No Plan-B – Making a Life out of Music

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the damage being done the music industry by piracy and the resulting revenue loss.

For arguments sake, I refer you to ‘The Trichordist’ in short; there is great harm being done, and if it weren’t for other reasons I would be at the brunt of it.

I was fortunate enough to get en email from Blake Morgan of ECR Music Group recently about the state of being an artist these days, he has also written an excellent piece for Huffington Post recently about how even in professional circles people expect you to have a ‘Plan-B’, this is to say a job you would fall back on should you not be able to make a living doing music full time.

There is no other career path where this is considered normal, now obviously not everyone is going to be a superstar, however there’s no sane reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a comfortable living making music, DJ-ing, Songwriting, or performing; for example do professional dancers get told to have a back up job?

If you want to join in this discussion and find other relevant posts, linkes and people, join me on Twitter @DistanceLeft using the hashtag #IRespectMusic.

Some points of disclosure; I’m fortunate enough to be from a well-to-do background, I’m graduate level educated (in science) and fortunate enough to be independently financially stable, however despite these advantages it is still difficult to make a living as a musician, and were it all I had to live on, my living standard would take a sharp drop. Having lived worse than even living from busk to busk, I don’t dread this, it would just be a pain.

I however don’t have a ‘Plan-B’ that is I have no fall back position from doing music, no ‘day job’ that would be OK, it’s not that I couldn’t have such a thing, it’s just I don’t want to live like that, half doing what I want to do.

I would much rather ‘risk my whole life on some dream’ as a family friend told me over the holiday season, it’s my life, it’s my choice, so be it, I’d rather try doing what I want that half live my own life. Also f*ck those people who tell you not to try and live your dreams, seriously you all suck and just because you let life kick your dreams out of you, don’t drag the rest of us with you.

I’ve actively chosen since graduation to make my living this way, making songs, writing music, working as a session musician, DJ-ing and so forth.
I’ve done the ‘day-job’ thing, it sucks; you work a job you dislike to do what you want every weekend, only to be rudely returned to the ‘real world’ every Monday.
I technically have an optional fallback; I just dread it, I hate offices, I hate sitting down all day, I hate computing/IT; it’s truly soul destroying, I detest office politics, I cannot stand ties, I hate corporate BS doublespeak, jerks of bosses whose life ambitions amount to having a nice car and cheating on their wives, annoying people who never clean the coffee & tea area, that co-worker who wants to be your friend who you don’t like, having to care about some stupid company and so on and so on.
I had such a job; I managed to do it for four months, (I bought a PRS Custom 22 with some of my earnings) before I left for France to work in a library and attend a music festival, this was a much better idea, and was the only time I found the ‘day-job/music’ balance.

So along with a host of others, from the big-guns to the near unknowns, like myself, if you’re contemplating a life in music, do it, commit, and don’t look back, people will try and put you off, tell to ‘get real’ or ‘be sensible’, ignore these people, follow your passion. I can’t promise you fabulous riches, or an easy life, no-one and nothing else can anways, so why not do something you want to do with your life?

I can tell you however you will however feel fulfilled as a person, meet some of the most amazing people, always have something interesting to do, a reason to get up in the morning and have some of the best adventures, ever.

On the subject of great adventures:

I recently won a bandname from BBC 6 Music, (LINK) ‘Squid Fist’ is going to be a comedy metal band who sing songs about cephalopods, with my friend Abhijit Chanda whose blog is here, available here .

In the aforementioned email Blake Morgan made the point to me that “we’re all in this together” I couldn’t help but agree, I have no where his levels of bills to pay, and I’m close to struggling.

Join us, make music; you might even change the world.

Aim high; play to win; failure is not an option.

It’s like P!nk  says “You gotta get up, and Try, Try, Try”.

If you love music, make it, buy it, go to see it live, don’t stream it, and please don’t pirate it, people’s livelihoods are tied up in it, and the taxes you pay on it go towards running civil society.

All The Best,  

Yours, musically

Distance Left

EP – ‘Science is an Art’, coming soon initially to bandcamp (LINK), there will be a physical release but this will take a few months to get arranged, all proceeds go to me making better music in the future.