Archive for September, 2012
A long time ago, in the days of vinyl, record albums were made to be “listening experiences.” A lot of time, care, and attention went into every detail of creating these works from the song selection, to the recording and mastering process, to the packaging and artwork. It was meant to be a collection of songs that you could purchase and enjoy listening to many times over. As long as the recording medium itself held up, you had a near lifetime purchase that you could treasure. This idea of creating something that captured your attention and steeped you in enjoyment from beginning to end still held through the age of cassettes and into the CD age. Albums were still created with this great vision of the “experience” in mind.
Now I want to preface this next part with an explanation. “Record companies” have and always have been in the business of selling “records;” that is, the medium used to deliver the sound recording. In the 70′s they were in the business of selling vinyl discs, the 80′s magnetic casette tapes, and by the 90′s the little plastic discs known more commonly as “CD’s.” The fact that they had all of this quality and craftsmanship entering into the creation of the album was probably because at the time, they felt they needed to fill the discs with quality to remain competitive.
Somewhere in the beginning of the 90′s however, record companies started noticing that they could move lots of little plastic discs if a band or act just had a “hit” (radio or otherwise). Since it was far more economical to put one “proven” song on a disc, one they were sure people would want, and fill up the rest of it with “filler,” they began to do exactly that! This began the abominable trend of “let’s throw some crap on there and see what sticks!” They began treating the purchase of a CD album as on impulse buy, and likewise the creation of the CD album became proportionally shoddy, a far cry from the carefully crafted listening experiences of yore. Essentially, they started selling the same “product” at the same price with inferior parts.
This in turn, began creating disappointed customers, who were still buying a CD album expecting a “listening experience;” (and rightly so given that the price of CD’s has never decreased since their introduction) and instead getting one good song and a bunch of crap for upwards of $15. Who would buy that? The worst part, is that with the advent of digital technology in studios, the makers of CD albums did not deviate from this trend but, only cemented it with renewed intensity! Using digital technology, more discs could be churned out for even cheaper; they just started making more crap more cheaply!
So in essence, record companies themselves DEVALUED the CD album, training consumers to believe that at MOST, they could get one good song and at the same price that they used to get a whole recordful! The WORST part, for independent artists anyway, is that music consumers have been experiencing this for over a decade and thus EXPECT a CD, ANY CD, to be full of crap! Therefore, when potential music fans are confronted with the purchase of a CD, in their minds it registers at or near a value of $0 because they’ve been trained that there’s at MOST one good song on it! It is of course, worlds easier just to seek out the one song they want, and not deal with a hunk of plastic that is of no value to them. As a music consumer myself, I don’t blame them one bit.
For this reason, along with taking pride in what I do, any CD that I make, whether it be my own or for someone else, has had a great deal of care and attention given to its production. I’m wholeheartedly trying to provide the listener with an experience that they can enjoy for at least an hour and hopefully more if they love certain songs. I don’t make CD’s as “I slapped this together really quickly; here, support the band” items. They do end up supporting my act, but the primary reason for their existence is for the enjoyment of the listener, the fan, you.
I believe strongly enough in what I create to give away a couple of tracks for free. If you don’t like it, then neither one of us has lost anything. Simply enter your name and e-mail in the box in the upper right sidebar and you’ll get “Radio Commander” for free. A couple of e-mails later, I’ll send you another track from my current CD, “Pocketful of X-Rays,” that people seem to like a lot Thanks for reading my rant and thanks in advance for giving my music a listen.