I like to contemplate a lot of things. I guess that may read funny for someone whose blog is called "Conducting Thoughts" ha, ha. So, I wanted to share a short thought I've been considering since an odd conversation.
While at a lunch, a conversation I was having with some buddies turned to a mutual friend who had just released a single and was doing the usual round of promotion, including the constant posting-up about the release on all forms of social media. In the process of the conversation, one friend remarked that this artist had promoted heavily at the church I attend and that it was interesting how artists did that. I'm paraphrasing here but my friend said, when referring to my own releases, that I could have had my work promoted to the congregation at the same level of this other artist but, I had not ASKED to have my work promoted and, thus, no one ever mentioned it in public.
I found that funny but, being that it was year or so behind me and was my first release (one in which I was still figuring out how to be a releasing artist) I let the point slide.
What was said next, though, was what prompted the thought of this blog post.
My friend said that he had bought both my music (and the music of others in the congregation) to "Support my friends."
Now, I'm not saying that this alone was his sole reason but, it sparked off this idea: What if it was? What if the ONLY reason someone checked my music out was because of some feeling of friendship or obligation?
Yeah, yeah, I hear the pundits out there screaming, "A sale is a SALE, dude!" but...am I supposed to be happy about that? I'm a visual artist and a music artist. Many of the things I craft and make available for people to experience are, in a lot of ways, hours of my life, hard work, thorough technique (or reasonable facsimilie of) and large portions of what I believe my life is about. In other words, it's a HUGE part of me I'm sharing! And I don't think it's out of line when I say that, if a person is going to purchase my creative output that they should actually LIKE what it is they're buying.
I know, I know...people care about you and, even if it's "not their thing" they feel it's "right" to give out their shillings to invest in your career (or whatever) but... Well, look, maybe its a "creative" thing that I really want what I've poured myself into to be appreciated and have meaning beyond just the "code of comrades." I want you to hear it, LISTEN TO IT, and then, maybe, walk away from it with some new or interesting thoughts. I've always been one of those "music is nothing if it can't emotionally or intellectually (as rare a thing that is to have happen these days) move or touch you." Thus, when I "make music" it's to be something you'll somehow feel an impact from. Do I mind sales? Sure, it's nice to know that people want to support me being creative, financially, but I have created for years, far longer than just the time you could buy my product. It's more than JUST THAT for me. I want you to like it.
So, I guess it could be said that, as much as it's NICE if you buy my stuff to "help a brotha out" I'd personally prefer it if you didn't buy it unless you LIKE IT. As a personal expression and creative piece, I don't really take joy in it being put on a shelf. I want you in it and with me where my thoughts and expressions are going. Whether art or music, that's what I'd like to happen. Sounds or looks good? Get that stuff! Doesn't strike your fancy? Okay, don't waste space by trying to be a "nice guy." Maybe you know someone who's into that sorta thing. Share it with them! Because if they'll like it and really get into it, that's a "buy" I'll take more joy in. And, LOOK, you just supported me in a way that doesn't make my "So, what was your fav track? What verse of mine did you find interesting?" an awkward conversation, right?
- Conduct Lionhardt