The Artist/Audience Relationship
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Hi guys, happy new year!
I want to address something that came up a few times over the holidays and that is becoming increasingly regular as the MOS project grows in size – the topic of the relationship between artist and audience and where that relationship begins and ends.
I believe that the artist/audience relationship is a mutually beneficial one. The artist creates something that enriches your life through enjoyment and pleasure and you enrich the artist’s life through supporting their work and providing them with appreciation, criticism and comment. I do not, however, believe that the artist/audience relationship entitles either of us to the other’s personal time, undivided attention or physical space and it does not constitute a friendship.
It’s a tricky thing to address as it can sound unappreciative towards fans while nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a 100% independent musician and I have spent thousands of hours of my life on emails, Tweets, Facebook, Youtube, Patreon etc... responding to as many people as I could. It doesn't feel like a chore because I love hearing your feedback. Reading messages from people whose lives have been affected in a positive way by these songs is a lovely, rewarding part of my job and I love doing it. But it doesn't make us friends and it doesn't entitle us to extra attention or access to eachothers' private lives.
I try to discourage people from forming parasocial relationships with creators because they are not real and they are not healthy for either person. They put too much emotional pressure on the creator by making us feel responsible for the issues and problems of people we don't know and have never met. They are also not healthy for you, the fan - because you are placing your emotions and mental well being in the hands of someone you don't even know and who doesn't have the time or mental space in their own life to give that amount of time, energy and attention to a complete stranger.
So if you message me and don't get a response, please don't assume you are being deliberately ignored. Sometimes I'm just not online for a few days, or I miss things in my busy email inbox, or I'm having a difficult mental health week, or Twitter mentions were pretty busy that day, or a hundred other potential reasons you didn't get a response. Don't be angry or offended by a lack of response and don't take it personally. These days I can often find social media interaction mentally draining so there are long periods of time when I just avoid it altogether for the sake of my head and my work.
When folks want me to spend time private chatting or giving you disproportionate time or responses to everyone else – I would politely ask that you respect my decision to decline.
I appreciate your interest in MOS but for me, personally, I keep my social life to a very small pool of close friends and business contacts. I do most of my socialising with people I know face to face. I go to the pub or a restaurant or cafe, or to a house party – with people I know in ‘real life’, so to speak. I’m not a really sociable guy on the web & I like to keep my private life somewhat private.
Besides – were I to chat & respond to every fan who wants me to, I would have no time to talk to ANY of you, let alone make music!
The only place I am comfortable publicly internet chatting is in my official Miracle Of Sound Patreon server, which you can join by becoming a Patron. This may seem unfair but it's the best & only way I know to keep the spaces I hang out in easy going, happy, respectful and free of abuse & trolling.
If you went as far as to get blocked by me and don't know why, it is almost always because you pestered me or behaved rudely or obnoxiously towards either me or someone else and I didn't want to see any more of your interactions with me or with others.
As for meeting up in person, this is another topic entirely. I am happy to meet and greet with people at cons, events and designated ‘Miracle of Sound’ times. Any fan you ask who has met me in person will tell you I am accommodating, friendly and respectful to them. However – I do not do one on one meet ups with complete strangers from the internet. I know people who have had terrible experiences with this and it’s something that would make me very uncomfortable and anxious. I can only speak for myself but I can’t even imagine asking one of my favorite musicians to come and spend one on one time with me. For me that would be vastly overstepping the boundary of the artist/audience relationship and I wouldn’t dream of it. It would feel pretty arrogant of me to even ask.
I try to be a humble person through life. I have spent years working on removing any ego from my work and the interactions with those who listen to it. I do not see myself as above or better than anyone who is my fan. So it genuinely makes me sad when people get angry that they are not entitled to my private time, mental energy or personal space. Going around my fan pages publicly badmouthing me over this, saying shit like 'Gavin doesn't care about his fans' in my opinion, just makes you look like this guy:
…and I am totally not worth being that guy about. I’m a boring nerd who spends his day on the computer clicking a mouse around music software.
Thanks for reading this guys, I hope it gives a little understanding of exactly why it is you got seemingly 'ignored'. Feel free to follow on Twitter, comment on Youtube or message the MOS email where I try to respond to as many people as I can.