For Love Or Money
February 2014

Do you really have to play what sells? This month, we'll hear from industry veteran Tom Hess on playing for love or money.

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For Love Or Money

By Tom Hess

"Hey Tom, I wanted/needed to e-mail you because I have some frustrating questions in terms of music and the mainstream music business and I just wanted to get some insight from you. Here it goes! Well for years now, besides practicing until my fingers bleed, all I could think about is how do I establish myself as a respectable guitarist and a musician. The thing that bothers me is that someday I would love to release my own neoclassical album, but these days I realize that in the United States high tech guitarists are not as admired as much here unless the music genre magically changes or if it was the 1980's again. But it bothers me that it all comes down to a question of what sells instead of what you like personally and what you're capable of doing in terms of composition and technicality. That ticks me off! I want to make sure that I keep my own musical integrity and show my full musical abilities that have taken me years to perfect, instead of holding back playing re-arranged power chords just to please the audience. For most people, if the music is not played on the radio, they don't want to hear it. I have my very own expectations in what I could do to make a killer song, but because if it's not like Blink 182 material or something like Disturbed it won't be respected. But I just wanted your point of view what you think about what to do in these case scenarios. I mean I am stuck between personal passion and simply what sells and this really sucks."

Your points are excellent and many musicians that want to make music at a very high level (or want to make music in style that is not popular) ask these sorts of questions.

Read more here!


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