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Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Arpangel » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:01 am

Just ducking in here again, it's getting harder to make "it" the work, composition, or product.
The technology is the best it's ever been, it's too good! The demo patches in a lot of hardware sequencers, Elektron/MPC are pretty good, so good in fact that when I see videos of people in studios making EDM with a room full of gear I think why? Sometimes their music doesn't sound significantly different/better than some of those demo's to make all that stuff worthwhile. If it were me I'd call up a demo and just change a few things, why not? and I think quite a few people do!
That's why it's hard to make it in the business sense, it's become so easy to make certain types of music, and more difficult to make anything that really stands out, the prediction has firmly become reality, the little black box has arrived in no uncertain terms.
I think the emphasis, and rewards, have shifted from composer to performer, or DJ if you like, you can probably make a living and more money these days from playing other people's music and you can even stamp your individuality on it simply by how you make up playlists. Radio DJ's have been doing this for decades, as we know, but it was always difficult to break in to, and the technology now, like other branches of music, has become well and truly democratised, not taking into account podcasting etc.
If you're talking about adapting to changes in the market, then you can't ignore this huge sector, and it's very tempting as a way in to the music business for a lot of people these days. There are still those that think being a DJ is cheating, it's not really creative, and I was very skeptical at first, but if you want to take a snapshot of where we are now, this scene probably has the biggest market share, audience, and performers.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:39 am

ManFromGlass wrote:Should one encourage young people to go into a job that they have very little chance of succeeding in or making a living in?

There's a balance to be found, obviously. I totally agree that a realistic appreciation of the facts of any potential career path is important, but so too is positive encouragement and support, and guidance to help the person make best use of their talents.

Of course, being able to provide that kind of support is difficult, whereas knocking people down is very easy... Sadly, I've seen far too many miserable curmudgeons nay-saying everything and completely destroying any enthusiasm and ambitions a young adult may have started out with. And that kind of damage can take years if not decades to recover from...

In my view it's always better to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. Everyone has a talent; the challenge is to find an effective outlet for it.

H
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:35 am

So you want to 'make it' in show business?

OK, it fairly easy, but you must follow the six rules -

1. Whatever they are doing, you don't do it! This is rule number one for a reason - it is the MOST important rule! Whatever is the Big Success today is what you must avoid at all costs - it's yesterday's news! If 'they' are all doing the four-guys-in-a-band thing, you don't. If 'they' are all doing the Capaldi/Sheeran singer-songwriter schtick, you avoid that like the plague. If 'they' are all into EDM, you keep a million miles from that.

2. Get in at the start! So you want to be a radio DJ and earn the Big Bucks? Easy! Just start in 1964 with Radio Caroline or Radio London - and if you've missed that boat, get together with Radio Jackie in 1969. So you want to be the big hip-hop star? Easy - sign with Def Jam before 1985. And if Techno or EDM is your thing, you'd better get going before 1989 when it was beginning to pull the kids to the dance-floor.

Of course, this means that you are going to have to go hungry for a long time at the beginning and you have to find that crazy niche before all the others do - but hey, that's how it's done!

3. Tenacity! Success is not giving up. Failure is to give up BEFORE success comes along. "Well, I tried!" says the failed musician or business person after five years of trying to make a go of things. Well, I've got news for you! Five years is nothing! It took 'The Darkness' 12 years to become an overnight success. 'The Chemical Brothers' began experimenting with electronic music in 1984. 35 years later, they get to play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Almost all the big names in show business took forever to get where they are.

And in the business world - Jack Cohen spent 12 long hard years selling military surplus stock from a market stall before he could open his first shop (Tesco) in 1931.

4. Put on a bloody good show! It's called show business for a reason! It ain't no place for shy wall-flowers! Never mind having yet another guitar, synth, or a new drum kit, if you are another rock-band, your first proper investment MUST be lights, smoke, scanners, thunder-flashes and flame-throwers, back-projection and a good PA. The audience did not come to see your vintage Telecaster or the latest Korg synth, they came to see a show - give them one! Make it a show that they will never forget!

5. Be different! Everyone working in movies has heard the expression "I want the same - but different!" This is usually said by a studio executive to aspiring writers. There are just ten basic stories and they all come in three acts - and there ain't nothing we can do about that fact of life. Dude-with-a-problem, the-little-guy-triumphant, buddy-love and so on. But every film-maker tries to tell one of those stories THEIR way. The same applies to music. If you want people to come to your shows and listen to your music, it must comply with the rules of music. That means melodies, themes, counterpoints, harmonies, builds and crescendos, cadences and progressions, bridges, rhythms and key changes. That is the language your audience speaks and you must be able to speak to them.

