1. A couple of years ago I ran discovered that one of my favorite groups, Yello, had a new CD. I listened to a few samples online and it sounded so good I immediately ordered a copy of the CD. Not only is the music good but the production is amazing. Because of that I only listen to the CD as opposed to the mp3 file on my iPod. For various reasons mp3 files just don't sound as good.
There are several other CDs that I own that fall into this same category. The mp3 files just do not have the same sound quality. For a reasonably small additional investment I get a huge increase in listening pleasure from these artists and their music.
2. I compose music mainly as a hobby. These days it's much less expensive to compose, produce, and make music available for sale than ever before. I suspect this trend will continue. As a result the supply of music has gone up and perhaps overshadows the demand. This has led to several frustrating trends for composers:
It is more difficult than ever for anyone's music to get noticed.
It is more difficult than ever to make money selling music.
People seem to appreciate music less and less.
3. I remember as a kid going into a record store and buying records just to see what they sounded like not knowing whether I would like it or not. I ended up with some duds along the way but made some great discoveries as well. Do kids do that as much today? I don't know but it seems like the plethora of choices doesn't seem to be encouraging the kind of exploration I remember doing with music. Maybe it is and I'm just not seeing it. All the streaming services seem to be based on "Here's what you're listening to and here's more of the same."
What we need is a service that is based on the model "Here's what you're listening to and here's something very different. Why not give it a listen?"
4. One of my favorite composers and a major influence on my own music is Philip Glass. A few years ago Scott Hicks made a documentary film of Glass and his music called "Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts." At the beginning of the film, Philip Glass begins by saying "I never was a captive of other people's ideas about me. You know there's a lot of music in the world. You don't have to listen to mine."
5. Music is about listening. This requires mindfulness and sufficient space and time to really do well. There is no right way to listen to music anymore than there is one right music to listen to. But, in general, you can get more out of music by listening attentively. Instrumental music requires deeper listening. And that's why it's such a tough genre. It requires more of the listener than vocal music. There's no lyrics to sing along to so the emphasis on melody is much stronger.
6. What can we conclude from these insights? Composers and recording artists add value to the world. We produce unique artistic creations that otherwise would not exist. While we draw on influences from artists of the past as well as our contemporaries what results from these "mashups" is ultimately a new, and hopefully interesting, product.
7. That product has value. We ask you as consumers and fans of our art to recognize that value. Enjoy our work, share it with others. Help us gain exposure for our work. Music needs listeners and listeners need music. Walt Disney once said “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” For those of us who put our work out in the world, we hope to make money for the same reason. So we can make more music. It's who we are and what we do. Help us to continue making art available by supporting our work.