What's Right With Music And The Biz!

*...Today I talked to two very different people about music and the state of the music biz, or lack thereof. Every day I see articles and posts about what the scene is like, or if there is a scene at all. Everyone has their own opinions about it and I felt inspired to give my two cents. I'm by no means an expert but I have played over a thousand shows and have had my fingers in many pieces of the musical pie. As I sat down to write though, I knew I'd be just another person sharing my view on something that no one person can nail down exactly. So, instead of writing a lengthy preamble about what is wrong with music and the music business, I wanted to share what is right with music and the music business. Now take note that everyone who does music, does it for their own reasons: some people wanna be cool, meet cute girls, meet cute guys, some like the attention, some are broken and find healing through music, and some people can't explain it but have this intense, burning desire to play music every day of their lives. Some people are one of those things, many of those, and a few are all of those wrapped into one. Being that so many people do music for so many different reasons, there will be an almost uncountable number of takes on what exactly music is. Furthermore, what they ultimately want out of music will sometimes be so vastly different from one another and sometimes very unique.
 Having said that I think there is a common thread that so many people share, and it is that they love music. It could be the sound of the wind blowing through the chimes on your deck, on a hot summer day as you sit beneath the shade of a leafy tree, on an old wooden chair losing yourself in your favorite book. It could be the sound of the rain falling on a tin roof in a cabin, as you look out a foggy, old window and see mountains dotted with rivers and lakes at their feet. It could be the sound of your favorite song as you turn in to your pillow to sleep and the sound wafts above you and around you, wrapping you like a blanket. It could simply be the sound of life going on around you, cars driving by, people going to and fro, bees buzzing. Whatever it is, it moves you. And, each time you have an encounter with it, or as Jimi would say, an experience, music becomes more of who you are.
 The challenge then if someone truly loves music and feels like music is their very foundation, is how can they do it while still making sure they have the bare necessities of life, things like food, shelter, and clothing, which require time and or money to procure?  Many musicians look for ways, through their craft, to get the essentials for living a comfortable life, thereby forgoing the distractions of having to devote many hours of the day to a job or jobs outside of music. This usually involves a foray into the music business, and this is where things get tricky. Looking to make their passion an art form and a product, many fail, and many succeed, at finding ways to navigate this ever changing sea called the biz. It is about this that you will see posts and hear people talk rather passionately, saying that music has, is, and will change.   
 Music has never changed! Music is sound and feeling, which we try to classify as notes, scales, colors, and chords etc. It is a constant. It has always been and it will always be. What changes is how we view these sounds and feelings, and how we make them and interpret them.
 I've seen quite a few big changes in musical instruments and what sounds they make. I've seen changes in how people use those sounds, changes in where and when people deliver those sounds, and changes in how people digest those sounds. Change can be scary, especially when you don't know what something is changing into, and uncertainty can lead to confusion, anger, fear, and resentment.
 The first thing I've noticed is that people who truly love music will always do music. Allow me, please, to say that again: people who love music will always do music. They have no back up plan, no exit strategy. They are wholly absorbed in music and what they do will be shared with other people, directly, indirectly, aggressively, subtly, loudly, or softly. And if every day they are continued a blessing to do nothing but music, every day they are winning and succeeding in the biz.
 There was, is, and always will be a need for music. It's there for happy times, sad times, and all times in between. Throughout history there has been a steady soundtrack, from the wind in the trees, the sound of the waves crashing into the shore, thunderbolts and lightning, rain falling on mud huts, the voice of a concerned parent, an angry lover, a new born child.
 Someone, somewhere, felt that and heard that, and tried to capture it in their own way, using whatever instrument or technology was available at that time. They had passion and people took note. Are you passionate about what you are doing? Will people take note?
 There is that quote that says "Set yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn." It was true yesterday and it's true today. And guess what? Tomorrow it will be true as well. When you are passionate about something it's real. People want more of that and they WILL seek it out.
 The way that we have music presented to us and the way people interpret the music around us will always be changing. The avenues to do so will change. The monetary value will change. But the intrinsic value of music moving people will never change. If you love music, if you believe in it, if you live every note you play and every note you sing, you sing with passion. If that's you and you're worried about the changing sea of the music business and your life as a musician, don't! You have your anchor and it's a strong one. The business will change, the technology will change, even you will change, but the music will not. You can focus on what is wrong or you can focus on what is right: that music will move you and move those around you. As you shift your focus you'll find that your worries shed away. Underneath the doubt and fear will be someone who loves music with every fiber of their being, people will notice.
 There will always be those who will gravitate towards that, who will support you, love you, raise you up, and will be moved.
 To finish this monograph on the music biz. MUSIC IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE! So don't worry! Just enjoy it for what it means to YOU and enjoy it for how it moves YOU!

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