Date: 10-14-10 23:36
Hi folks, sorry I haven't contributed to the forum in quite some time; I'm glad to see this is still the oasis of civility and community that I hoped it would be.
Let me speak to some of the questions regarding the new Zealots Lounge subscription model, or René's objection to the 'principle' of it (by which I guess you mean the 'principle' of making my music world more exclusive, and the counter-intuitive notion of actually limiting access to my creative output?). The idea is based on the acceptance of several realities, the most fundamental one being that I never have, and probably never will break through to the 'general public,' nor should I probably ever try to. I am simply not in the same business as Lady Gaga, Usher, or Susan Boyle; I'm not really even in the same business as anyone appearing at the Grammys or at the ASCAP awards; yet the old model still expects us professionals to produce and manufacture retail product; to aim for commercial hits; that the casual WalMart shopper might pass our CD in the rack and 'impulse buy' it; or that the man in the street will walk-up to the concert box-office the night of a show on a spur-of-the-moment decision to check out the electric-violin band inside.
In reality, none of it works that way for musicians like me... though my base is growing nicely, musicians like me essentially perform and sell to the same group of ardent fans, not to the casual music buyer. Furthermore, I don't have a big brand name like Genesis or Jethro Tull to ride on, or a well-known 'hit' to be marketed with; I don't have a 20-year track-record of sold-out money-making shows in your home town; I've never even been to the Grammys... what I DO have is a small, yet loyal fan base of knowledgeable folks in some 50 countries on whom I will need to increasingly rely for support if I am to remain in the business of being an independent recording artist. So, given that music sales are in a steep decline; that the physical disc will become obsolete; that the album itself or audio-only product is beginning its dying throes; it seems that one answer is to develop a more direct and more committed two-way relationship with the folks who truly support what I am trying to do, and try to provide a broad range of content just for those serious fans. That means that, ideally, I get to do what we used to do in the '70s: write, produce, and perform with minimal commercial pressure or expectation of mainstream recognition, and that my true supporters help to directly encourage the continuation of that creative environment. This is not unlike the support model for many of the classical composers in their day - except that YOU play the role of Nadezhda von Meck or Prince Leopold!
Rather than, once a year, simply buying a single CD (from which I may see $3) or a concert ticket (90% of which will go to 'expenses'), it seems like a more complete experience for everyone involved if my supporters commit to being modern-day patrons of the arts with a small annual subscription to access the Lounge. In return, I make more content available (which is all very time and cost intensive), including old and new recordings, film and video footage, video chats(?), Q & A, master classes, exclusive bonus tracks, meet'n'greet events, and of course - new music... all for minimal cost, or free. The idea is that committing to buying one or two products a year from the Zealots' Store will easily cover the subscription cost, while at the same time provide a direct, consistent and active role in supporting my efforts. That is the 'principle' here. I can go back and work for Paramount Pictures providing hours of underscore, or I can work for you, the fans -- the subscription model is a contract of mutual commitment. As the traditional music industry model collapses, something has to change, and I think this is the way to go.
I humbly invite everyone to not only get on this train with me, but to appoint yourselves as ambassadors to the cause and help rally more and more Zealots! The more Zealots we have, the more productive and interactive the community will be, and the more music, videos, and concerts I can produce. I am even exploring the idea of a music festival and international Zealots convention, if we can drum up enough people! Together, we can bypass the industry charlatans, push back against the mega-marketing of puppets, and you can help me to try to teach and inspire the next generation of music makers and innovators. Please join me. (And, René... please stop kvetching, and sign up with PayPal already.)
Post Edited (10-18-10 22:40)