Category Archives: Have You Listened to Yourself Lately??

What’s With All The Excitement?

A few weeks ago I was browsing the DIY Blog at CD Baby and noticed that A gleeful Christopher Robley was going on and on about the launch of Apple’s New Streaming System, the differences between this and their very well funded iTunes and how Beats fits in, etc. OK Fine, Yada! But then the gentleman had the nerve to ask his readership (90+% Indie Musicians, I’m sure) if they were “Excited” about Apple’s launch. I couldn’t help myself!        I had to Comment.

Below is what I wrote verbatim (in bold) although surprisingly, the gatekeepers DID Approve its posting!

Before You Read, Take a Moment to Answer These Questions:

How Much Serious Money Have You Made from iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal or Amazon as an EntreMusician? (I’ve Never Seen So Many Zeros follow a decimal point!)

How Much Serious Money have the aforementioned companies made off the back of Songwriters & Artists? (How Many Zeros are there in Seven Billion?)

Do You Think We Should Continue Down The Path of Poverty Just to Tell Our Fans They Can Find Us on Spotify Instead of Asking them to purchase directly from Us?

What Suggestions Do You Propose To Get Us Out of This Mess?

Seriously, the concept of any Artist being “excited” about Apple, Spotify, Pandora or even CD Baby making millions of dollars a year – on the very backs – of these same Musicians to whom they pay less than peanuts to is a clear Offensive Mockery to the Art of Music.

The Time is long past where all Serious EntreMusicians should concentrate on their own Fan Base (no matter how small) and Create their own Subscription Models through their Websites and Micro Payment Accounts through Pay Pal and begin this doggone thing again! The ability to interact directly with your own tribe, via Internet is old school and completely limited by your imagination.

The notion that ANY Indie Musician is going to get rich, be discovered and have access to millions of eyes and ears is pure fallacy. Do Your Thing! Don’t Be A Sucker! The Time and Money You Spend Rehearsing, Recording, Performing and Building Your Brand will be Rewarded if You Are Smart, Creative and Willing to Work Your Posterior Regions Off!

Call The Crap for What It Is and Don’t Believe the Blinking Hype! If You Only have 500 fans who give you $50 a year because you have brilliantly created Music & Merch they LOVE, You have Earned $25k. So Grow those 500 to 1000+ and Keep Moving. The Whole World doesn’t have to Know Your Name as Long as You are Making Music that Touches the Hearts and Minds of YOUR Fans. They WILL Support Your Artistry! Ultimately, It’s Our Responsibility – Without a Major Label, Distribution or “Connects” – Network with Other Likeminded Musicians and Make a Plan & Make Your Mark!

Excited About Apple? Please!

P.S. Derek Sivers started a great company. I believed and supported his original philosophy that actually helped make our music accessible on a global basis and we made $$. I started calling him (and still refer to him as ‘Uncle Derek.’ This subsequent “push” to ‘Make Sure Your Music is Here or Here or Here’ has long proven a bad decision. Jay Z Can’t Save Us – iTunes didn’t and Apple Won’t.

I Would Really Love To Hear Your Comments Here. Seriously, Lemme Know.

I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Future2Future” as I prepared this Blog.

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What is YOUR Music Worth (To You)?

A Musician I know entered our Studio a few weeks ago to obtain some advice on some software we use. While playing through the Music he had brought with him, I noticed that his Songs, though Very Well Produced, Energetic & Engaging, were Extremely Dated. His Drum Programming, Keyboard Patches, Quantization and approach to Sequencing matched his age perfectly, but not This Decade.

Knowing that his Intention was to soon release this Music to a Specific Genre, I fought (and won) the urge to give advice that had not been asked for. When he left, I began having a Conversation with Myself (you should try it sometime) on the Merits of Releasing his Music “As Is” or Redoing Everything to Make it More Contemporary. 

I Argued Both Sides of the Art VS Commerce Debate. EntreMusicians daily walk a very thin tightrope of Maintaining Each, even when One may be Sacrificed at times for the Longterm Benefit of the other. But for Some Reason, this Self Induced Discourse was Different and I admit, my own age was to blame. 

