Essays

sometimes musicians are their own worst enemies


 

the advent of the internet and the explosion of social networking was supposed to be the beginning of a new collaborative zeitgeist for musicians. i don’t think that this has panned out. the musical communities that have historically been very communal in their relationships (jazz/blues punk, etc), have remained so. the others have not caught up so well, and it can be argued that the dogfight over little scraps of cyber territory to advertise, build fan bases, etc, has not helped the situation. more opportunity has seemed to just open up more  competitive energy between artists. we are all busy promoting, and it seems, less busy listening. listening to other’s work for inspiration, and possibilities for collaboration. 

musicians are the first to complain about the lack of promotional assistance from venues, labels, etc, but do little, in actuality, to support other musicians, to collaborate in exposing other musicians to one’s audience, and vice-versa. musicians lay back and let promoters dictate the line-up of shows, which stifles creative diversity, and furthers the assumption that the “average” listener has not one ounce of adventurous spirit in them, which i am beginning to disbelieve, after years of holding tenaciously to the contrary position. we can promote our own shows, festivals, label collaborations, shared marketing platforms, but to do so will mean letting go, little by little, of the lurking specter of the potential “big deal” hiding in the closet….. 

writers form writing groups, and critique, energize, and learn from each other, painter’s do the same. filmakers spend a great deal of time studying each other’s craft…collaborating, if even in abstentia. we need to return to the roots of the collborative processes of jazz and blues, punk, and other forms of music that thrived in a communal atmosphere. it would be good for the music, the audience, the collective soul.

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