Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday (Morning) News Post!
For all those who have YouTubed me in the past, and I know there are many of you, the wait is over. I’m finally here on YouTube now! Boo-yeah!
Now, for the rest of you, who are wondering why I’m so excited to be a website that features videos like “Guinea pig Speaks Shanghainese” and “Fat Kid Falls Off Bike,” a website that anyone can be on. Well, I’m excited because I HAD FANS PUT THE VIDEO UP FOR ME! That’s right,… fans. Not only that, but they live in France! You see that!? You see? I’ve got fans around the globe,… and by “around the globe” I mean,… in France,…and by “around” I mean in Clermont-Ferrand.
So a big thank you to Edouard and Amanda in Clermont-Ferrand, France. You have both advanced to 1st Rank Danderfer fans, or “Danderfans” if you will (thanks SJ!). If we were in Vancouver right now, I’d be donning you with a gold medal,… well, maybe not, but at least a little bouquet of those yellow flowers they hand out, maybe even a commemorative
cone-head team Canada tuque. So way to set an example for the other Danderfans around the world! The bar has been raised.
Why haven’t I uploaded some video to YouTube myself? you ask. Please! Don’t make me laugh! We all know I’m far too busy blogging about my career to actually attend to it! I mean, come on! However, if you insist, I’ve got a little footage from a show last Summer I could post. Okay, you can stop insisting now, I’ll get on it.
Some of you may be wondering “Doesn’t JD mind the fact that people are posting his music online for free?” I’m so glad you asked. No, I don’t. Which brings me to this weeks other topic: “Monetizing music: A Thing Of The Past?”
I met with McGill University’s Music Marketing teacher Shelley Stein-Sacks this past week to ask him a few things about the biz, to clarify what needs to be done to work towards, you know… actually making a living at this:
JD: Does it make any sense in 2010 to restrict online access to one’s music? In other words, what is the benefit to offering just a sample of my music online (all available for online purchase of course) as opposed to just giving it away.
SS: None. You won’t benefit at all from approaching it that way. You see, you’re still trying to monetize your music, your CDs, your downloads. You can’t monetize music any more.
JD: (long pause) I’m sorry,… I didn’t quite catch that. Would you mind repeating?… Because HAHA, it almost sounded like you just said “You can’t monetize music any more.” HAHA (enter nervous beads of sweat forming on brow).
SS: You can’t. It doesn’t work like that anymore. There is so much free music available to people now, your competition is giving their music away. No, you can’t monetize it.
JD: (Now teary-eyed, lower lip trembling) But, but I,… I’m spending almost $7 k on my next electroacoustic EP, and you’re,… you’re telling me it’s not worth anything?!
And there you have it folks, two guys looking at one subject from two very different perspectives.
Many of you are saying “Silly jazz clarinetist, of course it’s not worth anything! I’ve got 2 years worth of free music on ipod alone, and that’s nothing compared to my terrabyte drive at home.”
Am I out of touch with reality? Perhaps we musicians have an inflated sense of the value of our own music? Or perhpas it’s not an inflated sense at all, but a very real sense of the dollars and cents production value of our music. Laypeople are often surprised to find out what goes into that CD they buy (or used to buy), take my last recording for example: when all was said and done, once the musicians were paid, and the studio, and renting a piano, and the recording engineer, and getting it mixed, then mastered, then getting the design/layout work done, then having a thousand copies pressed, then mailing it out for reviews or to radio stations, it cost me no less than 9 grand. Not a record label. Me. And that’s not even mentioning all of the time that goes into preparing the music for a such a recording.
This isn’t to meant to guilt people into paying for music (I also have a lot of free music on my hard drive) but I think it does help to explain the musicians perspective and why some of us are slow to accept the “new music business model.”
But you know what? On the other hand, I really do want people listening to my music, that’s why I pay to have it released instead of just filing it away as documentation for Christ’s sake! Hell, I’d rather have people listening to it for free than not listening to it at all. I want it to be as easy to access as possible, so in a way, I’d be quite happy to just give it away for free. Is music just a tool with which to bring people to live shows? I’m just not seeing how indepent musicians can afford to keep producing recordings this way.
Wow! This is really sounding like a desperate plea for people to buy my next release. It’s not,… no really, it isn’t. This is instead, a request for your feedback, if you were me, how would you release the next recording? I’m not looking for feel-good answers, I’m looking for honest answers. So if you would, really think about how you and your friends access music these days, which artists you “support” and why,… and let me know. No point is too obvious for this guy either, you never know,… maybe I just can’t see the forest for the trees.
I’ve got lots of friends who listen to music all the time, via online radio; they never buy music but they’ll go out to see a band they like. Even I have to admit that there are a number of artists today whose new releases I’d really like to hear but just not quite enough to make me buy the album because I have lots of other music to listen to. That’s how saturated we are with free music.
Was Shelley, the music marketing guy, right? Does it come down to people supporting what you do as opposed to paying for music? If so, then perhaps we (independent musicians) should all adopt the “pay what you like” model and just get it out there. Traditional business models would say “You assign a product’s value. If you assign it $0 value, people will never associate any more value to it than that.” But this isn’t a traditional business anymore, it’s been turned upside down.
So there you go. All thoughts welcome, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use that nifty little soap-box below I like to call a “comments section.”
Thanks for your reading and for your suggestions! Have a great week.
(above Collier cover image by Earl Oliver Hurst)