many possible deep tangents here. quick thoughts are
re Mr Reznor -
It’s ok to be frustrated by something and say that you are. His experience could be from pr/wannabe music journalists grinding him or anything really. He's in the ring, he’s putting work out. Good work and sometimes risky work. He’s an artist, he cares, his heart is on his sleeve. Comments like this are nothing new right?
Maybe the ratio of shitty critics to good ones is not as healthy as it used to be. maybe.?
I do think good critics and labels are important to music.
‘Formulaic’ i.e rock music? If people want to make music as part of/or commenting/expressing themselves within an existing context, that’s cool. And I think that’s part of it, back then people wanted to blow up. But now a lot of people just want to be part of something. The net enables that. There are entire genres now that once would have been one artist.
Risky / safe is dangerously subjective to identity confidently. Not even sure it's important.
edit: i guess taking risks with your own work - relative to your own abilities/values can be enriching. but hard to say something is specifically 'unsafe'.
On creativity -
A creative director said to me a few years back that creativity is a practical skill. It’s something you practice like any other. It’s not something fickle or whimsical that comes and goes. I 100% back this.
To nurture creativity means probably to demystify it a bit. To practice. listen. understand. think. get feedback. Develop your own style of thinking. Honestly I think just sitting down and doing the work is about 99.9% of it.
There’s a lot of bs about being an artist or a creative person, where people are so wedded to their work that it strangles them and they can’t finish anything. Part of this comes from the behemoth ideas of grandeur that are able to marinate while you’re not actually doing your work. But instead trying to assert yourself by making shitty criticisms of those that are actually making things. Having a mentor can help.
I always loved this quote from Ira Glass.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
The words ‘unbridled creativity’ give me shivers, personally. A friend said to me once - “It’s kind of like designing a door, and just slapping it on upside down - it’s not creative it’s just shit”. Having a creative process that you can refine is probably also important.
might have a hunt around for thoughts written by smart people on the topic.