Thanks for listening

Thanks for listening-entretenimento-mileniostadium
Créditos: DR.

From my experience, there are varying types of artists, ranging from those who manage to suppress their natural urge to create, to those that can´t help but act on their natural gifts, no matter the costs.  A few of those manage to eek out a living, even fewer end up making an indelible mark.

The life of an artist has never been an easy one.  Everyone loves your work, but aren´t you going to get a real job?  Ever heard someone announce to friends or family that they were going into business for themselves?  The reactions will range from excitement, to doubt and fear.  “it’s risky”, most will say, “it takes courage”.  If, for instance, you announce you want to follow the path of a professional musician, then most will think you´re nuts.  Is it because most people don’t understand the calling of an artist?  That urge to create and to share said creation with others?  Bands play gigs for peanuts, sometimes even for free, just to get a chance to display their talents and imagination, I´ve been told that in some places musicians even have to pay, if they want to perform.  No respect.  Everyone loves to be entertained, but few want to pay for the privilege. 

The music business of today is like fast food.  People love the hit song, the single.  A few minutes later, we´re onto the next one.  Some of my fondest memories from back in the seventies is sitting in front of the stereo listening to an album while rifling through all the visual goodies that the cover and the sleeve had to offer.  Today it’s the single, purchased through a streaming platform, super-convenient, (we´re all about convenience these days), but nothing concrete, nothing to gaze at, nothing to put on the shelf, nothing to show off to your kids when they’re old enough to appreciate it.  Both my adult children are musicians.  My son composed an album and through him I see what a complex, emotional ordeal it is.  The songs have an order and every song has its own artwork with the lyrics.  Mere mortals don’t understand the nuances, don´t understand how personal it is.  We´re just consumers, apparently, but, as older generations know full well, it hasn´t always been that way, although generations that were born post-internet don’t. Art has always been in a struggle with business.  Each depends on the other, but it seems that “in the old days” the artist had a bit more of a say when it came to the   business side of things.  Today, it seems to be a lot more one-sided.  Streaming platforms seem to be holding most of the cards.  I don´t know for sure, but maybe that´s why so many world-renown artists are selling their music catalogues to these platforms for enormous amounts of money, because royalties will bring their heirs next nothing in comparison.

Artists deserve a seat at the table.  They’re the ones that can evoke the real emotions in any of us, like no others.  Think of that, next time you get a head-rush from a song, or a book, a painting, a sculpture or a play.  It’s a part of our fabric.  Try getting along without it.

Fiquem bem.

Raul Freitas/MS

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