A few days ago, I ran into an amazing young man of about 23 who is a photographer. Not just your standard photographer … one who’s every shot is totally different than any that I’ve seen. This guy is truly an artist. So, I ask him if he’s trying to become a professional photographer and he answers back that he has no interest in doing his art for $$$. For him, he said that the $$$ aspect screws with his art and any relationships that he might have with friends and others.

In many ways, as a musician/producer, I totally empathize with what he’s saying. I’ve been lucky enough to be an author of a top book in my industry (back in the day when that really meant something) and to have saved and invested enough to not have to worry about the next paycheck. Even as a young man, I was smart enough to financially look out for myself and my family in the future. In short … this strategy has translated into artistic freedom. The freedom to do my music in the ways that I see fit.

Recently, I’ve made several decisions that seem to make sense to me:

1. For better or for worse, I’m going to keep my music close to home, by staying “indy” and putting all of my production “wares” on Bandcamp. Here, I can offer up my stereo projects in hi-res mp3 and flac formats. Unlike with streaming, 85% of the revenues goes directly to me (the artist).

2. I’ve decided to do something stupid (again) and go back and remix/remaster my 5.1 files as surround flac files that can be sold as direct download “merch” on bandcamp. Although this has meant taking several weeks to revisit all of my major projects, it also means that I can again present them in the best possible sounding light. In short, something that I can be proud of.

3. As always, I have to sing Bandcamps praises, by saying that it is a music download distribution site that’s fair to the artist, offers high-quality mp3/flac downloads and (perhaps most importantly) has a coded website that is totally rock-solid, allowing me to have complete control over soundfile and info updates at any time.

At this time, like the young photographer, I’m doing my art for me. I know that I’ll have to work hard with a buddy of mine who knows marketing way better than I do … but I’ve decided not to make sales my total priority … I’d just like to be conformable with making the best music productions that I possibly can. This might or might not resonate with you at this point in your life, but I wanted to share my view-point none-the-less.

post script: I know that all of this is an extreme over-simplification. Of course, I’d like to get my stuff out. Several decades ago (in the old brick-n-mortar distribution days), I had the good fortune of having sever projects out that sold over the million mark. Once that plug was pulled, I never again attained that level of mass appeal … which can leave a mark.

All the best,

DMH

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