Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 07:13
Obviously, no system is going to be perfect. I think musicians will have to live with several co-existing systems, each with its own problems. But these days more and more approaches seem to be evolving all the time. So people will have the opportunity to be just as creative about getting themselves out there as they are in their music. That may be the crux of the issue. Most creative people are unable or unwilling, or certainly reluctant, to push themselves forward in a shameless self promotional or business sense. The ones who do probably wind up being the ones who get heard. But at least with the Internet, you can shamelessly promote yourself and still remain relatively invisible. The best of both worlds! I have to add one aside to Gary, which relates to the idea of promotion and fame, etc. I totally appreciate everything you've said about the book. I couldn't have asked for a more responsive and appreciative reading. However, if this could have been written in a cover review in the Sunday NY Times Book Review, I'd definitely be a lot more famous by now....
Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Fri 14 Mar 03 07:55
I agree that no system will fit everyone's needs alll the time. As far as promotion goes, I think it's important to ask yourself what you are playing music for. If it's to enjoy yourself and get a feeling of satisfaction, then you can achieve that rather simply. If your goals are more ambitious, you would need to determine what you are willing to do to achieve them. If you can't, or won't promote yourself, then find someone to believe in you who can. Music is art, but getting other people to listen to it is business. If you don't want to mess with the business side, that's a choice. I believe if you are passionate and determined you can keep the integrity of your music and get it heard by the masses. But there is a price. It will include your time, your money, (as well as other peoples) and who the hell knows what else. I think a big part of the key is belief. The mind is a complex thing, and if you really believe that you will make it, your mind will do what ever it takes to get you there, at least on some level. But if you don't, it will not put in the effort. I'm not saying that just believing will get you there, but not believing will certainly lead to failure.
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 08:13
In the meantime, if part of that belief system has just a little bit of room for reality; ie, you're not in a total fantasy world, then you will surely have your share of "defining moments," the moments when it becomes apparent why you are doing this (just to get in another plug for Working Musicians).
Berliner (captward) Fri 14 Mar 03 08:22
As for critics helping you sell more records, I have to agree that the standard of criticism has declined horribly in the past, oh, 15 or so years. The major reason for this is that the magazines read by the true fans, the core audience you're trying to reach, were dependent on advertising, and a negative review could cause the record company to pull its ad contract. This is, of course, horseshit, because a bad review at least mentions the product, and many critics got reputations for hating stuff lots of people liked. But publishers are craven beasts. It's possible that the internet may someday render this threat useless, and that trustworthy sites will be there that are read by people who know and trust the writers it employs. However, these sites will cover micro-genres, because that's the way popular music now is. In time, there might be a sort of network of these sites, so you know that the integrity of the guy on the jazz site is as strong as the one on the country site you're reading now. But frankly, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 08:28
Actually, I think the situation you describe above is quite do-able, and already exists! I mean, there are countless sites on the Internet that offer a wide variety of music from many different genres. Just as financial and real estate sites have popped up, which rate the existing sites, what you need is a Rate the Music Sites site, which would detail the pros and cons and biases of each site. Maybe it could also list all the need additions to each site each month and offer links. Then you could go to this one site, and have access to all the other sites, and make your judgements from there.
Berliner (captward) Fri 14 Mar 03 08:32
Sounds nice. Me, I have problems putting a simple photograph on my own website, so someone else'll have to do the hard work!
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 08:38
But you could make a fortune. Unless someone else has already beaten you to it.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:08
> I had a review in a local paper a couple of years ago that ridiculed me for > wearing a beret, which the critic felt was the ultimate tired jazz cliche. > Based on that he proceeded to trash everything else about the show. Well, > he sure had a right to dislike my music, but I don't even own a beret and > haven't worn one in years. Man, that just sucks. Maybe you should have gotten a big sign to attach to your porkpie hat that said, "NOT A BERET." > Most creative people are unable or unwilling, or certainly reluctant, to > push themselves forward in a shameless self promotional or business sense. > The ones who do probably wind up being the ones who get heard. You are so right about this. It is really hard to want to do it -- wouldn't we really rather be concentrating on the music? -- and once you decide to do it, it's damn hard to do without an infrastructure. And who can afford to hire publicists, "street teams," etc?