But you have to do all that YOUR way. You have to put your stamp of individuality on both the music and on the stage show. Pink Floyd was more than just a prog-rock band, Miss Saigon is more than just another staging of Madam Butterfly, Ed Sheeran is more than just another singer-songwriter with a guitar.

6. Find that 'Easy-In' niche! Pete Waterman (and friends) found his first step to pop-greatness with a transvestite called 'Devine' and the gay scene. Floyd got their first tours playing the beards-and-open-toed-sandals circuit at universities and polytechnics. When the Chemical Brothers began (as The Dust Brothers - no, I don't know why either!) electronica was very much a minority taste! Somewhere out there, there is a special niche that is crying out for your music!

So that's the road-map - off you go!
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:50 pm

And a lot of people forget that there's a decent living to be made with library music and computer game music. All those TC and radio ads need music, as do all those games. It's competitive and you need to be able to create and produce a high standard of music product to a deadline, but it's how quite a lot of contributors (and ex-contributors) to this forum make a living.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby blinddrew » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:14 pm

It's worth remembering as well that a lot of the skills you might learn whilst being an hobbyist recording-engineer/producer can translate into other areas. Corporate communications are increasingly using video and podcasts for example, I'm currently carving a bit of a niche for myself doing this stuff in my day job. And for organisations who aren't big enough to have a comms teams there are agencies out there who specialise in this area.
No it's not as interesting as recording a bunch of top musicians in session, but trust me, it beats pulling spreadsheets together on resource allocation and managing risk and issues logs... :)
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby hobbyist » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:18 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ManFromGlass wrote:Should one encourage young people to go into a job that they have very little chance of succeeding in or making a living in?

There's a balance to be found, obviously. I totally agree that a realistic appreciation of the facts of any potential career path is important, but so too is positive encouragement and support, and guidance to help the person make best use of their talents.

Of course, being able to provide that kind of support is difficult, whereas knocking people down is very easy... Sadly, I've seen far too many miserable curmudgeons nay-saying everything and completely destroying any enthusiasm and ambitions a young adult may have started out with. And that kind of damage can take years if not decades to recover from...

In my view it's always better to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. Everyone has a talent; the challenge is to find an effective outlet for it.

H

What if the glass is only 1/4 full?

Or 1/8 ...... 1/256......1/8192......

When does reality set in and say it is not worth the effort?

Especially when millions of others are still trying to compete in a market with already way too much music for listeners to ever hear all of it. Or care about finding somebody new when there is plenty they like already and are happy with.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby hobbyist » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:25 pm

Wonks wrote:And a lot of people forget that there's a decent living to be made with library music and computer game music. All those TC and radio ads need music, as do all those games. It's competitive and you need to be able to create and produce a high standard of music product to a deadline, but it's how quite a lot of contributors (and ex-contributors) to this forum make a living.

That sounds like what was the stock photo game where now there are billions of free to dirt cheap pix available on everything you could ever need one for in an ad.

IBM even bragged about using a $1.00 stock photo in an ad.

Millions of photogs are still trying to sell stock photos and the prices are down in the noise level now. Not like the 60s when you could make a good living with stock.

Have music libraries really escaped that problem where millions of folks are sending in music now like the amateurs did to stock photos?

Sure some people do well. Everything is a long tailed phenomenon now where a few people do really well some do 'okay' but the great bulk of people are not making minimum wage.

And AI software and automation are making it worse as more and more stuff can be created and cataloged with less and less effort by real people.

Should a musician going to school now really plan on submitting to commercial libraries in order to make a living?
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby MOF » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:29 pm

And AI software and automation are making it worse as more and more stuff can be created and cataloged with less and less effort by real people.

Have you heard AI generated music, it's as bland as music made by committee?
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:41 pm

hobbyist wrote:Should a musician going to school now really plan on submitting to commercial libraries in order to make a living?

No offence intended, but you do have a very bleak view of things. Your 'blind spot' seems to be not realising that other people differ to you. Vive la différence and all that. These days I do music for the love of it and have a 'proper job' but I used to be a professional keyboard player and although I wasn't exactly well off from it it worked pretty well.

Although I've yanked the material off the circuit now, I had a few tracks floating about in the streaming world through an aggregator for 3-4 years, did absolutely zero marketing or promotion and made enough money from royalties for it to be semi-useful.

My personal view was, and still is, that when it comes to studio work (as opposed to live) I need to get better at end-user product before I feel justified in asking people to pay for it, even indirectly (and I'm taking steps in many ways, including working on getting ready to kick off a hobby bandcamp affair as part of that), but if I was out of other options and worked at it full time I would not consider that the worst option in the world, based on my own experiences.

