Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Eternal Recurrence Of Record Players

If we made a record, would you buy it? I mean, if we put our music on a vinyl disc, would you buy it? Do you own a record player? I don't. I barely know how to use one. Therefore, I am indifferent to the format. It seems costly and arcane. BUT BUT BUT. Everyone tells me vinyl sounds ridiculously good, like glistening bacon fat crackling in the cast iron. Like a luscious apricot bursting on the tongue. And anyway, no one buys CDs, and no one pays for digital downloads, so why not put out a record that sounds ridiculously good? Why not sell it for something like $25 and show the world that your music is worth it? Stefan is all for it. I don't mind either way. We're still going to give out free CDs at our shows. We're still going to let you download our music for free. Or are we?

We met this guy yesterday. His name is Ben Tundra, and he has a small Oakland-based record label called Tundra Dubs. Stefan sent him our music, he really liked "Animal," and a few weeks later, we all sat down together for an early dinner at a hipster diner. It was interesting. Ben Tundra had a lot to say. I mean a lot. About everything from multiple formats to licensing to silk screening to outboard gear to techno to hardcore punk to puppy care to pot smoking to song workshops and more. He said people buy vinyl, and sometimes, they pay for digital downloads, especially if they're your friends and they feel morally obligated to do so. Yes, I've heard about the return of vinyl. It's not news to me or anyone, but I never imagined my own music on a vinyl disc. It's never crossed my mind. I guess I imagined my music on a CD. Actually, not really. I don't buy CDs anymore. Sometimes, I purchase digital downloads. I don't really listen to more than four or five new albums a year, so I pay for them. Sometimes, my friends send me music. I suppose this counts as stealing. I don't directly steal. I'm too lazy for that. I'm a passive stealer. Most of my listening happens through my laptop with headphones on. Given the free for all that is the current music market, how should our music exist? How should it be listened to? Any way you like. All formats available. Still, I'm having trouble imagining a FEZANT album on vinyl. And I'm having trouble imagining more than 50 people buying it. That would be nice. If 50 people bought our album, that would be nice. Every single body contains a multitude of atoms. So that's like a million billion trillion to the trillion atoms listening to our music. Excellent. And what about every single soul? Numbers fail to describe the enormity of a soul. So there. 50 people is enough. 2 people is enough.

But I want more. I wanna be where the people are, and I want more listeners. More more more. Which brings me to my secret wish. I want all of it to be for free. I want our shows to be free. I want our music to be free. I want our merch to be free. I want all formats no matter how expensive or inexpensive they were to produce to be free. Um, Zeina, you say, everything you do already IS for free. Yes, yes, it is now, but we're inching our way toward charging for shows and selling our music. This is the natural progression. Nobodies do everything for free and somebodies start charging. If you want to be a somebody, you've got to start charging. It's about self-worth and status. It sure isn't about putting food on the table. As Ben Tundra said, you gotta be in it because you really fucking love music. There's no other reason to be in it. But charge for it anyway. NO ONE MAKES A LIVING OFF OF THEIR MUSIC ANYMORE. But charge for it anyway. OK, fine. There are ways to live off of your music, most of which involve licensing, royalties and endless touring. There are ways. Not all musicians have completely unrelated day jobs. But most do. Most musicians I know, anyway.

So then, would you buy it if we sold it? Maybe you would. Would it make a difference to our lives if you bought it? No. Not unless a whole shitload of you bought it, again and again. Or a television network bought it. Or a car company bought it. If music were a gift to everyone but the corporations, and they bankrolled our existence (which seems to be what's happening anyway), then maybe everything would come clear. We would know who to sell to, who not to sell to, and what to aim for. Corporate sponsorship. Of course, there are other ways to go. Cobbling together an income from various non-corporate sources is also possible. Ben Tundra said that every little bit counts. I still like the idea of giving everything away for free as part of a miraculous gift economy. I give you music, you give me dinner? I haven't worked out the equation quite yet. For now, if we put out a vinyl disc, I hope you'll buy it. And then buy a record player. Or fix that broken record player you have in a box somewhere. Until that happens, this is the free CD you can pick up if you come to one of our shows next month. It's a collection of various songs from our 3 EPs. The FEZANT stamp took forever to make. DIY, bitches:

1 comment:

  1. If FEZANT publishes a vinyl record I'll buy it (my second ever vinyl record) and then buy an old record player off of Craigslist so that I can listen to it in my room on a special machine.