One of my main philosophies concerning music is that I am not willing to write something that I am not willing to listen to. In fact, the way in which I write music involves so much listening to what I'm writing, that it would be nearly impossible to continue writing if I didn't like it. Granted, my tastes in music will change gradually over time and many of the pieces that I've written will fall off my palette. Many times, I find that they'll fall off and come back on years later. Ultimately, this means that I don't write for a very large audience. Specifically, I write for an audience of one... me.
I think partially that I'm terribly afraid my tastes in music are so divergent from the tastes of other people. This makes the idea of attempting to sell music to people like trying to sell them things that they don't want. I'm not enough of a superstar that I can just make people buy whatever hopeless drivel I shove down their throats. I'm also concerned about my integrity. I don't want to charge people for something they don't think is worth it. Then again, how do I know if something is not going to sell or not worth it unless it's available to buy?
Another problem I'm up against is that classical music is not really that popular. Sub-consciously, it's everywhere and it's used for everything from commercials to movies to background music in elevators, etc. However, in the forefront of most people - at least most people that I've come across - has not been a willingness to go out and buy a CD that is strictly classical music. Classical musicians will, yes, but not very many lay people do unless they're of an earlier generation. The "cool" kids on the street are not going to crowd the release party of a new recording of Bach's Cello Suites - not unless they just want the free food or booze.
I'm also running against my own personal history. I have written well over ninety pieces of music in the last five years or so. I've placed most of them on my personal website and on Soundclick. All of them have been available for free. Considering the quality of what I have posted, I feel that anything I ask people to pay for must be extraordinary and the highest quality I can write. Short of having a professional orchestra on hand to play every piece of mine, I don't feel like I've been able to write at that level yet. And so, every new piece that I've written has been posted for free. And I don't like the idea of making someone pay for something that is available for free.
As an aspiring professional composer, I really don't have a whole lot to show to someone when they ask me for a sample of my work. I can point out several of my pieces and say, listen to this, but it's all haphazard and not really coherent, in terms of an appropriate sample of my music. I've attempted assembling a number of my pieces into "albums", which I could then sell or show together. My attempts haven't been successful - often for reasons I mentioned above.
In the last few months, I've been playing with the idea of creating a set of music specifically designed for the purpose of an album. Instead of trying to piece together a bunch of random pieces, I'd write all new pieces in a coherent fashion that together created a collective whole of an album. How different is this from writing a symphony or a suite? Not a whole lot, really. The album is the modern contribution to the musical forms. The only difference is that an album is determined by the number of tracks and the capacity of the medium it's on.
In my case, it will be enough to fit on a single CD - without too much left over and without too much over the limit of the CD. At this point in my career, I don't have an orchestra on standby to record all my pieces, so I'm going to have to do the best I can with samples - particularly Garritan Personal Orchestra, unless I can't get someone in my network to record it with better samples.
What I wish I could say is that from this point on, I'm going to write one piece every month and, by the end of ten to twelve months, I'll have an album. I have a feeling it's not going to work that way. Truth be told, I'm probably going to get inspired at some point - I'd love for it to be tomorrow of even tonight - to write a good section of the album. The rest will linger a little until I get another boost. And the process will continue as such. It's kind of the curse of an artist. I can try to rush it, but it will sound like crap, so I'd rather not - especially if I'm going to ask people to pay for it.
Simply put, all this was my long-winded way of letting everyone know that I'm going to be working on an album that I intend to sell - hopefully with great success. I'll try to keep up-to-date with the progress on it as I go.