I found this Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. | The Trichordist. via a Facebook friend’s wall post. That friend actually runs a Jazz label in Munich, has a track record as a label executive with both indie and major labels and represents some of the finest Jazz musicians of our day, e.g. the entire Loeb Family with Carmen Cuesta-Loeb, Lizzy Loeb and of course the incomparable Chuck Loeb, Don Grusin, brother of the equally famous Dave Grusin, German music prize winner Christian Elsaesser, Philippe Saisse, Tower of Power, to name just a few of the catalogue of artists.
At the risk of having you roll your eyes, I think it is really, really important that you familiarize yourself with this very informative and educating letter. The former industry is in a condition that makes me wonder day in, day out, whether new artists can secure the future of music at all or whether we’re all going to listen to our own record collection at some point with no new additions. What is more – more and more artists are simply forced to give up and bury their talents in a day job in order to survive. You might think “why should they get cut any slack on the requirements of making ends meet?” OK. I can see, how you might arrive at that conclusion when reading the tabloids. But don’t forget this: Even if an artists gets to the point of making a nice living from playing music, it a) took them years, often decades and a chunk of their own money to get to the point of being able to perform in front of live audiences. b) the need to keep pushing the envelope and even go beyond that never ceases and c) being on the road isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. But the bottomline is this: Something’s got to give, if artists are supposed to keep doing their thing. And hopefully…. not too many artists follow the example of those two tragic artist friends of the author’s, who committed suicide over not having any perspective left. I personally knew someone, who went down that road, too…. (On a personal side note: This situation is in part responsible for my latest frustration with making music. Other factors do apply, but ultimately – if one can’t even hope to make at least some spending money – what’s the point in pouring your heart and soul into this, putting in endless hours, not to mention money, if all that’ll ever come is getting robbed? To those, who have supported me and keep doing so, among them many real fans – this last statement doesn’t apply to you.)
wesbound, June 2012