The Technium gets ambient musician Robert Rich’s thoughts on “The Reality of Depending on True Fans”. He raises some interesting points.
The following is mentioned in passing:
Companies can use demographic models and track people’s search patterns to pander to their initial tastes and to strengthen those tastes, rather than broaden their horizons.
We are definitely more interested in new horizons and get puzzled by otherwise reviews (of our releases or anyone else’s) that say that a recording is perhaps “not for everyone” – as if anything other than air can be (that’s “air” with a small “a”, not “Air” the (French) band of course). Well, anyway, Robert Rich is a “big name” from where we’re standing but apparently even he won’t always get more than 30 people to turn out to his gigs. Bear that in mind the next time someone starts ranting that musicians should (sic) survive on T-shirt sales and playing live…
I feel in retrospect like I snuck in under the collapsing framework of independent distribution, at a time where small companies could cast a medium-sized fishing net, to catch the interest of listeners who would otherwise never have known they liked this type of music.
So, the Robert Riches of tomorrow should not give up the day job, since they will need it to support their musical activities.. but for those who can find the time outside work, there is unprecedented musical freedom since pandering to an audience is no longer a requirement. Of course, having basic consideration for some sort of audience (real or potential or hypothetical) is polite and a precaution against total self-indulgence. Well, read that article if you haven’t yet – it’s more interesting than this!