Scam Artists on Social Media
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in contact on Instagram with a random person who claimed to be in the business of music PR. Today it came to a head. Or rather the point where I needed to send the money or back away. That was the TL;DR version, now let me rewind a bit and you can read on for the whole story…
The Reach Out
I was originally contacted by Instagram user samantha.jenkins97 (a private account that has few followers and posts) telling me that she really liked my song Rise Up and felt she could help make it go viral on Spotify. Therein began the aforementioned conversation. Because what musician wouldn’t want to have their music go viral, right? However, my initial reaction to her was, that’s a political song that isn’t likely to go viral.
She felt that political songs were hot right now. I’m guessing that was due to Childish Gambino having just released This Is America. Which is also very political, in a very different vibe and very different sonically. Plus, he’s already a known entity. So its easier to make that fly.
How Did You Get Verified
She started asking me how I got my Instagram account verified. Generally I don’t respond to people that ask this question because the reality is, it doesn’t matter. I have no connection to get someone else verified. There is a person (one of those scam artists) whom we’ll call Victoria who claims she got me verified, but the reality is it was another organization that I’m part of who asked due to an event that was supposed happen for my career.
After that little stint about verification came the pitch of getting me on some bigger playlists from Spotify. Like actual Spotify curated playlists, not just some random playlist by Bob in Nebraska (no offense Bob). As someone who dealt with this same thing a little over a year ago, and getting burned hard, my red flags started to go up. I decided I would play this out and see if this person is legit.
On a side note: We all hear that music services (Spotify, Apple Music) claim to be fair about the distribution of music. But, behind the scenes, a few of us know there is actual payola going on. The labels have relationships with Spotify, Apple Music, et al in order to push their artists onto those official lists. Its the backdoor dark alley secret that no one wants to talk about. Scam artists prey on unsuspecting musicians / artists straight up because of this.
I mention to “Samantha” that I don’t think Rise Up is the right single and she asks for other songs to check out. I point her to some other singles. She comes back saying Touch is THE one!
My first thoughts were, who else has she worked with? So I message to ask. “Samantha” messages back to say she doesn’t give out that type of information in order to protect other artist’s right to privacy. Then messages to say she’d do the same for me. Well hot damn isn’t that special?
Hell if I was planning on doing business with someone and a potential client wanted a person to reference for my qualities and work ethic, I’d go and ask some previous clients to see who’d be willing to chat. If I’m good at my job, and I am. I’m pretty darn sure, most anyone I’ve worked with would be more than willing to put in a good word.
Then “Samantha” turns it around by messaging me some questions about who wrote it? Who owns it? Who produced it? There were more questions that came out over the course of the conversation. Like, did I have paperwork on the rapper who rapped the bridge? Am I with ASCAP or BMI? Have I ever been arrested? Do I abuse people?
When I mentioned I was with SESAC she responded with being unfamiliar with them. That made me think hmmmm.
The last two questions came the day after Spotify pulled R. Kelly off the service due to sexual abuse charges. She claimed her Spotify contact asked her to ask me. I believe this was an attempt at showing her “inside line” to Spotify was legit. Though in my mind I was thinking, at least she reads the trade websites.
Once Bitten Twice Shy
I explain to “Samantha” that I already got burned last year by someone who claimed the same shit. “Samantha” messages me that she’s not a scammer and that she feels bad for me about the last person (the sympathy card got played very timely right there woo hoo). She’s willing to cut me a deal! I ask what the deal is and she proceeds to tell me that for $1,000 she can get me on several big Spotify playlists, and possibly some Apple Music playlists too. But because she’s doing such a great deal, she wants a 5% cut of royalties for the time while the song in question is on the playlists. That right there was the reason for the questions about ownership.
“Samantha” then mentions that she’d also put me in touch (no pun intended) with a major booking agent once the song started racking up streams. For that she wanted 5% of the first 5 shows I get from a booking agent named Caroline Yim that “Samantha” wants to connect me to. I’m betting that Caroline is totally unaware of this person. I should mention that Caroline Yim specializes in Hip Hop & Urban, which are not my genres and also recently switched from ICM to CAA.
* On a side note, the person I got burned by was a little more forth coming with a phone number and general whereabouts.
