Saturday, October 27, 2012

"...Will Work For....Oh, Wait...."

Technology, for lack of a better word, is cool.

And I feel fortunate to have reached an age that ordinarily symbolizes a lack of understanding of and/or disdain for "new fangled" things without having a lack of understanding and/or disdain for "new fangled" things.

In this case, Mp3, digital download, Itunes, BeeMp3, Sound Cloud, Noise Trade, among many others.

No need to pry my Walkman from my cold dead fingers, kids, I'm totally jiggy with everything going on here.

And appreciate that the current generation of music makers has so many options available to them in terms of getting their music to the masses, in many cases bypassing the, at one time, only game in town of begging, borrowing and/or groveling to the establishment publishing houses, record labels, ad nauseum.

And, believe me youngsters, doing it that way generated very little in the way of ad and a whole lot in the way of nauseum.

So, you kids Sound Cloud and You Tube and Noise Trade, et al, your little musical hoofies to the quick.

The maze of musical success starts, always, with one obvious, essential fact of life.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Or as the young lottery minions love to lay on us...

You can't win if you don't play.

Personally, I really like the independant approach. I've long believed that the only thing standing between a whole lot of creativity and access by the masses to that creativity is the "approval" of the "experts" whose green light is necessary to pass Go and collect the record deal and/or $200.00.

This principle applies, by the way, to a number of industries, not the least of which being politics and broadcasting.

But's that's another blog bone for another picking time.

All of this love I feel for the "DIY" school of music making, though, gets just a little chillier with the addition of yet another "new fangled" thing.

The online solicit.

No, not the pitch for you to pay and download a singer's song.

I'm talking the "virtual tip jar".

I've seen this little "value added" showing up on a couple of three singer/songwriter type upload/download places lately as well as some less than subtle "hey, how about making a donation to help me get my CD finished?" type solicits on Facebook, etc.


I'm trying to imagine what response those who think this kind of currency quest is kosher might offer to my own take.

That high tech is cool.

Panhandling is not.

I hear "...ah, lighten up, it's just a grown up version of the lemonade stand or paper route....every kid wants to make a little extra coin.."

Uh, yeah.

The key things there being that in return for the dough you get a paper.

And a whole lot of sugar with some lemon water in it.

And there's that pesky "grown up" dealio, indicating that both of the newsprint and refreshing beverage "sellers" have yet to come close to experiencing puberty.

I hear " costs a lot of money to make CD's....and we should all chip in to help these kids make their dreams come true...."

Uh, yeah. It does cost a lot.

Uh, no, we shouldn't all necessarily chip in to make those dreams come true.


I hear..."you know, old man, in your day, it was possible for talented writers to get a songwriting deal with a publisher and they could live off the weekly draw they were given, but that's not really possible anymore...".

First, uh, yeah, it was possible.

And, uh, yeah, it's not all that easy to find anymore.

And, uh, I don't know of a single peer of mine from the time who, reading this, isn't enjoying a healthy guffaw at the notion of "living off the weekly draw".

Almost all of us, in one form or another, had something else going for us that seems to have gone totally out of fashion.

Tell you that one in a sec.

First, though, let me just sum it all up by offering that, again, I applaud the ambition of the up and comers to take available technology by the scruff and use it to get their musical messages out to whatever audience they can build.

But, when it comes to "brother, can you spare a dime (two bucks adjusted for inflation)?"..., I'm afraid this once upon a time songwriter is going to have to draw an old fashioned line.

Because "artist" is all very nice a name tag to wear when you're playing The Bluebird Cafe.

But when it comes to the real world, you might take a pass on passing the hat and wear the name tag that a lot of us have in our old shoe boxes, from that, uh, aforementiond currently out of fashion thing.

The one they give you when they hire you for the part time job.

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