Being An Artist In The 21st Century

II want to talk about art.

You, the artist, have been born into a cultural sludge I like to call the ‘post-noughties 21st Century’; critics everywhere call it a cultural oblivion – music is dead.

This all comes down to a simple misunderstanding about where the music world is headed.

The sludge is this gloop of all the music created now; there is more than ever. The way to avoid this gloop is not to stop making music or to upload your music to every social network available, indeed; social networks are not the answer either. The answer is developing an audience focused on YOU. In a world where attention is scarce, it is artists who have built something that intrigues, and who have the attention of an audience that will win.

This doesn’t happen with your average rainy tuesday afternoon music, it happens with the exceptional; through the chill, the slow, the heavy, the soft. As musicians reveal themselves through their art, so listeners make their love of the artist known through investing in their world – because it’s something they’ve come to associate with.

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Know that a record deal is zero now. You don’t NEED the established gatekeeper. You’re aiming for Oxford or Harvard when in reality you need neither right now. What you need is the drive to do what no-one else is. The only territory worth exploring as an artist is the area without the map – the place where you need to lead the way.

Art is about the new, the fresh, the exciting.

To be an artist becomes; why me? Waiting to be picked is effectively doing nothing at all. Novelists can’t afford to spend their lives waiting for a publisher to choose them anymore so they build an audience, collaborate with other writers and build connections globally.

Everyday should be a trial by fire exercise in seeing what works and what really doesn’t. Artists are really bad with rejection, because art is one of those things, that it hurts when you’re speared in the side. Know that being scared of rejection means you are doing something really close to the bone – something that matters to you, and that matters more than anything.

You innovate and change. There’s no such thing as failing. You don’t get ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than those guys over there. There is no better or worse in music, only ‘listened to’ and ‘not listened to’.

Music is not a neutral exercise – some people will always be pissed off with everything.

There is a future to music, of course. Yours starts when the clock hand reaches the next minute; what are you going to start today?

Marco writes at on the the new way of doing things. For the artists, entrepreneurs and creative geniuses of the digital generation who are exploiting the internet to start their own stuff.