Accepting the Umbrella

(Photo by Petri Damsten)

In 1985, I was introduced to the music of King Crimson. My musical world changed literally overnight. I found I no longer had use for two thirds of my record collection, which consisted mostly of corporate rock and other popular records of the day. I was off in a new, more exciting direction of progressive rock, college rock, and jazz.

I spent the next decade-plus extolling the new musical avenues I had discovered, thanks to the path opened by the Great Crimson Renaissance. Moreover, I used every ounce of strength to denigrate and dismiss the popular music of the time. I believed it worthless, and had no problem telling people so. In time, I believed I could bring people around to my way of thinking.

Around 1997, I read an article in the now-defunct Musician magazine, explaining how commercial radio and the popular music industry really worked. Then and there, I realized I had been fighting a losing battle with ZERO hope of ever winning. The war was over. I conceded defeat. They do what they do, and I do what I do. We co-exist peacefully.

The same thing happened between myself and hip-hop, which I just knew was a trend and not worthy as a true musical art form. Over the years, I’ve come to see how wrong I was. Not only is hip-hop not a passing fancy, there is some positively brilliant music and artists to be found. Even in middle age, I grow increasingly enthusiastic about the form and I relish learning about new and classic artists. Lesson learned.

Sooner or later, you have to stop shouting at the rain. That’s a tough lesson to learn, especially when you have adopted the family’s notorious stubborn streak.

Well, here we go again.

For years, I have railed vehemently against music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. Why? Economics. Specifically, artists are paid a pittance for getting their music streamed. We’re talking literal fractions of pennies here! Musicians work hard. They deserve to get paid.

Alas, the modern music industry doesn’t see things the same way. Today’s music consumers (particularly the younger ones) have distanced themselves from physical media, preferring to stream tunes on their phones. I still find that ridiculous and take a great deal of pride in my music collection. I will buy records and CDs until the day I die.

But here’s the thing:

One of my goals for 2022 is to establish CirdecSongs as a brand, as opposed to just a moniker. The audience I have now is mostly middle-aged, like me. But I would like to bring in younger people as well. I know this is possible, because I have personally influenced a few. They’ve told me as much. BUT … they don’t buy records and CDs. They go straight for the streaming services.

If I’m going to establish and expand my brand (and draw in a younger audience), I have to adapt. I have to accept the modern music industry for what it is. I have to stop shouting at the rain and make use of the available umbrella.

To that end, I’m giving very serious thought to creating a bi-monthly Spotify playlist. I’m taking a poll in my Facebook group to gauge enthusiasm. So far, the numbers appear to support the idea. Time, it seems, to open the umbrella.

This is the first step into a new world. There will be a couple of other modern developments as the year goes on. It’s time to adapt. It’s time to change.

It feels a LOT drier under here.


Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell.

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