The Marketing of Music

02004-09-17 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

It’s all about Marketing. If you go to the RIAA web site and search the Gold & Platinum Database using Ottmar’s name, you’ll see that he is, hands down, the biggest selling solo guitar player in history.

I think over the years guitar players have discovered this huge market that OL opened up in the early 90s. In this process many of them have borrowed from OL and been successful at it.

I must be old, because I was raised believing that music is about personal expression and creativity and not about marketing and making money. When I recorded NF in 1989 I truly did not give a shit about either money or marketing, and I believe that is exactly why it had the success it had. I always tell people, make music out of love and the need for creative espression, or go work on Wall Street if you want money. I think I could have earned a nice chunk of money somewhere during the 11 years I worked minimum wage jobs to support my studio habit – before NF was released, but I then I would have never experienced the incredible joy and excitement I felt when Jon and I recorded Heart Still/Beating in February of 1989 and knew, it was unlike anything else. You know which albums gave me those wonderful goose-bumps also? The Hours between Night + Day did, and Opium did. They felt very unique to me. And I feel the same way about La Semana. Man, am I happy with that album!

Some people seem to completely miss the joy of music, the EUREKA moment, the euphoric elation that follows the creation of a song that is a unique and personal expression. It is not about being clever, it is not about getting something for free, it is not about sales or marketing, it is all about that moment, that Eureka moment. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away. Let’s face it we should have never called it the Music Business in the first place.


  1. susanne

    ..and we listeners can feel it.
    everytime I listen to the ‘hours between…’
    it’s like the first time, and I am transported anew…

    thank you again for the energy and thoughtfulness that you exert, to bring us this music and the verve behind/within it !

  2. Carol

    Beautifully expressed both Ottmar and Susanne. And oh how nice it is to have one’s breath taken away with music that is beyond any words I could say. And Ottmar’s music is like no other because it is always new and yet always familiar like a beautiful sunset or the ocean.

  3. Carolynn

    Re: OL’s last paragraph of this post — BRAVO!! And because of the intense feeling that music evokes in us (and we’re talking about OL’s music here, and we are all pretty passionate here), Susanne’s and Carol’s comments beautifully express how many of us feel. Amen and BRAVO!

  4. Panj

    ***And I feel the same way about La Semana. Man, am I happy with that album!***

    May you receive ten fold Blessings for all the plearsure and happiness it has brought all of us!

  5. Danny

    It’s good to see that you started out not worried about the money. You’re an inspiration to me because you believed in your art and went ahead regardless. I started about the same time as you (we’re both old guys) and let myself get sidetracked and lost the momentum, for 20 years. If I had just played for the love of it and not worried about making it…I wouldn’t likely be here today working some meaningless job. But the satisfaction from creation has not changed one bit. Congratulations on La Semana, by the way. Some nice tunes that flow well. May the moments of magic flow when needed.

  6. Victor

    Ottmar, I think the comment you posted touches on the perception in our culture of what defines success. Certainly your instinct for what is “Eureka!” in the creative process is right on! But how do you keep the numbers from not having some influence on you? Obviously your art continues to grow and evolve. However, I would imagine the temptation to be, “I found the correct formula – let’s stick with it.” Do you make a conscious effort in the creative process to distance yourself from that, like get into a space where you’re free to be 100% creative, or is that kind of thinking not even part of your experience?


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