It’s healthy to stop in your tracks and assess whether you’re still doing things right… audio tracks that is. Like many other things, today’s art world is dominated by the internet. And the internet in turn is dominated by “content”.
As a music artist, it’s getting increasingly hard not to get infected by this disease and put out content instead of music. If you know what I mean, you know you got to constantly check yourself and return to your artist essence. If you don’t, read on.
Content Vs. Art: The Difference
See, content is a drug. For the content creator as much as for the content consumer. The idea of “content,” as we understand it today, is to put out a piece of writing, music, image, or video, to reach as many consumers as possible. You are creating for others.
You’re no longer putting your ideas or your feelings out there, however quiet and intimate. Instead, you’re publishing middle-of-the-road and easily digestible crap and kind of force it on the audience. Nothing’s personal anymore. Nothing’s different, let alone innovating.
Art comes from the gut. Art is you, at your most visceral state. Art is when you create a song because something inside of you is rumbling and wants to come out. Whether anyone else would ever like it or make sense out of it has no importance. It just needs to come out.
Music used to be meritocratic. Artists created music from their gut, and when those artists’ personal creations appealed to an audience, they would give them a stage to hear what else they had in their guts. They became famous. Now all that has changed.
What Happens When Art And Content Collide?
With the internet, music creation and consumption became democratic. Everyone’s creating it. And most creators nowadays want to skip the artist’s process and get right to fame. It’s all about internet traffic, hits, views, and likes.
So, what happens when art and content collide? You get a whole load of the same bland crap. No one’s putting their heart out, anymore. No one is taking the risk of being disliked or misunderstood for what’s really going on, inside. The internet has caused music, and art in general, to flatline.
How To Create Music As Art
So, you consider yourself an artist? Do you want to get back to creating Art with a capital A? Start by turning off your computer. Disconnect from the world and plug into yourself, instead.
Whether you’re about to create a classical opus, a pop song, or movie SFX, start your creative journey away from the internet. Reconnect with the real world. Your imagination and creativity will easily beat any high-speed fiber-optic connection.
You’re disconnected. Now what? Well, that’s the beauty. There’s no set 5-step process. No secret formula. The only recurring theme in any artistic process is that you need to make time for it. That’s why many artists are night birds. The clocks don’t tick at night. The rest of the process is totally up to you. It’s 100% organic and personal.
But, when you’re done creating your song, check yourself. How does this song make you feel?
Does it elicit an emotional reaction in you? It’s your creation, so it should. It should be important to you. If it doesn’t make you smile, cry, or at least tap your feet, then you need to jump back in and add some heart to it.
Will this be a good song a year from now? That’s the next question you should ask yourself. Does the song take you back to your original feeling? Or maybe it stirs completely new feelings? Both cases are signs that you created something great. In true art, the original meaning of a piece matters to the creator.
It’s interesting to the audience, for sure. But, true art elicits personal meaning to anyone who experiences it. If it has the same meaning to everyone, the artist included, then it’s bland and superficial. Then it’s content.
If your song checked the last two questions, then you created art. Now there’s a third and last question that will let you know whether you created popular art. The word popular comes from the Latin word Populus which simply means “people”. So you want to find out whether your art appeals to people and taps into the human experience?
The best way to find out is to put your art out there. Have friends and family hear it. Publish it online and see how the worldwide community reacts to it. If your song does generate many hits and engagement, then you created popular art. If not, you still created art.
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