Thursday, September 26, 2013
The End of Quiet Music

"[A]fter a year spent slumped at my computer — a year during which I wrote no new music — I decided it would be my last in the industry.

What I missed most about having a label wasn’t the monetary investment, but the right to be quiet, the insulation provided from incessant self-promotion. I was a singer, not a saleswoman. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

I am not so vain to think the music world will be any worse for my absence, or that my failure had nothing to do with the quality of my music, which is dark and sad and weird. But I’m not the only casualty of the new regime. And the rising body count will include artists with far more resonance than me.

My indie wasn’t run by Benz-driving executives but rather passionate music lovers who invested in art that moved them. This tier of the industry was pretty much knocked out by music piracy. Kickstarter, many seem to think, is its logical replacement. Now musicians can raise money to make an album from their fans (if the old model already made them famous) or from their friends and family (if not). What’s less discussed is how this mechanism naturally winnows out the artists who lack the ability, confidence or desire to publicly solicit donations."

I'm probably 99% more entrepreneurial than the rest of the planet, but would never suggest that my weird 70-to-80-hour work week is an appropriate, rewarding or useful one for anybody else.  This article makes a number of well-argued points about loud creators browbeating their way to the top of the heap, and explains, in passing, why I have very little time for most first-time "authors" arriving on a cold sales call with a backpack or briefcase full of self-published writing.

(For the record, PFB does carry some self-published books, but our rejection rate runs about 3 accepted and 97 declined for every 100 new titles brought to our attention).

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