the point

There’s a thread on MW called “What’s the point?” which asks:

Just saw on another thread a few people expressing regret about having spent loads of time/money on gear and not achieving much – got me thinking, what do you do it all for?

There are many good answers, of course. One of the common ones is it’s not about achievement and people should simply stop feeling guilty/regretful for pursuing an “unproductive” hobby. People make music (or even just sounds) for many reasons, and making doesn’t have to mean creating a product for someone else to consume.

I happen to like finishing and releasing albums — even if they’re self-published and earn maybe a few bucks and a few nice comments at most. It’s certainly not meant to be a money-making endeavor, and it’s not about recognition or validation. I’m generally an anxious type, but one area where I feel quite confident is that I make some pretty good music. That’s according to my own tastes, but I’m also confident that my musical taste is valid.

I could just finish individual tracks and share them, but to me there’s still something of value in the album. I like listening to them for one, rather than skipping around at random. And to me the format both demands and creates a bit more coherence and continuity, and sets a somewhat higher expectation of quality. In some cases I’ve also played to the format with longer “suites” of several sessions that flow together. “Packaging” it all with a name and some artwork feels like it adds something too.

I really do all of this just for myself, not to please an audience. I think that’s the most honest thing one can do in the arts. But it’s nice that some other people happen to like what I do — I love getting comments, and appreciate that some folks are willing to throw a little bit of financial encouragement as well — so, thank you to those who are doing either of those things. And really, thank you to anyone who’s even just listening, and I hope you get some enjoyment from it even though I’m not making it for you in particular. It just means you have interesting tastes. 🙂

My own opinion of my work varies — I thankfully have never gotten into a state where I dislike everything I’ve done and wonder why I bother. (That’s much more of a short-term thing; sometimes if I have two or three “failed” sessions in a row I can feel like I’ve lost my way.) But my opinions of various past work certainly do fall and rise over time. In the past, I’ve been surprised when musicians said in an interview that they dislike a particular album or song which I particularly liked, but now instead, I’m just wondering if they came back around on those opinions.

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