Kourosh Dini’s success stems from his understanding of both the business and art of music. “The trends in the music business are elusive,” Dini said, “but lately they all seem to revolve around the idea that music has gone digital.” We quite agree. By Teddi Shamrock
Dr. Kourosh Dini, also known as Kourosh Eusebio in Second Life, is a practicing psychiatrist, whose pursuit of understanding the mind is also reflected in his musicianship. With 15 albums to his credit already, working with piano and synthesizer, Dr. Dini creates sounds often described as relaxing and soothing, yet compelling—even hypnotic. Through his music he encourages the listener to reflect. He calls his style “Chopin and Pink Floyd drifting by the sea,” but acknowledges the New Age label is probably most apt.
Actively performing and selling his music since 2003, he credits not only Chopin, but Bach, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff among his earliest influences, and later the Beatles, Metallica, Phish and even Tool, but readily admits to enjoying and being inspired by new sounds too. Clearly he’s got it going on. From someone who has both sides of his brain working in high gear, I was very interested to hear what Dr. Dini thinks about the virtually live music scene.
Intriguingly, he sees music as information—and something that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. “A person purchasing music doesn’t really know whether it’s useful or enjoyable until they have it.” Dr. Dini credits technology with helping to make more music available, but recognizes the challenges of this tech-enabled abundance. “There is so much out there. Essentially, we are looking for filters to help us sift through the many music choices.”
“If someone already has a large fan base, this can be enough for a person to investigate—especially if that fan base has a similar range of music taste as your own,” he said. Dr. Dini also sees other filters worth considering too. “For example,” he shared, “if someone sees there’s an award for an album, that could certainly help verify quality.” He also noted that sites that allow listeners to vote for their favorites, such as thesixtyone.com, can give guidance. He also cited magnatune.com, which he said has a reputation for accepting only a small percentage of submissions, as a way of pre-screening or filtering among many music options.
This viewpoint also influences his thoughts on how musicians promote their music generally, and how it’s licensed. “There are those who advocate putting as much of your music as possible out there for free,” he shared, “but I’m not convinced of this model as of yet.” Dr. Dini raised concern too that when music is free, it may not be heard in the way intended.
He believes, “an artist should take pains to have their work presented in the frame desired.” While there is potential for exposure on YouTube.com, Dini noted there is also a lot of competition to gain a listener’s attention—which can be distracting and frustrating for the artist. Personally, he has determined having his own website helps address this problem. Given the traffic potential of channels such as YouTube.com, however, he recommends artists present a few works with ready access, but add a pull through to the artists’ own site where they can control and best present their work.
Dini also believes that cost, or the lack thereof, is a consideration when determining how to present one’s music. “When I get something for free, I don’t value it as much,” he says. “To me, it says the artist does not value their own work.” For artists just getting started, he says they should consider all the angles to make their own decision.
“There are so many tools available to broadcast to others,” Dr. Dini said. In addition to musical talent, he credits a willingness to experiment with distribution media as a factor for success. He also acknowledges a bit of luck can’t hurt either, but cited Thomas Jefferson: “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Dini believes the same factors for differentiating from the crowd in the music business of old, also apply to digitally live music; specifically, the practice of listening for inspiration, and the willingness to follow through on the work involved.
In terms of performing, he uses the online virtual world to connect to his audience, performing weekly at Nitida Ridge in Second Life. “Music is an abstract space, much as the virtual worlds are, so it is not surprising to see them interact in this way.” He applauds host Bree Birke for creating an environment that adds to his performances. “This has helped me realize the environment in which one performs is as important as the audience and the performer,” Dini said. He no longer performs in physical venues.
FreePlayVL notes performing exclusively in a virtually live format is a growing trend among artists, and may be a leading indicator of how audience preferences for finding and filtering new music are changing too. Many artists find this approach equally satisfying in terms of creating the connection with the audience—and a broader audience at that—but without schlepping gear from place to place.
Dr. Kourosh Dini’s success stems from his understanding of both the business and art of music. “The trends in the music business are elusive,” Dini said, “but lately they all seem to revolve around the idea that music has gone digital.” We quite agree.