I'm good at keyboards, but as a creator of music I'm certainly not exceptional. There are many musicians producing material I aspire to match, many of them amateurs (also with proper jobs, I suspect).
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:55 pm

hobbyist wrote:Should a musician going to school now really plan on submitting to commercial libraries in order to make a living?

I don't see why not -- it's a perfectly valid option If that's what they find stimulating and have the required talent and skills.

We did a Studio SOS session recently with a guy who had built a very solid and profitable career from writing library music. He was very talented at it and clearly well-motivated, with a very good standard of living as a result.

Here's my advice: 1. Life is what you make of it. 2. If you think you can succeed, or you think you can't, you're absolutely right! 3. Avoid miserable old people telling you you have no chance...

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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby James Perrett » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:11 pm

hobbyist wrote:When does reality set in and say it is not worth the effort?

If you are going to succeed in this business the answer is never. While some people may have overnight success, many others have been plugging away for years before their 5 minutes of fame. I've worked with a few people who only found success once they started doing things for fun - they started being true to themselves rather than trying to fit into some preconceived mould and found this music resonated with others.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby hobbyist » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:41 pm

MOF wrote:
And AI software and automation are making it worse as more and more stuff can be created and cataloged with less and less effort by real people.

Have you heard AI generated music, it's as bland as music made by committee?


Perfect for elevators (lifts?) :)
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby hobbyist » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:46 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
hobbyist wrote:Should a musician going to school now really plan on submitting to commercial libraries in order to make a living?

No offence intended, but you do have a very bleak view of things. Your 'blind spot' seems to be not realising that other people differ to you. Vive la différence and all that. These days I do music for the love of it and have a 'proper job' but I used to be a professional keyboard player and although I wasn't exactly well off from it it worked pretty well.


I prefer to think that I am realistic and weigh the risks/rewards before doing something.

I do realise that other people are different. I also know the world is chock full of stupid ignorant uneducated people which is why we keep having more of them vote for freebies from the govt and dont want to work.

We have politicians now who want go guarantee everybody an income big enough to live on whether they work or not. I wonder how they will pay for it when everybody is getting everything free.
And where that will come from when nobody is working any longer.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby MOF » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:26 pm

I prefer to think that I am realistic and weigh the risks/rewards before doing something.
If it’s only about the money then fine I suppose.
I compose music for pleasure and would like to make money from it.
But I can’t stop getting new ideas and at least recording them in ‘voice memos’ or in a more arranged form in Garage Band on the iPhone and some I do more work on in Logic X (I’m dreadful at finishing songs but doing my best to rectify that at the moment).
Once finished I’ll be doing videos for them for youtube etc and hopefully achieve some success with them. If they sink without trace I’ll keep doing them for enjoyment.
There aren’t many hobbies than can be monetised like music can, you may be lucky or you’ll just have to accept it’s a hobby or if you’re not driven to compose and only see it as a means to make money then give it up.
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Re: Can someone still make it now? What are the odds? Mixerman says we are all hobbyists now.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:29 pm

hobbyist wrote:I prefer to think that I am realistic and weigh the risks/rewards before doing something.

That only works up to a point, is my point. There are many people who have just gone for it and succeeded in situations where if they had weighed up the risk/rewards before doing something, they would not have done it.

I'm one of them. My current job (I founded a now very viable company and employ a number of bright sparks who are making it go from strength to strength) went against the grain in many ways and no sane backer would ever have invested in it on paper. I went to that meeting, looked them in the eye, promised I could do it and even though some of the things I was saying I had no idea how I was going to deliver, I had faith I'd figure it out and that was tomorrow's problem. And indeed I figured out ways of doing them, with help from people who understood what I was trying to do.

Equally, there are people who have weighed up the risks/rewards, done nothing as a result and regretted it ever since. I know, or at least used to know, some of them. They are still moaning about how rubbish life is, and how they could, should or would have done this or that. Ultimately they turn into "it's somebody elses fault" mindsets and it's no way to be.

Don't impose that mindset on the youth, they have more ability and drive than you might imagine, even against the odds. Also, and especially when you're young, failure is an option. It is this mindset that powered many of the companies with multi-billion turnovers around today. Try it, and if it doesn't work out, shrug it off and try something else. Rinse and repeat. For those of us who are now a little older it's a hard lesson to learn because back in the day things didn't work that way, but it works and more power to their elbow.

Youngsters should be encouraged to throw themselves at anything they want to do. Not at the expense of all else, but to follow their heart regardless. They are way better at bouncing back than older folk are, and they have time to do it too. Plus, now and again they succeed with the craziest plans, which if they'd weighed the odds beforehand they would never have even attempted.

Fear is the enemy.
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