Don’t Try

Don’t Try

Hey Willis,  In light of disturbing facts like this, your “rant“, the fact that Scott Henderson can’t tour the US and make money, aside from “Don’t try,” what recommendation would you give to anyone coming up trying to play music that resembles at all what you are doing?  Get a music degree and teach on the side?  Tour your ass off in Europe?  Become a studio whore? Thanks, Joe

Dammit Joe, I was having a nice morning up until your question with all these “disturbing facts ” landed in my InBox . . . “stupid reality” (spoken in my best Homer voice).
After some reflection and not a little despair – I would have to answer yes to all of the options you mentioned and probably yes to any others that could come up.
It might be best to start out with a worse-case scenario and work back from there. Unfortunately, the worse-case scenario is already happening. The concept of ownership of music has pretty much been blown out of the water. Sure, there are still plenty of conscientious souls out there who buy enough music that it gives the illusion that the machinery of the old recording industry is still functioning. But how music and media in general is consumed has changed drastically and will continue to change even more rapidly.
“Don’t Try”
There will alway be people who create – because they have no choice, it’s their nature and they can’t function any other way. So I don’t feel I’m doing a disservice to anyone by telling them “don’t try”. If that person has the capacity to be discouraged so easily, just from someone else’s words, then they’re probably not cut out for the level of sacrifice and  suffering necessary to sustain their endeavor.
The rest of the options that you suggest kind of all fall under one umbrella: diversify
Yes: learn, teach, tour, write, design, blog, be a musical mercenary, wash windows, do railroad construction, private investigator surveillance – whatever it takes – and yes, I’ve done all these things.
The internet, for better or worse, has changed everything and the only thing you can count on now is that the business model for the monetization and consumption of others’ creativity is in flux so it’s best to accept change as the status quo. The more flexibility you embrace, the better.
I can’t pretend to know a solution or what path to recommend but I can pretty much guarantee that whatever works now will not be the way things work in 2 years, or even 6 months.
Now, where was I ? . . .

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