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mudrecords
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#1
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
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Bit of a downer

Does anyone here honestly make music only for themselves? Do you care that no-one else hears it?

I love creating songs for my own enjoyment but I have to admit that the greatest pleasure comes from other people enjoying what I do. Even if no-one listens, I will still keep pounding out the tunes, but it is definitely more satisfying to me if other people listen and like what I have done.

Is there anyone here who doesn't give a toss about what other people think of their music? Is it arrogance or bliss on your part?

Paul
#2
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #2
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I used to have the opinion that as long as I enjoyed my music, I didn't really care if anyone else heard it. As time progressed and my writing/productions etc. got better, my attitude changed and in time when I really started coming up with some killer productions, I wanted the whole world to hear it!

So, some could say that there is a correlation with artistic quality and the need to express and share. Not sure myself.

That said, I still produce stuff sometimes that I know that I don't want to share with the world!!

Just my two cents.

Peace~J.
#3
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #3
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People are social creatures and want positive feedback from society. The question is whether they aim to appeal to a mass audience, or whether they're more specifically aiming for the approval of like-minded peers.

The only artists who don't need positive social feedback are the outsider artist types, paranoid schizophrenics who get lost in creating their internal imaginary world. This is why some folks consider 'art brut' to be the purest form of expression, because it's untainted by petty social or commercial concerns.
#4
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #4
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Yeah, I tell myself I do it b/c I enjoy the process (and I truly do) but it sure makes my day when someone hears it and says "Wow....."
#5
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #5
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I feel like the negative view of this sort of thing is pretty unfounded, to some extent it's understandable, but not in a general sense, in the same way it's more enjoyable to give someone a gift than to buy yourself something. For most people, sharing and interacting with others is close to the most important and satisfying part of their lives, so there's no reason why it shouldn't extend to art.

I guess someone's intent while making something is another story, but I also find it no fun at all over-analyzing these things, who cares? do what want to, and if you like something, you like something, if you don't you don't. I used to think about this sort of thing a lot as well, but I find that it's just a distraction...
#6
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudrecords View Post
Does anyone here honestly make music only for themselves? Do you care that no-one else hears it?

I love creating songs for my own enjoyment but I have to admit that the greatest pleasure comes from other people enjoying what I do. Even if no-one listens, I will still keep pounding out the tunes, but it is definitely more satisfying to me if other people listen and like what I have done.

Is there anyone here who doesn't give a toss about what other people think of their music? Is it arrogance or bliss on your part?

Paul
I think, maybe, as a musician, as an artist in general, if you care about what you make, what you do, you need to be prepared to make your art just for yourself.

But, to be sure, one part of the process of art as it has evolved in our human cultures is sharing that art with others.

No matter how self-actualized we are, there is a fundamental social transaction when someone says, Nice job. Whether it's a 3 minute pop tune or an 80 story skyscraper.

You can know you did a good job -- and, sometimes, sometimes that's just got to be enough.

And, conversely, of course, we've probably all known artists who simply can't trust the praise of others and who often struggle with demons of their own perceived imperfection. For them that social transaction may not even be a plus.

But, for most of us, it probably is. Sometimes even when we suspect the attaboy is pro forma.


EDIT: All that said, I think there is sometimes something even a little deeper than just getting an attaboy in creating your own music. I mean, a great cover band could get a lot of praise and legitimately feel good about that -- but it's really not quite the same thing as writing a song or crafting a composition that is truly a personal expression (and not just something we whipped up when a clever phrase occurred to us, though that's fun too), sharing that and having other people tell you that it touched them emotionally in some way.

That, to me, is a key draw to the social/sharing side of music. Communication. There was a time when I thought I wanted people to think I was a hot guitar player (I never was). But as I grew up as a musician, I realized that what I really wanted to do, the ideal, was to share some sort of emotional experience in some way.

Of course not everything we may do as songwriters is always profound or necessarily deeply personal. Certainly there is a satisfaction in crafting something using one's intellect and intuition and drawing on his understanding of emotion that, even if he's not directly putting emotion in, is crafted intelligently and sensitively enough that it provokes strong emotions in others.

But it's not quite the same as pouring your heart into work that means something to you and then finding out it means something to someone else.

Maybe it's only one other person but sometimes that's enough.
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#7
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #7
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boneshowell is offline
music

I make music for myself and not for other people. I dont make music for any other reason than to satisfy the voices in my head. Its the only way.

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#8
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
People are social creatures and want positive feedback from society. The question is whether they aim to appeal to a mass audience, or whether they're more specifically aiming for the approval of like-minded peers.

