Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Friday, 13 April 2007

On etsy / getting royal / advertising

While I work my way through the eBay appeals process, I've moved my eCommerce to Etsy. I exchanged a few emails with them before setting up shop, and they're totally cool with hosting music commissions. Their fees are also less than eBay, but there's no chance of anybody bidding up the price.

I've got 22 opportunities for commissions remaining. Well, 21, because I really want to get one from Queen Beatrix. To show my appreciation for her allowing my use of the Royal Conservatory, I will wave my fee. It's the least I can do. And, of course, I'll use her equipment to make the piece.

Since I attend the Royal Conservatory, there actually is some connection to the queen. She regularly exchanges letters with the head of my school. So, to reach the queen, I have to convince his secretary that I'm worth his time, and then him that I'm worth the queen's time and then the queen herself. I've heard that she likes ballet and goes to the ballet performances at school, so I could wait for one of those and attempt to approach her. And/or, I can try going through the three filter approach. I really am quite fond of Stravinsky, so I think I will aim for something like Stravinsky-meets-IDM-meets-noise, with emphasis on the Stravinsky. There's now some documentation to use the OSC->CV converters at school, so I can get the kind of tuning I need to make a (micro)tonal piece.

I'm not sure entirely how to pitch this. I mean, I really want to write something that she'll like. And all my pieces are really short. If I write something a minute long and she doesn't like it, at least I haven't taken up too much of her time. I think I'll leave that last bit as unspoken, since it's not really compelling.

Anyway, if any of you, dear readers, has some connection to the Queen of the Netherlands (or, you know, any royalty, but other monarchs will need to pay the $14), please let me know.

Of course, there are still the other 21 unpurchased commissions. Apparently, it's possible to buy metro ads in Rotterdam for 17,50€ / week. According to an ad I saw. I haven't contacted them to see if I can really just get one. I haven't put any effort into buying banner ads on the web yet, but I think I'll approach some New Music blogs. I'm not sure what to put in a print ad. a picture of myself? A cool closeup of some synthesizer knobs? A picture of myself in front of some close-up synthesizer knobs?

Yesterday, I discovered a pocket notebook that I got in 2003 to jot down my musical ideas. This morning, I went to read it. What half-forgotten ideas could I return to and realize? The sole idea that I wrote down starts with, "Patron system: possibility of running a commission service" and continues like a Marketting Requirements Document. Ha ha ha. Awesome.

Composers, of course, have something called cultural capital. They help forge identities for their communities. American composers bolster the American identity. Gay composers bolster the gay identity. And so on. Many composers are slightly outside of the mainstream of their culture. By writing music, they gain additional access to the shared culture, while having a hand in forming it. The problem for the last several years has been how to turn cultural capital into monetary capital.

But I see the commissioning/gift economy as something more than just a capital-based solution. One of the huge problems of the current broken copyright system is that people do not own their own culture. Our shared myths don't belong to us, they belong to corporations! The gift economy of music puts our culture back into our own hands. Furthermore, commissioning directly involves the community. Commissioners have a say in the formation of their culture. They share cultural capital with the composer. They directly participate in society and culture. Commissioners are catylists for cultural creation and change. They help build a shared identity and strengthen their culture. Commissioning music is the patriotic thing to do.

What is a country? Is it just a land mass? Is it a particular government? Is it a collection of people who happen to live within certain geographical borders? No, a nation is an identity. A country arises from the people. When somebody loves a country, they love the people, they love the art, they love the history, they love the culture. And if you love something, you don't passively watch it, you participate. You vote. You hike. You create community and participate in institutions. Art is patriotic.

I, like most folks, have many different identity affiliations. I'm American. I'm queer. I'm Californian. I'm a student. I'm a composer. I live and learn in Holland. (I'm a manly man.) I have an exerimental asthetic. etc etc etc. When I make music, I am all of those identites making music.

So how do you concisely, pictorally represent the possibility of expanding cultural capital on the basis of music and identity and sounds? Maybe a screen shot of Ardour?

3 comments:

Polly Moller said...

This wonderful film about the Bay Area new music community that's about to premiere at the Pacific Film Archive is pretty relevant to composers and cultural identity and stuff:

http://www.noisypeople.com

Les said...

Nice!

I don't know if I phrased this post very well. I don't want to make it all about me. ALL art builds community and identity. And, I think, everyone should participate as a maker and as a consumer. Like, people should buy paintings and make music, or whatever each according to their own talents and skills.

Polly Moller said...

I hear what you're saying about not owning our culture, and having it in the hands of corporations. I'm feeling it knowing that ALRY Publications owns my flute quartet now. It's cool to be able to participate in the creation of your album and contribute financially and have you still own all of it yourself.