This post is an answer I gave to David Kovach from the Future of the Artist group supported by the team at type3music, on the social network, Linkedin. It also only reflects my own and not-so-humble, opinion, and I may be wrong. However, my wife, Cherie, says that anytime I say something like this, it actually means that I know for a fact that I am absolutely right. Just sayin’. So, here it is.
Hi David, and thanks for the interest in the artist’s path. To your question, about “what it is like to be in the music industry circa 2011 as an artist, business, concept, organization, fan, supporter, engineer, manager etc,” I am not sure it the overarching issues of 2011 are too much different than in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. It is just darn hard to get an emerging artist’s vision taken serious by labels, managers, agents, clubs. The fans seem to get it, because they get to listen to the presentation, but getting the music out beyond the stage and the venue is probably as hard now as it always has been.
With that said, in some ways it is easier, but not without its traps. We artists have a powerful array of tools at our disposal to do our own producing–digital recording devices, over-the-edge computer programs, but it is producing without safety devises. Too many artists only have their own selves and friends to critique their work. That means that without professional producers, the chances for high quality is diminished by the degree to which we artists are unwilling to hear of give criticism. Thin skinned artists, are a sorry lot, and subject to be easily suckered into schemes of the dishonest.
In that regard, 2011 is no different than 1959 or 1970 in terms of the wolves out there who want to rip off artists–except now that with the DYI mentality that drives artists to seek out advise from those termed, “Music Industry Professionals,” there may be more. These are individuals who, unwilling to take risks, charge for services that should be part of a promotional package where a percentage of artist’s package will eventually be expected. Suckers are still suckers, and users are still users, so none of that has changed.
As for me and my Hilary Marckx & 45-90 project, which is a relatively new project, we are doing the same stuff to promote ourselves that has been done for years–working, building a fan base, getting out a CD, designing and producing merch, trying to find an agent who will actually do the work promised, practicing, looking for ways to promote, dreaming a lot, and trying to keep the faith.
There has always been a great deal of competition in the industry, and that has not changed. In some ways, because of the huge social networking being done, which is a new thing, there appears to be more camaraderie and colleague support. This I find heartening. Artists are interested in other artists, and offer helping hands when possible. A very good thing.
Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to share with you, Hilary