Who Are You
I ask who she is and where her business is located. “Samantha” responds with an explanation of not having an office because it costs too much and ignores the question of who she is, other than saying she is in PR. She asks another question that makes me think, this is better to answer on a phone call. I inform her that its better if we talk about it on the phone. She refuses. Wow, shocker!
Hell yeah! I’m certainly willing to send someone I don’t know, who won’t divulge an address, or phone number, a $1,000. Sounds like a great deal! [That is full blown sarcastic prose btw] My hair began standing up on my neck and its telling me beware of scam artists.
Actually I didn’t respond that way. I did text that it sounded like a reasonable deal. Read on to see my attempt to figure out who this person is.
Mind you, I get it when you already know someone and they’re willing to talk to you “off the record” about things they can connect you to. There’s always a certain element of needing to keep things out of the limelight. However, I didn’t know this person. There is no track record. She had no known quantity of being able to back up her claims and at this point she’s entirely unwilling to get personally involved, so to speak.
I look up the username and the email address on Instagram. I find a couple of different accounts. One is a person attempting to be an Instagram model. Another is a nail technician, which I take it to mean a finger nail painter. The 3rd is the person who is claiming to be in music PR. So yeah, 3 entirely different accounts to the same limited information. This is another red flag to me.
The Compliments & Bait
I message saying that I’m willing to continue thinking about paying the $1,000. “Samantha” starts messaging me at random times texting things like, my Spotify contact is telling me he can get you on 3 or 4 playlists. That he loves the song. Thinks it will blow up. She also messages saying that once I’m on the bigger playlists it means I’ll get on to lots more little ancillary playlists and continue to rack up even more streams.
Then came her messages about an Apple Music contact that also loved the song and would put it on some of their playlists, provided I make the payment. See, I’m get a two for one now!
I want to know what playlists from each service. So I send a message asking. “Samantha” tells me she has to ask.
A while later I get a message about Spotify and the playlists were Fresh & Chill, Everyday Favorites and Guilty Pleasures. I search for them on Spotify and sure enough they exist. Then some time after that “Samantha” messaged me again about Apple Music. Her contact there said he’d get me on the Alternative and The A List Alternative playlists.
Being that I don’t have Apple Music (if only I had an image of me doing a surprised Deadpool impression that I could insert right here), I went to Twitter and asked my followers who, if any, were on Apple Music.
I got quite a few responders whom I in turn DM’d asking if those particular playlists existed. Sure enough, they existed. “Samantha” also threw in a message saying there would likely be a few others, but only wanted to say what was guaranteed. But this still feels like a scam to me.
Lets Do A Contract
At this point I message to “Samantha” that I would feel more comfortable if we had a contract about the 5% that I’m to pay her from royalties earned from the duration of the playlist placements (keyword there is the duration of the actual placements). She replies to me that she believes I’m honest and trusts that I would pay her back.
Well gee, I’m flattered! And damn right I would do I what I say I will do. No, really, lets do a contract. “Samantha” messages me that she’ll whip one up later in the day. A glimmer of hope that I may actually get something concrete that would protect us both. Maybe she’s not one of those social media scam artists after all.
I thought this type of praise a bit too soon.
When Can You Pay
Before I get a contract, I’m asked, are you ready to pay? I message saying I will be when I get the contract. Then she offers that I should pay via Venmo. Mind you, we had actually discussed the pay part days earlier. She wanted Venmo. I suggested an escrow account where the money would be released when the placement was proved. She balked after asking me to explain what an escrow account is.
We’re back at the point of me wanting a contract, and all she wants is to get paid.
I had done some research on Venmo only to find out that Venmo has no recourse to get you your money back if you pay someone – seems Venmo, despite being owned by PayPal, was never meant to be a means for conducting business. And yes, there are plenty of Venmo scam stories. Essentially Venmo is like PayPal’s Friends & Family or MoneyGram or Western Union. Once that money reaches the end party – you may as well kiss it goodbye. So when she messaged again asking for payment, I respond with a desire to use PayPal Business for the funds. I know full well that PayPal Business has the means to refund the money if the deal goes bad. “Samantha” balks again saying, that will take two weeks! Oh, and how safe and easy it is to use Venmo.
I’m In No Rush
I’m a career musician. I’m not in a rush for instant fame. Would I like for my music to hit the big time? Hell yes, and I know its good enough to be there. I also know that music is a business and most of it is conducted in person. By people who actually meet face to face or are willing to give each other their email address(es), phone number(s), place(s) of business etc.
