One of the listservs to which I belong is Thomas Cott’s, “You’ve Cott Mail.” As Cott says, “It’s a free service for professionals in the arts,” and he sends it most weekdays. I’m interested in it because it doesn’t just cover music, and we musicians can learn from our brethren in other areas of the arts world. The other interesting thing to me is he doesn’t editorialize. He collects articles and blogs from all over the web and presents similar content under a theme or title. There are usually 3-4 entries each day. Cott will sometimes summarize an article, but if they are short they are presented in full, and always with a link to the source. Today’s topic (Tues, Jan 24) was: Dealing with Negative Feedback, and the sources cited were:
Dealing with negative feedback on social media Rebecca Coleman on her blog, 1/23/12
Tuning out negative comments online Michelle, Talenthouse blog, 11/29/11
Why a negative review may not be so bad after all Matt Rhodes, eConsultancy.com, 6/8/11
Here is a sampling of other recent Cott posts.
Tues, Dec 13: When/How Will Arts Address Lack of Diversity?
Thurs, Aug 25: Double-Dip Recession & The Arts
Tues, Nov 29: Let’s Talk Tourism
Tues, Nov 22: Arts For Free?
Tues, Sep 27: Competing with Cirque du Soleil
We’re in an information age. There is a lot of information out there at our disposal, but the problem is often locating it. With “You’ve Cott Mail” you will know immediately if the day’s articles cover topics of interest to you. Check it out and see for yourself.No comments
My previous blog referenced Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider. In talking with her further, she had an interesting take on the stereotypical starving artist. She theorizes that part of the reason record companies are able to make huge profits while the artists often make so little is because many musicians have the idea that being a starving artist somehow raises the value of their art. Some have the attitude that commercial success equates to selling out, and the minute something is popular it’s devalued. This becomes a “badge of honor” that some artists like to wear. That attitude has played right into the hands of the business world. Think about other occupations or professions. Can you imagine a baker saying, “I don’t really want to make money selling my cakes. I do it because I just love to see people appreciate how good my food is. I don’t care if I lose money.”? Nobody would ever do that in any business other than the arts! The business world says, “Wow, we’ve got this commodity here, and we don’t have to pay much for it. And as a matter of fact, they are happier if we don’t pay them for it!” This may be a little extreme, but you get the point.
Maria goes on to say that it’s important to instill in people the idea that it’s possible to do incredible high-value work and be paid for it. Music shouldn’t be free. Yes, as musicians we are smart and lucky. We do what we love and get paid for it. It shouldn’t mean that because we love doing what we do we should do it for free. We work very hard and we should be paid well for it.
Some musicians feel that they must dumb-down their music in order to be “successful.” I once had a conversation with Maria Schneider in which she made an interesting observation: many musicians who are focused solely on making money underestimate their audiences. She commented that some musicians seem to think that if they write or present a particular kind of music, they will get a certain audience. A dilemma can occur if they happen to get lucky and are successful in gaining an audience. If they suddenly say “that’s not really who I am.” “Let me show you what I really do,” they will lose that audience, because those fans were on board for what the artist was doing at the time. They came to the concert just for that.
Of utmost importance is to be devoted to developing your own craft and your own voice. If you follow your artistic calling with passion and belief, when your audience does find you, they will be getting the best of what you have to offer. Be true to yourself. Don’t pander.No comments