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Choosing A Genre And Embracing Its Trade-offs

You're familiar with the term "target audience". In the music scene, we often refer to it as "your crowd"—the group of people for whom you're writing your music. But there's an important distinction between creating a product for a target audience and creating music for a crowd.

As a musician, you'll find that there's going to be at least some overlap between what you love and what your crowd loves. And you probably already understand that the extent of that overlap is entirely up to you. Unfortunately, though, a lot of musicians find it hard to accept the fact that there are also trade-offs that come along with that choice.

It's a spectrum. On one extreme, you're creating music for an audience that you're not a part of. Maybe you love Cannibal Corpse and despise dance music, but you choose to create in the latter genre because you find it more lucrative.

On the other extreme, you're creating music that fulfils you uncompromisingly. Maybe you're in love with the ukulele and decide to have a ukulele-fronted thrash metal band.

There's nothing wrong with either extreme as long as you're fulfilling your goals. But you also need to live with the trade-offs of your decision.

If you're completely outside of the crowd you're creating music for, you must come to terms with creating for others, rather than for yourself. And if you're creating exclusively for yourself, you might find that the crowd is a tiny one.

Of course, most musicians will find themselves somewhere in the middle, juggling trade-offs from either extremity. But the compromises are always there.

I bring this up because, as someone who has chosen to play prog metal, I'm aware that my crowd (at least locally) is a very small one. Yes, it's disheartening to have a small turnover for a gig. But it comes with the territory, and I embrace it.

Now, I know that many of you prescribe to the idea that, "we're a small scene, we should support bands even if we don't like their music". If that's how you feel, you have my thanks and respect. But if you don't, I don't blame you. Maybe the very idea of prog makes your stomach churn, so why would I expect you to spend your time and money to show up at my show? Music is something that should be enjoyed, not force-fed.

When you embrace the trade-offs brought about by your artistic choices, you'll find that your creative process becomes more fulfilling. And as a result, your crowd will enjoy it more.

To me, the entire purpose of music is to elicit some sort of emotional response in people. If you can do that with your music, and you can keep that goal as your guiding star, then it doesn't matter whether your crowd can pack a stadium or barely fill the restrooms at The Garage. You'll be doing what you were meant to do — moving people.

And that's all that matters.

Cedric is probably best known for his role as bass player in local prog-metal band Twenty-Six Other-Worlds, and more recently for his brief stint as a session bassist for Damaged & Co.

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3 תגובות

Someone needs to talk about why in the alternative scene Metal is the only appreciated genre in this country, if it's not full of silly pointy Latin words or the "brutal" lyrics and chugs or 100 notes a minute no one supports it noone gives a shit....wheres the variation in events?? Sure there's some doom metal and stoner rock and prog but Where's the punk? The heavy blues and heavy rock? Why is this country so cursed?! Personally, I can say I never found my home in the Maltese music scene, I gag at most available events and can't help but feel alone in the genres that I like in a Music scene that's already small. I am forced to…

15 במרץ 2023
בתשובה לפוסט של

There is a lot of diversity in the country. I, for one, am not the kind of person who supports every act because I can't get myself to spend my money on an event for which I'm gonna spend my time outside and not paying attention at the music.

I'm very specific in my music taste and yet to this point in time there aren't any live bands in my specific taste. Since I don't have the option to see acts in those styles, I make my own music in those styles and play with bands of similar styles.

The music I make individually will at some point be played live but for now I have to make due with…

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