Monday, November 10, 2014

In Defense of Spotify

In spite of what Taylor Swift thinks, I still think Spotify has a lot to offer music: it might not make the big stars as much money--but it only tends to help everyone else get their music out to a wider audience, which, I am guessing, is the goal for many, if not most, indie artists. That's why more  artists should be finding avenues, like Spotify, for getting their music out to bigger audiences. 

If you aren't concerned about doing it for a living, then it doesn't matter how much money you make, and it actually seems relatively easy to get your music onto SpotifySoundcloud is not bad, either. Or Bandcamp. I use both of the latter two. There is also CDbaby, and lots of others. CD Baby actually seems like the best way to go, now that I look at it a little bit.

AmazoniTunes, and the rest are all doable as well--you just have to be willing to take the time to do the research and find out how (God bless the Internet!). With widely available avenues to record--and even for free (with software like Audacity)--there is little reason not to put your music out there, if you are so inclined. 

If you are mainly recording with live musicians and sound effects, it sounds pretty good once you get the levels right. If you want to do a bunch of electronic shit, buy a synthesizer. I use an old church organ, guitars, a drum machine, a mic, and a small, four-track mixture, which I plug directly into my sound card.

Recording just takes practice and a lot of experimentation. You listen to what you are recording so much that you learn to love or hate your music, depending on how honest you are with yourself. If you hate it--just figure out what you need to do to like it. Then find your right mix, and don't settle for less.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to potentially build an audience. It's kind of like the old method of recording singles for the radio. If you are successful enough, or have enough free time, you can eventually record an album, if you want--but it's not necessary. 

The key, I think, is to take  a cost-effective approach using what means you have available, and not worry about the rest. You might never be Taylor Swift--but that's not necessarily a bad thing (no offense to Ms. Swift).

The processes that worked in the past for indie labels can still be applied today--they just need to be adapted to today's technology. Doing so actually makes them more doable.

Friday, November 7, 2014

[Oh Hell, Here's another one] NEW FLASH FICTION:

The Secret Family Recipe

Duke tried to warn people for years, but the family kept him silenced.

The recipe was passed down through the generations, and millions, maybe even billions, bought and enjoyed those beans—in spite of not knowing exactly what was in them.

The secret was, after all, the gimmick.

Maybe the fact that the family had a talking dog should have clued people in a bit sooner to the fact that they were up to something a bit more nefarious than just making a profit: it’s not pork in those baked beans.


Mr. Kool-Aid’s Lost Weekend

Mr. Kool-Aid struts down the street, boombox blasting Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

The burned out flesh and bones that was the sixties is sprawled out against the railing of its seventy-fourth floor balcony. As the last thread of consciousness breaks,  several sheets of acid slip out of its grasp and fall straight into Mr. Kool-Aid’s top as he is breakdancing for a group of school kids.

Oooh yeeah, he says.

Seventy-four-hours later, one for every floor the acid dropped, Mr. Kool-Aid wakes up in a cell with Zack Galifinakis.

They chat for a few moments and then Mr. Kool-Aid bursts through the wall, running off, his voice echoing in the distance:

Ohhhhhhhhhh Yeaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Life Isn't Simple, But It Could Be

Unofficially, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. If I had more time to actually work on it, I would make it more official--but I only have a little time to devote to it. I have a little more than 2,000 words, and I am hoping to do about 500-1000 words a week, if I can manage it. This whole "work" thing just seems to get in my way.

Work is not, however, preventing me from keeping my stories in a steady rotation of being sent out. Some of them have been out for a while, some are out for the first time, and some are out for the second. There aren't any that I have sent out three times--yet. If it happens, it happens, I am just going to keep sending them all out until I can find homes for them. I have four more unpublished short and short short stories to send out yet. My goal is to have all fifteen of them out at all times until I can find places to publish them. I will tweak them along the way, and keep experimenting and editing them, until I can figure out what works--what people like, and what journals are best for my style of writing.

I do enjoy teaching--I just wish I could make more doing it. If I could find a full-time community college gig, that would be something I would latch onto and do until a better opportunity came along. Next semester, I am teaching at least two class, but hopefully at least one more. The rest of the hours I am available, I want to spend tutoring. At this stage in my career, I will benefit from both. Tutoring, you get all the benefits of teaching--working with students, getting down to business, talking about writing, editing, using your creativity--without any of the downsides, especially the long hours spent grading and lesson planning. Two is much more manageable in that regard, and three would be the ideal number.

That is not to say that I have given up on other full-time gigs. I am still applying to stuff that seems like I am reasonably qualified for and that don't require too much experience. I could definitely find more time to do it, though. I just wish that I didn't have to sleep. Maybe then I would find enough time in one day to do everything that I want to do. My day would have to be a million years long, and I would have to age really slowly. I don't think I have time on my side there, though. No one does.

That's why life should be less complicated that we, as a society let it be. It can be as simple as it could be, we just have to change our mindset, no matter how much effort it takes. It will be worth it, no matter how much we fail, because, even if we succeed just a little bit, it will make a difference. If every generation tries to make at least a little bit of a difference--you just have to keep the gene pool going--eventually, some future generation with your DNA will get to experience peace. Just ask Geoffrey Chaucer.