Transcript of what I said in the video:
This is the really condensed version of how I became the first non-signed artist on iTunes.
Derek Sivers started a little company called CD Baby a bunch of years ago in order to help independent musicians sell their music on the web. I didn’t want him to sell my music when he first contacted me. So he actually hounded me for four months before I finally relented and started selling CDs on his website.
CD Baby was originally more of a Windows, Linux, kind of a platform and I’ve always been an Apple guy. Any time there was an issue with the website I would contact Derek and have him try to fix it, so that it would work for Apple customers.
Over the course of a few years Derek and I got to be really good friends. One day a few years ago I was driving down to the NAMM show in LA and Derek called me while I was driving in my car. He calls up and he says “Guess where I am?” And I throw out a couple of random answers and Derek is like “No. It’s not there. No, it’s not there.” And eventually he tells me that it’s Cupertino and he’s about to meet Steve Jobs at Apple.
So I’m like “Fuck You.” (laughter). Because I’ve always wanted to meet Steve and unfortunately as we now know, Steve is no longer around. And the reason he was up there is because Apple wanted to bring in the CD Baby catalog to the iTunes catalog. So that they could pump up their numbers and make them sound really big. Because everyone wanted to have a million tracks and nobody had it with all the major label songs.
A couple of months later Derek calls me up again and he says “Are you in front of your computer?” And I say “Yes I am.” I type in the URL that he gives me and low and behold it is a little special place on CD Baby to find out how you can fill out all of your information to send your music to iTunes. I filled out the information. I hit send and Derek calls me back and says “Congratulations. You are the very first person in the database going to iTunes!” And I’m like yeah. Actually I didn’t actually do that, but it felt like I needed to say that just now.
The next step was to wait around until the music actually got uploaded to iTunes. Unfortunately Apple was dragging their feet and Derek was having problems with a guy by the name of Moses Avalon, who was creating all kinds of trouble.
Couple of months later, Derek calls me up again and he says “I’m thinking I want to dump the whole digital distribution thing. Because all I ever wanted to do was sell CDs.” And I’m like, “Derek, you don’t want to do that dude. Digital distribution is the future.”
The decision was made to stick with the digital distribution. Derek decided that it would be a wise idea to return everybody’s money. In the end, what ended up happening was, Derek returned everybody’s money and people still got to go to iTunes through CD Baby. And I ended up being the very first person in the database to go to iTunes.
And that is how you are now able to get on iTunes. Thanks to a guy like me.
It’s always fun to start seeing reports trickle in as to where people are buying up the music. Maybe more so now that I’ve seen Searching For Sugar Man. I don’t have the cult following that Rodriguez has, though at some point I believe I will. Until that day occurs, I will settle upon the new places I see each month for where my music is being purchased.
This past month I’ve seen the following countries taking in music by me:
in the most general of terms: Europe
and of course: U.S.
No matter where you’re at, if you’re purchasing music I’ve created I’ll be grateful if you’re telling 3 friends to do the same. Your purchase of music is the type of thing that makes a musician happy they’re creating something of value.
Bing, bang, boom. Been an interesting few days with a bunch of requests for some music to fit a few commercials. Fingers crossed that at least one of them get’s pics for some of the opportunities. Yesterday I got to put the final touches on to a song that got a bit of a major rewrite lyrically. Now I have song fifteen done before the Super Bowl.
This latest in the quest for the final 18 songs is now called “Brighter Side of Success.” The original title was “Imagine Life.” Fortunately that has changed. Changed in to a much better song lyrically. Stronger. More cohesive. Also, more positive. That’s a plus. It was good to reexamine the nature of the tune and what it should have been from a lyric standpoint.
Musically, I didn’t have to change much of it at all. In fact, there were only some very minor melody/rhythm of vocals tweaks to accommodate the new lyrics. I think it was pretty darn strong musically. Though I do think I will add some stuff in the studio once all the bed tracks are tracked. Maybe a synth or two here or there. But otherwise, it’s to remain a solid uptempo pop rock style tune that stays in the bass, drum, guitar, vocal realm.
Now I can sit for a day and take in the mother of all football games – The Super Bowl. Interestingly enough on iTunes my versions of San Francisco 49’s and Baltimore Ravens “Do You Want To Play” are hot on the popular meter right now. I’m making an educated guess that fans of both teams are picking up their respective versions to pump themselves up for the big showdown!
Which team you rootin’ for? 49’s? Ravens? I’m actually more interested in the commercials and seeing huge plays. My team isn’t there, crud.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, and stay tuned for next week should see at least two of the last three, if not all three of the tunes to complete the 18 to be finalized for the recording process. Remember “Brighter Side of Success” is song fifteen done and it’s right before the Super Bowl! Hell Yeah.
I would have figured that this post should have been posted yesterday. However I ran into a little issue of having eaten something that didn’t agree with me a couple nights ago. Nothing like getting incapacitated after dining at a local eatery. Yuck. Thus I had to take Friday off and recover. I was back in shape on Saturday and was able to smash out another tune’s tweaks. Which leads me to write that the eleventh song finalized is “Stand Up”.
Song that had a couple of lyrical issues in that it was attempting to cover too much ground. Now it’s much more focused on one aspect and has been honed in on a subject that I think a lot of us can all relate to. Doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you’re on, I still think it will resonate with at least 99% of the world. Especially the U.S.
Now mind you, in being ill I couldn’t sit idly by – so I started a crazy project of tagging all of my music in my iTunes library as well as adding all the lyrics to every song. Well, to the point of whether the two apps I’ve procured to help with the procedure. Thus, I’ve added an additional thing to my load that could take at least a month when done in my spare time. Yikes. Why? Why did I do that? One, I wanted to really go through my library. Two, since starting it on a day I was under the weather, I’ve noticed that it’s akin to pouring through liner notes and covers to really get at the heart of all this music – but in a digital sense. I’m re-enjoying some music that I haven’t heard in quite a while. It’s a good diversion.
