Some thoughts on the indie music scene

Friendly Timo

I write my blog posts to share my personal experience with my music and career developments for people who follow me, and also for my peers in the industry.  This entry is written for the latter, but hopefully will be interesting to others who follow me.

The release of my debut EP, arisTotal, has now been done and I’ve engaged in a campaign to promote it around the media and all over the internet (with help of Starwing Digital, and Ginger Vine Promotions in Finland.)  It has been an interesting and even humbling experience to get to know the current circumstances of this rather tough and unforgiving marketplace for many of us!

I set out my goals to be very simple, realistic and straightforward: I simply wanted to let people in the marketplace know about my existence. I think this is everything these days, and delving into the matter revealed to me the entirety of it: there is enormous over saturation of all kinds of music that is being pushed 24/7 to almost every single media, and they are having an extremely hard time to filter through all of it to make heads or tails of it all. There’s a whole lot of good music out there too; an enormous amount of talent and great ideas waiting to be heard, or even get the exposure they deserve. This proves to be a major challenge in this marketplace.

But no, the purpose of this post is not to bitch and moan about the situation of this marketplace for indie music, or the challenges that all of us newcomers face to get our thing heard and recognized. I write about this because, as I’ve been doing my grassroots work at Twitter (I am new to Twitter …at 2019!), I’ve seen a lot of my fellow colleagues struggling with this issue. Some being very inpatient or sad about not getting their name out, and some overly aggressive with their promotion. While most of you are doing a great job managing yourself, I can’t help but to reflect on these thoughts and take a deeper look into what the hell are we doing anyway. Why the hell are we even doing this music thing for?

So, Timo, what the hell are we doing?

I could provide some keys to be comfortable with your musical career by first answering this question: why do you even want to write and publish music? If it’s money you’re after, I’m sorry to say this, but our world is filled with a lot more lucrative opportunities to make money than the music business. It really is a fool’s task to get rich with it starting from the bottom up. So much work and time and uncertainty is involved to make this a viable reason, provided that you still hold an ability to view the your world from a sane and reasonable perspective.

Is it the recognition of yourself as a person, fame and attention you’re after? I would argue that this kind of path is full of disappointments and guaranteed to leave you feeling hollow and incomplete, with plenty of insecurities about how you perceive yourself. Many of you are after this singular goal, never entertaining a question of why you seek validation through others. Surely if you are comfortable being yourself, you must also believe in yourself and know yourself enough to believe in yourself? Of course all of our actions are ultimately based on an imbalance between what we are and what we want to become, but seeking fame, recognition, and attention might be the ultimate appearance of this imbalance and ones crisis of identity. I don’t think it would be a healthy path to pursue, or at minimum, not rewarding or fulfilling. To be fair, this is simply my opinion based on the way I view the world.

How I tend to look at it is that there are people involved in this field who are there to either receive or to provide. Receivers are expecting attention, gratification, fame and fortune. They are typically very impatient, envious of each others successes, competitive, and often end up being outright hostile to one another. Then we have the providers, who have the right attitude, in my opinion. These folks have a totally different mindset that is geared toward real and dynamic success. They work hard simply to share their work with others, and they are genuinely interested in the works of others. They share the music and projects of others, support them, and work together for the joy of expressing themselves in their respectful communities.

However, this alone does not complete the equation of surviving in the music industry. When you have your mindset right about what you’re doing and why, you also have to have the ability to persist and keep on doing your thing for years and years, even when you’re not getting much attention or recognition for your work. There are many musical acts that have been absolute nobodies for almost a decade before breaking deeper into public consciousness. This perseverance is what it takes to make your name. Meanwhile, let’s just not worry about it too much, and let’s have a blast doing what we love. Music for the music’s sake. It’s all about the feels, sharing, caring and having fun with it with one another.

Of course, I speak on the authority of myself only and I admit my thoughts and advice should be taken with that in mind, but I still want to share this with you in hopes it would possibly help you on your journey as an artist, to help you push through without needlessly torturing yourself with these negative feelings. You are not alone.  Additionally, networking–on and off of social media–is a vital key to success for indie artists and musicians.


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