The Full Court Press
As of today (the day I’m writing this all out) the barbs came out. Its do or die time. “Samantha” is messaging me saying she has laid the groundwork and that I need to pay up or I’m gonna make her look bad. I respond with, I haven’t gotten a contract about the royalties. She fires back with, we have two months to figure that out. She is under the impression that Spotify and Apple Music pay out two months after stream. The reality is, it takes 3 months from a stream to see the pay, sometimes more – I don’t correct her on this as it might give away that she is trying to scam me.
Again, I mention I’m ready to move forward when I get the contract. She starts hitting back with insults and that I’m missing a big opportunity. It goes back and forth with me saying that I’m not willing to give money to a person who won’t give me an address, phone number, email, etc. She keeps saying that this isn’t how its gonna work. If there’s anything more scammy that scam artists can say, I’m not sure what it would be.
She messages more about needing to pay. I make the same response, when you tell me who you are, I’ll pay.
Needless to say, she said she wouldn’t tell me due to concerns for her privacy. Then accused me of stringing her along.
Well yeah, who the fuck is ok with giving a good chunk of change to an anonymous stranger on social media? Especially one who refuses to speak in person on the phone, give an email address or a place of business. Or wants to be paid via a preferred method that has no recourse for getting money back if the deal isn’t fulfilled.
I thought it had ended when I kept asking for her information before I would send the money, by literally copy and pasting the same answer several times. But I was wrong… After about an hour, as the image shows, she sent some more messages (remember to read them in reverse order, bottom up).
There’s an old movie with a famous saying of Stupid is as Stupid does.
Watch Out For Scam Artists
To my musical friends and extended family: Please be on ALERT if you’re contacted by Instagram user @samantha.jenkins97. Also, if you’re contacted by someone by the name of Victoria with a nickname of Tori on Twitter @toriiiiiii_v who claims to work for RCA. Hell for all I know, they’re one in the same person.
As a musical artist I would ask that you share this story. We need to watch each other’s proverbial back, especially if music is our sole source of income. This post in and of itself should go viral.
Since you got this far: I ask you to follow me on Spotify
I’ll ask you to sign up for my email list <click here>
I’ll also ask you to playlist the songs in the post, it helps more than you know.
Now that I’m back in the studio, there’s been a desire to do some vocal experiments on my part.
One of the things that producers worth their salt will do is experiment with different combinations of gear. Though there’s still some bronchitis to deal with, I have been getting a few hours here and there to try out some new signal chains and see how they affect the sound of my voice.
Thanks to modern technology, its actually extremely easy to try out a much wider range of gear without the insane costs. Thank you Universal Audio and the Apollo system!
There’s a project for TV music where we’re in the final phases of recording and mixing. In this project I’m spending some time to run some vocal experiments to hear the differences of what comes out. My most recent chains have included and API vision strip into an LA-2A. Then the absolute newest chain has been a Neve 1073 into a Studer Tape Machine followed by an LA-2A. Each lends itself to a different vibe. Don’t think I don’t realize that those gear terms likely all sound greek to you. They’re all geek to me!
The image above is of my current favorite. What makes it strange is that when I solo a vocal recorded with this chain, it actually doesn’t sound all that great to my naked ear, but in the right track… It causes the vocal to sit like I can’t believe. The ultimate in vocal experiments, when you think the sound is bad, but its oh so right for the song.
Along with the plethora of original tunes for this project are 10 cover songs that are so different from the originals that it may blow your mind. Hell not even may, they will blow your mind. A few of them are very different vocal experiments for me. It all comes down to figuring out the right way to present each song so that it has the right twist to give the song a double entendre.
And therein is my one reason to ever do a cover, to give it a new meaning!
You can’t control crazy!
About an hour ago as I write this, a post I made on social media picked up a few responses from a few people. Then came a crazy response that caused me to think, hey, this might make a humorous response. Off went my reply into the social media ether. Or so I thought.
I didn’t expect to suddenly be inundated with a slew of posts where each one made less sense than the one before it. Some insulting. Initially I thought it prudent to explain the humor. Then it went even further south. Its like I tapped into crazy. Or rather some person’s crazy that I eventually had to think to myself. Stop responding.
