I just read a very interesting article over at the trichordist concerning how the music business changed and how far off the general opinion on this is from what we, the musicians, live with every day. Well written and informative.
But to be honest, I am sick of it. I am sick of reading comments by trolls who don’t know shit about the realities of this business, but I am also sick of complaining about the greedy downloaders. The audience changed a lot since 2000, and the path to making a living off of music narrowed to a pretty thin line that forces some of the best musicians I know to downgrade music to a hobby. But for now, I am sick of hearing both sides scream at each other.
Andrew Dubber is a very smart person who published a great e-book on coming to grips with the possibilites and pitfalls of the internet. This ebook (you can download it for free, or pay as much as you like, support!) opened my eyes to some mistakes I made over the years, and really helped me accept the internet for what it is: an almost omnipotent tool. A dangerous one at that, and a tool that suddenly EVERYBODY uses. As a musician you have to learn how to use it to your own advantage or die trying.
The main reason why I do everything on my own is that I could never afford to do it otherwise. I have to learn to record and produce and blog and distribute my own songs, because the old system where the artist just took care of the art, and the labels took care of the business is dead. At least if you don’t want to pay for making your own music. The internet took away most of our income, but it handed us new ways to produce and distribute music in exchange. It was never this cheap to produce your own music on your laptop. Apart from my investments in recording gear (laptop, preamp, mic, programs, cables around 2000$) and my instruments I have no additional costs if I do it on my own.
Some of the new tools I use:
– Bandcamp allows me to release the music for free, and in amazing sound quality: 24bit/96khz (horay!!)
Studio time, engineer, musicians, mastering, label code, pressing the cds, pressing royalties of 1 $ per cd, printing the booklet, yada yada, comes down to somewhere between 10.000 and 30.000 bucks, and that is for a small production.
– WordPress and Facebook help me document this process, and they cost nothing (except for my data of course…)
I am an idiot when it comes to HTML, let alone CSS or whatever the current language of choice is. A webpage that looks half as good as this blog (I slightly tweaked a template called CHUNK) would cost me 1000-2000 bucks.
– Thanks to REAPER, I can produce my own music for a license that cost me 40 bucks.
Logic is getting cheaper all the time, but ten years ago I had to use a cracked version of logic 4 because it was either pirating this or not making any music at all. Nowadays I pay for every licence I use, because what’s the point complaining if you don’t…
– The internet holds LOADS of free vst-plugins that make production on zero budget doable.
– An app called camera awesome allows me to filter and edit my photos that make this blog a little more fun to look at, and it cost me 2 bucks. Another 1000 bucks saved on photoshop.
The internet forces me to minimize my budget, so I have less to spend on the tools I use, and that is bad for the producers of great plugins, editing software, mastering software and so on. Also, even if I give my best, I cannot claim to be anywhere as good as a professional in any of these crafts. But that is what the internet forces me do.
I have a lot more responsibility that way, and a lot of additional stuff I have to be good at, but I have absolute control over everything, and all I have to invest is a LOT of my time, and a lot of energy. It would have been easier for me the the old way, and I am sure that with a budget of 15.000 the recording would sound better, but the experiences I make along the way make me a better artist, and make this whole experience so much more ME that I think it is worth it.
For now I have given up on measuring success by the profit I make. Your attention is all I have for now. Thanks a million for it.