Incentives of turning music into a career

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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by shufflebeat »

Stepping back a bit - the world of music is not unique.

The food market has room for Spudulike and Heston Blumenthal, industrialised bakers and cake designers.

Same, no?
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Sam Spoons »

Not entirely sure, would have to think about it, certainly most dancers are the equivalent of covers/tribute band musos (or spud-u-like) performing other peoples choreography and they, like tribute bands, can make a good living but it's not remotely secure, most have to come home between jobs and work in Tesco stacking shelves. The few who 'do a Heston' and start their own dance company start small and, mostly, stay that way without ever gaining a reputation and a living. I guess it's a bit the same with original music, only a few 'make it' and become well known enough to make a good living out of it without having to take on other work during the breaks between tours/gigs.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Eddy Deegan »

shufflebeat wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:26 pm The food market has room for Spudulike and Heston Blumenthal, industrialised bakers and cake designers.

Same, no?

I think there are a couple of missing pieces in your logic, sound though it is as far as you take it.

Cost and satisfaction.

You can eat at a greasy spoon, subway, spudulike etc. for an awful lot less than you can at a 'proper' restaurant. And once you've eaten, your hunger is satisfied even if you didn't enjoy the food much so it's served the purpose it was intended for.

Music is, I think, different in that you can buy tracks from the best artists in the industry for about the same price you'll find amateurs selling their stuff at.

As such, given someone has 10-15 quid to spend they're more likely to buy an album from an established artist, or at least one with a large following who produces high quality material, than they are to take a punt on a cheaper lesser known artist unless the latter really rings their bell in some way based on demos.

I spend a lot of time trawling the likes of bandcamp to buy music from people who are not in the public eye at large but who produce material I really like. I've discovered some real gems in the process but it's my taste I'm catering for and I'd say many of the things I buy through this process aren't as popular with other people I know.

Some of us on the forum do the same, trawling independent artists for good discoveries, but the brutal truth is that when it comes to my wife and children, they go for what they know and I'd say that's more typical.

It's my wife and children who represent the market and much as I think they'd get a lot out of my approach they simply don't have the time or inclination to go through the process of mining for ore, so to speak. They just want instant gratification and the 'big names' serve it to them such that they aren't hungry.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by blinddrew »

Albatross wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:55 pm I'm beginning to wonder if music is far too important to be left in the hands of middlemen, gatekeepers and robots to decide what we hear...

But for most people it's not the least bit important; it's just background noise.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Sam Spoons »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:19 pm You can eat at a greasy spoon, subway, spudulike etc. for an awful lot less than you can at a 'proper' restaurant. And once you've eaten, your hunger is satisfied even if you didn't enjoy the food much so it's served the purpose it was intended for.

I'm not sure I don't enjoy a MacDonalds as much as I enjoy a decent restaurant meal, it's definitely more than just filling the corner.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Watchmaker »

I have a theory that most people's musical taste atrophies at the age of 16 and I think there's a link to how adolescence informs ones self image. How many of the people that you know listen to the same thing they did when they were first getting laid?

Also, more complex music, according to an article I'll never be able to cite, takes getting used to, so trained musicians have the ability, trained or innate, to experience a broader range of music positively.

As far as a career in music goes, the only way to do it, is to do it. No matter what course in life you take there will be sacrifices, and options foreclosed as a result of decisions made today. I played in many, many bands until I was about 35, got pretty far along the college circuit but was never able to really focus on it. I studied other things, became a carpenter, then an auditor, then an accounting manager, and many other things. Looking back on it, if I had stuck with music only, god only knows where it may have gone (nowhere), but I wanted to have nice things and a pension. Now I have a killer studio, a nice house, a pension and a humble band so, all in all, I feel incredibly fortunate.

Don't worry about what might or might not be, follow your heart, trust your luck, be nice, be humble and above all, be honest and no matter what happens, you'll be able to look at yourself in the mirror without ducking your eyes.

*edit: and don't be afraid of being wrong! success teaches nothing.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by awjoe »

BandofWolves wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:08 am So something dawned on me and I've been wanting to hear some other opinions.

If I try to make music as a professional and have a career from music, I will inevitably on some level be making music for the money.

I'm not pro, so I don't know what I'm talking about really, but if I *were* pro, I wouldn't be doing it for the money. I'd be grateful that the money allowed me to do it full-time. But I'd be doing it because I love making music. The money (and the girls and the fame) would just be a happy add-on.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by shufflebeat »

You're probably right, awjoe, but the novelty will wear off.

