I’m not a great reader. I suffer a very low attention threshold and tend to steer clear of fiction and biographies (though I do manage to get through classic American crime novels by the likes of James Ellroy and Dashiell Hammett). It’s something I feel generally ambivalent and occasionally guilty about. Therefore my main reading centres on music and film history: “Rip It Up And Start Again” by Simon Reynolds; “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” and “Down And Dirty Pictures” by Peter Biskind; that kinda thing. I probably read more blogs than books, but even then, it’s an infrequent pasttime. The blogs I do read are chosen selectively for content which correlates directly with my activities (ie: music, film and art).
A while back, I started dipping into a blog which I’d seen mentioned occasionally on Twitter. Live Unsigned is a volume of writing which is designed to aid musicians in their quest for exposure. I would normally be a tad sceptical of these sort of blogs… I mean, there are so many blogs which purport to give you some insight through self-aggrandising opinion and anecdote. Some are fronts for promotion sites, etc which charge for their promotional advice ‘services’. Not so, Live Unsigned.
Anyway, upon reading the blog, it became obvious that it is written by people who are very much speaking from experience, not anecdotally, but through proper analysis. The general tone is friendly, helpful and pertinent. “Independent Music” is very much a fragmented edifice and so, there can’t be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the problems of musicians. Live Unsigned acknowledges this and offers sound advice which may not fit everyone, but is certainly based on common-sense. It doesn’t matter if you are a death metal band or an electronic ambient artist; many of the posts will strike a chord with you and hold a mirror up to your own practise as a musician. It certainly has with me from time to time.
So, whether you’re a gigging musician, a solo recording artist or just an interested spectator; it’s definitely worth a read.