Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Being a Professional, Amateur & Hobbyist

When I was a kid, drawing and making things, mostly out of paper or balsa wood, was what I did for fun. When I got to High School I fell in love with recorded album music. Then audio electronics became a passion and a very serious hobby. 

Turned that into a career. I was an engineer, a Professional. Earnt my living doing it. I developed products, managed projects at times, and solved problems.  

But it started from wanting to play my records on a HiFi sound system as an unpaid hobby. 

Listening to music is still a hobby.  (Strange, no one has tried to monetize ... oh, yes, they do by writing record reviews...)

I don't "do" electronics any more.  Not as a hobby. Only if I need to, like changing the battery in a Kindle.

I do vector illustrations freelance.  Paid part time Professional work. It evolved from my first hobby though, well the drawing part.  

I make music, cartoons, comics and music videos as a hobby now.  2020~2022 during the pandemic was probably the most active with hobbies I have ever been. I treat these hobbies as  I do making plastic or resin model kits. 

Or sculpted something or painted a watercolor. Doing something for the fun of it.  The reality is more that if I aren't creating something every so often, I get depressed and down about wasting my time (i.e. my life time left) and not doing something constructive.

It is nice if someone listens to, reads or watches something I make though, so I always publish it to the Internet and retain the copyright. I don't need payment. Even if I am serious about my hobby works.

I have released my music on Bandcamp under the Megacurve banner.   Like this track:

But I haven't registered and gotten ISRC codes , joined PPL, MCPS or PRS, or set myself up as a record publishing company so that my track plays can be tracked and I could collect royalties, like a "professional"  would. Same for me then not paying DistroKid $22.99 a year to put my music on Spotify and Apple music

All that stuff costs money. Of course it has cost money to buy my music gear and make the music I do, but that is okay, as it is a Hobby. I only ever bought music gear with the money I made from my Illustration Freelancing, never from my Engineering work. It was a principal for me. The studio is a wonderful toy. I think of myself these days as a musical cartoonist/prosumer, and don't identify as a musician or guitarist. I don't collect guitars or want to play live on stage. Musically you could say my stuff is unsophisticated.

For the millions of music makers that do pay those fees to release their songs on the streaming platforms, 95%+ don't make enough in royalties to cover the fees anyway. And with Spotify now deciding that "small artists" now aren't going to get any payout for any streams that get anyway, they will not get anything, unless they can sell CDs or tracks on Bandcamp or whatever.  A new type of Vanity Publishing, or Pay To Be Played? But I guess it means they are Professional musicians.  It helps self esteem. 

I have all my Bandcamp releases set to $0, "pay what you want, including nothing", to download them.   

My comics are also free to download from our website.  Nice if someone looks at them, but it was the creating them that was my need. I print them out 2 pages to an A4 sheet and put them in these cool 40 page A5 files.  I revisit them every so often.  

You can do something to a "professional" standard as a "hobby". Don't they call that an "amateur "? 

It all depends on how you see yourself, and what you need to fill your life with "what makes you happy or content."

For me, that doesn't include trying to make money off my music or comics.  They are akin to diary entries for me about things I felt at the time I made them. 

So this blog was vaguely about being a Professional, Amateur & Hobbyist. All at the same time around different fields. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

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