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A musician and a jukebox have many similarities but they are very different as well.

Both stand before people and can fill the environment with information in a way that has a most profound effect on those who hear.

Both get fed money in order to perform.  One could say that both are paid for their services.

Both have a mechanism of sorts that enables the flow of music to come out.

But jukeboxes are not musicians because musicians are human beings with infinite qualities, uniqueness and personality.

Jukeboxes on the other hand are not musicians.  They are machines.  Impersonal, clinical, emotionless mechanisms which respond to the demands at a pay-point as a coin is inserted into the appropriate slot and the specifically chosen music (if it is programmed into the system) is automatically reproduced exactly like the original.

A clinical transaction dominates this mechanism.

“No pay, No play” is the national anthem as well as the hymn of worship.

There is no emotion, love nor passion in any of this.  There are no feelings, no joy, expectation, passion and no remorse.  This is all a legally sanctioned set of transactions which if violated will incur legal penalties articulately specified and clinically enforced.

A jukebox is a pay-on-demand mechanism which serves those who insert coinage in so that it plays their specified tune on demand.  But one could say that it mainly serves the owner and master of the jukebox who takes all the profits.  The owner and master from time to time opens up the guts of the jukebox and removes the bounty, leaving the jukebox empty and once again ready to be refilled for more profit to be extracted at a later time.

There are no jukeboxes that are musicians.

They cannot be musicians because they are not humans.  After all they are machines.

However, there are many musicians who are jukeboxes.

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2 Comments

  1. No musician can be a jukebox unless they choose to be. I am not a musician, so I shall use it as a metaphor. At times we feel like a jukebox because we think that people want to hear the same old stuff. We forget what stirs us, we forget what makes us human and we forget what it is that feeds our soul, and others souls. We get to depend on money as our currency for reward. And at times just getting some money makes all the difference to how we feel about ourselves and that we can feed our families. For a time, being purely a musician is completely rewarding and satisfying. But some times it’s easier to depend on the cover version and return to the purity that was because it has so much reach. So much reach because it stirs something inside of others. We ourselves might want to vomit because of our compromise but it cannot only be about ourselves all the time and it certainly cannot be about others all the time. Do we take responsibility for our own happiness I ask. Do we take action to change things or even think in different ways. If not, then I would ask, why not?
    Perhaps a jukebox, is all that some people have.
    Sing us a song you’re the piano man, sing us a song tonight. Cause we’re all in the mood for a melody and you’ve got us feeling alright!

  2. There’s a lot of talk about finding your voice in playing music. Most musicians start off playing other people’s material as a way to get going. And naturally, all musicians begin by using the sounds that influence them.


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