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Old 22nd May 2020
Earlier, I deleted a long ramble I'd written trying to address this business of being an artist making music outside the bounds of contemporary commerciality.

An earlier poster had suggested something to the effect that he just wanted to make music he would want to hear.

That's pretty much where I am at this point.

But, happily, I find myself -- finally -- in an era when the 'machinery of production' is in reach (literally, actually, as I sit here) and where there are channels of informal and formal distribution by which I can get that music into the hands of others.

Does that guarantee I can earn a living from that music? Hardly.

Anyone who has worked in the business outside the studio -- even as an informal self-promoter -- surely understands there are no real guarantees in the music marketplace -- and never were. I know from long experience that almost nothing gets sold without a certain amount of marketing, and usually that requires a dedicated, disciplined, ongoing effort to engage with one's established fans as well as to intrigue and engage new fans.

BUT... none of that stops me from making the music I want to make. And, even if I get a burr under my saddle and decide I really need to get some cellos in here under my chamber folk, that can be arranged by anything from calling in favors to trading recording for performance or -- gasp -- breaking down and giving a trained professional a few bucks for their efforts. (I am a cheapskate. But, you know, I take my car to a mechanic. These expenses can be justified.)

PS... I was just skimming Evan's post above -- he's got some good points. His reference to personality/character and story/narrative in music marketing is not just a reflection of current marketing tropes -- it derives from actual insight into how and why people connect with music and the people who make it. Whether you call it a 'narrative' or a 'marketing hook,' people like to hear a good story and often that story can help them feel a great affinity and 'understanding' of a given artist and his music.