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Sustainability is the biggest buzz-word on the circuit at the moment. Not just in music circles, it’s a hot topic in every industry.

When I’m invited to speak on panels this is the subject I’m most often asked to comment on: How To Build A Sustainable Career In Music. Well that subject is going to get it’s own article one day (or perhaps a book) but for now I thought I’d write a little piece about the first thing that suffers when one is wrestling with the finer points of a so-called-sustainable self-managed independent music career…

The Writing.

When we talk about sustainability at music industry events it’s almost always placed firmly in a financial context rather than a creative one (usually stuff about corralling people from social networks into online stores, keeping touring costs down etc). But there’s a persistent worry I’m having trouble ignoring: In the early days of the band (and prior when I was a solo artist) I wrote about twenty to thirty songs a year – two or three a month. Some good, some dreadful but all songs. Fast forward to now: we’re half way through August 2012 and I have written two and a half songs. Last year I think I wrote five.

Of course there could be all sorts of reasons for this. Indeed, my “bullshit filter” is far more stringent these days, I kill my weakest offspring early to give the other fledgling ideas a fighting chance; I have more experience in this field now and am able to predict the compositional dead-ends before I crash into them headfirst – I can (to plunder a term popularized in Hollywood westerns) “head them off at the pass” when the horses of my imagination start galloping blindly towards a canyon…

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