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In what way does your audience influence your music?

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  • In what way does your audience influence your music?

    Dave (Dorgan) wrote in a comment to one of my tracks that it could be longer. Ironically I made that same remark to others several times on Soundcloud BTW. I have to admit: initially I wanted it to last longer but because quite some musicians here and on soundcloud state they like (to write) shorter, more concise and compact ambient pieces (say 3-4 minutes), I decided to limit the length of the track somewhat this time (it still lasts 6 minutes BTW). I asked myself questions like: "after how many minutes will the average listener be bored by this/a piece" and "is it good enough to last long(er)"?

    This is ofcourse only one of countless decisions one can make in the process of creating a piece of music to please the listener. I'm sure everyone here or on soundcloud cares for the listener otherwise you wouldn't publish your music but even if you don't publish (like I did until a few months ago) you may have a virtual audience in mind that may influence the way you write.

    So I wonder: to what extent are you being influenced by the opinions and/or the expectations of others? Do you make compromises because e.g. you think your music would otherwise be too difficult to listen to?


    P.S. Sometimes I have quite a hard time expressing myself in English so forgive my clumsy semantics or grammar.
    Boqurant | Boqurant on Soundcloud

  • #2
    I am keeping an audience in mind - but no matter what, I always end up believing it somehow likes the same things I like


    • #3
      The constant urge to push my sounds in different directions is what interests and motivates me. It's why I feel driven to make and release so much music and why every release differs from its predecessor. I do want people to like my output, but I don't NEED them to - I love that so many people listen to and download my work, but my favourite ASb releases are entirely unrelated to their popularity. If no-one listened, I still would.
      Thus for me, worrying about how a change in style would be received would effectively mean creative paralysis, and an end to my enjoyment of and involvement in music. That said, music is not my career. One can understand how an artist financially reliant on a successful next album would be cautious about meddling with what worked previously. Ditto a musician (famous or not) who releases a record once every couple of years won't have the chance to veer off on too many tangents. So I certainly don't think my own point of view is the only valid one. Each to their own.


      • #4
        i'm trying to get to a place where i'm not bothered by the reaction of the audience, where i'm just making music because i like it: that way it will be an authentic expression of me, and, i believe, of more value. one of my problems with commercial music is that it so often cynically panders to an imagined audience, and is rendered empty in the process: glib, emotionless, derivative, irrelevant.

        I'm nowhere near there, and in fact soundcloud doesn't help: when people say how beautiful something i've made is, it reinforces that grasp for external validation!*

        And then what I find myself doing is making something really abstract and difficult to like! Yesterday, I made a 24 hour soundscape from a one minute sample - i think it sounds great, but no-ones gonna listen to it! (and mixcloud can't cope with it at the moment anyway)

        *but don't stop commenting! i need it! haha
        soundcloud | bandcamp | infinite colors label | new weird ambient group | hearthis


        • #5
          It's an interesting conundrum; on the one hand we like to think we're visionary artists, creating music true to our hearts with no compromises, uninfluenced by external forces but then we go and share it for, well, what? To get pats on the back or constructive criticism? To make the world a better place I guess even sound design itself is prone to outside influences. Why do you pick a certain pad sound or drum hit or think a Rhodes patch will fit a track nicely? Because it truly does on some universal sonic level or because it kind of reminds you of something else you've heard in another track? I'm guilty of that, messing around with distorted pads and wobbly tape effects then realising I'm just channeling Boards of Canada...

          I guess that's why I admire artists who don't seem to give a hoot about the reception their stuff gets; just create and move on. I've certainly dismissed something I've made then seen a really positive comment on SC and then found myself wondering if I'm actually on to something...
          Latest release: never to be repeated

          Hearthis | Soundcloud


          • #6
            I dont let others opinions dictate my music positive or negative. I mean if you throw some advice at me, ill consider it for sure and i might go back and play with the suggestion but again, i wont let someone elses opinion dictate what my music sounds like, or how i want to compose it. I try to keep my music as personal as possible. If you do or dont like it? oh well. Thanks and no thanks hahaha If you like it though? expect much more because i really love making music. Im still a bit of a noob when it comes to producing/recording/mixing/editing but this past three years has been nothing but amazing. Ive met so many other artists/people that are just really cool.