I ended up wondering exactly what set this guy off. So I make a small trip into his profile. I find someone who fancies themselves a lyricist. One who has publicly promoted a known company that takes hopeful musicians/lyricists money to make demos and offer a publishing deal that is about as good as a rubber quarter for spending. Who knows, maybe this guy is the next country version of Bob Dylan, I’m not willing to find out.
After that trip down the rabbit hole, I continued to get posted – despite my silence. I hit the mute button as I had to remove myself from the situation. It was making my brain hurt.
It seemed quite similar to an exchange I had with a stalker a few years back. Yes, I’ve had a male stalker. You try to be nice and the person continues to be less than considerate, that’s when you have to put the real distance between yourself and their crazy.
In happier news, I’ve been finishing a bunch of tunes destined for TV. Pardon me while I put focus back into the music.
I’m gonna go right out there and say sore throats suck. I’m pretty sure there’s very few people on this planet that actually like them.
Right after I pretty much get my digital life back on track, I came down with some mild bronchitis. Maybe its some sort of bodily retaliation for spending so much time on something other than music?!? Eh, no. I don’t believe that. Obviously I came into contact with someone somewhere that probably had it.
It might have been the trip to California. Namely the plane ride. Recently read that you’re only likely to get ill within a few passenger rows of someone else. Which means it would most likely have been the flight to Los Angeles. As that flight was full. The return flight was probably 10% full, if that. Very light flight.
Around Thursday of last week I started feeling rather beat when I woke up. Mind you this would have been about a week plus of incubation. I woke up to feeling a little lethargic and coughing profusely and wanting to get something out of my lungs.
Could I have been singing to hard the several days before that? Tough to say. Yes, I’ve been in the studio working on a few new projects, especially now that my digital life is up and running again. I had been pushing pretty hard on a couple of heavier tunes destined for film/tv worlds. My throat was a little overtaxed, but nothing that a night of sleep wouldn’t cure.
Instead I started hacking up bright green goo. I hate sore throats, and shortly after the goo, one kicked in.
As things go, being ill means it progressively gets worse before it gets better. Not the case here. It has remained mild enough that I’m still quite functional. Not 100% full capacity but still functional.
Despite feeling beat down for the past few days, I’m taking in as much rest as I can – while still attempting to get things done. Which means that today I’ll be opening up to singing again. I’m coughing less, throat is less sore. Will need to keep an eye on it, because pushing too hard means I may fall completely down the illness rabbit hole where I don’t want to be.
Wish you well and hope you’re in great health, have a great rest of your Monday.
p.s. – join my newsletter.
There’s been an undue amount of silence on my website and social media. For those not interested tl;dr – this is a rundown of my past two months of real silence.
Silence on a Journey
Its been a tad quiet on my website since late November. That wasn’t by design. It was by life. The music industry generally shuts down in December and at the end of 2017, I ended up holing up myself with family and pretty much working on a project being planned for later this year in 2018.
I did my annual pilgrimage to NAMM in Anaheim. Letting out a little information about the upcoming plans, which isn’t something I’m want to do. Mostly because without a contract in place – its really all air being blown about. Its better to keep the silence when things aren’t in stone. Despite that, I and a couple of future bandmates got to partake in seeing Andy Grammer rock the outdoor stage at the convention center.
His songs are enjoyable, but after seeing him live I now understand his real talent. Putting on an awesome show!
Certainly gave me a bunch of ideas of breaking my live silence, when plans for later this year come thru.
Solace in Skiing
Winter got turned on its head. Eastern states got pummeled while the west was left nearly bone dry. Due to a bunch of unscheduled trips away from the studio, I turned to skiing to realign my soul. There’s a spirit in the high altitude that isn’t matched anywhere else. There’s a freedom to life when you succumb to gravity and let it pull you down mountains as fast as you can stand to go – and I can stand to go pretty damn fast. Most skiers can’t keep up. Thinking about that, it would be pretty awesome to spend a day skiing with Lindsey Vonn. She and I could just run the mountain in silence, but I’d probably gush in admiration.
In March I came to a realization that my old hosting service wasn’t going to be updating their backend software. After a couple of years of asking for updates, and being told, we’re eventually going to. This led to reaching out to my friend Derek Sivers. He suggested that I ought to strike out on my own and go self hosted. He claimed I could do it in a week. Therein began a real fork in the road for 6+ weeks. The true moment where I pretty much went into digital silence with minor moments of social media posts here and there.
