“Has the Internet Made an Impact on Your Life as a Working Musician?”

Beat on the Street

Volume CV, No. 4April, 2005

The Internet has been an amazing “global” resource for me. It has enabled me to create a personal Web site, sell my products, order music, and most importantly, has been a versatile tool for research — both musical and labor-intensive. It is the ultimate “all-in-one.”

–Erich Graf, principal flutist with
the Utah Symphony and president of
AFM Local 104 (Salt Lake City)

No longer do I make tapes or even CD’s. When I write music, I simply post it online and my client, whether two blocks away or two continents away, can hear it immediately.

–Rob Kahn

Has the Internet made an impact on your life as a working musician?

Yes. Now I get endless popup ads enticing me to “learn the piano in two days,” “play guitar in a half an hour,” or “organize an orchestra from the comfort of your boudoir, in minutes!” Why, oh why, did I practice five hours a day for 36 years…and continue to do so?

–Ian Finkel

As the personnel manager of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra the option to use e-mail as a source to hire musicians (and send call sheets) has saved me countless hours of telephone time, never mind an intense earache! I can type one e-mail and copy as many players as necessary in one stoke of the mouse. I regularly hire musicians via e-mail and am able to do so after evening performances. I no longer need to hear my own voice repeat the same dates, times and locations over and over again. I am able to work at any hour of the day or night and find myself with more time than ever before. Where was e-mail 10 years ago?

–James Neglia

As a professional orchestra librarian, the Internet has enabled me to provide speedy information to the people with whom I work.

–Paul J. Beck
The writer is assistant librarian with the Metropolitan Opera.

Has the Internet made an impact on my life as a working musician? Very limited. With the establishment of the likes of and Napster the downloading of existing musical productions does not benefit the working musician, since we do not seem to enjoy participation in what little profits that might be available. Until we can establish some sort of licensing or agreements with the Internet on the reuse of existing and future recorded productions, we will have to be satisfied with the original payment for the first production.

–Al Kohn

The Internet has had a huge impact for me, as a musician. I specialize in Irish fiddle music now, so in addition to the usual benefits (booking gigs through my Web site, selling CD’s, researching music venues and radio stations), I have been able to hear from people all over the world that enjoy and appreciate music. That alone makes all those years of hard work worth it!

–Cady Finlayson

The Internet has been very important to me, and I still am a baby when it comes to the computer. It has allowed me to get answers back much faster, follow up on areas of interest with prospective employers and contact many more people about the types of services I am able to provide in my workshops or concerts. I have been able to stay in contact with friends all over the world with a lot more ease. I can get answers back in forth to and from far away places quickly. The Internet has been a very welcome tool for me and all musicians. There is also the area of being able to get more publicity to all parts of the world and inform people who are interested in my career what I am currently doing. I was just in Japan and now can e-mail some musicians I met. I also find that many of the young students e-mail me after a workshop I have given to ask questions. I can answer right then and there whereas the post office would make them wait too long for the answer.

–Jimmy Owens

I use the Internet to research gig opportunities in the tri-state area. It’s like having an unlimited yellow pages!

–Libby Richman

The Internet has helped contractors give musicians all the information via e-mail about an upcoming job. I’m sure it saves them an enormous amount of time and it is easy for the musician to print all the details out. Two of the contractors I work for actually do the confirmation through e-mail as well, so there is never any verbal dialogue. It has worked thus far, but I know plenty of people who use the phone only or in conjunction with e-mail. My Web site has also been great — instead of trying to “sell” myself which is always a bit awkward, people can just look me up on the Web site, read my bio, see pictures, hear how I play, and hopefully feel very happy about who they hiring!

–Victoria Paterson

My Web site features sound samples of my compositions and recordings, sheet music, and upcoming concert dates. Consumers can purchase recordings, and potential presenters can listen to my work without me having to audition. And recently, I signed on with iTunes, which has added a whole new income tier to my record royalty earnings. Without stocking a single CD, iTunes can sell music to anyone who listens digitally, and the numbers are growing daily. In addition, I converse with members of my trio via e-mail several times a week. We use the Internet to send MP3 files of our composition and arrangement ideas to one another. We practice on our own, and then meet in Atlanta (their homebase) or New Jersey (mine) with the work practically done. The Internet has allowed me to send, without any printing or postage costs, e-mail newsletters announcing new recordings, concert dates etc. to my mailing list. And what about E-bay? Don’t even get me started on all the great gear a musician can get there.

