Competitive Musos and the ‘Cottage Songwriter’

With the internet allowing all music to be displayed almost on a level playing field, perhaps music will be more like a big competition, a tournament, if you will. So I suppose you’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say.

I’ve only been in one sports competition in the last few years, and that was a Korean martial art (when I was living in Pusan, Korea). I didn’t get past the first round, but I was somewhat of a hobbyist who practiced a few times a week after work, where as I was up against some pretty fit, competitive uni students. But it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about myself (and how unfit I really was -after 1 minute of sparring in the comp I was breathless).

I guess if you want to make money from your music in the ‘music biz’, you’re either just supernaturally talented and gifted, or you’ll have to be fiercely competitive, hardworking, dedicated (and talented).

Think about sportspeople who make a living: they have to be competitive, hardworking and dedicated, right? These days it seems pro sports has the training and lifestyle down to a science -even knowing when and how to rest for muscle development.

But arts people don’t like to see things that way sometimes, and sure, art is more about self expression, how can it be competitive? But if you watch successful artists, whether they be of paintings, novelists, songwriters, directors or what have you, they usually go the extra mile to come up with something worth the public attention. They’re often visionaries who know that to realize their vision they’ll have to break through a few barriers.

But back to the internet -as songwriters we see things like Myspace and Youtube and they offer ways for us to ‘compete’ in the great online tournament. Sure, for songwriters it’s not an even playing field when major bands have publicity machines and good production behind them, but I think there are also people searching on the internet for something inspirational. I, for one, like to check out the ‘cottage songwriters’, but that’s because I am one. And even if a few hundred or a few thousand listen to your song, that’s a privilege.

And it’s motivating to keep going, to write a song that just might connect with people, or inspire someone to cover it etc… And it’s interesting to see which songs may be more popular compared to others, though on something like Youtube you don’t know if it’s because of the song or the tags etc… But it’s still a great way to get feedback.

Il4 song obscurity


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