Small Fish in the Music Biz

I put my heart and soul into my music and I've been fortunate to play, work with and learn from many world class musicians whose talents and work I admire. Still I am a small fish in a huge sea and like most musicians I struggle with the business side of things. I love music - it's my saving grace, my mirror that helps me grow, my escape from (and connection to) reality, and so naturally I'm content to do all I can to keep it alive. But it is difficult to justify the time and money required to keep making it and sharing it.

Most high quality, well produced albums cost in the range $15,000 to $150,000 to make, plus countless hours and enormous emotional investment (the figurative and literal blood, sweat and tears). Yet in this day and age with the internet revolutionizing the business world and bringing down prices of goods and services, which is great for consumers, it is very challenging for musical entrepreneurs and musicians like myself. Services like Spotify are amazing but if you stream a song, guess how much the artist makes? About $0.006! Compare that to the time and money required to make it. Yes, other mediums like vinyl, CD and download are available and that's why I've gone that route, but at the end of the day the value of music continues to plummet to the point where even extremely talented artists have to throw in their cards and resume regular jobs to provide for themselves and their families. There is nothing wrong with holding down an honest job, I have great respect for the work that keeps our society chugging along, but I think it's a damn shame when society doesn't value the arts enough to provide talented, hard-working, artists a decent living. How can we expect to foster the next generation of artists that will uplift and inspire if their work can be sold for fractions of a cent? 

The flip-side to that is, how do you put a price on the song that gets you through the day when your candle burns dimly, that provides the life of the party when it's time to celebrate, or that sets the vibe for your special moments? Those songs and the alchemical process required to produce them have come at a cost - emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially - but that tends to be overlooked. 

Having said that, I have to play my own devil's advocate here... as much as I believe that the arts are undervalued, part of me trusts that it has evolved this way for a reason, and perhaps this is how it should be (damn me for saying that, but I have to be honest). Great art, in my opinion, comes from overcoming adversity. Without struggle the art loses something. It's a key part of the process. But it's a dangerous game, a razors edge, and many have tipped for better or for worse. 

So the moral of the story is... support the art that adds value to your life and entertains you. It is sure to come full circle. Big fish and small fish alike have much to give but also hearts to mend and bills to pay. So don't forget to feed the fish or we'll evolve into sharky salesmen and attack!

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