It’s fine to dream big, but re­al­ity al­ways bites

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - JIM CAR­ROLL

I’ve been think­ing about the dream­ers again be­cause there are still a lot of them out there. When it comes to at­tract­ing the wild and the in­no­cent, there’s no other game in town like the mu­sic busi­ness.

In sport, by com­par­i­son, the reck­on­ing hap­pens ear­lier in the day. The wannabes and gonna-bes rarely get far enough down the road to harm them­selves or any­one else. It’s much the same in other dis­ci­plines and sec­tors: you ei­ther have the smarts to make the cut or you don’t.

With mu­sic, though, it’s dif­fer­ent. You can keep on truck­ing as long as the dream per­sists. It takes years for re­al­ity to set in and for peo­ple to re­alise that the jig is up and they re­ally should have cho­sen some­thing else if they wanted to make a liv­ing from it. There can only be one Ed Sheeran or Adele or Chris­tine & The Queens for a rea­son.

The vol­ume of dream­ers who come over the hill never lessens. I’ve lost count of the num­ber who’ve come this way, talked large, threw the nec­es­sary shapes and failed to make the cut, leav­ing only a whiff of what-might-have-been in their wake.

Yes, many of these seemed to be set for suc­cess. Most had al­ready passed the early tests and had built up a de­cent head of steam with la­bels, pro­mot­ers, me­dia hawk­ers and the like, yet the ma­jor­ity failed to con­nect.

To be fair to the dream­ers (and ob­servers), most shone for a mo­ment or two. There’d be a track here or a gig there that made them stand out . We’d pass their name to other tal­ent scouts and scene watch­ers and wait for them to flour­ish. But 99 times out of 100, it didn’t work out. Cue be­wil­der­ment, anger, re­gret, con­fu­sion and res­ig­na­tion – and that’s on this side of the fence

There are boxes of the mu­sic these acts cre­ated now gath­er­ing dust in at­tics and base­ments and ware­houses and land­fills world­wide. The com­bined cash spent on get­ting them match-fit and busi­ness-ready would prob­a­bly pay for wa­ter charges, Garda re­form, new hos­pi­tals and have enough left over to give hard-pressed TDs a 10 per cent raise.

Tech-led dis­rup­tion has ac­cel­er­ated and ac­cen­tu­ated this trend rather than al­le­vi­ate it. About 15 years ago, many acts and mu­si­cians used to think that tech­nol­ogy would do away with the gate­keep­ers and they’d live hap­pily ever after as a re­sult. While tech did oblit­er­ate en­try-level fil­ter roles, it went on to nix ev­ery­thing else in its path while it was at it. If gigo­nomics were bad then, they’re bru­tal now.

Yet peo­ple keep com­ing on to the pitch to have a go. Mu­si­cians still per­se­vere with the no­tion that the big hit is around the cor­ner if only the stars would align and ra­dio DJs would play their tunes and fes­ti­vals would pay them in cash rather than beer. They’d be bet­ter off buy­ing a scratch card if that’s what they’re after. Just be­cause you can play the gui­tar doesn’t mean that mu­sic owes you a liv­ing.

The dream­ers, though, keep on com­ing. Part of you wants to stop them be­fore it all gets too un­pleas­ant, but they’re adults for the most part so they should know what they’re do­ing.

But we’re op­ti­mists in this cor­ner, so there’s also a part of us which wants these acts to have a good go of it. You still want them to come along and shake things up. You still want them to dream big about what might be. That and write some bloody great songs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.