...eventually

...I suppose.

Back in the good old days of Tony Blair's "cool, let's all be rock stars" period (which I heartily approve of - if you're gonna do it, do it right) I did some music tech teaching which involved career advice (from me? - ha!) for would-be musos. It was very clear to me that there was a huge divide between the management, who assumed everyone was in it for the money and thought they would just teach them how to do that, and the clientele, who were working out their adolescent crises by way of musical expression and had no idea or intention of building a business platform.

I ended up having a long conversation with the various groups about the very fundamentals of economic life and how and why money is the supportive framework to, not the antithesis of, art.

I had to go back to the management and explain that there were a few steps to take for many of those folks before they even knew what a path was, let alone which one they should choose and much of the money and effort out in to support them would be wasted otherwise.

I got a generally blank response which was a shame both because it seemed they saw the whole setup a job creation scheme for them rather than an intervention and also because some of the kids had a lot to say and an impressive talent for saying it which could have been nurtured had a few more questions been asked.

I suspect for a lot of people there will be a lot of truth in this:

Watchmaker wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:47 pm As far as a career in music goes, the only way to do it, is to do it.

Work out the answers to the questions when you've figured out what questions are relevant to you.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Arpangel »

Sam Spoons wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:04 pm A different profession but still valid. Mrs S teaches kids to dance, quite a number of her ex pupils have gone on into the profession (including #1 son) and many have made a good living at it. They all have to make a decision at around GCSE level what they want to do as a career and Mrs S tells them that it's not enough to want to be a dancer, they need to need to be a dancer with every fibre of their being or they'll be much better off doing their A levels and going on to uni or WHY. Same applies to musicians, wanting to be a musician is not enough, it has to be much more than that if you hope to be successful at it.

Interesting stuff.
I’ve always thought that being a "musician" is like wanting to really, commit suicide, you have to be "that" serious about it.
Nothing else matters.
I’ve been there, living on £10 a week, spending 12 hours a day minimum, recording, no heating, having to eat in bed it’s so cold, where’s it got me?
Being a "musician" I’m still not sure I am, when I compare myself to others who have lived a much harder life, and achieved so much more.
Musician, means literally, creating magic, hmmmmm?
Erik Satie, my ultimate hero, my mentor, my biggest influence, he holds my hand, he died in poverty, he used to shit on the floor, a piano, a bed, in a room that was just big enough to take the piano, which he never played, he used to put unopened mail in it.
He was a "musician"
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That’s another thing

Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by RichardT »

I think the most important thing is not whether or not you support yourself with a music-related career, but how best you can support yourself taking account of all the options available, and the kind of person you are.

In my case, I followed an IT career that gave me stable employment and a good salary (though a fair amount of stress). It also taught me how to solve complex problems and create solutions, and to manage projects and people. I can’t stress enough how helpful those skills are in composing, producing and promoting music.

I did music as a hobby, and that was great. I was able to retire at 55 and since then have made music the focus of what I do.

I’m very glad I did it this way rather than struggling to make a living through music in the early days.

Of course, if you’re not someone who values security as much as I do, you might easily get more out of a musical career.

I should mention also that there is a lot of research showing that stable, secure employment is good for long-term health. The same is true for having a mentally demanding job. Being a musician, on the other hand, is not at all good for you!
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by Albatross »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:20 pm
Albatross wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:55 pm I'm beginning to wonder if music is far too important to be left in the hands of middlemen, gatekeepers and robots to decide what we hear...

But for most people it's not the least bit important; it's just background noise.

Disagree. Music plays a massive part in human life. It may only be a handful of tunes to some people, one key piece to others. I'm a musician and music is often just background noise to me. It works on different levels.

The food analogy mentioned is a good one. I eat a banana every morning, don't even think about it. But sometimes I sit down to a great meal and savour every mouthful and fragrance. I also breath without thinking about it, but sometimes on a beach or the top of a big hill or in a forest I breath and its the only important thing in that moment.
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Re: Incentives of turning music into a career

Post by MixAndMatch »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 8:09 am
Erik Satie, my ultimate hero, my mentor, my biggest influence, he holds my hand, he died in poverty, he used to shit on the floor

Ah, that explains Gymnopedie No.2 then.
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