me wrong – on paper, in theory, as a medium it’s great. But… Call me old-fashioned, but it’s not very interesting, is it? For either party in the transaction. Spoon-feeding, I mean, in general as well as that specific grouse.
Perhaps things’ll cycle back to to crediting people with a bit of taste and acuity; doubt it though. On the other hand, the 360-degree, access-all-areas thing we’re locked into now – potential exposure equals potential listeners, so it’s all good – hmm? Never mind that it’s vapid and boring. (Well… it’s not like someone’s holding a gun to my head and forcing me to do any of this). There’s got to be a better way – it’s just that no-one’s found it yet.
Merry X-mush, mush. A Happy New Yr to you and yrs.
December 17, 2011 | Categories: Music, Thoughtz | Tags: album, alternative musician, Bandcamp, burning conviction!, Christmas message, digital distribution, DIY art (art povera), downloads, EP, Episodes, free, internet, LP, music versus crapitude, Queen's Speech, re-issue, Xmas | Comments Off on rolling up the pavements…