So this week was going to follow on from my last post, about copying/downloading music and how musicians need to find ways to innovate to survive: finding new ways of connecting with their audiences, marketing, distributing, and generally bypassing the established old order of the music industry.
But in between then and now I read a post over at The Occasional Musician that got me thinking about what music means to me. Lately, going to gigs has started to feel like a chore - not all the time, or every gig - but the ones where I don't know anything about the bands and am going only because someone wants photos of the gig.
I'd turn up, feeling like I could be dong any of the hundreds of other things that seem to make demands on my time, wait impatiently for the bands to start, stay long enough to get my photos and leave as early as I could. Often I'd get home and barely remember what the bands had sounded like. I'd be so focussed on getting photos and getting out that I wouldn't even pay attention to the music - my priorities had become twisted: the music is why I got into this game in the first place.
After reading Ian Rogers' post, I started to think about what gigs mean to me. It used to be all about the music, didn't matter who was playing, or where. I'd go along with like-minded friends, meet up with others there, with no expectations and just enjoy the music for what it was.
I think a lot of people involved with music spend too much time over-thinking things: where's music taking them, why should they spend their money on music, should they download that new album they like or go buy it, what if their friends laugh at them for liking that band over another, when will they get famous.
It helps sometimes to remind yourself of what music does for you, what it's always done. Whether you enjoy just listening to the radio on your way to work/school or wherever, if you can't wait for the weekend to go and discover new bands playing near you, if you only bother with music if it's a big name international act coming to town, or you're gigging five nights a week wondering when it's your turn to get a break, take some time every now and then to remember why you like music, and to remind yourself that music has been with us since we lived in caves. It will always be with us, and it will always affect us.
The last few gigs I've been to have been some of the most enjoyable of recent times. I stopped worrying about where music was going, sat back and just enjoyed the experience of being entertained by sound. And I just happened to get some great photos at the same time. Sometimes, that's all you need.