My dear friends and readers, I have been absent far too long, hiding behind the veil of forward motion and career-building. I hope you have all been moving forward too, and I hope you can forgive me.
I've learned a few things since the last time I wrote. I put out that EP I've been going on about. If We Were, it's called. A fitting name for an album that came from a place of hope, a place of wondering why things weren't the way I wanted them to be, why I wasn't the way I wanted to be, and thinking about how it would be if I were.
But I digress. I started telling you what I'd learned, and right when I was getting to the good part, I started plumping my record instead. A vicious and sneaky tactic, I know. But don't worry; I'm planning to tie it all together.
As it turns out, when you put out an EP, people tend to look the other way. Or if they do look, they position it at just the right distance from their bodies (you might want to pull out your protractors to get a proper visual on the angles involved) that they can look straight down the bridges of their noses. Why, this is only 24 minutes of music! It's barely enough for a snack! Harumph! Excuse me while I adjust my monocle!
This is, of course, my roundabout way of saying that I haven't seen the reaction I was hoping for in the two months it's been out. We've sent out press releases, mass e-mails, song snippets, you name it. So far, no reviews. Everyone seems to love the record, but nobody wants to talk about it.
So I'm revisiting my goals here. What am I looking to do now that the album is out? I want to put out a new one - the working title is "In The Days." I want to work with some of the awesome musicians I only know through my iPod. I'd like to do a tour sometime soon, and I'm doing some deep thinking about the structure of my live band. In my wildest dreams, D'Angelo finally returns with the album of the century, and we follow him around, giving the audiences of the world one last sweet kiss before he utterly demolishes them. And instead of pursuing these things, I'm still sitting around waiting and wondering. What if? If I just? If we were?
So my attention is shifting. Perhaps I'm falling into the standard new artist trap, but I'm starting to favor attention over sales. Potential income over actual. Big future over little present. And I've been spending a lot of time over at New Music Strategies, which could convince anyone to give away the store.
With that in mind, I'm taking one small step into the brave new world of 21st century music promotion. I'm opening up the first track on my album, Far Side of Town. I'm giving it a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license, and making it free for download.
A what now? What exactly does this mean?
It means you should take it.
Go ahead, it's OK. Download it. Link to it. Feels good, doesn't it? Like stealing, but with rules.
If you like it, share it with your friends. Or make a remix or a video or some crazy new media art piece, and share that with your friends. Or post it on your website, or your Facebook, or your Twitter or something. Whatever you want to do, as long as you give me credit, and don't make any money off of it. (But hey, if you want to talk cash, you know where to find me.)
There's been some buzz around the blogosphere today about so-called "viral content." And I agree with most of what's being said. I worked on music for a video project a while back where the promotional plan basically consisted of "we're gonna make it viral on YouTube." And all I could think was, I would never send this to anyone; how do you have a virus that isn't contagious?
But I realized after reading those entries that there is one element that you can control. Putting it out into the wild. As Mike Arauz says, "Remove every possible obstacle or challenge that may get in their way." If people want to share, they'll share. That's on them. But if they can't share, because it's too hard, or you haven't given them anything, they won't. And that's on you.
So here's something to share. Do what you will.