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Vernon Barnes

What Streaming Services Pay Artists

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Posted (edited)

I get what you're saying @antler art therapy is a discipline in itself and there are many examples of artists who made work for themselves only to be discovered later... Though many of these are mythologised. For example, Van Gogh had every intention of exhibiting despite only selling one paintings. Kafka had every intention of publishing despite publishing only ones story and asking his friend to destroy the rest. Dylan's basement tapes were never meant to be released...yet they were. A lot of this is mythologising. 

It's also well documented that playing music is good for the brain and mental health. Playing music is the only time the two hemispheres of our brain synchronise. All this is demonstrated....yet

The moment we decide to put something out there into the world, it is no longer art therapy. That is why there is a recognised difference between art therapy as a discipline and fine art practise. A fine art practitioner always need to consider the audience. Without the audience, the work has no function. In the same way 'club music' makes no sense being made without a club in mind, or trance music being made without drugs in mind. Music for places and venues. David Byrne talks excellently about this.  Venue, technology, audience: these things shape how we make music. 

So, before we put our music out into the world to be heard, we have already unconsciously made a decision to conform to some idea of what we consider our audience wants. It's inevitable. Otherwise we'd all sound like The Shags.

 

Edited by Philip G Hunt

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11 hours ago, Philip G Hunt said:

Otherwise we'd all sound like The Shags.

damn, busted 🤣

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pwalpwal said:

damn, busted 🤣

 

 

Edited by Wibbles
I'm beginning to think every fred is the Song Association Fred

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16 hours ago, Philip G Hunt said:

The moment we decide to put something out there into the world, it is no longer art therapy. That is why there is a recognised difference between art therapy as a discipline and fine art practise. A fine art practitioner always need to consider the audience. Without the audience, the work has no function. In the same way 'club music' makes no sense being made without a club in mind, or trance music being made without drugs in mind. Music for places and venues. David Byrne talks excellently about this.  Venue, technology, audience: these things shape how we make music. 

So, before we put our music out into the world to be heard, we have already unconsciously made a decision to conform to some idea of what we consider our audience wants. It's inevitable. Otherwise we'd all sound like The Shags.

If I correctly understand what you’re saying, we could create a model for the world where there are two mindsets, which necessarily must be mutually exclusive:

  1. To use art as therapy. In this mindset, the artist creates purely for the artist’s own desire; all pleasure is derived from the creation process only. Consequently, resulting works will never be publicly distributed, and sound quality is irrelevant: the GM synth bundled with any DAW is all that is required.
  2. The practitioner. This mindset is focused on specific audience-targeted goals. In the example of someone wanting to be the next big thing on the club scene, they would write music in the style that is currently popular in clubs. They would also buy all the synths/plugins that are currently popular so that the created music would sound like what’s currently in demand.

This model seems reasonable, except it doesn’t appear to be able to explain the following hypothetical scenarios:

  • Amy writes music for therapy. She currently has written 28 pieces of music. One day, she’s talking to her friend Barry who is interested in what Amy does in her spare time. Barry asks to listen to Amy’s music, and suggested that Amy uploads her music to a streaming site so that Barry can have a listen. Uploading to a streaming site would be easy as the only thing that Barry needs is a link, rather than a set of large files. Amy is indifferent to sharing her material – she created it purely for her own entertainment, and has no particular desire to either share, or hide, her music from the world; she uploads it all as it’s the easiest thing for her to do.
  • Catherine loves listening to orchestral music. She really enjoys classical pieces as well as modern movie soundtracks. Being a musically curious person, she would really like to hear what a piece might sound like if it incorporated her favourite motifs from Bach, with the lush soaring orchestral backings of a John Williams soundtrack. Being creative, she happily writes a piece that combines the two musical worlds that she really likes. However, it’s played though the generic soundfonts that came with her soundcard, and it sounds a bit cheap when put in her own playlist of orchestral favourites. A Reasonably Priced Realistic Orchestra is currently on sale; if she upgrades her soundset, her composition would sound more in place with the other pieces on her playlist.

