F**k it ... let's do it anyway
We've just had a stark reminder about how differently people hear music.
Everyone has their opinion and it's only right that they should have the freedom to voice it. We're open-minded. We believe in freedom of speech and all that jazz. We might not always agree with or understand another person's viewpoint, but we respect their right to express it.
A few weeks ago we sent a song from one of our new artists out to a bunch of bloggers, journalists, DJs, critics and general tastemakers to garner their opinion. A pre-selected bunch of music industry gatekeepers whose opinions we respect. In simplistic terms, if they like the song and write about it, or maybe even play or playlist it, it could help us ease open the door to the listening public. The real people. The great unwashed. Potential fans!
It's all part of the rollercoaster ride. We ask for and welcome their feedback. We respect it. They don't have to give an opinion of course, but we're grateful when they do. We value the time they've taken to offer one.
Debate and discussion are an important part of life's rich tapestry, so we always expect differences of opinion. After all, if everyone sang the same note, there would be no harmony.
However, we received so many differing opinions it made our head spin. Normally there's some consistency to the feedback. Whether it's good or bad, there's usually a thread. A constant. This time, though, without criticism or complaint, we were genuinely wondering if everyone was listening to the same piece of music. A plethora of differing opinions is feedback in itself, of course. And how we decide to process it all and feed it back to the artist is our conundrum.
All artists are, by definition, unique. They do however share many of the same conflicting characteristics - a quiet self-belief coupled with raging insecurity, an invisible coat of armour, focus, resilience, creative sensitivity and inner strength.
If they are easily swayed, and their convictions derailed at the slightest jolt they won't be around for long. I'd say this also applies to record labels, artist managers and all creative 'facilitators'.
In short - the only opinion of any real value is our own.
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't" says Eleanor Roosevelt
"Fuck it. Let's do it anyway,'" says every artist I've ever met.