As I stated in a recent article, I took some time away from writing for most of 2018. Part of the reason for doing so was to digest a wide array of knowledge I was gaining on the industry as it stands today. Doing so allowed me to not only better understand the players in the game and their roles in the current upheaval in the music economy, but it also gave me the ability to identify those things that need to change or simply go away. Some of the answers did surprise me, but I feel that my understanding of the mechanics will allow me to be a much better advocate for musicians everywhere.
There was another reason for my sabbatical, a much more important one. Recently, I’ve needed to reexamine my commitment to the core reasons for jumping back in and making myself a part of the music community again. It is important to me that the musicians I support remain the primary focus of anything I do. This whole Cozmic Debris thing works only if I remain the man behind the curtain. That doesn’t mean I can’t peek out from behind the curtain from time to time, but only when the music has the attention of whoever is around. The music and real talent are what this is all about. It’s really easy to keep the political and social commentary of the day out of the mix. The music runs deep enough to keep the focus in the proper arena. The problems occur when the persona takes precedence and becomes more important than the reason the persona exists.
My ‘methodology’ is simple and one that I am not willing to stray from:
- I scour the internet, looking for the best music out there.
- I use this website, social media and my time on internet radio to make people aware of that music. The choice to take advantage of any of this is in the hands or the reader/listener.
- I make my commentary on the industry available here. Some people will agree with my positions, others will disagree.
- In all cases, any ‘fame’ or notoriety any of this gains will be the result of an organic reaction by those that come in contact with my efforts, not from me shouting “look at me” from the rooftops. I am fine with letting the quality of my work determine my destiny and not the volume of my own self-appreciation. And if the fame never occurs, I am satisfied simply with the impact I’ve already had on artists I’ve come to know and love.
All too often, I see folks (other than artists) getting into the music scene who spend more time and energy in a “Look at me!” mode than they do promoting the wonderful music they’ve experienced. The satisfaction comes from being able to associate their own name to something, rather than the satisfaction of spreading the word. The goal is to get their own name in lights, and self-promotion becomes more important than music promotion.
I understand there is a place for personality in the business. Radio stations need personality to gain a competitive edge and add listeners- the product has to be entertaining. Hell, a certain portion of my own personality comes through in my writing. My personal mantra is that there is no need to draw attention to yourself if the product you are producing is good enough to gain attention without an overabundance of self-celebration. Any fame or notoriety gained in this manner is the result of an organic movement that results in a more sustained and powerful momentum. If you find yourself having to constantly point to yourself to get attention, the product is probably not that relevant to begin with.
Over the last few months, I’ve had to shed some of my own humility and accept that my ear for music, view of the industry and ability to help artists are all respected and appreciated by a growing number of artists. I honestly don’t get it and I think you’re all crazy, but I’ve learned to accept it. That is all the recognition that is required for me to continue on. If something more comes of it, that’s fine, but nothing further is required to keep the fire lit. I love what I do, I love my position in the business and I love the people that have crossed my path on this journey. No amount of recognition can replace any of that.
Every day, I get to discover, listen to and share some incredible music with a growing network of people, in the hopes that more people would listen to that music. That was the initial goal and remains the goal to this day. I’m living the dream. I just needed to take some time to realize that.