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Meanings of music (1/n)

Photo: Rolling Stone Magazine

Some random thoughts about music making.

I don’t listen to as much music as I’d like to. The funny thing is that listening to music I like, inspires me and makes me want to go an make more music. This doesn’t mean copying the songs I just heard: what music inspires in me is the desire to sit down and create. The problem is that you cannot listen to music and compose at the same time!

I’m not into marketing. I’m not into business. I’m definitely into music, specifically music making. However, it’s nothing new that nowadays it’s very hard for a musician to create music and wait for somebody else to do the rest. Internet has pushed music-making and social media marketing together, to the point that they are just different sides of the same thing.

Sometimes I wonder if one could ignore all that and just compose a bunch of songs, upload them somewhere and forget about it. Just for the sake of composing music. I sometimes think I’d like to do that. However, it doesn’t seem enough. The phrase “no one forms a band to remain anonymous“, describes the feeling much better (I remember this phrase was also part of a 1994 article of the Rolling Stone magazine about the life and death of Kurt Cobain).

It’s hard to define what music means, beyond physical terms. But there are many pieces that could help building a picture. And to my surprise, some of them arise from music marketing. Like this, from a very nice Andrew Dubber’s article:

You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume. But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it

This relates to the ability of music to become more that a piece of sound. Our unconscious mind creates links between music and situations, people, places, and those links are hard to break. They even get stronger with time.

We, as listeners, usually don’t only appreciate music by itself exclusively, but also by these links we create. And as musicians, our most important task is sharing our sounds so people can unveil these hidden meanings.

This way we can build the soundtrack for our lives.

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