French food and the music industry
About two years ago I became incredibly interested in French culture and French cooking. As someone who inhales their food to get on to the next task, the idea of sitting around for hours letting every taste bud soak up every ounce of flavor was a completely foreign concept to me. What was even more foreign was the thought of spending an entire day preparing and cooking a meal. Until one day I actually tried it and it all made sense. I prepared a gorgeous French stew called ‘beef bourguignon’ and it was beyond glorious. It took nearly 5 hours from beginning to end and it was worth every second. The thing was it wasn’t that difficult to prepare. The ingredients were simple enough, the execution was pretty straight forward, but it was the actual roasting that took up a large chunk of time. A low, slow heat was the trick. And it was soooo worth it in the end.
If food like beef bourguignon is so incredibly delicious and prepared by scratch, why don’t we cook it more often? Or why don’t we take the time to make a delicious meal, with healthy ingredients, and let it cook in a way that brings the best out of it? It’s all goes back to something we have no patience for...time.
Why do some of us, as an industry of musicians and business professionals, settle for the “fast food” of music? Why do we want to just churn out something quick, easy and not very good, to see if it sticks? How do we expect people to actually buy it? Have we festered consumers who will just settle for the mediocre efforts being churned out? Has the music industry turned into the fast food industry?
And why are some artists so anxious to be instantly “famous” as a flash in the pan act rather than honing their craft, giving it time to build a dedicated audience and create a career? Again, we have become a culture and industry that wants things to happen right away to be instantly satisfied. That instant satisfaction doesn’t produce longevity. Patience produces a career.
If we think that pumping out an incredibly mediocre (or flat out awful) product, or watered down versions the original, are going to bring back the days of the old industry, we are in a dream world. If you are an artist, take your time to create something excellent. Develop your craft. This isn’t a race. It’s not an imaginary competition. It’s your career.
And as an industry, we need to demand excellence, but more importantly, PROVIDE excellence. We need to step up and mentor artists & music business students to provide them with the insight and direction they need. Hoarding information is not power...it’s just doing more harm to an already dying industry.
It’s good to have goals and ambition. But don’t rush it...let it stew. Rushing into anything hardly ever proves to be successful.