Times, they are a’ changin: Episode 6

Times they are a’changin

Boy are they ever.   I was just reading an online article from Digital Music News and what I read was very sobering from a musician’s standpoint.  Now get this: according to Nielson Soundscan there were 105,000 new full-length cds released in 2008.  You read that right, 105,000! I did some quick math for 2008, remembering of course that there were 366 days in the year because of leap year, and that comes out to almost 287 new full length cd releases per day.  And that is every day including Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, etc, etc.  And this is ‘full-length’ folks. It doesn’t apparently include all the single releases and eps.  Wow! 

I don’t know about you but that is just mind-blowing to me. I can’t even fathom that number on a daily basis and to make matters worse it appears that these are numbers for releases in the US only.  Clearly the business to be in is not music but in Making cds.  No wonder discmakers can afford to flood me with regular glossy advertising catalogues.  They get it.  The real money is in making the cds for all these releases. 

And even more; this article also had stats on bands on myspace.  Apparently there are now over 10 million bands on my space.  Now I understand that anybody can make a band on myspace  but 10 million?  That is unbelievable, and I bet almost every one of them wants to put out a full length cd.  Again, the business to be in is making all these cds. 

So, where does this leave the poor musician who is trying to forge a living in this brave new world?  Well, for the most part, lost in the mass of humanity trying to get noticed.  If you are playing music because you think it is your ticket to fame and fortune, well you might have a better chance playing the lottery.  Yeah some people make it so why not me, right.  Well, some people win the lottery too it is just not a good career plan.  No, you need to be playing music because you love it.  Because a piece of you will die if you don’t play and you will play regardless of the money.  If that is you, then you may have the intestinal fortitude to make a living at this; but you know that you will play even if that does not happen.  But if the only real goal is fame,  then there is a high likelihood you will be very disappointed with music as a career. 

I still can’t get my head around the numbers that these guys are reporting but I can tell you this.  I prefer living and playing music in this time as opposed to the old way. At least now I get to record music and get it out to people.  And while the chances of being heard are not great, well at least I get to play the game and that is cool with me.

As usual I have many more thoughts on this but I think that is enough for now. At least it gives you something to think about. 

Later,

Charlie

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