Don’t dilute your product in order to make money
Here is a little followup to my last post about starving artists. In talking to Maria further, she made another interesting observation. In her opinion, a mistake that many artists make in trying to figure out how to make money, is to underestimate their audience. She commented that some musicians seem to think that if they write or present a particular kind of music, they will get a certain audience. A dilemma can occur if they happen to get lucky and are successful in gaining that audience. If they suddenly do an about face and say “that’s not really who I am.” “Let me show you what I really do,” they will lose the audience, because those fans were on board for what the artist was doing at the time. They came to the concert just for that.
For orchestras a prevailing mindset is often, “Let’s dumb down our music by doing Broadway or movie night at the Pops. We’ll get them in the door, win them over, and then we’ll show them what good music (read: our classical series) really is.” The most important thing is to be devoted to developing you own craft and your own voice. If you give it with passion and belief, when your audience does find you, they will be getting the best of what you have to offer.
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I couldn’t agree with you more. As a classical musician, it is frustrating when great orchestras play “popular” music just to attract a more hip crowd. If you are performing something that you just aren’t into, your audience will notice the lack of passion.