Technology isn’t a stranger in my life, but I’d never considered learning to run my own server stationed on the web. Yes, I have a server at home that allows me to house digital copies of all my media and gives me an encrypted way to control my studio machine from afar. That’s far cry from the open ocean of the internet.
I began learning how to install an entirely different operating system than what I was used to. This led to a rather steep learning curve. I pestered Derek about software and options of what to do, until he pretty much said – I’m going out of contact for a couple of weeks. Fortunately I had a brother from another mother in Jesse Stern who was taking a very similar journey.
A crash course of learning the ins and outs of server life. It was eye opening.
Security was the original breaking straw of why I wanted to find a new host. I was installing the latest and greatest of operating systems, web serving software, databases, email, ftp and vpn setups. My first attempt found me about a 4 days in and suddenly locked out of my own server. Oops. My second server went much better, but still took a good deal of time.
Then came the need to extract all my data off of my old host. It spread into so many different areas. Once collected I found that it was roughly 1.6 terabytes. I couldn’t imagine I had that much data stored in places. It accrued in silence over a bunch of years.
A harsh reality smacked me in the face. A blog site that I used to run on a daily basis Single of the Day, took me hours to port over. Several thousand audio tracks. Plus an unruly database. It took me 3 days to delete hundreds of thousands of spam comments because WordPress couldn’t handle doing it itself. If you don’t think spam takes up much space – I learned that it was several gigs in my database. Once removed from that site’s database, it shrank from multiple gigs down to a few megs. Wow!
Come later this year my silence from Single of the Day will be broken. In the meantime, I will spend random time here and there to convert old posts to the newer format. A format that showcases posts like before, but instead of using MP3s, I’ll be going for digital streaming posts namely on Spotify. It falls more in line with my original goal of getting artists I’ve posted about, paid when people listen.
When email finally switched and went online with the new server, I was terribly naive. Within 24 hours my father’s email account killed my email setup. Yes, I’m hosting my dad’s website and email. He’s like most older people who aren’t terribly savvy with their email account. Tons of spam. It didn’t help that my ignorance also left my email server software open to outside users to crack and send spam.
There wasn’t much silence from my mouth after that realization.
Rebuild It Again
I had to destroy another server and start from scratch. By this time I was getting pretty darn proficient with installing things. However, I decided to switch hosts to a new cloud host as I was disappointed with the previous cloud host and their lack of customer support. The fortunate thing was, all my websites and other valuable info had been pared down to roughly 15gigs, far cry from the original 1.6 terabytes. This also meant spending more time securing the backend.
It took another week to get it close to running full speed. Email still eluded me.
Then I took a trip to see about a girl. Talk about a waste of several days of time right there.
I kept working on email. Making sure all my certificates for my domains were in order. I doubled down on securing the email server. To the point that once I got it working, it wasn’t fully working properly. I have about 180 email aliases. I do this in order to find out where what companies end up selling my info to spammers. Then I can delete that alias. It took several days to figure out a setting in the software that was missing literally two words from the code. Those two words cost me several days of time in getting email back to fully functional.
Amazing. That’s the word I’d use for what happens to servers. They get brute force attacked. Which is why I ended up installing software to ban intruders. Fingers crossed it keeps things at bay.
At this point, I’m breaking my silence because yesterday I finally got all of my digital life back up to speed. Up to speed on way more modern software. I revamped this website and offered up a request to the software creator for a desired change to the music pages. They liked the idea, hopefully they’ll implement it soon.
This digital journey led to my websites serving pages faster than ever before. My email is running better than ever before, plus I’m getting less spam and I can see that despite spammer attempts to break in and send spam, so far its not happened. I’ve switched to a new email list software that I’d really love to have you on (hint hint – signup using the form at the bottom of this page!) It also means my phone and laptop are running faster, because I run a VPN for my data needs in public.
Back to Music
I’m back in the studio saddle. Still working on the plans for later this year, I’m really hoping to have some awesome news to share about that soon (I really thought it would be all set back in February). In the meantime I’m finishing up a slew of music for a new library. I’m finishing up several singles to add to the stockpile. And I’m ramping up on additional plans for later this year. Until then, please go listen to my latest single Rise Up!
