So a feature I wrote for New York mag — on Grizzly Bear, making a living as an musician, and what “big” means — is on this week’s cover: you can read it here.

The magazine’s really punched up the money issue, especially in the print edition (the cover itself is sort of alarming), but I do want to mention something else, the point that, for me, the whole thing revolves around. It seems to me that a lot of the discourse around music has a habit of speaking as if the artists’ decisions are deliberate — that the songs they write, or albums they release, are propositions about what they think is good or cool or interesting. And talking to the guys in this band offers a very good reminder of how much that’s not necessarily the case, and how much the sound of the music we listen can be a matter of internal process and groups of people just pushing forward to make something that feels satisfying to have made. (Followed by a lot of hard work to stay able to make more.)

Sometimes music listeners talk as if artists are running the show: there’s a stage, and these musicians are standing on it, addressing us. And then sometimes musicians talk as if listeners are running the show: they make music for their own pleasure, and then a vast and fickle public decides whether anyone will be interested, and what chance the music will get to continue. I wonder sometimes if the internet has exploded the former impulse and maybe diminished our memory of the latter…

  1. kyorymusic reblogged this from hypem
  2. futureofmusiccoalition reblogged this from agrammar and added:
    This fine article of Nitsuh’s is blowing up in all of our social media streams. The detail that seems to be grabbing...
  3. darkpupa reblogged this from princessstomper and added:
    i had long ago posted a link about how little many up and coming musicians make using spotify and other similar...
  4. princessstomper reblogged this from hypem
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  6. culturesocialnyc reblogged this from agrammar and added:
    A reminder of the many meanings of success.
  7. giadaloopmachine reblogged this from hypem
  8. irisliveslife reblogged this from hypem and added:
    What a beautiful way to think of modern musicians
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  11. happycookieday reblogged this from hypem and added:
    An honestly fascinating read, not just if you love Grizzly Bear. you also probably hate being happy if you don’t love...
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  15. nhersey said: Cannot wait to read this when I get my NYMag tomorrow!!!