This is probably old news for you, guys, but i found this out just yesterday when reading about Pulser's discography on Discogs and there, under the reviews was this, copied from Pulser's own FB account.
I count myself as very lucky to have been part of the Trance scene from its infancy. It's something that enabled me to experience things and see places I could only dream of but in those 16 or so years the music business in general, has changed out of all recognition.
Writing and producing music has been a part of my life for as long as I care to remember. It's something I am passionate about and it's given me a career that was (at the time when I started) only open to a few but there comes a time when the realities of life become more important than how successful your next release is. Besides, success, popularity and money was never my reason for making music, it's just a very nice bonus!
Music can pay and pay big to those wily enough to market themselves better than the next guy. There are so many bedroom producers out there now thanks to the technology becoming cheap (or even free by some means), that the quality and quantity of music has rocketed. It's boom time but very few will ever get noticed. The ones that do will have to be clever.
Unfortunately the music itself is IMHO, no longer enough to sustain yourself, especially in dance music genres, without becoming a PR and marketing expert and that is something I was never really any good at. It's also impossible to compete with the vast numbers of hungry newcomers who don't yet know their own potential and who are willing to work for nothing. There are many who will be only too willing to exploit them too.
Most successful artists have big teams of dedicated people working for them and have become brands themselves and, these brands do carry weight, enough weight to mean they are first choice when it comes to DJ bookings etc. Beneath the top flight there is another level and I've recently come to realize that it's no longer about your music or how good you are as a DJ. It is purely about where you are in the Beatport charts, the DJ mag Top100, how many likes and followers you have (real or fake), having the support of certain top DJs on their radio shows and how far you will bend over to secure a gig. It's become purely a business based on perceived popularity and that popularity is easily manipulated and faked if you have the knowledge, money, contacts and ruthlessness for doing it. It's dog-eat-dog.
I am sorry to say that, for me, the last few years have been a struggle and it wasn't until I took a step back and really looked at why I was doing this that I realized I was trying to compete with them the old skool way (i.e. let the music do the talking). That just doesn't cut it anymore and as the saying goes, 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks'. Then I thought, this isn't me and it's not why I make music or DJ...or at least it wasn't when I started. Music shouldn't be a competition. I realized something was very wrong.
Making a success of yourself in music requires a huge amount of dedication often at the expense of everything else in your life. You can lose touch with reality, your health can suffer and friends outside of the business can become a thing of the past but you live with it. Passion, dedication and talent was once enough at least give you a shot of making something of yourself but now it is more about the other things, the PR etc. I recently had a conversation with a good friend, a very well known producer/DJ. To me he appears to be riding high. He has always had my respect as a musician and as a person. I wanted to get his opinion on a new track because I respect him and he gives good, honest criticism but I was quite shocked after hearing him initially enthusing about the track, the melody, the arrangement and how driving it was to then say I'd wasted my time. "No one cares anymore... you really need to get yourself good PR... the music isn't that important... it won't work with DJ XYZ" those are just the bits I remember. He then went on to explain how disillusioned he was at having to spend 80% of his time on PR things and that it was all about quantity of releases over quality (even though his tunes really are amazing IMO). This made me think - Why is he doing this? Someone at that level would surely have people to do it for them but no, it came down to money. He just couldn't afford to pay people even with what appears to be his huge success. That conversation inevitably made me look at myself. Compared to him I was dead in the water!
So I've finally woken up. I need to restore my genuine passion for what I do before cynicism completely destroys it. I could go the route of getting a good PR company (actually, no I doubt I could afford that) and deliberately try to make music that will fit with what is popular but I can't bring myself to do something that will be so soul destroying. I'm getting back to making music purely as a hobby and I'm pursuing other ventures in business to pay the bills. I'll still make records, I'll still DJ if someone books me but I have to stop caring about success or maintaining this ever-diminishing career.
I guess this is me announcing my semi-retirement (if there is such a thing) and as such I want to thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, contributed and kept my name in the mix for all these years. You know who you are!
There will be more from me and who knows? Now that I've taken the pressure off myself I might actually release more music. If you like it, great! if not, do I care?
Before I say anything about my future plans I just want to say a heartfelt thankyou for all your amazing comments and well-wishes following my post yesterday. It's so nice to feel that I made a difference, however small it is/was and you proved to me that I'm not alone in my assumptions but let's not forget, this is only music when all is said and done.
So, now comes the future and it's scary, especially after doing the same job for so long but being in music all these years did toughen me up to be able to take on new challenges. I also made a ton of mistakes in my career that I have learned from. I know I'll make more but 'every little helps' (no, that's not me hinting that I'm not gonna go work for Tesco).