            When it cmes to collabs though. ill take any advice at all. I guess it really depends in my intent with the song. idk


            • #7
              I tend to follow the notion that the meaning, purpose, intent and the outcome of my work, either in artwork or music is discovered in, by and during the process of making. I start with a bird call, street noise, the sound of nature or a pleasant cord, a vague idea, a feeling, an emotion or a mental image of some kind. It doesn't matter what it is, it is what it does that is important. As soon as one starts working on any project that project changes immediately from concept to physical presence. This evolves further until a decision is reached that it is now at a point to call finished (however the work continues to evolve through either the viewer or the listener into something other than the author's intentions or perceptions - as it should).

              I don't hold a conscience reference to an audience at all. I will admit I have a difficult time accepting positive comment or praise but will readily accept negative or harsh criticism easily and usually agree. I am working on correcting this imbalance. It is for this negative perception of my own work that I put it out in the open. For sake of coming out from hiding behind closed doors and accepting my presence on this planet. It has taken me a long time to build the courage to do so. I hope I can gain my own acceptance to what I do. Maybe in time perhaps. At least I can now say thank you to someone who likes what I do rather than openly point out their poor taste! Ha...

              My music and art is very personal and not made for public consumption by any means. It is made because I need to make it for my own piece of mind and sanity. Honestly I still find it difficult to share, but I am forcing myself to 'put it out there'. An audience is not what I seek, but I now accept that there are a small number of people who actually and genuinely like my work. This is hard for me to accept. Weird as it seems I am both compelled to create, and love going through the full process, but unwilling to accept and ashamed of the end product. The few likes and the from a few does encourage me to keep going and to keep putting my work 'out there'. I still reject my work as rubbish and an embarrassment, but I am expanding my output and 'out there' presence more and more and learning that what I and other people think of me and my work is none of my business.

              Not looking for or aiming at creating an 'audience' does not nor should it change what I do or how I do it. I do listen to feedback of any kind and consider all criticism both positive and negative. It is important to listen to what others have to say, other opinions and experiences and to connect with others. You can not connect with others or accept who you are without personal and community involvement. We all welcome the 'likes' and this I am learning is to be welcomed for no other reason than it helps to build one's acceptance of who they are.

              That all comes back to the original question, and yes, an audience is important for many reasons, but the audience should not the guide, nor the reason for doing what you are doing in the way you are doing it. A cliché, but 'be true to oneself'. Do what you do not for an audience nor to please others, nor seek acceptance of others, but make the music (art or what ever) because you must, because it is all about who you are.

              Just my personal opinions of course. We all have our own thoughts. I now wonder if I should hit the 'post button'. Perhaps opened up too much, but after all I am here to encourage myself to come out of hiding and to 'participate'.
              | Bandcamp | Hearthis | website |


              • #8
                i tend to agree with maharg.

                i dont really think about an audience at all ever. i make the music for me, and if it happens that others enjoy it...thats just a bonus.

                i listen to my own music like all the time...sometimes i wonder if thats strange, but i dont really care, thats why i made it.

                to be perfectly honest...i generally just assume that no one else will like it anyway. im usually surprised when people do.

                dont get me thrilled when people like it...and obviously i put it out there for others to hear, but all that is ultimately secondary. its first and foremost music for ME to listen to.

                also, thats not to say that i dont listen to criticism, because i do. especially from other musicians/producers. i have zero musical training and only started making music at all a few years ago, so i value the opinions and advice of other artists. i think my lack of any training or knowledge of music theory is why im surprised when people like anything.


