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Monday, October 28, 2013

FREE MUSIC FOR ANYBODY WHO EVEN CARES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MUSIC, and for anyone who can be bothered to click on it.

Making music free is definitely adding to the current problem of art (music/literature/illustration/etc) seemingly having absolutely no value. People don't want to pay for the hard work people put in to doing something they're good at (and often enjoy doing). Art is an abstract or intangible product. Buy a donut and you get a donut. Buy an album and what do you get? Something to listen to a few times and hope you still like it (or own it) in a couple of years? If it's a digital download it's not even something you can hold in your hands. It exists only as a small amount of memory allocation on a drive somewhere. Or worse, a scratched old CD-R on the floor of your car.

It takes a lot of effort to write an article or design a poster or write and record a song. Hard work. Like the hard work people get paid to do in a 9-5 job. I love making music. I love the feeling I get when I copy a finished wav file to a disc or flash drive and take it somewhere to listen to it. But making music is hard work - even if it is done by an "artist".

At times I feel like I want to smash my guitar or cut my fingers off because they won't play the part I want to record. Or sometimes I feel like dragging my computer out into the laneway and drive my car over it when I can't EQ or process a track to sound the way I want it to. Hours of cleaning up the bits in between the singing and processing all the instruments you painstakingly recorded. Even more hours of getting all the different parts the right volume so you can still hear that subtle little bit you played in the 2nd rhythm guitar part under all those harmony vocals… It can take unimaginable amounts of time to make an album and much has been said about it already (google The Beatles 1968).

I'm getting quite good at it too, or at least less fussy so it doesn't take as long as it could. I can have a whole song recorded & mixed within a couple of days sometimes. Like the Ween covers I did recently; I recorded the drums in a lunch break (I work close to home), and the rest of the instruments & vocals that evening between 8 & 10pm. Then processed and mixed it all in another 2 hour session the next evening after the kids were in bed. That's about 4 and a half hours of work, and what did I want to do with it? Give it to a stranger in Seattle who I read on Facebook was hoping to put a Ween tribute album together. No money. Never even been in contact with the guy. I sent him wav files via Mediafire and haven't heard a peep from him.

If I had nearly as much enthusiasm about my day job I'd be …. um, dead? Not rich. Yeah… nope, can't think of anything. Sadly my day job is considered "Artistic" also. Graphic designer, mostly nuts and bolts prepress but it seems to fall into a similar hole of "This is an artistic job so therefore you must love doing it and so we don't have to pay you very much". But it would be something if I had as much enthusiasm for it as I do for my music. True story.

The thing is, I keep doing this every time an idea pops into my head. I just keep on playing music and making albums. And incredibly I'm not the only person in the world who is stupid enough to do this! There's millions of us. Since before The Beatles and long after One Direction people will be wasting huge chunks of their lives making music and doing abstract artistic things that only very rarely have any cash value. The non-creative folks will always be looking at the creative folks and wishing they had an artistic outlet to break up their lives of work and family. And the creative folks will always be looking at the non-creative folks wishing they had their stability, income and spare time.

But what's this rant about? Well I got to thinking about it and thought: if art has no apparent value, what happens if it doesn't cost anything? I have just made 3 of my Bandcamp releases cost $0.00 dollars. Just click them and they're yours. You can name a price if you are feeling generous but I will be surprised if many even download them. If the few hundred people I know on Facebook are interested, or anyone stumbling upon my blog (a needle in the haystack of the world wide web) wants free music then they're yours. There's even a chance you might like them.

I'll let you know when my next album is ready.


  1. A great article Jimmy. A really interesting and thought provoking read. Please keep on 'wasting' your life making brilliant music.

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