Thanksgiving 2017 has rolled up on us (my U.S. friends). What are some of the things I am thankful for this year?
I am thankful that I have family who support my musical endeavors.
I am thankful that I have a gift in creating music for you.
I am thankful that I have fans that love what I do.
I am thankful that I have been able to recover (slowly but surely) from a large theft.
I am thankful for the team of people who are forming around my music.
I am thankful for the people involved with a music festival / conference I’m putting together.
How About You
What are you thankful for, drop me a comment.
p.s. – may you have a wonderful experience with your friends, family, and/or loved ones this day!
If there is something I’ve learned – everyone wants to be heard by someone else; they also want others to want them. Have need for them. To love them.
There really isn’t a more definitive song about wanting others to want you than the infamous song penned by Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick.
I Want You
Actually I wish I had written this song. I’ve toyed with it for a long time. When I play it live solo acoustic, I slow it down and I stretch it out.
I tried recording it once.
Then I tried recording it again.
I was never quite satisfied with how I was conveying what I heard in my head as I interpreted the song.
If you didn’t know, I’m working on musical endeavors outside of my artist persona. Thus I brought the concept of how to cover I Want You To Want Me to a co-producing friend of mine. We’ve been toiling over 30 original tracks for the past year and I decided we should heap on 10 more songs, 10 covers of classic hits in the style of our project. This is not something I would have considered even a year ago.
Last week I began rethinking and retracking all the parts, while I let my partner come up with a viable drum part and a few other odds and ends. The biggest trick was how to approach the vocals so that they became modern but were an ode to the era they came from.
Two days ago I finally finished the mix and got it mastered.
I want you to be able to hear it.
Turns out that friends who have already heard it have been saying things like:
“Dig this version!! Great vocals!”
“Love, love love how your voice sounds on this!”
“I just might love this better than the original.”
I’m not sure how soon it will come to the light of the world via streaming services or via a license for use. But I Want You To Want Me as reimagined by Razor Wire is definitely something you should hear. I hope it will be sooner than later.
p.s. – subscribe to my email list to stay informed of releases!
As you’ve probably heard, Malcolm Young passed away over the weekend.
Malcolm Young Guitarist
Before I even had an inkling of playing guitar (or any instrument for that matter), I had already felt the power of AC/DC. Staples of the party scene growing up with songs you hear at parties like Back In Black and For Those About To Rock. They are the kind of songs that drive people to join the legions of air-guitarists everywhere.
When I started playing guitar I assumed that Angus Young (Malcolm’s brother) was the mastermind behind such powerful songs. He was the focus, he strutted around in that school-boy outfit. It made sense to me. It wasn’t until later that I learned Malcolm was the real writing force.
I always appreciated how AC/DC was able to make heavy loud guitars sound like they belonged in everyday songs that could be anthems. There’s a lesson in every one of their thunderous hits and Malcolm Young certainly should be studied in music schools. For no other reason than what it takes to make a guitar stick in your head and never leave.
Jealous is too strong a word, but I am certainly hoping that at some point in I might be able to deliver a guitar song so filled with power that it becomes an anthem.
The world will sorely miss what future riffs could have poured out of Malcolm Young’s mind and fingers. RIP to one of the original gods of rock.
Perfection can lead to trouble. The deep divide is coming. It seems everywhere I’ve been turning lately there is a deep divide based on people’s ideals of what they believe is perfection. Whether its in music or in ideology, people are becoming less tolerant of those who do not share their same taste or view.
I think forward. I’m always thinking forward. If a new sound comes out, I want to hear it. That’s the musician side of me.
I think perfection. I didn’t always think perfection. Always do the best you can do, that was beaten into my head while growing up. I now take that very seriously as I produce music. As I start achieving what I hear as musical perfection, I notice how so many others do not understand it.
I love to help out musician friends and other up coming talent. What invariably happens every time I do this is a culminating point of frustration with the person I’ve brought in to work with. This is especially true with those who work day jobs outside of music. The general reason for the frustration stems from being unable to execute an idea.
Usually a budding musician will want to play their instrument or sing. I get it. Its a pride thing. As a full-time musician and often a producer, I’m more interested in the perfection of the performance and I care how I get to the end result. I wasn’t always that way, but I developed that mindset. Its not a common mindset.
