Archive for the ‘Revolution in Arts and Media’ Category

Letter to Lynn Monk on the Big Three Labels

April 17, 2021

My post to Lynn Monk another person who has spent years supporting indie musicians:

Now for something personal, you and I have both spent a decade or more supporting musicians, and the music industry has not changed; Swift, Bieber, still get all the money, and indies don’t. Hard work and talent have not helped. Time to recognize the obvious, nothing will change until we protest this mess.
These mega labels are houses of cards, and real indie protest of say one thousand musicians saying theses three are dull boring, uncool, and ruining music, will force them to do anything to look trendy, hip and get back the money. So protesting the Big Three labels is not our best option, it’s our ONLY option.

Pennies for Play (fair compensation for creative content)

December 17, 2020

This is about the idea of PENNIES FOR PLAY.

PENNIES FOR PLAY . How does it work to give all musician fair streaming rates?
First no company taking a cut as large as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc. second, no ads needed ever, so no data mining mess.

Next you pay like a credit card. You pay for $10 dollars worth of clicks, then access any artistic content under the system, music, art,writing, videos , film, news, school classes, blogs etc. Doesn’t have to limit to music.
The company that collects the money, pays out to the musician when he reaches say $50. With a check. it’s pay per view but on a very small scale. There are small fees for processing, not large chunks for company profits.

Let’s say artists got together and decided to do this on their own, even simpler.
For a fee you post your song. Then music listener buys say an amount of $10 . When he clicks on a song he pays a penny. The end of the month each artist gets a penny for every click he had. He again probably has to reach an amount of $50 or so before they send a check or you would have to send out checks for pennies.

The only major costs are granting credits to customers, tallying clicks, and paying the musician.

Positives include , no big company owned, no ads ever, no data mining, no monthly subscription fees ever, no big costs for customer,or musician, very low bureaucracy, and all musicians on a fair playing field, so quality counts more than promotion money. Those are a lot of pluses!!!

Musicians, When you were in your 20s, May Determine your Chance for a Career!

October 15, 2020


1960 – 1979
Musicians who were in their twenties during the years 1960-1979:

Hundreds of labels competed for best songs, best groups, and the radio played the cream of the crop. YOU either were part of some aspect of this explosion of music in every genre, OR you were a major player in a strong local scene, OR you or a fellow musician you knew, made it nationwide. You heard your music, or the music of friends on local radio and maybe a few times nationwide.

1980 – 1989
Musicians who were in their twenties during the decade from 1980-1989:
You had to have a video to have a career because of MTV (before Michael Jackson, they blocked all musicians of color – so many of you had no chance till that change). Quality of the song came in second, to visual appeal.
The price of making a video soon was out of your range to all but the largest music labels, and your attempts looked amateurish. CD’s were the new technology, and all musicians could make them in limited runs. But most of CD sales went to best recordings of the past, or current superstars.
You still could tour and back up touring acts, but it was hit and miss, and excluding a fluke hit, your best chance was learning new technology, and being a studio musician. Few if any had national careers, the labels began to consolidate, and a few superstars, with glowing reviews – that to your ears didn’t seem all that great at all – took over the charts. A rare few of you got airplay on local radio stations – usually limited to Sunday night dead air times! Punk rock was popular, but few could sell many records. The music media began to be either corporate ad driven press releases, or zine indie music reviews.
You began to see the music industry as mostly blocked from you and the musicians you knew.

1990 – 1999.
Musicians who were in their twenties during the two decades from 1990 – 1999:
Were you cute, adorable, and in a boy band? That was your only chance. The rest of you led an indie grunge path. You sounded like every other alt band; but you could tour and play half empty clubs. Soon indie musicians all sounded the same. You got no radio airplay – the only music that did was generic pop – and tours were getting too expensive and limited to top acts. You sold a few CD’s but got no publicity or reviews other than someone’s fanzines.

2000 – 2020.
Musicians who were in their twenties during the two decades from 2000 – 2020:
You have never been in the music industry. You are not now. No one you know is. The consolidation of all the labels in the world into THE BIG 3 LABELS: Sony, Universal, Warner, has ruined the music industry – propped up the same 9 aging pop stars – you are not one of them – blocked all new music and, through the media and radio they own, they dominate all, and give themselves constant good reviews. You think this is normal!
You feel your place in music, is no place at all. You can search out your favorites on the net – but you still don’t understand that they, for all their real talent, are lucky to make minimum wage – with no benefits. Cooking fires pays better! You are so beaten down that you can’t even imagine a music revolution against all this.
The musicians you know can make great technical recordings and many have fine talent, but you all know that none of you will ever get radio play, concerts in anywhere larger than half empty clubs, or playing with many others on a festival stage.
You get some streaming money, but are not surprised to learn that 1% of musicians make 90% of all streaming money – so even those partial pennies for you are peanuts. You never hear anyone really exciting on national or local radio. Concerts are the same dinosaurs that have toured for years. You’ve given up, buried your head in the sand, and not only accept all this mess as normal, but support it with your dollars!
You blame boomers, they blame you! You hear about a music revolution but doubt it!

Tom, Why Don’t You Play Your Guitar Right?

October 9, 2020

Here are some differences that are on purpose!
For me songs should be at 2 minutes, 3 minutes for Ballads, that forces the song to have just the essentials and no excess repeats. Motto: stop playing before they stop listening!
The other thing is my guitar playing. This is what I call combo guitar style, not a singer songwriter, not a band something in between something new, where I play bass, rhythm, and lead, at the same time on one guitar. This single guitar leads to a more direct, passionate, and personal song. Though I will add that in my studio recordings I expand this to background vocals, and sometimes a 2nd standard guitar for a fuller sound.
Besides playing a lot of maj7, diminish, and suspended chords, I often play these with ringing open notes, such as an open A on a Bflat chord. I also often make up chords to enhance the melody.
So I encourage you to take these things as new ideas.
Those that like the older style are certainly welcome to do covers of my songs, some have already.

Music That Challenges

September 5, 2020


Part of what I’m doing has challenged the thinking of many:

1. Get back to basics – don’t over produce your music – let the song through, don’t muddy it with technical clutter.
2. D-Pop where the song is what counts. What doesn’t count is the promotional budget or the fame. Then all are on a level playing field with every new recording.
3. Don’t do videos – Videos are a trick that only about 9 ever promoted pop stars can afford with minimum budgets of $100,000 to make (at least) That is a trick to let money count, not quality, and block out all indie musicians that can’t afford it.
4. Support pennies for play – where everywhere you post your song, you get a penny per play. Customers pay to hear music, like a jukebox online. Works for all content.
5. Fair, no ad revue sites – open to all. Where EVERYONE gets a professional review for a fair processing fee per song.
6. The Music Revolution – that would change every aspect of music and get you a chance at a career by ending the monopoly of the Big 3 Labels that block out new music and prop up the same 9 pop stars you see promoted year after year.
7. Take a break from bands for awhile ( the usual electric guitars, bass, drums). This will force musicians to be innovative instead of fit a 60 year old formula done so well by thousands of others from last century.
8. No corporate radio station will play a protest song. Take away their licenses.
9. New type of Combo guitar playing where I try to play bass, rhythm, and lead all on one guitar. Style that is half way between band and singer songwriter.

You may agree or disagree with a point or two – but they are new ideas, progressive ideas, challenging ideas that will help make music exciting, fun, and out side of corporate hands!


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