–Robin Spielberg

The Internet has been essential to my life as a working musician. They say that networking is the key, but without the job postings on the Internet, I don’t know where I would have even started networking. Plus the information you gain from the Internet about the employers, the artists and the material that you’ll be working with is invaluable. The more you know going into a gig, the better.

–Jason Loffredo

I stay in touch with a lot of sources for stories for my column, and I also can check on some of my jobs to see where I’m going, what time to start, etc. At the office I also search the Internet for missing musicians to try to reunite them with their checks.

–Bill Crow

As an orchestrator and as a copyist, my clients, colleagues and myself use the Internet regularly to transfer digital data which will later be printed. It also has allowed for distant collaborations which would never have been possible otherwise.

–Tony Finno

I was a late-comer to the Internet, having gone to Europe to live for six years until 1998. The very first e-mail I sent out in 1999 got me an artist endorsement and new instrument! The Internet has been a tremendous aid in selling CD’s, sending out immediate release press releases and reports I send out. Now I have a wireless e-mail device hanging around my neck that is connected 24/7 so no matter where I go I have it covered like a blanket. The Internet has been a tremendous aid to my musical career. I would suggest to any musicians who haven’t gone online yet, to go ahead and get with it!

–Jon Hammond

Now I spend all my time on the Internet instead of practicing.

–Pete Macnamara

It seems as if most of my gigs come from e-mail. I think it’s because it’s easier not to talk directly with a person. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for the Internet, even with all of its drawbacks.

–David Bennett Cohen

Yes, big time. For me the biggest difference has been the ease with which someone who is interested in my music and work can find me, both through my own Web site and through links which lead them to me. This has led to many more performances abroad. It has also made it possible for people to mail order my recordings directly from me without my having to spend money on advertising.

–Guy Klucevsek

I travel so much as a touring musician that sometimes communication can be difficult. The Internet has been a key way for me to keep in touch with other musicians, producers and contractors and facilitate finding that next job.

–Kep Kaeppeler

The Internet has impacted the club date field to the point that most confirmations and directions are transmitted online. I have even gotten instant messages (IM’s) asking about availability for gigs.

–Jerry Solomon

I’ve received many an e-mail with information about gigs or upcoming auditions, therefore the Internet has made a huge impact on my life as a working musician.

–Andrew Beall

As an arranger and composer, the Internet gives me the ability to work from my home studio in Westchester.

–Lou Bellofatto

As a recording artist the Internet has opened the possibilities to radio stations and publications all over the world. I get e-mails from people requesting my CD’s for airplay and also for review. I think it’s also becoming more commonplace to book musicians for sessions and gigs without even calling on the phone. Also it’s easier to send out general messages to band members with an e-mail

–Peter Calo

Has the Internet made an impact on my life as a working musician? Absolutely! Aside from the obvious ways that it can enhance the way we communicate, I have found several applications for how I use it to collaborate with other artists. As a composer, when preparing rehearsal recordings for teaching parts to singers, I can now record an arrangement in Logic Audio with the necessary vocal part sitting slightly forward in the mix, export it as an MP3 file, and e-mail it to the singer. I did this for a premier last April and it worked perfectly! Another great way I found to use the Internet is by transferring files via my public folder in my “.mac” account. When working with audio files, especially on a deadline, this method can be extremely convenient as I can be simultaneously uploading or downloading a file while working on another one. Prior to having access to such technology, it would have been necessary to hand deliver the files on a disk, thus slowing down the process considerably.

–Jeff Marder

The Internet and e-mail has made information like times of rehearsal, concerts, dress code, directions to gigs all easier than by phone because everything can be printed out — much easier than trying to get it off of the answering machine or answering service.

–Ted Hoyle

It’s made it possible for me to do much more research on places to play. Much more of the initial contact is done by e-mail. Having a Web site with basic information saves the other party a lot of time as well.

–Gary Paul Hermus

The Internet has made it easier to find gig locations. Using a site like Mapquest, just punch in the address, and it spits out directions. Also, e-mails giving me times, places, and dress for gigs are more effective in my case. I read my e-mail religiously.

