Saturday, June 23, 2012

What’s a Poor Musician to Do?

Steve Guttenberg’s latest post on his The Audiophiliac blog is still annoying, but it is a bit less than annoying than usual. He managed to raise an interesting point, even if he does not appear to be quite sure what that point is. It is a report from the 2012 New Music Seminar held this week in New York. The interesting part is the following paragraph:
I polled 2012 New Music Seminar attendees at random to find out how they listen to music, and out of 25 people, a few listened to CDs, four play LPs, two or three mentioned YouTube, one liked FM radio, and few more were into Internet radio, but the overwhelming majority listen to streaming music services. That's cool, but it also means they don't buy physical or downloaded music. Remember, these folks were attending the 2012 New Music Seminar Festival, so they're either musicians or in the music business, and they don't buy recorded music. That's weird.
The fact is that, even if we overlook the totally unscientific approach taken to both the sampling and the reporting, there are any number of reasons why that purported concluding sentence is unwarranted. The simplest has to do with the prevailing theme of Guttenberg’s article: Very few people who would like to view themselves as professional musicians or as “working in the music business” seem to be making very much money these days. This is problematic when just about anything that counts as working at your job, including exposing your work for free in the hope that “the money will follow,” costs money. That means that none of those folks have very much disposable income at hand; and if they do have available capital, they have to worry about little things like paying for food and rent. On such a tight budget, where is there money to pay for recordings when so many alternatives are free?

1 comment:

DigitalDan said...

What is it about a streamed playback of a tune from a cloud service that is NOT "recorded?" The medium is not the message. You can carp about whether the experience is adequate (perceptual encoding and all that), but otherwise isn't it just a choice of mechanism to accomplish the same thing?