making music in public

the isolated past of music making and it’s public future

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At the DIY Musician conference I had a great conversation about the how the music making process is becoming more transparent because of the internet with Dan Arwady from YouTube. I told him I make a song every day.

Last October I started an experiment where I made a song and published it every day for 365 days. I mainly did it as a way to catch up since hadn’t rapped or produced in years. I crowdsourced song topics, beats to trap over, and livestreamed myself freestyling and writing songs, and making beats. I have a lot of ideas for Twitch/interactive music making. We have seen subtle versions of this before.

He mentioned how people in the younger generation, like my age—because in his early 30s—are more likely to upload more raw music and share it. He talked about how people get to see your process and see you improve over time and that’s authenticity.

And authenticity is hugely valuable. It’s a large part of your brand as an artist. I told him people want to see behind the scenes of musicians they like. So it makes sense to share more than just the most polished high-quality end result. It also makes sense to share things that are more early, unfinished. Share your process. Maybe give your fans an opportunity to interact and influence the end result.

How much value could sharing your process bring? If you ever thought about writing a book, check out Ryan Holiday’s writeup on how he wrote The Perennial Seller.

Dan said back in his day labels and management teams would push the artist to polish it completely and never send an unfinished product.

This made me realize the dichotomy. The traditional, solo, Bon Iver style deep work creative purist method is on one side. The 21st century Internet enabled twitch/live stream fan-engaged loose, open-ended recording session is on the other side.

Also, movies get pre-screened. Why shouldn’t your songs? Industry studio sessions often have multiple songwriters collaborating. Why shouldn’t you have writing collaborators? This doesn’t have to be public.

DIY musicians should realize this is their competitive advantage. Embrace making in the open. Livestreaming is only second to in person interactions as far as intimacy and community building goes.

The least fun part of making a song or publishing in my newsletter every day is doing it alone. The creative process doesn’t have to be a solo quest like quest love talked about performing with no audience

I secretly hope creating out in the open will help me find other prolific creatives to proliferate with.