The tools are available to everyone. Worldwide distribution, digital recording capability, social media accounts to stay connected with fans…these all level the playing field as far as musicians who are trying to record, release, and distribute their music.
So, why isn’t every musician successfully living the dream of being a full-time musician and having their music support them?
While the tools have made it easier than ever for musicians to succeed, it has also made it easier than ever for musicians to be lazy.
You no longer have to work for a record deal to make a recording; you just make it at home. You no longer have to hunt for a distribution deal, you’ve got worldwide distribution available (in any format), available just a click away.
It is possible now for any artist to put the least amount of effort ever into writing, recording, and releasing a record, and that’s the part that can make us lazy.
The artists who leverage their creativity are the ones that we listen to each day because they’ve created something that no one else has.
There’s no producer breathing down our neck to say, “You can play that part better” or “The phrasing on that line you sung was weak—do it again.” We just do it until we feel like we don’t want to anymore. There’s no engineer telling us that the EQ in our mix is unbalanced or that a bass track is over-compressed. There’s no accounting department telling you that ordering 5,000 vinyl records may not be the best investment for you; and there’s no marketing department telling you that your best market is in digital sales in the UK, not in Canada with vinyl.
I realize that some artists still work with record labels and some of those resources are still available to them, but for the majority of artists, you’re doing all those roles on your own.
As daunting as that sounds, there are huge creative opportunities there.
What are you doing to create music that is unique and appealing? How are you practicing to make sure that you are mastering your instrument instead of just keeping the status quo?
Who amongst your other musician friends are you running your lyrics/guitar tones/melodic choices/percussion sounds by? When do you set aside time to be inspired by other music/art/nature/beauty/faith/friendships/love? How do you search for opportunities to reach your fans above and beyond what other artists are currently doing?
All of these are huge opportunities to be creative. They all require time and hard work to do. The artists who leverage their creativity are the ones that we listen to each day because they’ve created something that no one else has. Let’s be those artists.
Photo by Eva Avenue.