The world has always been a customer-driven place. Supply and demand, it’s a concept as old as trade itself. And even in the music world, sadly, such an ideology holds sway. Anyone can write a song, make a record, release a tune, well, almost anybody. But does it have value? No matter what the creator might think, the market decides if it “goes viral” (as the kids today might say), breaks even on recording costs, or just nose-dives into oblivion.
And the customer-driven aspect of the modern music industry, in conjunction with the role of technology, means that things have got even more difficult for the would-be seller of songs. Not only does technology mean that more music is being made than ever before, and of course, much of it not for the betterment of the industry, but social media platforms and streaming services mean that most music is available for free. Or at least next to nothing. And even when an artist is actually on the payroll, the rewards are often negligible.
So, where does that leave the modern musician? For many, it relegates music to a semi-professional status, if not hobbyist, realm. Artists who, in the past, would have gotten by gigging regularly and selling their wares like their earlier troubadour kindred spirit did now struggle to get by. And with the prohibitive cost of professional promotion, times are tough.
Which is why the industry needs its champions. People who are willing to put their money where their mouth is. People who are happy to take a chance to purchase music, physical or otherwise, on a gut feeling or as an actof solidarity. People who are happy to promote, share and shout about grassroots artists just because they believe that the world is better when musicians, dreamers, creatives, and outsiders are shaping it. To quote Jack Kerouac…” the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Those sort of people need their champions. Champions like David Schipper.
David has been a keen maker of music all of his life. But, more importantly, he is an ardent supporter, promoter and purchaser of other people’s. He has long been associated with The Great River Folk Festival and it’s marvellous songwriting competition. He also has an splendid radio show, Dave’s Basement Tracks (a slight Dylan reference in the title, of course), and an excellent blog. He has recorded plenty of music with Lucky Dog and a few more satirical songs under his own name.
He’s now adding a nifty little arrangement to his highly supportive network. It’s a simple ” you buy my music, I’ll buy yours” arrangement. Or, if you want to support the music industry through him but don’t have your own music on offer, still buy his compilation of house concert performances. In that case, the money he makes will go towards purchasing new music from similar grassroots music makers. People whose sales and profile could do with a boast.
Another option is to visit his Discogs page, where he is currently uploading vast swathes of his music collection. This library includes over 1200 vinyl and 800 Cds, (besides 23,000 digital songs) which date back to his passions in the 1970s for southern rock, pop, folk, country, and many other genres. Again, the money generated here will be used to buy new music to replace it, music from artists who probably need a hand more than ever to keep their careers buoyant.
So, essentially, throw any money David’s way, and you are helping a musician out. You may not know them, and you may never hear them, but you will be able to sleep safe in the knowledge that you helped keep the financial wolf a little further from the musical door for some budding artist, struggling creative or rising star.
The music world needs its champions. It needs people who look to the future rather than dwell on the past. Who understands the need to support the grassroots so some of it will grow into mighty musical oaks or just become a pleasing part of an array of lovely-looking flowers for your enjoyment. (Enough with the botanical analogies!) In short, people who care. David Schipper cares. And then some.