The other day I read that 28,000 new compact discs are released each year. I don't remember where I read it, but if I read it, it must be true, right? This means 28,000 new recordings, or individual 'works', not 28,000 new mike jackson cd's........ Anyway, I started to do the math on this, and I figured out that each day, an average of 76.71 new cd's are released. Even if each cd only contained a 1/2 hour of music, that would mean that each day, there would be 38.356 hours of new music coming out. If you listened to this new music twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, you would still end up with 14.356 hours of new music each day that you could not listen to. At the end of a week, you would have 100.492 hours of new music that you did not have time to listen to. At the end of a month, you would have 401.968 hours of excess new music. At the end of a year, you would have 5,225.584 hours of excess music, or 217.73266 days worth of music. Keep in mind, this would only be true if you listened to the new music 24 hours a day, every day, which, would also make for a very long year.
What is the point to all this, you ask? Well, from where I sit, all of these numbers add up to one BIG conclusion which is this: Now is precisely the right time to release your tape or cd into the musical universe. No, really. When you think about it, why not? Is it because you are afraid that it may not get noticed because there are so many other cd's being released at the same time? What if there were only three new cd releases coming out, and yours was one of them? Would that make it any different? If so, why? If it's attention you want, there are lots and lots of ways to get attention, most of which have nothing to do with making good music. Just watch mtv for a few minutes. I guess what I'm saying here is that how much attention people are or are not paying to your work should not change the way you make music. In fact, if you sort of spin it around, you could argue that precisely because no one is paying attention, you are now able to be more free and uninhibited and do exactly what you want to do. Sure, it would be great if more people listened to it, but perhaps that is not such a great goal or motivation after all. Just ask Michael Hutchence.
Another way of thinking about this, is in terms of guitar picks. Let's pretend that we have 30,000 white guitar picks with the word "music" written on each one. These picks represent the number of years that humans have been on the planet, give or take a few...........Now, into our pile of 30,000 guitar picks, we drop 40 more yellow picks, with the word "product" on them. These 40 picks would represent the number of years that music has been recorded, and presented as a consumable product for the financial benefit of a select few. Now I know that people have been making records for more than forty years, but it's really only been since the late fifties that the sale of these recordings has become massively profitable. It is my guess that people have been making up songs since the beginning of time-they just didn't know how to sell them. (They also didn't know how to make other people feel like they needed to buy them, but that's a whole other story that we don't have time for right now. ) The technology to record these pieces of music has only recently become available, and, as a result, there now exists an entire "industry" which is devoted to capturing these musical moments and marketing them to large groups of people. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, these musical moments are really no more "captured" or permanent than the methods used to listen to them, like say, an 8 track player with simulated wood side panels, or anything else that exists in time for that matter. Just look in the encyclopedia under 'extinct'.
So, we have 30,000 picks, and we have 40 picks. Which picks are more important?
Is the latest "hit" single by Celine Dion any more important than a song that was sung 2,000 years ago? Does the fact that the technology exists to "capture" Celine's song (so called since she probably didn't write it..) make it any more permanent than the songs that were invented in the past? (a clue may lie in the old 78rpm recordings which were "hits" back in the 1930's) Just because we see this new "hit" song repeated again and again and again ad nauseum throughout the day on the music television stations (which contain less and less actual "music" these days) does that somehow make the song more viable than a song that is not repeated again and again in this manner? Does mere repitition of something give it value?
Is this a good thing?
Of course, we must also factor into this the effect that sandwiching our "hit" song in between commercials for feminine hygiene products and Sony Playstations has on our "hit" song itself. We might also add to this the affect the visual represention of our song has on our viewing public's desire to consume it, or, to put it bluntly, the use of sex to sell songs. But I digress.......... What we really should be talking about here is why this is the right time for you to make a tape or cd, and to release it out into the musical world. For me, it's helpful to think about the ocean here. Two thirds of the earth is taken up by the ocean, and yet most of us don't really see it. The ocean is just there, -vast, immense and indifferent. It really doesn't care about this, or that, good or bad, or me or you..........it's just there. When we go down to the ocean, for a dip or a swim, we don't think "hey, i wonder what effect i'm having on the ocean. I wonder what the ocean thinks of ME, and my little dip?" So why do we ask those same questions when we go to make music?! Why can't we pretend we're just going to the ocean to swim....to just DO IT..... .........The waves come, and the waves go, but the ocean remains...........and we are free to choose how we view it, as scary, or inviting, or beautiful or sad or any one of a thousand other thought form adjectives.......none of which make any difference to the ocean, but all the difference in the world to you and me........And so, it really doesn't matter what we bring to the ocean, and yet, we must bring it just the same, and better yet, to bring it like it's THE most important thing in the world, which in the reality of our little worlds, it really is, and that, is what is important here. That is what we are talking about. That, and 28,000 cd's, 30,040 white guitar picks, and you.........
what do you think?