The only artists who don't need positive social feedback are the outsider artist types, paranoid schizophrenics who get lost in creating their internal imaginary world. This is why some folks consider 'art brut' to be the purest form of expression, because it's untainted by petty social or commercial concerns.
Man, I loved that first Art Brut album.

Oh... wait...
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#9
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #9
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Great post. I'm with boneshowell: I honestly write and record my own original music for myself. I don't pander to a committee, or anyone else. What I do I do alone because I love it, and because I have to irregardless if anyone buys it, plays it or listens to it.

Of course, it is a *fantastic* feeling when people give me positive feedback, tell me they like what I'm doing, etc.. But in the end, I'll still be writing and recording no matter what.
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#10
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #10
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Write and record for myself, I like the comfort of being able to fool around and not worry about if others will like it. I can go through a few hours of something totally bazaar and evenually something interesting comes out of it. I have a soundcloud that has never been posted on. My roomate when he first moved in was a bit of a music snob (he is a good musician anyways but didnt "get it") he walked into my room and started ripping on every little detail of this track I literally just laid out with 909 samples and was actually just experimenting with drum compression as it was something I had been learning at the time.
"What is the point in recording this if the sounds arent perfect?!"
"When I go buy a guitar I test out the sounds first"
He then forced me to flip through every snare sample I have until he found the most generic rave snare (which was my modified 909..) cuz it sounded like the one he heard on some noisia track 10 minutes ago.
Eventually I kicked him out of my room so I could back on task with learning.
Poor guy a few months later went into an insane depression because he felt he was too old to be a famous musician (24 years). He quit music and played World of Warcraft for a solid 5 months, leaving behind a phenomenal album I helped him record in our living room (phenominal for writing/playing it all on his own in a few months and then recording with my help in a week in our living room, but still a lo-fi presentation recorded on 1 condensor he had)

Since then he has lightened up, and now we are building up a band with some of the most talented people we know. I still have my electronic music side project that is all for me, but we have decided to write our songs together and enjoy it. We plan on doing some local shows and I expect only a place to play and no money, and the same applies to him. We have day jobs, music is the other 8 hours a day or our lives.
One of our more experienced members asked us what we where in it for, concerned we wanted to be rockstars, our response was a simultaneous "oh no man i dont give a shit, I have a real job, i want that job to fund my expensive music hobby"

So with improved attitudes and good chemistry I think we will make the funnest band any of us have been in ever.

I think the fame can be a driver and a downer, balance is important, and so is a firm grip on reality. Jump on opportunities but dont hate yourself when they arent present. Instead, take that pile of free time to do what you want with your music. Remember, if your famous, people expect things from you. Experimentation becomes limited when people want you the way they expect you.

Last edited by Ortikon; 1st March 2013 at 07:22 PM.. Reason: commas
#11
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #11
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Grubgoat is offline
I make myself take the long view - the entire body of work is all that matters. For instance, I'm about finished reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, its really is a masterpiece, and the guy was in his 60's when he did it. You don't have to be young to be inspired, or whatever... you just gotta keep working.

Or this Sugar Man guy (from the Waiting for Sugar Man documentary, I don't know his name) from here in Detroit, toiled his whole life away, having NO IDEA that an entire country of people had been moved by his music for decades!

So, I'm more interested in having a body of work (which means finished works). Who knows where those works will go, or who will hear them.

Its also freeing in that, since potentially I will never have an audience AND I can afford to make these on my own dollar, I can do WHATEVER I want, follow my own muse, etc. I don't have to please anyone, or meet any expectations.

That's enough for me.
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#12
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #12
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I write songs for the sole purpose of playing them for people.

And if I go a spell without playing out, I lose my enthusiasm for music.
#13
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
I write songs for the sole purpose of playing them for people.

And if I go a spell without playing out, I lose my enthusiasm for music.
Alot of people need that energy, it is something I havent experianced in a few years now, I am glad to be pursuing it again. Whether there is cash out of it is not a concern for me. If anything, we agreed that any money would go towards funding our Jam space.
#14
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #14
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The music I make is so diverse and scattershot that I don't have a prayer of any kind of mass appeal, or even niche appeal, really. I'm used to people being a bit baffled by some of my stuff. This basically frees me to do whatever I want, and that is a good place to be. Unfortunately my standards are high, and I usually fail to live up. I keep writing and moving forward anyway.
I make a comfortable living in audio design and install, so I have no pressure on the financial side. With no deadlines and no real audience, I do what I like.