Ok, back to the song…
I’ve added a couple of additional elements to the first verse. I also added some additional noises to the chorus to help flesh it out with a little more kick.
The one real experimental area of the song is going to be in the bridge where I’ve decided, that much like another song, this will gain some interesting twists enlisting a rapper to rattle off the words I’ve come up with. That makes two or three songs now where I’ve going to cross that hip/hop rap/rock type of hybrid line – hmmm… Weird.
This one is going to have a bit of bite to it when it gets recorded live in the studio. I really think it’s got some great legs to whip up some anthemic shouts in a stadium. Which means that people will enjoy the eleventh song known as “Stand Up”. Easy to follow. Easy to shout.
Ah what a year it’s been. Say goodbye to 2012. A year of interesting change. Musically, politically, and so much more. Help me in saying welcome 2013 Happy New Year!
For me, I’m knee deep in finishing preproduction on a a slew of songs. I’m currently about midway through. My first couple of weeks will be pushing those gears to get them all done before running around LA coming mid month. Got meetings coming up with some of the networks and attending the infamous NAMM show.
In the past 24 hours I finally got a couple of the lyrics changes recorded on a few of the finalized songs. That’s a great way to finish out the year!
Next stop this year: new music. Plus another idea I’ve been kickin around is finally going to start getting of the ground. To the outside ear it’s huge. In my mind – it’s the way this event should be done. Stay tuned to find out what it might be.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed your evening’s festivities in a wild fashion without causing injury. Be well. Love to see more of you in 2013, Happy New Year!
With some steps forward, there are some steps backwards. Such was the case this past week. Despite the setback, I’m happy to relay that the seventh song finalized is “Love Takes A Holiday”.
Yes, I had managed to spend a little time away from my release to work on a film trailer track in a dubstep style. I mentioned in the last post that initial reaction was awesome. Even the client finally got back to me stating I nailed it. That’s enough to put a smile on the face. Still awaiting word from the studio…
LTAH – for short, required a fairly good amount of thought. The original demo was a little on the dragging it’s feet side. That doesn’t stop it from being a really good song, but it did stop it from being a great song, or even a possible hit. Thus I reworked it with a faster tempo. This gives it a livelier vibe that bounces a little more – without taking out the nature of stomp it has. I also reworked the lyrics, shifted the verses around and gave it a more focused perspective.
In the re-recording of the track, I reconfigured some of the guitar parts and added more elements to it. One of my favorite new bits is a “talking bass” sound that I picked up from doing the dubstep track. I think it’s going to add some cool character to compliment the Clavinet I have in it.
You’re probably wondering, what the hell was the setback? Well… I have a really nice microphone that I’ve been using to record the demo vocals with. It decided that right now, or rather last Tuesday, was the perfect time to crap out and stop working. That’s rather unfortunate for such a pricey mic to do. Good thing I’m on good terms with the company. They’re going to give it a checkup and get it back to good health. In the meantime, I’m picking on songs that I need to tweak with more than just vocals – gives me time to really think through the arrangements. That’s always a good thing.
Even LTAH got a slight change in the arrangement of things too. Added some cool stops to two parts and also gave the intro riff and reprise. Keeps the song from motoring too fast through the parts now that the tempo has made a pretty good jump. These changes signal that the seventh song finalized is “Love Takes A Holiday”. Stay tuned. I’ve got another 11 more to tweak before studio performances and perfection are up to bat.
Productive weekend for a working musician. The most important thing for the wrap-up is that the fifth song finalized is “Careful”. Additionally I started a track for a film trailer and I recorded some children doing a spoof on 12 Days of Christmas for yet another film trailer.
Getting right down to it, I put the demo of my version of Careful together yesterday. A song written by Warren Sellars, Mark Luna, and myself. A couple of amazing writers right there allowing me along for the ride. It was a fun set of writing sessions. Leading to a delicate but strong song.
Thanks to a call from late Friday afternoon, I had a couple of extra things thrown on my plate for film trailers. Thus, I couldn’t get an additional song finalized yet. Though I predict by tomorrow, I’ll have another to announce.
In the meantime, my quote of the day for yesterday was: “You won’t know sleep until your head is on a pillow.” [Jody Whitesides]. The great thing is, I got two more tracks ready, and that fifth song finalized is “Careful”. Plus a couple of film trailers equals a bingo couple of days.
The tweaks are beginning to flow. My first song finalized is American Mayhem. So far I’m going in alphabetical order. No rhyme or reason it was the first on the list.
I got the verses tightened up and made some changes to the lyrics in the chorus as well. I recut the vocals on the demo to closer represent my final goal and to have the new lyrical version around for practice. I’ve added some elements to the music part of the mix as well. I’m looking forward to getting into the studio to cut the final vocal and get the mix completed. It’s gonna be a nice slammin track.
Stay tuned as more songs are getting tweaked. Which one will be next on the list? Check back and find out. For now, you know the first song finalized is American Mayhem.
The light at the end of the tunnel on a recent project is opening wide. A project I’ve been doing for John Michael Kane has been completed today. I’ve been mixing it up and down with a large selection of songs for John and now it’s over.
The beauty is, a lot this music will be getting heard relatively soon on sports programs and other things TV related. John is part of a library that gets his songs licensed on TV. It’s a beautiful thing.
This particular song is called “Won’t Stand Down”. Seems like I went alphabetical in the song order or I could been saving the best for last. Either way, I’m happy, he’s happy. We’re all happy with the end result. May the music grace your ears before too long.