Coming to terms with the cost of listening.
At the end of last week a friend wrote to tell me that his son had a new EP ready and that I should check it out on bandcamp. The EP consists of four songs and has a total playing time of maybe ten minutes. I was having a very busy day at work when the email arrived so I did not log on and listen right away, nor did I listen when I got home because I had to feed the babies and put them to bed, nor did I listen after the babies were sound asleep because then I had to help with dinner, nor did I listen after dinner because I wanted to talk to my wife for a few minutes nor did I listen before going to bed because I wanted to go bed and also I was tired and did not want to listen to my friend’s son’s music when I was so sleepy I would hardly be able to pay attention to it.
But guess how many days passed before I finally did listen.
And when I slipped on my headphones at last and hit play I felt rushed as there were so many other things I could have been doing, maybe even should have been doing. And it hit me. In the world of musicians many of us fret about how no one listens to our stuff, no one pays for it, no one tells their friends about it and anyone can get our music for nothing but here’s the thing: asking someone to listen to your music is asking a lot because it takes time and time is nothing like US currency. You can’t earn it, you can’t print it, you can’t trade it for time that will hold its value better. Nope, time is time and it's the world's most precious commodity and the one thing we always want more of.
And I finally started to feel a little better about my friends and acquaintances not listening to my stuff RIGHT AWAY or clicking Like on FB when I post a song or commenting here on my blog about a tune because the truth is they’re not ignoring me or slighting me or intending to make me feel low and sad (though I do); nope, they, just like me, have a lot on their plate and taking time to listen to a song, especially more than once and then take some sort of action (hit Like, write me note, share), is something they might intend to do but don’t because life just takes over. I should know because that’s what I do all the time. I intend to listen to a track, I plan to watch a video, I mean to read a blog post and then I don’t but not because I decided “nah, screw it, who cares” but rather because something else came along that was more pressing.
Back when I was 19 things were different, I had a lot more discretionary time, but not now and maybe never again. Family, work... they are non-stop, that’s just the way it is. And the simple truth is that if people take time out of their day to listen to my tunes, that’s no small thing. It’s a huge thing because they are taking some time they will never get back and using it to listent to my stuff. No greater compliment could be paid. So to all of you out there who have listened I very much appreciate your effort! And to those who have not, I totally understand. (And I will keep pestering you!).