Oh I’m Sorry – Will You Please Buy My Album?

I know it’s been awhile, but hey – I’ve been busy in the studio making music… that’s what “they” pay me for, right? (For more info on “They”, kindly submit your query via email)

In all fairness, and in response to several email inquiries, I have been writing… almost daily — just not on the comp. As is my current, I’ll likely post an inordinate amount of transcriptions simultaneously “one of these days”… but ’til then, may this piece enrich you:

What you are about to read initially started as a reply I left on a good friend and colleague’s blog — you can read the original article here, and will definitely need to, if context plays a significant role in your life. Go on, then… I’ll wait here for you.

 

Okay, groovy. Let’s press on:

Had you scrolled down to peruse the comments (and perhaps you did, and maybe you even left one of your own?) you would have noticed a rather… bulky response from ‘Yours Truly’™.  So after I had hacked it out and sat back to think about what I might have failed to mention, the thought occurred that it was a good topic to expound upon for a blog of my own, and the lazy bastard in me jumped up, hands clapping with a fervor I thought lost forever to misspent youth, and nodded excitedly “YES! YES! COPY AND PASTE!! IT’S OKAY!! HELL! YOU WROTE IT, RIGHT??” 

After bitch-slapping the fat fuck relentlessly, it occurred to me that maybe He/We/I had a point?

Voila! A classy cut and paste job awaits you below — the original text in italics and any addendum’s in this regular font.  Take heart (I did), as the scissors used were gilded:

 

So good to see these very important truisms put “out there”. As you know from our many talks, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve just tweeted this to my 3 000+ Followers in the hopes that both artists as well as fans stop by and take it in. Seeing as how “indie artists” have – in a completely NON-artistic, NON-“be true to thine own self” kinda way (replete with an irony that even the hippest of the “hipsters” would likely fail to grasp) effectively rolled over and supplicated to an imaginary endless internet-spawned fan base, perhaps it’s just time for fans to start saying NO to the musical panhandlers; the bands who behave like squeegee kids, annoying music listeners while simultaneously lowering the bar for the rest of us by (passively)aggressively trying to foist their often times rather mundane and uninspired music on to any and all who might be cajoled in to “liking” their FB page, or following them on Twitter.
As an artist and free thinker, frankly it’s embarrassing to witness. And I fell prey to it to some degree as I started out on this recent “DIY” path during the making and self-promotion I ‘ve had to participate in surrounding my latest album ‘Analogue Verses’.

I’ve since learned it’s about the worst thing one can do, and yet my gut was telling me that all along?

What I’ve come to realize is the “social media experts” are hardly that – experts on fleecing gullible people out of a few bucks, maybe… but wrong otherwise, at least where music is concerned. Mostly because they try to apply broad marketing principles that are designed to work for tactile product sales, NOT creative expressions in art. Music is highly subjective and “speaks” to people very differently. Bottled water… not so much.
You’ll notice, too, that many seem to be either frustrated or failed artists, or worse – rabid fans looking for a new way to place themselves on to the RADAR of their music idols, under the auspices of “professional social media strategist”. (Pffff. Yeah… I read those books, too. BUY NOW! www.insta-cred.com) 
They WANT the artists to basically dialogue with them personally – this, to me, is a form of negotiation, and that’s just messed up. I recall seeing a “fan” personally take Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins to task on the price of a box set. It disgusted me. I’m happy to say that not long after, Corgan’s Twitter presence has all but disappeared. Not his record sales. :)
By returning to my “art first – fuck what people think” attitude, I’ve watched a staggering increase in both traffic and downloads. FANS, in other words. 
Maybe it’s time for ME to write a book? 😛

But don’t even get me started… 😉

Great piece! I hope it gets some views!

 

Hi. It’s ‘Yours Truly’™ again. (well, it kinda always was, but you know what I mean)

So there you have it – somewhat of a rant based on my personal experiences over the past few years. What I didn’t mention, and wanted to add, was another off-putting scenario artists have been acquiescing to that I’ve watched emerge recently: The internet-based  “indie radio station” holding out the little tin cup to ARTISTS and expecting THEM to pay to be played?? HUH?!

 If only I could pay my rent with Facebook ‘Likes’; take all my Twitter Followers to the grocery store and trade them, along with a few coupons I clipped, towards some Angus beef and red wine? Alas.

