Thursday, September 15, 2011

My "Gigging in Second Life" article in L2P


While almost all of you know me as a fun-loving and silly guitar player and singer, there's a whole other group of people who know me as a fun-loving and silly writer and designer. I'm lucky enough to have my passion be entwined with my vocation; my real-life job is doing marketing communications for the music/audio products industry. Doing that gig over the last 20 years or so has allowed me to develop long-term friendships with many of the people who run the magazines that serve this industry, such as Guitar Player, Keyboard, Electronic Musician, Pro Sound News, EQ, and many others.

When I ran into my friend Bill Evans at the NAMM Show (a trade show for the music product biz) last January, I had an epiphany. Bill has been editing an online magazine called "Live 2 Play" ("L2P" for short), and suddenly I realized that an article about performing live music in SL would be perfect for his publication. We chatted about it, and he (being a smart guy) was immediately into the idea. I'd written about playing in Second Life before, in the March 2008 issue of Electronic Musician, but since several years had passed, I knew it was high time for a magazine that was geared toward live performing artists to give the SL music scene some well-deserved attention.

Of course, magazines of all kinds (both printed and online) put together their schedule of editorial content way ahead of time, so months had passed since I wrote and delivered the article. Then, just yesterday, I saw that the official Second Life Twitter feed had re-tweeted a link...

Intrigued, I clicked the link, and lo and behold, it was my article! It's always fun to be surprised by those kind of things. Anyway, the article should be pretty self-explanatory (read it now, if you haven't done so already). While I'm usually hesitant to talk about the compensation that performing artists get in SL, it was necessary to mention it here. After all, 95% of the readership of L2P has probably never even heard of Second Life, and to demonstrate that it's worthwhile to do shows there, I had to tell them that yes, they could actually make some money doing it.

Of course, for me, as a songwriter, it was more important to emphasize the real power of SL, which is to build a global audience for your music. I mentioned this as well. Hopefully, the end result is that we see a new influx of musicians into SL. As I've said many times, while there are others who might want to limit the number of people playing in SL (and hence reduce what they consider their competition for audiences), I feel that continually promoting SL as a live music destination has positive results for everyone. After all, the more musicians there are, the more new people will get into SL to come check out the shows, and that can't be a bad thing by any definition.


Thea said...

That is AWESOME!! I appreciate that you are so open about your connection between SL and RL.. Not everyone chooses to do that. Going to find the article now.

Zak Claxton said...

I've never had any reason to hide my RL identity. I respect everyone who chooses to keep that separation distinct and private, but I'm not one of them. "Zak Claxton" is my stage name, just as Sting is Gordon Sumner's, or Bob Dylan is Robert Zimmerman's. There's nothing more to it than that. Had SL given me the option to use my real name when I enrolled in 2006, I probably would have.