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Monday, February 2, 2009

Bob Ezrin's Sage Advice

Producer Bob Ezrin, who's worked with such musical giants as Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS, Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart, and Nine Inch Nails, recently sent an email to industry thorn-in-the-side Bob Leftsetz (who is a must-read for anyone in the music business).  The email was about quality and deserves some attention.
"This business of exploiting art and entertainment is built from it’s very inception on creativity and quality, on special things made by special people that touch, inform, elevate, divert, soothe, numb, challenge or sometimes even drive other people enough so that they are drawn to it and want it to be a part of their lives - either for the moment or for a very long time. When they want it, they sometimes pay for it in one way or another and this special stuff sometimes accrues a value beyond the ephemeral and actual makes money for its creator and for the folks who help to support and market it. Sometimes it becomes more valuable than gold and stars are born.

But unless it is especially touching in some way (even if it’s in a juvenile or prurient way), nobody will care and it will end up having no value at all. Which then goes to your title "Quality." If a thing lacks quality of some sort, it will not touch anyone. It will simply be a not so special thing in a world of not so special things. It will blend in and disappear. But if a work or performance is of high quality and special, then it has at least a shot at becoming valuable to someone - and the person who creates it has a shot at being appreciated and rewarded for it."
Part of Bob's commentary contained advice to struggling artists. He finished with this:
"Dedicate yourself to quality, to being the very best at what you do and then use that quality to createor be something truly great. Then you may have a shot at "making it." But whether you become a star or not, you will have become and will forever be someone very special. And others will know you for that."
Bob's commentary is an excellent analysis of the core of the problem of today's music - too many musicians chasing the market instead of doing it because their driven to do so.  All I can add is a creative motto that I've personally lived by ever since it dawned on me after a little while in the business.

"Art is something you do for yourself. 
A craft is something you do for everyone else."

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