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Becoming "Content Providers"

I read this fantastic article by comedian Stewart Lee against the push to turn artists into "content providers".

As much as I enjoy reading all the various music-business blogs, one philosphy that frustrates me is the conviction of "new media" bloggers that an artist must always be available. "Fans won't tolerate a band who isn't always connected. You should always be tweeting, facebooking, and emailing about your music. Perfect your SEO daily. Release across every platform and have a presence on all social networking sites or risk missing fans.”

This is counterproductive. An artist should not serve anything but their art.

Art is the master.

Yes, the business side is vital. That's a given. But the spotlight should be on your music. Period.

Sometimes it's better to choose a medium for your art that forces the viewer to become engrossed in the art instead of being able to easily digest it through tweets and sound bites. Stewart Lee purposefully wrote the book How I Escaped My Certain Fate to require constant cross-referencing of pages so the reader is forced to interact and connect with the book. This doesn't translate to an e-book at all, and that's exactly what he wants. Pink Floyd’s album Animals can’t be turned into a 3 minute radio version, it’s designed to be an extended, introspective experience.

It’s all about the art. Compromising the vision is an insult.

Only by trying to please everyone will we please no one.

If you are sacrificing the integrity of your art for “new media”, STOP IT. Integrity is what we respect about you.

There's enough mediocre songs on the planet. We don't need a live-blogged, ustream video of a song that sucks; we need a album that will stand up for thirty years as a testament of greatness. Sometimes you must ignore the world to concentrate on your art.

Make amazing art.

THEN think about business.

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