In the above, Amy cannot be mindset 1 because she has distributed her music. She also cannot be mindset 2 because she didn’t have anyone/anything in mind when she originally wrote her 28 pieces of music.

Catherine cannot be mindset 1 because she upped the quality of her music, yet she cannot be mindset 2 because she also didn’t have anyone/anything in mind when she satisfied her musical curiosity.

Do you feel there is a way to expand/refine the model to explain these scenarios?

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Posted (edited)

@antler of course nothing can be talked about in absolutes. Life doesn't consist of absolutes.  The examples you gave don't necessarily contradict what I was saying though. 

There is a recognized phenomena called 'flow' which could be applied to the creative process. As creative people we lose ourselves in the process, not necessarily making conscious decisions about everything we do - if you've ever played tennis you'll know this feeling of striking the ball without thinking about it - so during the act of creation we don't make these kinds of conscious decisions.

In your first example you suggest the streaming service is just a substitute for handing over a CD or tape, but I would think Amy might not see it that way, especially if the streaming service then makes her work public. However, the moment Barry says to Amy, "you should put this out" two paths are open, put it out or don't put it out. Barry has decided it merits being put out (even just for his listening pleasure); he has measured the work against what he believes is 'releasable' material (that is his perspective). Amy can then accept Barry's judgement of her work and decide to release it based on his opinion...or she could say no.  Amy could also suddenly thing 'Well, Barry thinks this has some merit, but first I want to put it through a mastering software'. In that moment she has made a judgement that the quality needs to meet some 'acceptable' standard to meet audience expectations.  The act of releasing is no longer the creative process. 

Furthermore, as human being's we react to input. If someone encourages us, we continue to do it. If someone deters us, we might stop. Imagine if Barry had said to Amy, "this is shit and should never see the light of day". That could actually drive her on to prove to the world it is not so. Or it could make her hide the work away. The way we react to input is very personal and emotional. We are emotional beings, after all.  But, this does not go against what I originally said. The production and creation of work is one thing (flow); the decision to release the work is another (audience consideration). On a side note - a friend of mine once gave my music to his music industry uncle who told him 'this guy shouldn't be allowed to make music', this really hurt. My friend should probably never have told me. It knocked me back, but eventually I worked through it and decided his opinion was not going to prevent me from doing what I wanted to do. It could have gone either way. That is the risk of putting your work out there.

There is a fantastic story of the sculptor Giacometti. He was famous for working and reworking his sculptures in the studio obsessively for years. He never let anyone see the work, thinking it was never ready for public viewing. His gallery was so desperate for work to show that, in the end, they broke into his studio when he wasn't there and took the sculptures away for exhibition. The story may not be true, but it's a nice story and something I think a lot of us can relate to.

 

Edited by Philip G Hunt
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If you are not the original song writer and publisher, you are only making mechanicals, and they have always sucked.  

They sucked before there even was such a thing as a streaming service. I have gotten so many checks worth less than the stamp on the envelope to mail it. 

Unless you hit the lottery and get some sort of label deal - any real money to be made is in performing, not recording. You can make a living as a player and never see the inside of a studio...I worked my way through college playing in the house band at a club.  What recording I was doing at the time never amounted to much for me, but some guys I played with back then later  got signed and had brief careers, probably made about as much as they might have as an insurance agent or realtor, but without the career longevity.

 

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This discussion is all very well, but it's distracting us from the one, really important question ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we post on these forums?

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3 hours ago, Wibbles said:

Why do we post on these forums?

I only come here to spread the word of my awesome sonic creations.

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4 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

I only come here to spread the word of my awesome sonic creations.

I only come here to get word of your awesome sonic creations.

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If you click on them, it might link to Twitter 😜

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With birds, you have to click on the right button to keep them happy.

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Reminds me of this old Haiku...

 I hate the sea birds
That gather all around me
  And crap on my shirt

 

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