For instance, I recently started a song cycle based on a series of narrations from Melville's 'Moby Dick', mixed and composed around some readings done by my father from the novel.

I also like making soundscapes based on the short fiction of HP Lovecraft. For awhile I was working on a musical bio of HPL, but it didnt catch fire with me, so I haven't done anything with it in awhile.

I also play in a more conventional rock band, and write most of the songs for that too. Really need to do another EP.

I much prefer working for a living and making music for the love of it.
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#15
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #15
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Wow, some really interesting posts here. I mainly write what naturally comes through me. If I give myself the challenge of a writing to a brief, I still enjoy it. I like to experiment too. On my latest album The Great Depression (3 guesses what THAT'S about ) I did things in some songs that I really enjoy listening to but, I think, make the music less accessible to others. But the writing and mixing were for me, no one else.

I'm now working on some songs that I'm trying to make more universally likeable.

So, for me, at this point in time, I write some things for myself and some that I do want others to like.

The comments about communication and sharing being a natural element of humanity seem correct to me. And we all like recognition for things we do.

I spent many years away from music but my depression provided the impetus to reignite my passion and I'm enjoying letting what is naturally a part of who I am be nurtured.
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1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #16
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I have seen some musicians who did it just for themselves who were:
-afraid of rejection, or embarrasment
-caught up in their own distorted idea of what is great, ever worsening
-too caught up in the process, making visionless songs
-using their "personal art" concept as an excuse to ignore common songwriting wisdom

Obviously not all who do music privately are like this, but I have seen this sort of thing happen, and if I were doing music just for myself I would do some mental probing of my feelings to make sure it was being done for the right reasons, whatever you define those to be. For some, it can be a beneficial experience.
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#17
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
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Interesting question.

I do make music for myself, but it isn't nearly that simple. I give the music that is in me substance because.....I have to. Writing and recording music satisfies what feels like a primal thing in me. Over the years I have flirted with the darker side of fiscal gain, but it always came back down to making the music that made me feel good.

That said........I need to know that someone, somewhere, is hearing it so I just put it out however I can.......shamelessly.
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#18
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
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It's weird: I'm happy with what I make, but I don't know that I'm often inclined to share it. I mean, I DO share it, but I never expect others to enjoy it as much as I do... My idea of "good" involves a lot of noise, imperfections, and unusual vocal choices, so I assume that it has niche appeal at best. It's always nice when someone connects, but I never think about audience when writing songs - just what I'd like to hear. I have plenty of tracks lying around that remind me of specific times in my life or brief musical obsessions I had - songs that give me very specific, occasionally cringing forms of pleasure - but most of them simply don't square with what I consider Worth Showing Someone.
#19
1st March 2013
Old 1st March 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudrecords View Post
Does anyone here honestly make music only for themselves? Do you care that no-one else hears it?

I love creating songs for my own enjoyment but I have to admit that the greatest pleasure comes from other people enjoying what I do. Even if no-one listens, I will still keep pounding out the tunes, but it is definitely more satisfying to me if other people listen and like what I have done.

Is there anyone here who doesn't give a toss about what other people think of their music? Is it arrogance or bliss on your part?

Paul
it's not either or for me, it's in addition too. I've been involved in a lot of different kinds of music, some for love, some for money. each has it's place.

this stuff here, is for love... (such as it is)

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#20
2nd March 2013
Old 2nd March 2013
  #20
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I make music for other people and if I like it, it's a bonus.
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#21
2nd March 2013
Old 2nd March 2013
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I am thinking some folks find it therapeutic just to spend time working on a track, It could be amazing stress relief.

worrying about others liking the finished product would not keep things stress free
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#22
2nd March 2013
Old 2nd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
I have seen some musicians who did it just for themselves who were:
-afraid of rejection, or embarrasment
-caught up in their own distorted idea of what is great, ever worsening
-too caught up in the process, making visionless songs
-using their "personal art" concept as an excuse to ignore common songwriting wisdom
This is me in a nutshell...I am often guilty of all four, but especially the first.
Something so personal, introspective as a song or any form of art...the thought of sharing that absolutely terrifies me. In my state of mind, if it is rejected, than so am I. It kills me a little every day that goes by that I don't put anything out there, but I'm just unable come to terms with it.
#23
2nd March 2013
Old 2nd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeteranNewbie View Post
It kills me a little every day that goes by that I don't put anything out there, but I'm just unable come to terms with it.
This music thing is a little like playing golf in that there is always someone on the course who is worse at it than you. So...just step up and tee off.

With that in mind, here's my latest tune.....ooops........FORE!!!

(sliced it again!!)
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