Friday, July 10, 2009

Sonic boom

We take a break from update you on some stuff. That's what a blog is for, I guess. Well, though I recently proclaimed this to be quiet time with Scott gone, it's not. I have been active over the past couple days, with plenty to do on the band front. A quick rundown:

1) Book a two-week or so tour for the last part of September. This hopefully can coincide with Dewey Beach Americana Fest (checking on that, presuming they have it) or Music Conference. We are scheduled at the Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, so I just have to work around those dates for now. Some friends from a Knoxville band may link up with us and we'll do the southern circuit together (Knoxville, Nashville, maybe Kentucky, Carolina, even Georgia). Then I'll put together a show or two in New York/Philly, etc.
2) After that tour, we are planning to release this CD, "Shake Down the Sun." Where? I don't know yet, though I have made preliminary in-roads. Problem is, I don't want to play the release party BEFORE the tour (since it'll tighten us up real nice) and after the tour, we have a couple decent offers on the table in October -- one a possible big-time opening slot for a national. Would we postpone further? I'm not sure, but a CD release would require blacking out a month of dates on either side, so it complicates things even more... Working on that next week.
3) Before any of that can happen, we have to put "Shake Down the Sun" to bed. We are in stage 2 of mastering, in which we work out a few kinks with time between songs, matching loudness/softness of tracks, and fixing a couple small crackling issues. Problem is, this is done from afar now, with no follow-up in Fall River. He'll mail us our second reference, then we sign off on it (hopefully, otherwise this gets dragged out longer), then we manufacture white-faced CDs as promo copies for Creamer's cronies (who he says are champing at the bit for some tracks) and radio, etc. See? It's a process. Also, while that's happening, we have to start the artwork for this record, which isn't a huge rush, as it only takes a few weeks to print the initial run of 1,000 CDs that we'd order for the CD release show. And who knows when that will be? Remember?

Anyhow, lots to do. Next week will be a busy one for me.

On another note, I often wonder how the two paths I've chosen (music and journalism) seem to mirror each other so closely, particularly in relation to how both are adapting to new technological challenges. I know that every industry has had to re-think their business model, but music and journalism are in very, very similar struggles. To wit, take Malcolm Gladwell's latest New Yorker piece, "Priced to sell: Is free the future?":

The digital age, (author Chris) Anderson argues, is exerting an inexorable downward pressure on the prices of all things “made of ideas.” Anderson does not consider this a passing trend. Rather, he seems to think of it as an iron law: “In the digital realm you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win.” To musicians who believe that their music is being pirated, Anderson is blunt. They should stop complaining, and capitalize on the added exposure that piracy provides by making money through touring, merchandise sales, and “yes, the sale of some of [their] music to people who still want CDs or prefer to buy their music online.” To the Dallas Morning News, he would say the same thing. Newspapers need to accept that content is never again going to be worth what they want it to be worth, and reinvent their business.

Speaking of which, I'm considering rolling out a new idea for the remainder of 2009: $5 merch box. Everything in the merch box is priced to sell at $5 -- not exactly free, but not far from it. This means the new CD would roll out to the tune of $5 (pun INTENDED), as well as copies of "Whitewash the Blues," "It's Gonna Change," and "Okono Road." Shirts, which cost a bit more than $8 to manufacture (sometimes over $10 depending on graphics/brand), we would essentially be losing money on. But isn't the advertising worth that much? And to move some more merch, I think it's a worthwhile pursuit. Plus, it comes with a catchy theme song: "Five, five dollar, five dollar merchboxxxxxx."

Finally, on a completely unrelated ending note, one tale from our dear Denton, Texas. Sounds about right.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

30 dollar merchbox and people will know the band is something big

11 July, 2009 14:48  
Anonymous Mike said...

$5 merchbox? I'm down with that, in theory. I know I would respect a band that did that, knowing that they aren't ever going to make any money but will be able to provide people with their goods at a recession-friendly price. The only major hitch is this: we have all tied our life savings (literally the most money I have ever spent at one time) into this record, and it's not even pressed yet. But then, I honestly don't care about the money. Never having any just serves as a constant reminder that money is just a big ugly hassle. I'd probably change my tune If we were up on the high hog, sipping champagne from rare Russian fabrige eggs, never again to clock in at some miserable, menial service industry hut. Anyway, I'm for it. Or, rather, I'm conflicted. I don't know. We'll have to talk about it later, I guess. But it strikes me as a good idea.

11 July, 2009 21:13  

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