Friday, October 21, 2011

All the ships at sea....

I kept having this vision, or picture in my mind rather, of a harbor filled to the rim with rowboats, each containing one person, bobbing around, but not moving. I couldn't think what it meant.

This morning I woke up and I imagined that each of those people was an artist, each with an instrument, playing and singing at the top of their lungs.

I could imagine people walking along the pier, checking out the all the noise and then walking away.

On the other side of the pier I could see a family walking and singing together, stopping to talk to people on the pier. I see a guy riding his bike on his delivery route, singing away to himself, and I see people looking at him and smiling.

I think these pictures formed in my head because I am seeing another change in the music industry. It is one of calm. Not apathy, but more a comfortable 'settling in'.

I had to take a long look to see if it was in fact 'social media fatigue', or just the sheer numbers of artists out 'working it', with no more room to breathe (The Garageband Bubble?) - but I don't think so, though these were maybe tipping points. Maybe, I thought, it's my own rose colored glasses, but I don't think that's it either.

In the struggle of artists to 'make it' in the music business, it seems that there is now a happy/sad realization. Somewhere during the constant battle to balance; gigs, work, writing, updating social media, pr, applications, racing to book the newest venue, scrambling for the little grant money available, contest entries and flying around as one of the flock of local artists all after the same fat crab - the artist searching for fame and glory, is suddenly - just - happy get out and play. Wherever, whenever, for whatever.

I know some of you will say, 'Wait, no, I won't play for nothing, I want, I need'...but I am just talking about what I see and who I work with, where instead of the rush of business taking over their lives, these artists are settling back into a routine and making music and their art a part of the life they already have. Artists are becoming happy, and not disappointed, just happy making their music and happy if someone or no one is listening. They're back to making music and making it fit, rather than accepting the fact that they won't have/can't have/aren't good enough ... there's an evolution going on.

It's happy because that's the way I think it should be - music is a part of the artist, but it has recently become unbalanced, with the 'business' part taking centre stage, all work and no play - it just can't work and never ends well.

So what's the sad part? Well, I guess it is kind of sad that so few people will be able to ever make a living at their art, but that is historically the way it has always been; but maybe now, just maybe, artists are loving what they do, slowing up a bit and enjoying the journey. It is the thing after all.

I look back to all those paddle boats in the harbor and see the people in them, I think I can hear them saying; "But we thought we were suppose to be in the harbor?".

Be different, have fun, it will fit.

For Steve Jobs.

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