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Music? I don’t think I’d want that job January 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Good piece here in the IT on music as a career. Those of us who have been musicians, or know musicians, will be aware that career is perhaps the least appropriate word for the work that has to be done. A mental health charity in the UK, Help Musicians, has started to do a study on the area…

Gross characterises the music industry as a “hypercompetitive market” that’s also economically challenging. Yet at the same time, musicians are told “we’re responsible for ‘living our dream’. The X Factor is a perfect example – no one tells singers more often that they should believe in themselves and follow their dream. These competition shows that have exploded in the last decade have entered our consciousness, to such an extent that you judge yourself by whether you’re winning. But there are also variables that come into play – like financial support and luck – and these factors are more important now than ever.”

And say one does get through the multiple hurdles and becomes successful…

Gross’s research also found that even when musicians hit the big time, they have to handle another set of pressures, such as intensive tours, higher expectations, fear of losing their place, the blow of a bad review and trolling on social media – not everyone has James Blunt’s ability to turn it to their advantage.
“When successful people come out talking about problems like life on the road and being away from their families, they seem to get a lot less sympathy. People think, what do they have to complain about, but musicians around the world share the same problem.”

I was thinking about touring internationally, stuck in hotel rooms (at best), constantly on the move, performing the last album and having to think of the next, stuck with people you might not get on all that well with on a daily basis. Any real world experiences to soften that analysis, or support it?

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1. sonofstan - January 28, 2017

Mugs game 🙂

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

😉

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sonofstan - January 28, 2017

Seriously, a good article. On e of the few things that the IT does well is its pop coverage: Carroll and Melaney are proper journalists and not PR refugees and keep a sceptical distance from the hype machine. The way Carroll goes after MCD warms my heart.

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

+1 re the willingness to criticise very sharply McD

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sonofstan - January 28, 2017

BTW did you see the letter in the IT from Colm Ó Ciosóg complaining about Sabbath not being loud enough? Given that the loudest gig I ever saw was MBV….

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

Hmmmm… and doesn’t he have really really problematic hearing issues too? I don’t know, I was up in the balcony and it was plenty loud there – to be honest the sound seemed to me to be great, crisp, the instruments clear, vocals (given the limited range of their source) good and the overall ‘sound’ of the guitars heavy as I’ve ever heard, as distinct from loud. But it was really really loud. Perhaps down below it wasn’t as good?

My heart is gladdened though that he is a fellow fan of theirs! 🙂

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CMK - January 28, 2017

SoS, was that MBV gig in the SFX in 1992? Was there, my ears rang for weeks.

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

Urghhhh… I never saw them live – which from what you’re both saying may be a good thing for the ears, but anyone see Rollerskate Skinny, they were pretty loud too.

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

BTW, CMK were you at other SFX gigs during that period? I’d bet we must have been there at the same time for a fair few.

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sonofstan - January 28, 2017

@cmk – yep. not sure if my ears ever recovered.

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CMK - January 28, 2017

WbS, actually that year I only saw MBV there. The high point of my attendance at the SFX was , ahem, 1986. I think I went to about 10 gigs there. Ozzy Osbourne, Mama’s Boys, Def Leppard, Accept and Metallica / Anthrax in September of that year and couple of others. In my defence I also saw the Jesus and Mary Chain there that year (or maybe that was 1987) :)! That MBV was something else. Funny but I have been listening to ‘Loveless’ constantly for years and it is quality. Happy days. Last live music I saw was a wedding band 😦

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

Hahah, you’ll be glad to know ozzy was in fine voice the other day at the 3arena, so. I heard Mamas Boys were good live.
I was at the JAMC too, I think it was 87. Pretty good.

MBV – that album is great. Classic.

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sonofstan - January 28, 2017

Was also at the JAMC. Definitely ’87.

Actually saw MBV for the first time in the SFX in early ’84 at some art- college related event at which the Stars played one of our first shows. They were still full on gothy, before moving to London and with the original line up before Debbie and Belinda, obv. Next I heard of them was from friends in Hackney, who played me stuff that as already moving towards the ‘Isn’t Everything’ sound.

There was a sort of distinct Churchtown sound in the 80s/90s really; MBV, Rollerskate Skinny, Into Paradise, The Idiots. Nothing to do with the indie pop stuff centred on the Underground, or Mother/ U2 clone stuff.

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

“Churchtown sound in the 80s/90s really; MBV, Rollerskate Skinny, Into Paradise,”

I really liked all that. RS were a great band in their own way and IP likewise.

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2. Ed - January 28, 2017

I was talking a while back to a friend who spent most of his 20s as a reasonably successful Irish-based musician (released a few albums, well received, played support for some big international acts etc.), but eventually moved on to other things as he’d spent several years mostly on the dole as a result of concentrating on music. He told me one of the nixers he used to do to make an extra few quid was, IRMA would pay you to go out to one of the big pubs in Tallaght or Naas or wherever and note down the set-list for the covers bands so they could pass on whatever tiny bit of royalties the artists were entitled to. He got paid so little to do it that he was often barely breaking even, between the couple of pints he’d have while he was out there and the bus or taxi fare home; so he figured out that all he really needed to do was go out there, make the obligatory phone call to their message box (so they could hear the sound of the band in the background), note the first couple of tracks and make up the rest himself on his way home (if they started off with ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’, he could make up a classic rock set-list, etc.). It makes for a good story when it’s long behind you but it’s not exactly the glamorous life of a musician that some people might have in mind …

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

And yet, it would be something to have written an album or had a ‘hit’. But yes… it’s not glamorous, anything but. I’ve got to admit I’m always a bit mystified by the other side of it entirely too, the next step up from talent shows stuff, and how attractive it is to people. It’s like they’ve bought completely into a sort of television produced imagery of what fame and success is when the reality is a lot more mundane.

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sonofstan - January 28, 2017

One of the things you learn quite quickly as any kind of professional muso, however scruffy and precarious, is that you have more in common with every other performer, at least in certain ways, than you do with your own audience. Perfectly possible to discuss good gigs, bad gigs, swap war stories with a cabaret singer when you’re in a death metal band, whereas the gulf between you, scuffling your way through a weird existence, and even your most devoted fan, who thinks it’s all about the stuff in the music, is huge.

I suspect politicians are much the same; doing the same job brings you a lot closer and divides you more and more from your constituency.

That said, as more and more musicians are part time, and more and more fans make music in their bedrooms, that gap may be narrowing.

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WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2017

I think you’re right re that dynamic. Sadly my musical ability has stretched not at all to live bar the odd talent competition fronting a group, badly, and much later providing electronic music for of all things a bank training video and the opening of a shopping centre on the north side, badly!

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3. botheredbarney - January 28, 2017

In showbiz you’re only as good as your last hit. When star pop singers begin to slip they desperately try to hype up the publicity and cut new songs. If the slide to oblivion continues, they rely more on drugs and alcohol. There have been too many casualties. Thin Lizzy star Phil Lynott was one of ours.

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