While I “get” that running a station requires time and resources, there’s a model that still works — exceedingly well — called ADVERTISING. People go to radio stations for ONE REASON ONLY – To LISTEN TO GOOD MUSIC. If Station X – who brags of having an audience in excess of 100k listeners — can’t convince a handful of sponsors/advertisers to shell out a few bucks to “help cover costs”, then they’re either A) Completely amateurish twits or B) Full of Shit about their numbers. Either way, not my issue. I make GOOD tunes. But you already know that. Heartfelt; compelling; intricate… TIME CONSUMING. Ever priced a recording in a pro audio facility?

Thought so.

These clowns are yet another permutation of the scam artists who’ve been bamboozling young, naive artists all along. Those who are just desperate to get their music out there. It is, after all, one giant popularity contest now that “Social Media” has become the new ‘currency’. If only I could pay my rent with Facebook ‘Likes’; take all my Twitter Followers to the grocery store and trade them, along with a few coupons I clipped, towards some Angus beef and red wine? Alas.

But I can’t. And never will. So don’t ask me to pay YOU to support YOUR hobby and help plump YOUR listener-ship/ popularity using MY fans. The gall?!? It ain’t gonna happen.

If you’re a SERIOUS  independent artist reading this, think long and hard about who you submit your music to. (and for chrissake, stop begging people to check you out!! Desperation has a cloying smell… yuck!)

Most of them aren’t even licensed. They don’t pay royalties. Here’s a common jig they’ll run to guilt and shame artists in to paying for rotation:

“We charge a fee to weed out those who aren’t serious about their career.”

Really. The irony. Beyond the obvious fact that a professional recording can run an artist anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars (or much more if major labels are involved) PER SONG, who are these characters really appealing to?

I have a pretty good idea: The bedroom and basement hobbyists looking for bragging rights on Facebook, etc., who cobbled something together on a laptop and don’t mind paying a recurring monthly fee to have it played. To such hobbyists, the “pay for play” model IS the investment. And it sounds like it. Literally. I know this because I’ve been working with bands and singer/songwriters in a professional capacity for over 15yrs. The most serious, dedicated and independently financed of the bunch. How many are lining up to throw money at these hucksters? None that I know, anyway.

Some standard, fellas. Well done.

(Disclaimer: For educational purposes, I chose 3 indie stations to watch for awhile then “pay for play”. Informed opinions on offer here)

 

Phew! That feels better!

I realized much earlier that I may have run a bit wide of Dr. Sean’s original message regarding fans and starving artists, so I’ll bring it back as I wind down:

Something’s obviously completely upside down at this point, and while it’s been touched upon, I don’t think trying to root out and expose the various causes is the issue here. What I wanted to do was shed just a little more light on how artists – whatever their stripe – are being once again exploited, this time, however, beyond the obvious examples given, it would seem the very listeners of music have joined in, possibly lending to a form of self-exploitation.

I’ve seen this comment – or a paraphrasing of it – WAY too often “out there” on the web:

“Dude – You actually PAY for music? LOL!”

But who could blame music fans for not wanting to actually PAY for something when it’s so widely… given away? To hell with napster and file sharing circa 2000-2004, I’m talking about all the artists who are standing on binary street corners and trying to stuff their EPs and albums in to every digital passerby’s iPod/Pad/Tablet/Smartphone! These so-called “indie” bands need to realize that they have dug their own graves as far as sustainable careers are concerned.

O V E R S A T U R A T E D

So now I turn to YOU – Music Fan. Taking everything in to consideration you’ve read both at Sean’s blog and now here, what’s YOUR take on this conundrum?

Tired of whiny artists who are “too nice” trying to push their material on you?

Do you still pay for music?

What would make you run out and buy an album?

Do you listen mostly to NEW artists (last 3-5yrs) or older artists (pre-social media — 2006 on back)?

(SIDENOTE: MY 1st installment of the ‘Analogue Verses’ project – Book 1 – will actually be available FREE here on the site… but only for TWO WEEKS. Like any clever dealer, I’ll hook you now… and make you pay later! he he he!)

I wanted to end this post on a positive note:

I’ve met some great indie radio folks – none of whom have ever asked me for a dime. My music gets played regularly in and among some great music and classic songs, so I assume it got there on it’s own merits.

Go find a station (or FIVE) that fits your tastes, and tell them I sent you (and feel free to request any of my songs – they all have a good Jon Mychal stash!!)

 

Jon Mychal / Toronto — Dec 6 2012

 

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