David Gans (tnf) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:13
> Music is art, but getting other people to listen to it is business. If you > don't want to mess with the business side, that's a choice. I believe if > you are passionate and determined you can keep the integrity of your music > and get it heard by the masses. You're right, Jim. And using myself as an example, I am extremely confident in the uniqueness and value of what I'm doing, and I WILL NOT BE DENIED. I also know that what I am doing doesn't fit neatly into a category -- it's singer-songwriter music in the Steve Goodman/Randy Newman vein, but I like to jam like the Grateful Dead. The post-Dead "jamband" scene dooesn't value songwriting very much... > It's possible that the internet may someday render this threat useless, and > that trustworthy sites will be there that are read by people who know and > trust the writers it employs. However, these sites will cover micro-genres, > because that's the way popular music now is. Right on, Ed. The Internet also enablesw a lot of really bad writers to self-publish their insightless reviews...
David Gans (tnf) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:14
> what you need is a Rate the Music Sites site, which would detail the pros > and cons and biases of each site. Annonymous public rating/voting schemes are inherently corrupt.
Berliner (captward) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:30
>The Internet also enablesw a lot of really bad writers to self-publish >their insightless reviews... Which means we need a gateway to the gateways. Aieee.
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:40
For a big enough non-recoupable, guaranteed advance for myself and budget for the staff, I would be willing to assemble a team to put this together, just as soon as the check clears.
Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:50
I got about $1.26 in my couch cushions.
Berliner (captward) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:51
Take Euros? Well, I ain't got any of them, either.
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 09:58
Maybe I'd just do it for the love of it.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Fri 14 Mar 03 10:57
"Anonymous public rating/voting schemes are inherently corrupt." Perhaps that's true, and yet Google is still useful. I'm still enough of an optimist about the Internet to believe that a really good music search engine could be written. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough that the masses will use it to find music that they wouldn't normally listen to.
a monor quibble (chrys) Fri 14 Mar 03 11:05
But doesn't that rely on being able to catagorize a musician? Most of what I like these days doesn't fall into neat catagories. In fact, much of it is best heard live, not recorded.
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 11:25
You could probably throw in a Live performance aspect to this search engine, locating not only the top players but the top cities and the top clubs for new music. Maybe not every city and every club; but, to pick a number at random, the Top 40 cities, with two or three clubs a city, if warranted, one for solo artists say, one that specializes in bands. Then audiences could provide descriptions/ratings of who the main artists and bands are. If you want to spread this into the worlds of dance, hip hop, country, jazz, you could have specialists, like the folks who run the ALL Music Guide site, which is one of my favorites.
Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Fri 14 Mar 03 12:16
This is my point. All of this is at least possible now. Just a few years ago, you had to settle for the recomendations of friends, MTV and radio. There has never been a better time than now for fans to find new music, and musicians to find new fans.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 14 Mar 03 12:39
A new interview has taken over "center stage" here in the inkwell, but there is no reason for this conversation to cease. I am enjoying it immensely! Bruce and Gary, thank you for an excellent, informative, fun interview. And thanks to all who have joined in. Please keep it going -- this subject is far from exhausted!
Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 14 Mar 03 12:44
Anyone who had 195 in the pool is the big winner! As a prize, you get to run the clearing house web site we've been brainstorming about.
alla bout image and not music (kurtr) Fri 14 Mar 03 13:50
Thanks for writing the book, Bruce. It was interesting reading. Interesting discussion here as well.
Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Fri 14 Mar 03 15:05
Yes. Much thanks and best wishes for your future endeavours
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