I almost made this a podcast topic (like I do with most blog ideas, hence the lack of updates), but then I decided to diversify my bonds and post it here. Instead of doing my usual "put you in the scene" writing for this, I will just ramble about it on my own. There are several types of performers I see in my travels, but today I will focus on one specific group: train singers.
It wasn't long ago that I started seeing a duo walking the aisles on my commute home. I thought nothing of it, since people wander up and down asking for change all the time. So I figured they were attacking in a pair for double sympathy.
And then they started singing. And do you know what? They weren't bad.
They began their pitch saying they were taking donations for studio time, trying to "do something positive" for the city. I was intrigued by this, since I'd never seen anything like it on my ride. But I didn't donate because a) I'm broke and b) I can't buy into their reasoning.
If this was 1996, I would be totally behind this. I might even steal the idea (assuming I'm also 28 in this past). Recording a demo basically had to be done in a studio, which cost a good chunk of change - and still does. So it would have made sense then since there weren't a ton of options.
But today? Almost anyone can record music on his computer and send it to a big wig. Will the quality be great? That depends on the producers and their equipment, but having even a raw demo can at least gain the group a following. And plenty of software (and/or a smartphone app) is free, so it's hard for me to get behind this cause.
So for me, these "live demos" raise two questions:
Where exactly is that money going?
What is the "something positive" they claim to be doing for the city?
Assuming they have access to modern equipment, getting music made and heard is super easy. (Don't believe it? Click here to listen to my songs. Yay, internet!)
I get that studio-produced songs will sound better, and help you get closer to "making it," and I don't fault anyone for trying. But self-producing is not all that difficult, and can earn enough change to
And maybe the bigger hangup is that something positive will come out of this for me. Maybe I'm just a scrooge, but I don't see how these dudes getting into the studio to finish a mixtape (those are still a thing, right?) benefits me. If you want to make music, go for it. I love the passion. I love the enthusiasm. But just say that. You don't need to sugarcoat it. Not everyone will see this as a positive. Hell, a lot of people may not even care. It just seems silly to me that these guys feel the need to put a spin on their pitch, when all they need to do is be real. (Also when they finished the song, they clapped for themselves. WEAK.)
If nothing else, though, it sounds better than the usual sob stories we commuters hear every day. And now that I think about it, I haven't seen them in quite some time. Is it safe to assume their plan worked and they were discovered? I say yes. So I guess the lesson is: Go out there and be somebody!
Or something like that.