Lose the Starving Artist Mentality

I emerged from adolescence with this strange notion that the creation of art is somehow opposed to the principles of capitalism, and that the hallmark of a true artist was his capacity to embrace and suffer the injustices of poverty. This is stupid. In my mind, it suggests that artists should feel embarrassed or ashamed for wanting to make a living from their talents. Society asks them to sacrifice their wellbeing so it can consume the results of their struggle. And an essential part of the archetype is that this suffering somehow engenders better artistic results.

Suffering: Is it Good for Your Music?
Taken to an extreme, perhaps this is true. If Thom Yorke didn’t feel so alienated from society, we’d never have been given OK Computer. And if you had millions of dollars, a handful of butlers and your own private island, perhaps you’d become complacent and would stop looking for new sounds and song ideas. But generally, making good music is hard work, and typically, hard work is productive work when you aren’t starving and can afford clean clothes and a shower. And don’t return home exhausted every evening after your full-time “real” job, at which point you expect creative inspiration to strike. And in Thom Yorke’s case, it’s clear that his alienation is not a function of finances, otherwise his alienation vs. riches graph wouldn’t look like this:

Alienation and Riches graph

On the other hand, maybe the starving artist archetype emerged because the majority of artists will, by definition, always be mediocre, and who wants to give money to someone that sucks? Well, lots of people, in reality.

Get Paid, You Deserve It
Whatever your case is, I’m just saying that if people like your music, you should be paid for it. Which puts me in an awkward position, given that I have gifted myself music from time to time, via peer-to-peer networks.

I foresee contradicting myself over and over as we proceed. Sometimes I’m impressed by how illogical the sum of my convictions is…

These things make for good debate, though…

How to Make Money from Your Music

The music purist in you might find this title offensive, but I would say that it’s a glamorous simplication of what this blog is going to be taking a look at. There are a billion companies screaming for the dollars of starving indie musicians; it only seems logical that we musicians use our collective knowledge and experiences to help each other separate the good from the bad, so that our precious few dollars might result in real listeners, instead of credit card bills and despair that your songs have vanished into the void of obscurity.

Listeners=$$$. Sometimes.
We are assuming here that listeners=money. In reality this really isn’t the case, as many record labels enslave artists and hand them a giant bill before kicking them to the curb. See here:

Record Deal Graph

But I guess we are addressing the difference between selling 10 downloads and 1000 downloads, not VH1’s Behind the Music tragedies…

Since web and mobile technology are so ubiquitous and pretty addictive, we will be looking at a ton of that sort of stuff. Overall, we’ll tackle major revenue areas:

  • Licensing
  • Gigs
  • Physical CD sales
  • Online distribution
  • Class action lawsuits

And whatever else we come up with…

What is TheMusicSnob.com?!?!

Think of the www.themusicsnob.com as a wikipedia-style encyclopedia of resources for independent musicians. Basically, we are trying to organize info and advice related to promoting music, given the ridiculous number of services, tools, machines, devices, programs, and other stuff all alleged to help you get your music into the ears of listeners.

TheMusicSnob.com logo

This site originated from my own frustrations as a failing musician. I was spending way too much time online, joining and abandoning music-oriented sites, trying to find a way to break through the noise and get people to notice what I’ve been creating. After failing quite successfully, it occurred to me that I was reinventing the wheel, and that the hundreds of thousands of musicians out there must have an impressive body of collective knowledge on how this “industry” works.

Continue reading “What is TheMusicSnob.com?!?!”