Guest blog post written by James Wilson, owner of the My Random Jukebox Blog.
First of all, I will introduce you all to myself. My name is James and I am a big fan of music, some call me a music junkie. Music has always influenced my life and as a result I have spent the last few years writing about it on my blog ‘My Random Jukebox’. I blog about the music that I like so much that it’s part of my own music collection and it is write from the point of view of a music fan. Over time I have learned about the world of music from talking to musicians, people who help to promote music, including bloggers, shows like New Driven and many more.
I used to think that the world of music was about creating a song, getting it released and making the money. I was so wrong! I have learned that the world of music is about hard work which is not always fruitful, in fact it can be a ruthless environment. It seems that only a small percentage of musicians in the world today are put in the category of a commercial success. I always wonder how some of these so called musicians are successful when they have their songs written for them and some of them can’t even sing, but I won’t go into that. I feel the world of mainstream music is losing its way as it has become more about the money than the quality of music that is released. This is a factor in why my taste in music has changed so I mostly listen to independent artists as it is more about the music to them. Don’t get me wrong, they are also driven by the financial side, as at the end of the day it is their job and they deserve to get paid.
Since I have started to support independent music I have had my eyes and ears opened. I would like to take the opportunity to share some of the things I have learned.
Albums vs EP’s
I am a person who loves to buy albums NOT single tracks. If I like an artist I want to hear as much by that person as possible to get a good grasp of their musical ability. With an album you can hear if an artist has got lucky with a few good tracks or if they have created a work of art filled with many examples of their talent. Some artists release EP’s (Extended Plays) which are normally between 4-7 songs long. These drive me insane as I have listened to so many EP’s filled with great songs but they always finish too soon and always leave me wanting more!
I have learned that EP can be released instead of albums for many reasons which has made me appreciate them a little more. One of the main reasons behind them is funding as it’s all about how much it costs to record the music and to have it produced. Musicians are not all rich rock stars like the media portrays. A lot of them have their music life along with a day job as they are normal people too who need money to live. These are hard working musicians who do not always get the credit they deserve. I admire these people who juggle their lives to do something they love which is to create music.
Another reason for the popularity of EP’s has been explained to me recently by a lot of musicians. They feel that music listeners attention spans has reduced so they create the EP to target this audience. I can understand this reasoning, and it does create a minority of musicians wanting a release with more tracks. The way I look at it, as long as the music is good then who care if it’s an album or EP.
CD’s/Vinyl vs Digital
Ok, this is a topic that I used to have a strict policy on but over 2013 I have learned to be a little more open minded. Anybody who really knows me will confirm that I love buying CD’s as there is something about having the physical media with the artwork that goes with the cover. I enjoy reading the notes on the covers and reading the lyrics, like you used to do with vinyl’s. The world of digital music was never an option until recently as I now understand I may have to purchase this media because of two reasons. Reason one, it’s about the cost. There is a lot of music which I like which is created by artists outside of the UK and the price of importing them can be crazy! I have been told that the delivery cost on top of the CD can be up to three time the price of the CD. I may be a music junkie but I’m not crazy! For this reason, the digital format has to be considered.
The second reason is the most important factor, its about supporting the artists. Again, musicians may have a budget when it comes to creating music and sometimes the recording/production can use most of that up. So, when it comes to distribution it is more cost effective to release the music digitally than having to pay more to get CD’s made. If I like the music and a CD is not an option then the digital version will now be bought.
I am a huge fan of social media, especially Twitter (catch me at @myrandomjukebox). I believe it is a power tool for musicians/bands to connect to fans and grow their fan base. It can be used to promote new music, post video/photo’s and updates for upcoming gigs. I follow people who use this promotional tool to great effect but others do not use it to its full potential. I’m not saying they need to post updates every 10 minutes but at least one post every day or two. This way fans will know what is going on.
Another great use of social media is to connect with other fans of music. I know plenty on twitter and we talk about music often and we like to share recommendations too. This has been a great way to find new independent music as there is so much of it out there.
Overall, it is a huge crazy world that musicians live in. They put everything into creating music and they need all the help they can get to make their music ambitions into reality. This is where we (the fans) can do out part and show some support. If you hear an song/EP/album which you really like then show them how much you like what they have created. To do this I recommend that you buy the music (CD or digital) and then tell the world all about it using your social media sites or other sites like blogs. This way not only will they have the additional funds to create MORE music but they will know that they have created songs that you (the listener) really enjoy! Let’s support the music together!