Worried you don’t have what it takes to become a professional musician?
Embrace the new model of a career musician.
Maybe it’s the chops you lack, the education or the courage to really put yourself out there? Banish these old fears and embrace the new model of a career musician.
In the past, the title “Professional Musician” implied discipline, highly developed technique and musical mastery in reading, writing and performing. Superstars were born. They had to be, the competition was enormous with no room for in between. For example, if you were a Rock Guitarist in the 70’s, your competition was Jimmy Page. If you were a Pianist, your competition was Keith Emerson. Few bands cut far enough above the gum line to ever be seen, much less recorded. The Icons in that sacred realm of famous were put there by recording industries who built impenetrable markets around them. It was sewn up tight, real tight. For every stoned rock star on a private jet there were thousands of out of work, musicians, down on their luck and banished to the underworld of amateurism.
Times have changed indeed! In this age of mega media advertising, video streams, pod casts and games, the new giants have emerged. The jingle writer, the Soundscapes composer and the MIDI moguls are some of the artists who now ride on the cutting edge. The noticeable difference here is that these new artists work largely unknown and have little or no industry backing or financing, creating digital quality music in home based studios cheaply and with plentiful distribution channels. This fierce new breed of fee based composers work alone and independently. Instead of cutting vinyl, they exchange video, MIDI and Wave file formats with clients around the globe using free services like Drop Box. In these exciting times, a New York based Guitarist can collaborate with a Drummer in Japan to produce a soundtrack for an online video series being produced in Detroit. It happens, a lot and it’s pretty easy. In the old days, nothing short of a private jet would permit this.
Just like our attention span, the overall length and duration of consumer interest has been shortened largely by the conditioning of social media. This may raise concerns for some, but for the musician it has created a demand for musical beds and sequences and scapes that can’t be easily satisfied by hundreds or even thousands of composers all working diligently into the wee hours of the morning.
So, back to those concerns we listed at the beginning of the article. Enter the modern career musician armed with only an instrument, a lap top and a few cables. Setting up camp in living rooms and basements turning out dozens of the prettiest little melodies you’ve ever heard. Most of these artists have no desire for adoring crowds. They are content instead to lovingly create interesting little packets of sound and music that sell for surprisingly high dollars as Royalty-Free recordings to professionals in sound editing. Picking their projects and commitments as they may and living the dream that every true artist yearns for, expression of the self.