My replacement iPad – a mini – is Somewhere. Nobody knows where. Somewhere. The Apple store got it Wednesday morning at 10:32 and sent it back. “I’d wait a few days and see what happens.” THANKS GUYES. Now I get to play phone warz with FedEx and the online Apple Store.
And I hate phones. I am so pissed off right now.
But! I, by contrast, have not lost the packages with CDs that people have ordered! I’ll be hand-delivering a few more this weekend, and that’s the last of what I have so far. If you’re thinking of elfmetal as stocking stuffers? ORDER SOON! For best shipping, anyway. Dick Tracy Must Die, Cracksman Betty, both on yummy holiday discount.
And since we’re going to be talking money, apparently…
If any of you are Leannan Sidhe fans – and I know a few of you are – let’s talk about them for a second. They’ve been recording here, and down in Oregon, for their next album. Mixing is already started, mostly down at Alec’s. They have all the money they need to get recording and mixing finished, but are tight on mastering funds, so’ve launched an indiegogo campaign going to make up the difference and raise replication money. Give it a look.
See, I’ve talked a lot about the business of indie music, particularly in the Post-Scarcity Model article series (The Problem with All of This, The Damage is Worse Than I Thought, Even Pressing Play Makes My Fingers Ache, Touring, Part I, Touring, Part II, The Long Tail of Zero is Still Zero, The Same Model as Music), and one of the things I talked about was up-front money through patronage. If people don’t buy music once it’s out there – and a lot of them pretty much just don’t – then getting dosh in advance to do new work becomes really critical. If people believe in you enough to back you up front (Part A), piracy becomes almost unimportant. Anything you sell after – Part B – is profit, ramp up for next go, souvenirs, and PR.
Leannan Sidhe need a little more money to do the new things. They need their Part A help right now.
Me, I need some of my minions to give my current CDs to other, potential minions. That’s the back side of any album project; I had money up front to record, now I try to bootstrap on post-creation sales. Part B.
And that’s how we hope it works. Cycles, where Part A leads to Part B leads back to Part A. I’m running a couple of them in parallel – I’ve already got the money for the soundtrack album, or most of it, via Anna’s book kickstarter. That’s another, separate, Part A.
With a little luck, and a little help, it can become a virtuous cycle, and everybody wins except the RIAA, who can go fuck themselves. But that only happens if the cycle builds. Otherwise, you’re back to the labels and the DRM and the lockdown model, and everything sucks. If you care about music as art, then when you’re thinking about your holiday spending – think about that.
Because Heather Dale recently linked to this article on the necessity of music. Music is entertainment – but it’s not just that. I like to say that music is the written language of emotion, and I mean that in a literal sense. It can be fiction, it can be nonfiction, we don’t have good language for this so I borrow words from literature which don’t quite work, but you get the idea.
Karl Paulnack goes further than I, in that aforementioned article, paraphrasing the ancient Greeks as saying it’s “…the opposite of entertainment… music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.”
There’s a whole hell of a lot of entertainment out there, and I don’t mean to disparage it; entertainment is healthful. It’s important, too. It’s approachable. It’s fun. You can get tired of it, but having your fill every so often is good for you.
But those of us who are, in our vain little ways, insisting on trying to do something more like art, more like that moving of invisible pieces inside our hearts – we’re not as approachable. We don’t pattern-match as well. It might have a good beat, but it can be pretty damned hard to dance to.
Are songs like Hide from Me “entertainment” music? Fuck no. It’s brutal and hard and mean and that’s on purpose. It’s on the album as a statement. And the same people who call you “quite brilliant” for it turn you down for tours because you’re not labelly enough.
That’s why we really need people who believe in what we’re doing – the people who throw in the up-front money, the people who think that art matters – to fuel that virtuous cycle.
And maybe we’ll manage to epoxy something together out of all this yet.