Musicians as self-publishers

A very cool article appeared this weekend in the New York Times Magazine. If it wasn’t for the title, “Sex, Drugs, and Updating your Blog,” I’d post it as a resource on Publish Me! But, well, . . . anyway it’s a terrific account of what can happen when artists (in this case, musicians) adapt the self-publishing potential of the web as the basis for managing their flowering careers. Singers, songwriters, and music groups are using the web to build collaborative, symbiotic relationships with their fans. Some are planning concert tours, releasing entire albums of music, and earning a viable income from their music — all without the backing of a major record label.

A teacher could share even just a portion of this article with students as a source of inspiration. Yet, the stories of these musicians also provide a basis for asking some critical questions. The article is by no means a glorification of social networking tools; the author does a good job of discussing the trade-offs involved in self-managing one’s career on the web. How do these artists adjust their personal and professional lives when Internet relationships devolve from intimate to intrusive?

I’m still thinking about the last paragraph, the sentence about “correct emotional tools.” There are some implications here for teachers, and not just teachers who work with emerging musicians. This is the challenge: how do we sensitize young people to appropriate use of social networking so they too can experience a “fresh route to creative success,” whatever their creative outlet might be?

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