A world without music
A SIlent World
The Artist's value has steeply declined for the last couple of decades. As streaming platforms set the standard for how art is consumed our appetites have increased without considering the dire state artists are in. It's imperative that we address issues with this model and assure that basic needs for artists are met. Thoughtful original musical composition is the union of the rational and irrational, of order and feeling, if we do not change how we support artists we will be left consuming soulless A.I. generated music. Let's consider those who have committed their lives to making it...
Windsong compiled vignettes of real musicians who are struggling, they represent many stories, not one person. Mental health issues are rampant in the music community. These stories may be triggering or cause you to feel deeply. Please reach out for more information or if you are struggling with Mental Health.
Text 988 to talk to someone 24/7.
Email Kelli Redfield (pre-licensed MFT) if you need a referral in California.
The Singer connects with the audience by weaving the truths of her existence into melody - depression from the reality of the "gigging economy" and lack of basic needs being met. The audience remains oblivious, unaware that the performer's struggle is all too real. They laugh at the starving artist trope; for her, day to day life is not some exaggerated story but an unforgiving reality. The show goes on, her voice resonating through the theater, conveying a sobering authenticity that falls on deaf ears.
The Singer hasn't seen a consistent monthly paycheck in years, is often late to pay rent, and hasn't been to the doctor for regular checkups.
After the lights go down, the Drummer of an Uber Pop Star returns to a modest apartment, with barely enough food in the fridge to get him through the week. He can't qualify for a mortgage despite having recorded on chart-topping hits. Inflation swallows his resources. Touring slows to a trickle and royalty checks dwindle despite staggering streaming numbers. Behind the scenes, his contributions are long forgotten and compensation was spent months before the check would ever make it to his overdrawn account.
Night after night he cant seem to get ahead, no matter how many hits bear his distinctive beats.. Making rent requires leaving his family for weeks at a time, missing games, parent-teacher conferences, and birthdays.
On the road, a steady cocktail of aspirin and whiskey numb the stabbing tooth pain that's persisted for years. He plays through the ache, thinking of his kids back home, growing up without him. In those arena spotlights, he pours out all he has as he smiles on cue, but the allure of the road has long worn off.
The Indie Band
Headlines read, " 2 week run in the top 20!!" Their debut EP has garnered praise from critics and fans, songs have accumulated hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify. Payouts from streaming and touring expenses may force the band to reconsider their dreams.
Popular streaming platforms earn only $4 for every $100 generated by subscribers listening to their catalog. Streaming admin takes the remaining revenue for overhead and profits. The band estimates they earn $0.004-0.005 per individual stream which gets split even 4 ways. The model that dominates mass-music consumption has only furthered diminishing artist revenues.
Play-listing on platforms like Spotify gives power to the few gatekeepers that choose which artists will get their next 15 minutes under the spotlight. Carefully crafted songs that are brilliantly produced no longer insure who will find an audience without such playlist placement.
Chasing "the Algorithm" on the follow up recording has resulted in lack-lustre streaming numbers resulting in frustration and volatile arguments. Though the bands passion still burns, the drug of chasing their musical dream proves untenable. Critical acclaim and artistic vision matter less than ruthless streaming math for working musicians today.
This vignette represents countless real-life bands navigating similar crossroads. Without real compensation, likes on a page don't sustain a musical career, proving that dreams and hard work don't pay the rent...
The Silent Struggle
Many Artists struggle in silence with the epidemic of mental health issues. Suicide, unfortunately, has shaken the music industry, and the aftermath is not unlike a devastating hurricane. The risk has only increased after pandemic as Artists continue to pursue making beauty through adversity. The resilience of Artists is waining.