–Dave Schneck

I use the Internet for music almost every day. Today I received e-mails of two MP3 files for songs I am rehearsing tomorrow with the East Village Opera Company, updated my Web site with the gig info, and replied to an e-mail about other gigs in December. I have also received PDF files of charts to learn, posted audio files and Pro Tools sessions of tracks I have either played guitar on or produced. I have an FTP page on my Web site where I can post all the songs for a project I am doing or whatever files I need to share. And then the usual pictures and news items on my site get updated frequently. I have also been paid for gigs through electronic transfer, and bought and sold gear on E-bay. Many times when someone calls me for a gig I ask them if they have a Web page so I can check out the music and the artist’s background before I accept or decline. And of course people do the same to me. As for illegal file sharing, it certainly is a great tool for research. I still buy a lot of CD’s. I guess all of this just means fewer trips to the post office, fewer phone calls, and information about people (true or false) is much more accessible. Things just move faster in general. It is also possible to collaborate with people far away, which is potentially one of the greatest effects the Internet could have on what it means to be a working musician.

–Ben Butler

From finding correct lyrics to finding gigs, to registering copyrights to checking what scale is for a club date, the Internet is an integral part of my life as a musician in NYC now.

–Rich Campbell

Some contractors and conductors I work for get in touch with me via e-mail. They will use the phone if they have to, but would rather use the Internet. Sometimes I get a phone call for a gig, and after accepting the job I get all the necessary details on the net. It’s easier for me this way. I can immediately print out driving instructions and consult Mapquest if I need to. I find subs on the net as well as buy music and make travel arrangements.

–Larry Malin

The Internet has enabled me to save time and money advertising gigs, staying in touch with fellow musicians and quickly applying for various gigs. I can send a resume and demo in real time or audition with a link to a Web site. My work opportunities and success rate have easily doubled from 10 years ago

–Jon Berger

The Internet has impacted me by allowing me to turn my career as a long time studio/jingle musician running from studio to studio carrying numerous amounts of horns to now sitting in my home in the country sending my parts over the Internet in the form of .WAV and .AIFF files. I have recently incorporated the use of a Webcam so my clients feel a sense of realtime presence as I work on their session.

–Bob Magnuson

I have found that the Internet has proven to be a valuable tool. At first I was skeptical and was worried that it would be a distraction from playing my instrument. I have found that it simplifies, and speeds up the communication process. This is, as I can send an entire group of musicians details about a gig, rehearsal or scheduling, all at once. I also can send the information out at any time of the day or night. I started a Web site which has pictures, times and locations of events, samples of my playing, and recorded performances of my group. This makes it easy for anyone who may wish to hire me or the group to hear an example of our playing any time. I have also linked to other musicians and groups that I work with. This new type of networking also lets possible employers know who I am working with and what type of gigs that I do. I have had the Web site for almost two years. It is almost a valuable as going to jam sessions. If someone is looking for a bassist (in my case) local to a certain area, this can be done easily and quickly at any time. Thus far, it has created more work for me.

–Philip M. Ravita

The Internet has made a large impact on my life as a working musician. I have my own Web site, I have received thousands of hits from around the world and hope to record a CD and sell it through my site. Sending e-mails about your upcoming gigs is a great way to get the info out there and to keep your name fresh in people’s minds. I recently completed an interview with a French jazz magazine via e-mail.

You can shop online, you can be in touch with Vandoren in France immediately via e-mail and you can find information on musicians on the Internet.

You can also publish your music on the Web or work with other musicians on projects.

On the downside, I spend way too much time online now when I should be practicing!

–Marshall McDonald

I write for TV and as producers sometimes need music in a hurry, sending MP3’s via the net is perfect. Also the net allows sending sound files for collaborations with other studios.

–Carl Burnett

How has the Internet made an impact on my life as a working musician? Well, other than using e-mail to network and stay in touch with other musicians, and getting my club date details e-mailed to me every week by my employer (who also e-mails me the audio and sheet music files I need), and using Yahoo Maps to enter the location of my next engagement that in turn instantly gives me a map and driving directions with approximate time of travel to it, and researching and buying music equipment online at any music dealer’s Web site I choose, and downloading music or buying CD’s online, and staying up to date on music industry news at Web sites like Local 802 (where I am listed with contact info for other musicians) or ASCAP, where I register my new tunes online, and in turn organize recording sessions by e-mail, and in turn sell my own CD’s online where I can promote it via my own Web site, I would say that the Internet has had no impact on my life as a working musician whatsoever.

–Rick Suchow

I now use e-mail exclusively to inform my potential audience about forthcoming appearances, CD’s and broadcasts. Also, my Web site can inform potential engagement producers about my background in a much more efficient and less expensive way.

–Roy Eaton