As I mentioned last week, I made a record.
Those of of you following from the bleachers have known this is coming. I’m pretty excited. It is 21st century technology that makes it possible for someone like me to even contemplate making recordings of songs that are anything beyond what I made in my room on a cassette recorder back in 1985. And then to be able to make copies and reach people out in the world without slinging my banjo over my shoulder and walking from town to town like a musical Kwai Chang Caine? That’s just sci-fi.
However, it is the 21st century, and that means when you kick something like this out into the world, you make as much noise as possible. Since the likelihood of anything of mine ending up on radio is slim (to none), that means we leverage the power of the internets. Thus the warning.
I’m going to be putting out a slew of stuff in the next ninety days or so (and probably beyond). I’ll also be engaging in some internet PR tactics that I have not previously tried. Those include some paid promotion of certain things, more scheduled posts than normal, and doing things like clicking the ‘invite all’ button. It occurs to me that you might fall into one of several categories as relates to this, so I’m dividing up my comments and advice accordingly.
1) If you are a rabid fan (both of you), then you want to maximise the spam from me. Follow me on twitter, instagram, facebook, join the email list (red box to the right), and send me regular messages asking how it’s going. You’ll be one of the first three people to respond to the release event posting, you’ll buy a pre-release CD directly from me on my website, ask for more stickers, and wonder when I’ll have t-shirts. You’ll show up early to the release show and you’ll still be there at the end. You’ll share every post and be really annoying to your friends on my behalf. You’re awesome, thanks for being you!
2) You’re interested in that 21st century, mildly ironic, ‘oh, you did something artistic, how cool,’ kind of way. You probably have already liked my page on facebook, or follow me on twitter, and since you just read that I have an instagram, you’ll probably follow me there too. You will like approximately 50% of the posts from me that you see, which is less than 10% of the posts, but that’s not your fault, it’s that facebook manipulates what you see to leverage me into paying for advertising, and there’s just too much stuff on twitter to keep up. If you’re around for the release show you’ll rally and come, and you’ll probably download the record on iTunes, though you probably won’t pre-order it when that becomes possible. It’s cool, we all fall into this category in relation to some creative people we know. I’m psyched to see you at a show, and I hope you give the record a listen when you get a chance. As an independent artist, even the most ironic, distanced gesture of approval means a lot. Thanks!
3) You know me somehow, but had no idea that I did music. Welcome! Yep, I do that too. ‘But wait’ you say, ‘I thought you were a teacher, and stuff.’ That is true, I am a teacher. This is the ‘and stuff.’ I’m glad you found your way here. Finding new people is one of the toughest things for both artists and fans to do in the post-radio, internet era (not that radio is dead, just that I’m probably not going to be on it- see above). Poke around. Listen to some tracks from the record when I post them (I’m old enough that I just can’t stop calling it a record). Try some of the suggestions above. Also, go to a show, anyone’s show. At your local brewpub, coffeeshop, bar or whatever. Music is cool. Buy a CD. Get some stickers. It is possible that you will find what I do is just not your cup-o-tea. Not everyone is up for this sort of alt-country- hence the ‘alt.’ Don’t quit. Keep looking- someone’s making what you’re looking for, you just have to find them.
4) You know me somehow, but all this music stuff is getting sort of annoying. Well, sorry about that. If you really aren’t interested, why’d you click the link? And then read six paragraphs to get to this point? Don’t you have hobbies? Get off the internet! Seriously, this post is really for you. I’m going to get busy pushing out a lot of stuff in the next few months. However, all this is voluntary. So don’t like the band page, or follow me on twitter. If we are ‘friends’ on FB there will be a lot of stuff there too. If you need to unfriend me or hide all the posts I totally get it. That’s the way of things in the 21st century. You are in charge of your own feed. But if you feel a little twinge of guilt when you contemplate that, let me offer a suggestion. Buy the record first- pre-order it directly from me, so you end up with an actual object. Worst case scenario, you have a hipster coaster for your living room. It will look cool. Best case, the CD rides around in your car for a while, and one day in a fit of boredom you put it in and I manage to convert you to one of the categories above. But if you actually bought something, then there’s no cause for guilt, and the condensation from your micro-brew will never scar your recycled barnwood coffee table.
5) You have no idea how you got here. I don’t have answers for you, but I wish you the best. By the way, I’m a musician and I’m releasing this record…
None of this addresses the musicians in the crowd, but you know the drill don’t you.
If you read this far, you are pretty much in the first category, or we are blood relatives and you feel resentfully obligated. Either way, what you really want to know is the following:
Direct pre-release CD sales start January 12. If you buy direct from me, you get an actual object, a note from me, if you want the CD signed I will do that for you, and I’ll probably throw a few other things in just for fun. We will ship all of these orders the week before the release show, so even if you can’t make it you can crank it up and bug the neighbors (more specific instructions will be forthcoming for those of you who won’t make the release show but want to celebrate in style) If you really want to contribute to homegrown music, this is the way.
iTunes pre-release sale starts February 12. I get it, the majority of your music lives in a device as digital info. You may not even own the hardware to play, let alone rip, a CD (you may not even understand that sentence). Download away. I buy a lot of my music that way too. But don’t forget to check out the web site for stickers and stuff. Stuff is fun!
Release show March 12 in Lyons at Oskar Blues. We’ll do a bunch of acoustic stuff, and a bunch of full band stuff. We’ll be selling CDs and other things. We might even have cake. Dig it.
Stay tuned for more updates, some tracks, and lots of PR. And, for real, if you actually want to know what’s up, and not miss stuff, join the email list. Red box, to your right. Straight from me to you. No middle-person at all.
Hope to see you out there.