Oz Noy: Being a Recording Artist—How Do You Keep Your Music Alive and Is It All Worth It In the End?

If you want an easy life with a stable paycheck, music is not for you. Go work in a bank or become a doctor, a lawyer, or a supermodel.
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If you want an easy life with a stable paycheck, music is not for you. Go work in a bank or become a doctor, a lawyer, or a supermodel.

The reality is that the music industry crashed hard, and pretty much died. There are no rules and no one really has a clear idea of what to do. There are many different ideas about, and formats for, promoting and selling music—but its all a crap shoot at this point, and it keeps evolving.

There are a lot of doors that closed with the industry, but a lot of other doors have opened up for independent artists, which to some extent is a good thing.

Record companies used to decide what was released to the public, which was a very good thing. Now, everyone and their mother can make a record in their bedroom and put it out. There is so much music out there that you have to look much harder to find the good stuff, and a lot of the times the good stuff gets lost because the market is so oversaturated—and in some cases if an artist doesn’t have the right Internet skills they’ll be out of the game. This is a ridicules situation mainly because it’s got nothing to do with music.
An even bigger disaster in my opinion is that everybody expects to get music for free! Since when has this ridiculous idea become normal?
It costs money to make a record, so how come people expect to not pay for that? It costs money to make a car and I don’t see people expecting to get those for free. There should be something like an Internet police. Seriously! Record companies, or any company for that matter, could hire people to search online every day and take all the file-sharing sites down. Its never going to be 100%, but it will make a big different where suddenly someone that wants to have your music would have a hard time finding it for free, and would have to buy it, like they should have in the first place.

The government also needs to make real laws preventing this piracy, otherwise in a few years the only music that will be out there will be Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Black Eye Peas, and Kenny G. (nothing personal against those artists).

And one point about performing live: YouTube is an amazing tool in general—but now when everything is so accessible people’s curiosity is on a much lower level, which in my opinion hurts live music. Before YouTube, if you wanted to see an artist you had to go and see them play live, and now you can just watch videos online. Nothing can compare to seeing a band play live in front of your face, and feeling the music live, especially because the sound quality of most video clips sucks so bad. The problem is that most people don’t get it, and probably don’t really care either, which is very sad.

So, after bumming you out with everything that’s gone wrong in the music world, what do you do to keep going?

You just keep to it, and you go out and play! That’s the most important thing—just being out there and keeping the music alive. That’s really what its all about, and what it has always been about.

How do you sell CDs these days? You sell them everywhere you can: Your Web site, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, live shows, etc. It all adds up to something in the end.

Is it all worth it at the end of the day?

Yes! You wake up in the morning doing what you love to do, and what can be better then that? Although we live in some freaky times, I love being a musician, and would never trade it for anything. Rock on!