Monday, May 19, 2008

They're Not Suppose To Know

The Struggles, The Frustrations, The Sheer Hell Of Making and Selling Music Is A Demon The Fans Just Don’t Get..and Ultimately, Don’t Need To Know

KC Shoen

There are some days I get so goddamn tired of it.

The sleep deprivation, having to strategize where to place my music next, seeking licensing, go over various contract agreements, submitting to radio stations, creating new contacts, drawing business plans , meeting with investors who are horribly out of tune with the current new reality of the music environs, trying to keep other artists continuously motivated to have patience that this label and myself will come through successfully…and still keep on with my production and songwriting from my one-man studio…

There are times I get fantastically fed up with trying to seek an audience, either on-line, on the phone, or out in the shops. Trying to convince just enough peeps out there on the planet that I am actually fucking…great at what I do, and that they should discover how good it really is, and drop some cash on it. Constantly striving to portend a sense of wherewithal and cohesiveness in a blindingly changing atmosphere that is the digital domain, all the while still maintain healthy relations with family. Just trying to act like I’m awake at the dinner table and at least give a smile.

And what is not sometimes entirely understood by the music-listening public, is what an incredible bastard it is to function creatively and commercially. To really have an impact, it takes solid music (commercially), and dualistically tracking the business end of advertising, marketing, and promoting, creating just that right song or CD to hit just that the right ‘demographic’ The constant shortfall of revenue verses rent: working punk-ass 9 to 5 jobs verses trying to convert to subsisting off your art. The days where you feel absolutely in blackout mode from the constant grind of just getting enough people just to say ‘Yeah, I’ll cop that..that’s dope!”. And in my case, it’s the nuance of not sounding like ANYONE else out there. I just sound like…me.

Doing music is a labour of love, and some days that love is a bitch. A lot of pure music fans just don’t see this dynamic. Don’t get it, and couldn’t possibly understand or appreciate this unless they did the same.

They’re not supposed to.

Their job is simply to listen and buy the tunes they like, go to a few concerts, maybe cop some merch or download the latest video of that great band they’re feeling right now. Their only role as music consumers is just that. To consume.

In the new reality, they not only want your music, they want to engage you on some level. Get to know you. The music marketplace has so vastly changed by way of the internet, in that people not only want your music, they want to read your blogs, join your profile on Myspace or Facebook and leave comments. Shit, they even want your e-mail so they can ‘rap’ with you further.

Engagement has become just as important as the music itself, and in some cases it’s all about the interaction via cyberspace almost exclusively, which for an artist or band, can be a bit daunting, even overwhelming…

Overwhelming, in that you and me, as artists and bands, have already turn a 24-hour-day into a 72-hour-marathon of sorts. With no real time in between, especially if you’re still building a fanbase from the ground up. You’re already grinding. Now you have to add yourself to the ‘social networking’ process: Write blogs, do online interviews on mediums like blogtalk radio, send bulletins, leave comments in response to fans through their profiles. Playing out live and recording isn’t enough. Now they want to chat with you, IM you, Google you. See what your going to do next, jonesing for that new tune your suppose to be coming out with. The total package.. These people just don’t know what we go through.

They’re not obligated to know.

They are the reason, aside from the passion of making music, that we do this. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you know your pushing crazy units off your online digital store, and it’s solely because they love what YOU do. It’s the ultimate form of both gratification and validation. There is nothing like it. Coupled with the added glory of one day, never having to go back to that wretched, mediocre Warehouse/File Clerk/Music Retail/Security/Construction/Manager/ Assistant slug slaghole of- a-dastardly-demon pantheon-dearth-of -all-things-impure,- obsequious,-and-enslaving JOB ever again. Music will be your ‘job’. Even better: your new ‘boss’ will be that same group of unknowing consumers who haven’t a clue as to what you had to do to bloody get where you are: The Fans.

They will never really know. And they’re not supposed to.

God Bless ‘em… One and all.

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