The musician’s advantage

by Radio Somewhere

U2’s giveaway of their new album to iTunes account holders last month only made the briefest of blips on my radar screen.

I was reminded of it today when I read that Bono is having second thoughts about the stunt. It did indeed show up in my list of purchases — but I haven’t downloaded it. Some people were angry at finding the music in their library with no way to delete it.

But that’s the way it is with music. Musicians like to flatter themselves that everyone wants to hear them — and music is a very easy creative form to force on people, especially in a shared space. If you are a musician playing with amplification at an art fair you can be pretty sure everyone heard you play — whether they wanted to or not. However, the visual artists have to hope to get the attention of people walking by long enough to stop and look for a while.

It’s even harder for those who write. If you ask someone to read something you have written, in all likelihood that will not happen. But, if you show up at their house, guitar in hand, and ask them to listen to your latest song — they are probably going to grant you the courtesy of listening — even if only for the one song. And then you can just go and bother someone else:)