It’s the other way around

It’s been a couple of months now and so with changing times, it’s time to update here.

Nothing is happening or has happened of interest since my last. In fact, we seem to wind this effort right back down to zero from where it started.

Health concerns have to have something to do with it. Time to find a doc and figure out what’s wrong. Maybe if we fix that, we fix this.

Reading and hearing more about social-media-induced depression lately as I suddenly realized that this is part of what’s wrong. But only part. But any part affects the whole.

Maybe it’s really the depression of living under an occupied government that does whatever it wishes as it deigns to make up all the rules as it goes along. A luxury we can ill-afford. But we pay for it, and pay & pay. Very frustrating.

No sense putting a title on this blog entry unless it hits me on-the-fly. And, in fact, I really don’t start with titles and then write to that effect. It’s the other way around. Write, then formulate the gist & crux of the spirit of the piece in a title. For example, that is the title of this one. “It’s the other way around”. We examine our thoughts, and only then do we surmise the premise in summary.

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Careful What I Wish For

I am beginning feel anxiety about my future in music. The more I back away, the more it comes after me, the more I sense that others have expectations of me greater than my ability to give.

Some people were born to entertain and you know one when you see one at a very early age. They are call prodigies. Born with “the stuff”. 

The stuff is powerfully magnetic and when one does not have the stuff, and wants the stuff, one might work very hard with the thought that the stuff might be developed.  Work hard enough and one might even fool a few folks into thinking they’re seeing the stuff when it isn’t really there.

It’s not that I don’t believe in what I’m doing. It’s that my vision of what I’m doing is not likely to be shared by many. I don’t expect anyone to adopt my vision and rather doubt its fruition given my feelings on the matter and the facts. Facts are stubborn things.

Entertainment is a poor mistress. She will not take care of you, she will not pay your bills. She will break your back, wear you out, and leave you broke.

Why? It is because she doesn’t take callers. She decides for herself on whom she will lavish her gifts and attentions. She will call if she wants you. All the waving around in the world will not help. She distains distraction, has a long memory, and is finicky & fickle.

I’m thinking, “I don’t care how hot she is, who needs that!?!”

Do I want the world to hear my music? Yes. But how important is that in the big scheme of things?

In my estimation two laws will cover the world’s need for entertainment:

  1. The law of supply & demand.
  2. The law of averages.

There is always more supply than demand in the entertainment business. The abundance of supply will yield the necessary crop of court jesters. And, after all, that is what I am. A court jester who happens to like his head right where it’s currently placed.

Life is good. Why ph it up chasing something that hates to be chased? Did I mention she’s a flirt? Makes it all the worse.

Music stands apart from Entertainment. Or at least it can. Music can stand up on its own two feet and just “be”. Since my vision includes the notion that my music has some redeeming value I will let it be.

Okay, she’s allowed in if she comes knocking but she has to bring it. Otherwise, other people need me more for other things. I need me more for other things. The music will stand on its own two feet or isn’t going to stand at all.

Many will tell you that the path to her open door is promotion. Personally, I think experts in promotion might outnumber the pool of entertainers.  In a world of specialization, I have a few specialties, but promotion is not one of them.

One specialty I picked was “artist” since that is where the fun is; in the creation. Another creative specialty pays the bills. It’s a low stress life conducive to art and accomplishment.

I’m grateful not to be living out of a suitcase and begging fans for gas money to get me home from a fast food tour. And I have learned to be very careful what I wish for.

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On The Spot vs. Crowd Reviews

With a day or so to reflect on the alternating praise and criticism of a ReverbNation Crowd Review of one of my songs, I think it was money well-spent. I say that despite the fact that the premise of the review is the radio-worthiness of a song and I knew mine wasn’t going in. 

For the record, it takes about 7 for a song to be considered ready for air play and mine rated a 5.2.  That’s not too bad since addressing the common negative comments would no doubt put the song in range for success, and because the piece is probably more of an “album cut” than a “hit song”, that’s actually pretty cool.

Of course, the accolades that stoke the ego are nice strokes given the completely anonymous format. I don’t know where they get these folks who listen & comment on songs, apparently not even knowing they are participating in market research.

But that is the very essence of what trips my trigger on the concept. These people don’t know me and could care less about hurting my feelings.  Some loved it. Others were not so thrilled and said so, many gave constructive criticism.

Most of what the reviewers said I knew beforehand, but hearing it from others is reinforcement that has forced some focused thought on the matters at hand.

  • I need to learn to trust my voice and bring it up in the mix.
  • It’s about time to acquire a guitar that sounds brilliant with no effects.
  • I need to reconcile home versus professional recording.
  • It could be time to bring in other players.

The most keyed phrase in the comments was ‘guitar playing’, and that is a great deal of my shtick. On the one hand, a good percentage of reviewers thought that my one guitar was more than one instrument. On the other, one comment said that if the thing was all about guitar playing, it wasn’t that great. And I can’t argue with that, I’m no shredder. It is a rough demo done in a single take with no overdubs. One guitar, one voice, doing it together. That’s the ‘thing’, and indeed, one reviewer remarked that I probably put on a good live show. Maybe…

It’s all what the listener knows, hears, likes, and dislikes that will contribute to their review, including the equipment used to listen to the recording. Mine is about headset-worthy and sounds good in the car, but it has none of the stuff that an engineer does to make a recording sound its best on any system.

For me, rating higher is a matter of increasing the production values of my released works. Glad I haven’t released too much yet. And this is the reason why. I know all this and just haven’t gotten there quite yet. This is also the reason why I’m not pushing my stuff on Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, etc. Frankly, it’s not ready for prime time. Could be it never will be.  We’ll find out.

But I didn’t need to put someone On The Spot by asking them directly. They will only tell you what they think you want to hear. That’s not much help, and if you think about it, kind of rude.

I think if someone in your sphere is moved, they’ll let you know. Asking won’t provide actionable information or win friends & influence people. I fear many people do not know this and operate under the misconception that asking for a “qualified opinion” is a sign of respect. Maybe but putting someone in an awkward position is a funny way of showing it.

Now, if they just had an option that indicated that the artist wanted to know if the recording was “demo-worthy” rather than “radio-worthy”. There I go thinking again.

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