I'm under the impression that the Two Tongues record comes out three days after my birthday. This is pretty cool to me. If you don't know, that band is a collaboration between the two longest-tenured members of Saves the Day and the two studio members of Say Anything, and while the two songs they've released are a bit underwhelming, this record will at least be cool to listen to if not flat-out brilliant. (on my other blog, this seemed like it might need explaining. I realize that practically everyone on AP.net probably knows this!-GA)
I just read some interesting facts about the music industry on Anthony Raneri's (singer/songwriter in the band Bayside) blog. The more I learn about the current state of record-buying, the more discouraging it becomes to me to try modeling a career after proxies from earlier eras. One thing I found extremely frustrating in my band was the fact that we made a very limited effort to circumvent the public's fickleness and inclination not to pay for music. From what I can tell, if you can make real, personal connections with your fans, you can develop a group of people who will support you and take care of you, and while you may not be selling out arenas, you can make your art comfortably. The problem with this is that many would-be musicians seem to have these bloated conceptions of what making money off of music is supposed to be like, and also don't realize that developing bonds with people who are financially supporting your music involves more from the artist these days.
A simple thing I think about alot is that if you want people to pay for physical copies of records, you need to give them more. Not having a lyric sheet is shameful, but liner notes and elaborate and stimulating album art are big pluses, too. I wholeheartedly advocate buying physical copies of albums, but since we're in an age in which that is no longer the standard approach, physical records need to have some more attractive attributes (thus the resurgence of vinyl, of course) I have been thinking hard about what this means for my own attempt to carve a niche for myself in the collective pop music consciousness that now spans continents and timezones in an ever more immediate way thanks to -your friend and mine- the interweb. For one, I think I'm realizing more that my sensibility as an artist is better supported by the hanging posters, handing out flyers, busking sort of promotional paradigm than the systematic addition of Palahniuk-quoting, eyeliner-wearing, Blink-182 nostalgic teenage chicks to an online friends list. I mean, I love the people who make up the latter, too,- and I hope that group and I can still be friends, online and otherwise, but the digital music boom has given birth to a culture that has blown the former asunder and I believe that part of the way to finding the people my music should get to involves some level of a reversal of that.
Or so I theorize at the moment. See, I want to connect with people through my art for personal, aesthetic and getting laid-related reasons anyway. So making that a mission statement for the professional benefits as well seems like a no-brainer. "Kicking Ass and Taking Names", nee the name song, which appeared on the "limited edition" version of my band's only full-length, is something of an example of the kind of approach that I feel will suit a promotional and artistic paradigm that is conducive to being successful in the wilderness that the music industry has become. It was a concession as an artist to actually put even more work into our record by promising to include your name in a song if you pre-ordered our record, but it encouraged more people to pre-order our record, and now when I listen to the song, I have a keepsake that immortalizes in some small way the people who supported and invested interest and money in our band. That one instance of a successful hybrid of art and commerce is a foundation to build on, and with my new ventures, I intend to do just that.
So with that in mind, I'm on a quest to find a new path, a new approach, and a new sound.
Or at the very least, something else to brag about.
Althought alot of these blogs are incomplete thoughts, I always feel this silly urge to say something that sounds conclusive or foreshadows something worth sticking around for, like it's the end of a chapter in a petty YA novel.
I wholeheartedly blame R.L. Stine for this.