I Am a Bonafide Child of the Mid 60’s & 70’s. I remember the first Recorded Drum machines, the Robotic Stiffness of Kraftwerk and Soul Sonic Force’s “Planet Rock” to the many artists like the great Jeff Lorber (who ruined my life, ask him), Stevie, Herbie & Prince who were eagerly adept at Melting Genre & Technology because they absolutely kept the Art First. 

Not All Records Sold. 

Herbie’s “Dis is da Drum” VS “Future Shock” (which contained the monster hit ‘Rockit‘)

Stevie’s “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” VS “Songs in The Key of Life” (which Lori & I recently saw Live!) 

Prince’s “Around The World in a Day” VS iconic “Purple Reign

Ironically, from a Purely Musician’s Perspective, Each Work was Equally Exceptional, but only one of the two made the Artist significant moola. Various circumstances may have contributed to the Lack of Sales, including the Timing of the Release, Record Company Promotion, Management, Tour Support, Radio Politics and so forth. But for the Indie EMs who Begin Most Projects without any of these benefits, it’s critical that he/she think through the Real Possibility of Not Eating or Making Music that is Honest & Most Meaningful to Their Spirit First & Foremost, irregardless of the public’s taste (or lack thereof).

One of George Duke’s best statements before he left us was that early on he refused to make music to please the popular frontier of Radio & Record Company whims; that he was pleasing his own Soul first. B.B. King said he wouldn’t be satistfied until he heard ‘that sound’ in his head and would live his life trying to acheive it. In both of these instances, they kept searching and we kept listening.  

So after going Back & Forth and around the proverbial, I made up my own mind to ccontinue charting my own artistic course while rmaining on the tightrope. In fact, SounDoctrine has been and I’ll be releasing music which clearly shows our choices.

What side do you come down on?

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U Got da Look

I bought my Beautiful Wife a new Mp3 Player for her Birthday and finally got around to adding   music to it. Because she and I are children of the 70’s, most of her requests were based from that era and into the early 80’s

What I noticed as I was going thru the earlier Albums and CDs to convert was how rugged the artists looked back then – not to mention how many people made up a band in those days (but that’s another blog). I mean to look at some of those faces – the men and the women – Yikes!
But that didn’t matter to us at all! As long as we could “Shake Our Rumps to the Funk” and Wiggle our Boogie Bodies, it didn’t matter if the artists looked like Mr. & Mrs. Freakalistic.
Most Did.
That’s Not to Say that Musicians did not have a certain look to it. We always have.
The Clothes
The Swagger
The Coolness
The Individuality
These were all inherent in the music and will always be. However, what was almost never a factor was a person’s physical features. I mean some of these dudes and dudettes sweated and barked on the record and on the album cover! Truly Gruesome and we loved every second of it.
Somehow though overtime, a pretty, chiseled face and a surgically enhanced body was all that was necessary to become a major star. For those of us who knew our instruments and could really bring down a house, yet had the bodies of deformed groundhogs and faces like   a…well….we didn’t see it coming! That is until Michael began morphing before our very eyes!
I know this is a well worn argument, but having THE LOOK is the ONLY thing that matters in the music industry. The gatekeepers have long fallen asleep and will only push and promote the beautiful people who can sell magazines and grunt loud enough for AutoTune to sing for them. Notible exceptions are rappers who are expected to be off pitch, angry and should look like they can create entropy at a moment’s notice.
The recent buzz over Rihanna and Justin Bieber’s (check out his hair??) performances at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show the other night seek to rival the bizarre caricitures of
Lady What’s Her Name appearances for bonifide stardom. Unfortunately, Rihanna had to reduce her performance to a strip tease, as if it were needed to keep her audience engaged.
Not long ago, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ contestant Susan Boyle proved the priority of raw talent over plastic antics, but still battled demons of low self esteem, publicly, due to years of mistreatment among her personal and professional peers. What’s encouraging is that her albums continue to sell by the millions and we can witness depth and progress in each of her releases.
We May Win After All!
Thank goodness for the talented, gnarled-faced Artists & Musicians who continue to bring the noise right to the door of a superficial, cookie-cutter industry lost in the squeaky clean backdrop of Photoshop.
What Do You Have to Add???
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