Is music manufacture? It certainly was, for a short period of time in a small part of the (European) world. Notation and recording produced artefacts that either led to the music being performed, or, one step further on, led to it being heard in performance.
Streaming services certainly encourage some people not to listen very hard, others to determinedly seek out new music. Either way, the money to be made here is negligible unless you drip drip your way on to a coffee house playlist as a soundtrack to someone’s awesome day.
That’s one option I’m working on. Currently I’m trying to monetise my music, my insecurity, my self loathing and my children. A blog is a good start.
Do not underestimate the side hustle, it may be half (or more) of your earnings. And there’s the Bandcamp thing: other people with more knowledge have written (hello Steve) about that here, but it seems a nice spot for those with a genuine appetite for the new.
What concerns me, and maybe you, is “industry” as a state of mind. We do this because we have to do this, and so do it we will, if we can afford it. And that industry leads me to “immersion”.
Immersion is the state I am aiming for. After a tune, when people clap, I wake up from my brief sleep. I can only hope the audience liked it, because I was out and wasn’t available to deal with their grievances. At least that’s how it goes on a good gig. We are offering something, and that’s all we can really do.
Of course I have done my fair share of courting an audience. I have recorded music loved by fans, though not always by musicians (“Brubeck”), tried to get my arse kicked by people better than me (“Romance Among The Fishes”) and, most recently, tried to address the current taste for less density and more groove (“The Long Game”). Mostly, though, I’ve worked in other people’s bands. I hope it’s all me. It’s certainly all me asleep. Immersion is the driving force behind everything.
Sometimes to be immersed, we must learn some cold, hard technique or theory. The last thing I want to do when I’m asleep is to worry about where the edge of the bed is. That’s practice and research, and it’s a fantastically fun part of music making, because it feels like progress (or not when it’s going less than well). But it is, in some way, separate, a different state.
The dreaming and the doing. Two states. I wonder if they could, or should, meet?