Throughout the history of music there are numerous cases of where the writer/composer/artist is not the person on the recordings. Some cases become public, but most of the time no one is the wiser. In some cases, even the artist isn’t aware that its not them.
Is this problematic?
This could be determined by whether you believe that content is king. I’m one of those that believe content is king. The song is the master. Everything has to serve it. The performances, the mixing, the mastering, they all contribute.
The only time when I believe its a major problem is when attempting to use one singer’s voice as the voice for another front person. Aside from voices for the artist, I’m fair game with anything else to make sure that performance works. Why? The human voice is extremely personal and one that you can’t replace – a voice is the same as a fingerprint.
Often when confronted with the technological advances in recording, musicians will reference the purity of the Beatles and their recording process. What this tells me is that they don’t know how the Beatles used the technology they had available to them at the time they were in their heyday.
If you, as a listener or musician, fall into the camp that the Beatles were pure about their recordings, then its likely you’re not aware of all the techniques they used. The Beatles used every available trick in the book they could to achieve their goals. Sometimes going as far as to invent new ways to record sounds. One of my favorites is that they would change the tape speed in order to slow down the tape to make it easier for them to play a part. Then they would speed the tape back up to full speed to make it sound like they performed that music at tempo.
I believe the Beatles would have used pitch correctors, and time shifters to their advantage had the technology been available to them. Why? Because they were cutting edge and strove for perfection.
For some reason, when a musician uses today’s tools at their disposal they are considered to be cheating when going after that perfection. When in reality they are attempting to achieve the sonic goal they hear in their head. At least that’s how I envision it.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I make use of all kinds of technology to make music happen. In the recording process, I use a computer to track everything. In the mixing process I use all kinds of plugins to remove noise, correct timing (if its not grossly out), tune pitch (sometimes for a performance, sometimes as a means to create an entirely new sound), create space, etc. My entire musical chain is Digital from start to finish including my guitar rig when I perform live.
When I confront an artist that I’m working with or producing, I will explain the how’s and why’s of making use of the technology. Often once its explained, they have no issue with it.
I don’t use technology to deceive, I use it to enhance.
Its been a rough and tumble year. Things started off looking extremely promising then in a matter of months multiple projects and one bigger one all came to a crashing halt.
Rough and Tumble
The rough… A person I was working with for a nice boost on streaming media ended up stealing $14,000 from me. That might not sound like a ton of money, but as a non-signed artist that is paying for everything – that puts a serious dent in your operational cash flow. This is one of the primary reasons I’ve been so quiet here on my ‘dot com’. I’ve been out money to make things happen when I should have been seeing a return.
In turn, this slowed my process down on making the finishing touches on my website. (grrrr).
Its made it difficult for me to upgrade gear.
I’ve been unable to do any PR.
Not a fun position to be in.
Right now I have someone working on getting that money back from them, but after 3 months of trying, I’m beginning to lose hope.
Another element of fallout from this is losing the lovely lady I had been dating for nearly a year. That was a blow as well.
The tumble… They (whomever ‘they’ are) say “roll with the punches.” I’m feeling more like I’ve been tumbling. Whilst I’ve been recovering from the theft, I’ve been finishing music. Lots of music. Some with co-writers, some for TV placements, some for my future releasing. Writing and recording all this music is part of what keeps me sane in such a conniving business.
In other news. A device, that I developed for my own use a couple of years ago, is now generating interest from a couple of companies. I had a meeting with one company a week and a half ago at the end of July. The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes. That 30 minute meeting ended up lasting an hour and 45 minutes. To me that’s a very good sign and sometime next week I will reach back out to them to follow and see where their thoughts are. In the meantime, I’ve started the patent process to make sure my idea is protected.
Some friends of mine have started developing a content platform for YouTube. As it turns out, my channel and website titled Inside The Recording Studio will get rebranded to be the umbrella for all the content. I’m looking forward to providing cool content about gear, recording and the process of creating music.
As I sit here recapping on several months of what feels like waiting in a holding pattern, I’m working on keeping a positive attitude going into my birthday. I’m taking yet another trip around that sun. Despite being beat down again in my career as a musician, I can be grateful for being alive and healthy!
As the song image for Spotify shows above – I will Rise Up!
I’ll work on being a bit more energetic with content here. In the meantime, thank you for reading.
BTW – if you haven’t joined my email list, please do!