Some people don’t understand why I give all of my music away free on my site. They think it devalues it or me or music in general. First of all, I have to tell people that while I may sometimes say, “My music is all free on my site.”, I do that to save time, it’s actually not just free. It’s available free, or with a donation, which is how I usually describe it. I’m just giving people the option to decide for themselves what my music is worth to them.
I don’t really think of music in terms of value much anymore. I’m more focused on my primary musical urges, which, unlike my ambition, have led me to nothing but pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. Those urges, as far back as I can remember are to 1. Put the truth into words 2. Set those words to music 3. Sing them and 4. Be heard. Being liked and making money, which would be 5. and 6., are not what I’d call primary urges.
Any hunger I felt for fame and fortune in the past, now seems more connected to my insecurities than to any genuine bodily or spiritual need. I’m certainly not indifferent to money and attention. I need to make a living and living a creative life is always a dicey proposition financially. But I have no interest in riding the fame and fortune, hope and disappointment, roller coaster anymore. High or low doesn’t really matter much if you’re still on a frickin’ roller coaster, high will become low and low will become high soon enough. After a few thousand times on the ride, I got tired of it. So I got off.
I decided to focus on the aspects of music that have always held my head and heart: expressing myself musically and being heard. I also figured the best, fastest and easiest way to be heard was to play anywhere I could locally that was a good match for my music, post a lot of music videos on youtube, and give all my music away free on my site. But then I thought, since I’m giving it away free, why not give people an opportunity to give something back if they felt like doing so. So I put a digital tip jar up on the site. So now, I give it away freely and I see what freely comes back. I don’t think playing for tips is the same thing as playing for free.
My focus is on what I enjoy most, which is the creative work. I do make money performing live and hosting Open Mikes and such. I occasionally sell a few CD’s. I get digital tips now and then. There is a financial side to this, but I’m not focused on it much. I work on the quality of my products and performance and on the logistics of keeping everything running smoothly. Things like updating my on-line gig calendars, keeping track of income and expenses, answering emails and sending thank-yous, promoting shows, posting songs and videos, recording, mixing and mastering CD’s, arranging graphics, keeping track of lyrics and works in progress, writing more songs, performing and working the bugs out of them…I enjoy all this work. It seems like good work to me. I’ve never enjoyed playing music more and I don’t miss the roller coaster one bit.
To tip me, please visit www.GeneBurnett.com.