I'm dropping out of making music professionally and to me, that means I'm NOT going to be chasing sales, Beatport chart positions, airplay. There will be no 'ooo, look at me and how successful I am' posts on Facebook, no active promotion of new tracks, no DJ mailouts, no looking for or competing for gigs (I can't see me DJing again TBH), no sucking up to 'big' DJs and certainly no change to the music I make. It's pure and simple, if you don't like what I do, if you don't like the tempo, the sounds or that it doesn't sound like the new XYZ release then don't listen to it. In fact, just delete me from your Facebook, Twitter, etc, and go enjoy everyone/troll else's music.
It would be hypocritical for me to change my producer status (as an artist) back to that of an amateur and continue to sell my music as a product in the same manner as before but that will not stop me from actually making music - quite the opposite in fact. I will continue to make music in whatever shape, form, genre and tempo I choose and it will all be available to download. It will be on one website only (probably Soundcloud), no Beatport, Audiojelly, iTunes, Spotify etc. I don't expect to hear anything on the usual radio shows unless the DJ themselves seeks out the tracks and chooses to download them (that is almost guaranteed to not happen). Should you wish to donate a small amount or get it free, the choice will be entirely yours. If you donate you can be sure that your donation will come straight to me and will be used to pay for hosting, Soundcloud accounts etc and maybe the occasional beer (if you don't mind!) for which I will be very grateful!
Music is no longer my day job (ok, dream day job!). As for when I will release tracks, well, that's simple - when they are ready and I just don't know when that will be. If there is anything I will upload it. No release dates, no promotion.
If you want to share my music I can't stop you and to be honest I accept that it will probably happen. I just ask one favour. If you do share the music, PLEASE do not try making money from it using premium bitlockers. It's just plain disrespectful to me as it is for any musician to have someone profiteering from something they have no rights to. There is no need for you to reupload, rehost or bit torrent it when the music is freely available from the source. Just point your followers or friends to the original download page and give THEM the choice of supporting me directly. The mess that the music business is in, is due in part to illegal sharing and take it from me MUSICIANS DO SUFFER either financially or psychologically because of it. I doubt things will change but YOU CAN and, if enough people do see the need to support musicians financially, in however small a way (a few cents or pennies), the whole business will change for the better and we won't see this massive divide widen further. As a bonus, you should actually feel proud that you made a stand and appreciated what the musician did. I am sure they will be thankful to you. I know I will be!
So, with the music side of things put aside I have to think about life and what I'm going to do next. I wasn't exactly clever about the future when I was younger so I don't have a specific trade or profession to fall back on but I have learned a lot and learned about business. I am a risk taker and my attitude is that when enough people say your good enough to do something you probably are, or at least not far off it, so my focus will be on the things I've learned and earned from over the past few years.
You might not know it but I'm responsible for a lot of my own design work. I have designed countless club posters, flyers and the odd record sleeve. I designed my own album artwork, website, graphics and even made websites for several big DJs, a few DJ agencies and other businesses. I also dived into the world of film making and visual FX a few years ago and I've slowly honed my skills, particularly in VFX and motion graphics to the point of being confident to take on commercial work.
At the moment I am working on tour visuals and projections for a couple of well-known DJs and I'm taking my first steps into filming and producing music videos and commercials at a more professional level. Art and design was the first thing I fell in love with and it was the one thing I excelled at in school all those years ago and I stuck with it. Visual mediums go hand-in-hand with music and, for me, it was a natural path to follow. My ultimate ambition is to make films but I know the film industry is even more cut-throat than the music business so I'm not holding my breath but who knows? I've still got a long way to go and a stupid amount to learn before I can even consider trying it, not to mention the next-to-impossible task of securing the finance to do so but music and DJing taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to. Who knows, if nothing else, I might be the guy behind the lens of the next DJ XYZ video and if I am I'll put in as much imagination and creativity as I do with music.
The other areas I'm focusing on are outside of the creative sphere. Maybe I watch too much 'Apprentice' but I started to spot the need for certain things and business opportunities. It's a job but it's also a business that I can grow. It's nowhere near as much fun as doing something creatively but hopefully it will be the key to pursuing other creative things for me in the future and that is very motivating. I'm used to hard work, late nights and stress thanks to the last 16 years so nothing really changes.
I will keep my Pulser Facebook, Twitter and website going for now and maybe post the occasional update about whatever it is that I'm doing if I think it might interest you. I'll also still be here to offer advice if and when I have the time but, if you're trying to break through in Trance or other EDM genres for the sake of popularity, fame and fortune I am not the right guy to ask
Thankyou all again and sorry for the looooong posts but when you have something to say it's best to say it all.