                • #9
                  I agree with the last several posts. I make music for me....for me to listen to, and as a carthasis in a way. As with any art, some may appreciate what you make and others will not.
                  "The only thing that means a thing in the end is what you loved, and who you loved, and you let it take you home..."


                  • #10
                    I'm sure that like many of the members here, and the many other musicians that post their music on the internet somewhere, I produce my music purely as a spare time, as and when I can, form of escapism.

                    I work full time and as such do not rely on my music for any form of income (good job really, I'd have starved to death years ago).

                    With this in mind I am therefore free to experiment, produce and release anything that I please with no fear of losing fans, sales and earnings.
                    But....... I generally don't do that, I publish a track that gets good feedback, nice comments ect.. and I think to myself "ooh that feels nice getting such lovely feedback and comments" and then when working on my next track I subconsciously stick to a tried and tested formula.

                    Don't get me wrong, I genuinely enjoy producing and listening to my own tracks and definitely feel as though I am producing my music for me, I'm just acutely aware of falling into a "must appease a perceived audience" trap.

                    Perhaps I need to take a leaf out of chaosWyrM and aoVI's book and be a bit more I'm doing this for me, but if others like it then that's a bonus.
                    Thanks must go to Maharg for a thought provoking post, food for thought.

                    Craking thread by the way.
                    Please feel free to check out my music - thank you


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aoVI
                      bI wonder if presented with the choice if I would rather have legions of fans who appreciated, but didn't truly connect or a handful who really got it.
                      Opening myself up personally for a moment, I'm not one of these guys with loads of mates. What I do have is a handful of very close select friends who I have had for many years.

                      I would prefer to have a small group of fans who really got my music and appreciated it, as opposed to a large group of flunky fans who make the right noises but aren't really all that fussed by what I produce.
                      Last edited by Dutch Oven; 07-24-2015, 01:05 AM. Reason: Spelling !
                      Please feel free to check out my music - thank you


                      • #12
                        In my opinion music is about communication between the players and the listeners. In a situation on stage this communication goes fluently. On SoundCloud it goes delayed but is still there. I like to be influenced by my audience. A lot of ideas and new tracks didn't even happen without that influence. Yes, sometimes I think I'm making music right for myself or I think I only express what comes out of my emotional field. But without all of that feedback of my audience my music would sound different ... I see, I can't explain all this because of the unconscious way this influence happens. :dunno:


                        • #13
                          this is an interesting topic.

                          seems (small sample size, but still) there are 3 main aspects people are dealing with at varying degrees of importance to them:


                          its interesting to me to read how people prioritize these things. its also interesting to me to see these things listed out as such. i put them in that order because thats the order of interaction from least to most.

                          so it makes me think.

                          im at one end of the spectrum...desirous of the least amount of interaction. reading my previous comments makes me that because thats what i "expect" anyway? ive already stated that im surprised if anyone likes my music at all. so im not even trying to communicate or connect.

                          hmmm....what would happen if i did try?


                          • #14
                            Interesting question! I'd say I make music 100% for myself. I feel that if I make something I react positively to and put it out there than hopefully others will react positively as well. So it isn't that I don't care about others' reactions but I don't care about trying to make something by wondering what others' reactions will be beforehand. I only start thinking about that after the song is done and posted...


                            • #15
                              My "music" is made as a response to an internal stimulus which I don't really understand, a metaphoric pressure valve, if you will. Music seems to be the the most convenient mechanism for releasing that pressure, probably because I always had a strong affinity for, and love of music.

                              When I began this journey, I never really considered the idea of having an "audience" although a few misguided individuals have, on occasion, expressed enthusiasm for some of my pieces, and this is a source of intense satisfaction when it happens, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

                              Some of the guys on KVR may not be particularly into the type of "music" that I create, but I often receive helpful comments there, particularly regarding production details. When remixing tracks I often refer back to the comments in those threads to see whether I can use these suggestions to improve upon the earlier versions.

                              So, I would say that my "audience" certainly does influence my pieces.
                              Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello | Youtube