Monday, July 22, 2013

Social networks for musicians: Are they real or what's the deal?

Angelo Marinosci JrAngelo Marinosci, Jr.--One of the ways to be noticed, in business or the arts, is to join a social network.  But what are the pitfalls and problems in the social networks for musicians and how do these networks influence behavior and interactions while helping people become connected and share their talents?

Eight months ago I was invited (more or less) onto a Social Network for musicians and then another and then another...and so forth.  I'm really not much of a joiner in any regards,  but I found my curiosity paid off to a certain extent.  Before long I was recording some of my favorite cover tunes and then my own material.  The Networks allow all sorts of interaction as well.  There's chatting, commenting, private messages, voting in different forms etc.  For me, the ability to share my music, my guitar playing and singing, and of course, my original material was a nice thing and fairly convenient too.

Regardless of the premise of any Social Network,  be it music, art, photography,  no matter what it's agenda, there are always other forces at work as well.  At some point there may be undercurrents and collision courses and even some head butting.  A Social Network by definition is a diverse glob of people with some commonality but mostly a pluralism that prevails throughout the goings on.  There are other languages, cultures, mores, sexual preferences, big age differences, national character, religions, politics,  rockers, folkies, the list goes on.  The very thing that makes these Social Networks so interesting and inviting also sets up all sorts of chain reactions that are waiting to go off,  some with hair triggers and some with slow fuses.

Even when folks are on their best behavior (according to themselves)  you can see the ripples of different approaches to music, conversation and social norms manifesting themselves.  Much of what Americans think and think of themselves is the result of the intolerant middle-class mindset.  We wear our contradictions like shining badges of courage... always eager to assert what we think, and how we do just about everything.  We're not alone in this regard,  but I'm better qualified to speak about the groups with which I have the most experience.  Personally, I don't really much care how other people live or what their preferences are in most regards and probably only react when I feel the intellectual walls moving in on me. I try to practice the old, Live and let live principle,  but sometimes that gets lost in the fog.

The music I post is for the most part, folk, blues, folk-rock and a touch of country blues. It is for the most part, simply recorded and posted in the most honest and direct form I can manage, and there is little or no use of props, borrowed video material or appropriated photos.  It's me playing and singing into a lens and doing the best I can at entertaining.  I've done fairly well for myself as a gray-haired old beatnik with little or no gimmicks to offer.  I am not naked.   I do not dance naked .  I do not have long, lovely legs, firm young breasts or sexy smiles to offer.  I have just me and my music.  I do have some great looking guitars; and I did have still images of my wife (then my fiancĂ©) from the rear, seated in gentle and delicate nude pose, a visual on a few of my early audio posts but was discouraged from continuing that practice even though the photographic print was exhibition quality.

As part of each and every site that I have posted music there always seems to be  great latitude for what one might find.  The degree of sexuality is stretched to the limits, and though they are not "pornographic" in the strict legal sense, they dance on the outer edge of good taste and often distract from the music content itself.  Perhaps the message is "Hey, if you like big breasts (or buttocks, or long legs or whatever) you'll love my music too!"  Suffice  to say, that seems to blur the messages of most other music on the site and often intensifies the vast differences between some of the cultures represented within the framework of each site.

I'm a painter and a photographer and work in other related fields of art.  I've worked with all sorts of models, nudes, and nudity most of my adult life. This is a very different subject and vehicle.  I really don’t like telling other people how to live their lives or what choices to make or what to watch, look at or read,  but in this case, the use of female sexuality often resembles those hip and kinky calendars they used to give out with wrench sets, or special additions for bathing suits. There have also been mumbles in the hallways that some of the young pretties involved in this claiming that they might be a part of porno-rings or prostitution  or all sorts of colorful other activities.

Personally, I don’t want to research other peoples’ lives.  I have no interest in what they may be doing in front of their cameras, or their boyfriend’s cameraas, or for spare money;  but I do feel that a music site might be better served primarily with music.  This conversation is a lot like the debates about what’s on T.V.   I stopped watching all commercial and cable T.V. about 7 years ago.  If you don’t like what’s on, don’t watch it.  If you don’t like a certain book, don’t read it.  If a movie offends you, don’t go watch it so you can announce how offended you now feel.  The difference in this instance is that on a music site it’s a little bit like being on board the same long distance bus ride and having to ignore what is going on all around you; it’s right there and there’s no place else to go accept off the site completely.

I have no regrets about joining the music sites that I belong to;  but you need to know that a music site is a big blob of people from all over the world, and that’s what you have to survive and adapt to,  true diversity.  Some folks might even have to tolerate you.


Angelo Marinosci is a writer, artist and musician, with experience and talent in all three areas of the arts.  He is one the most active and respected musicians with his sites on Fandalism and on YouTube.  He is known for his acoustic guitar skills and his ability to compose music on the fly.  His opinion, and perspective, have value because of his decades of experience in the arts and his perception of fairness.