You know what? I’m not even going to translate this in Italian: it’s too long.
I must say I’m very, very disappointed
by Internet in general. Where I saw once a bright future made of people that exchanged opinions directly and where sharing was genuine today I see just personal profit, greed, sneeky businness. I grow tired of this.
In the past few years I’ve tried to open my music to social networks that claim to be “for the musician”. I think what they are doing is very mean and wretched. Every consolidated Social Network (SN from now on) claims to offer you great tools to be seen.
They claim you will be publicised around stores, internet radios, etcetera. I’ve never seen this and in fact SN like ReverbNation will state they can’t guarrantee your ad will be approved. Thanks very much! Another thing I realized, even with the big ones like ReverbNation, Last.fm, Jamendo, Myspace, etcetera is…NO ONE GIVES A SHIT! Seriously: no one drops in to write a coherent phrase be it to criticize your music or to praise it. It’s like you’re “singing to the wall” (pardon the pun). You sign up to a SN thinking “I’ll get people talking about my stuff!” NO! You don’t! You actually don’t! Why? It’s extremely simple.
Artists don’t have the time to sit and review other artists because they’re busy making music, some of them making a life out of art (hahaha…..yeah). Maybe those who could review are either shy or waiting for your first move (that would be very childish, but I believe it happens). The only SN that makes people talk is Coverium, where if you want to post a song you must gain virtual points. Those are gained in multiple ways, one of which is to comment on people’s posts. THAT is the way you educate people to interact. Not stupid “I’ll get you famous” bullshit.
Being famous on the internet is what?
Think about it…it’s putting frigging cat videos on Youtube, that’s what! That’s the other big disappointment! It’s not like I’m giving up on Internet: it’s still a better otpion than TV, but I know now what I’m in for. Going viral could work for a tv commercial, for a cat video, for a funny picture. Would it work for a song? If you’re doing pop music this is not really an issue. You know the rules: dumb it down, make it repetitive and throw in a cachy semi-subliminal line. You’re done. Then comes the promotion part, and you might in fact “get viral”…but I don’t often hear catchy viral songs of unknown indie artists on the internet. Big SN feature only already famous artists!
One might argue you need to actually listen to artists promoted by the music SN. Yeah I heard them, but they don’t seem to go further than there! So yeah: what the SN will sell you is in fact FAME…but inside that particular SN! And for a limited amount of time. Can that be satisfactory? I was on Jamendo’s front page for 1 week. At the time I thought it was great. Then I realized…nothing really happened. It’s not like before that I had 2 people following me and a week later I had 200. Wait: don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about fans here, I’m talking about people actually posting comments.
Now let’s talk about “emerging” SN. Oh boy.
I’ve tried some of these. I thought “hey! Now we can actually build a better place all together!”. At first I got very excited and started commenting on other people’s music (like I always do), making suggestions, complimenting, showing my stuff…Trying to start a conversation, you know… After a while I took a step back, I looked…and I realized…PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A SHIT EVEN THERE! hahahah this is actually hilarious! You’d think that, with a “thinner” stream of information with less subscribers, the music SN owners would nurture artists and actually get interested in what they do or say. NO! what do they do? They sell you HOPE. They say a couple of nice things like “whoa I’ve seen your website! Cool!” or “Hey this music is very nice! We should get you on front page!”. You get hyped-up, weeks pass, and then you’re like “well…anyone there? Hello?”.
It’s just you, dude
Some years ago I wrote a song which was about letting yourself be seen. One verse went like “should I be getting out there? Should I be gone?”. As an artist I think what pains me the most is people’s indifference to my art. There is this feature on ReverbNation (called CrowdReview) that makes you pay money to get people to review a song of yours. the more you pay, the more people review your song. I thought it’s too bad having to pay to get people to review your stuff, but then I also thought it’s always been like this so why not? It’s pretty cool seeing all these comments and how they can be very heterogeneous. After a while I began to see patterns. There are those who really listened to all the songs and those who listened to the first 30 seconds. There are enthusiasts and highly critics and those who say “it’s not my cup of tea”. These patterns will always lead to the same average conclusion “it’s pretty cool but not quite there”…And I stress the “always”.
One might think “whoa, dude…too bad you suck!” and an artist like me might get little depressed by all of this…also considering I’m almost 37 and I’ve been making music for 10 years now!
No: it’s really them
It is really them. They feed on artists in this way. They know artists will crave for people’s attention and feedback. Art is like this and that’s how it always should be. What’s new in modern days is Internet. At first (90s) everybody had the same chance (or even more) than famous artists to be seen. Now common people are at the same level again.
I think there’s something specific going on. I think the music industry is reacting to the Internet phenomenon and the way it’s doing it is by letting everyone be heard juuuust a little bit. You want to REALLY be heard? Then you must pay large amounts of money and/or know important people and/or make THAT kind of music.
Which leads me back to square one: it’s pointless. It’s really pointless submitting to this vicious circle.
So what’s next?
Exactly nothing. Which means that, if at one point I thought people might have liked my music and help me get somewhere (not talking about stupid world-wide ambitions!), now I don’t think so anymore. And I will never trust someone on a SN telling me “wow your stuff is awesome, you can get places” because they simply don’t mean it. I truly know it now. If they meant it, they’d follow on it and spread the word. But they never do, not even if I gently hint on it. You don’t believe me? Facebook is proof of it. For 2 years I’ve been promoting my artist page with my own “strenght”, posting, talking, sharing. Only one very close friend of mine has suggested my FB page to friends (who by the way didn’t “like” it). After 2 years I was at 60 likes total. I know what people will say: “Facebook is NOT that kind of SN” which saddens me because I always thought that Internet is what WE the people make of it. What was the solution? Buy likes in the hope people would listen to my songs. Did it work? NOT ONE SINGLE COMMENT.
So ‘nothing’ is what’s going to happen. I’ve tried the SN way and I’ve really tried to make myself heard around. I’ve learned a big lesson and lost some money in the process. It’s tough for me because I really thought I could be appreciated by at least some people, but I’ve learned a lesson here. And that is that nothing in life comes for free…literally.
I know it’s harsh to read it (or to write it? :D). People knew me as a very positive person…I’ve always had a “stay positive, believe in yourself” attitude. But it really doesn’t apply to this matter. After you’ve gone as far as 7 albums you should stop and evaluate what you’re doing. I can’t be paying money to get reviewed by ignorant people, I can’t be staying online for hours, engaged in writing to people who will not write back, I can’t loose precious time of my life for people whose only purpose is to suck money out of me.
In these last months I’ve published my last album, Gaia. I’ve promoted it on many SN and I got exactly nothing out of this promotion. Nothing: which meansh no money but, most of it, no-feedback-at-all!
You know how I got some feedback? I sent good old fashioned emails of online magazines! THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT! Forget all this “the new social network for true artists” bullshit! You want something done? Do it yourself! Wanna engage in a musical conversation? Go at the bar with your friends. On Social Networks? post a frigging picture of a weird face you made at your last concert. I’m sure you’ll get soooo many likes ;D