That day has arrived.
It's February 21, 2021 and it's cold. It's a bit damp. It's, well, it's Pittsburgh and the ice is melting. I was busy yesterday morning cancelling every single one of my releases digitally distributed through CD Baby. Eighteen releases in all. It's been a long six years and frankly, I'm not planning a return to the world of DD (digital distribution) or streaming, if you like, anytime soon. There is simply no return on that investment (I just threw up in my mouth a little...gack!!!). When you, as an Independent Songwriter/Musician/Music Producer, begin thinking in those terms, it may be time to reevaluate your situation.
The concept of streaming is a horribly ill-perceived, woefully-executed experiment that has done nothing more than level Independent Artists' and Musicians' careers since Napster messed with Metallica (...and you will find that those perceived as the Big Guns are the only ones who were and are fighting this new-ish business model). I parenthetically write "new-ish" because Artists have been getting ripped off from the very beginning. The amount of energy it's taken to figure out new and exciting ways to fleece the actual producers of music, year after year, is quite something to behold.
I started the What The-?! Records® record label in 2007 in order to release the compact disc version of Yesterday's News (The Best of Who?). Oh, I was full of such hope and optimism then. What started as a one-off release turned into fifteen-plus album and single releases over the past decade. The label was there. Why not use it? The 2008 release of Senza Voce was my first all-digital release. Meaning you could actually download the album and/or the individual tracks for about $1. Very quickly thereafter, it seems literally as I clicked the UPLOAD
For me, personally, there's always been a struggle to not make what I've done solely about making money. But that's increasingly difficult to do because you have to be aware of what's happening with your work. From around 2008 to 2019, I was finding myself more interested in how many streams a certain song had received than what I was creating during any given day. I was getting pretty worn out by it all and losing a lot of my love of creating music. Not to mention observing royalty payments go from pretty great to fairly non-existent (again, I've lived through the phases of royalty distributions - from the '80's up to now).
I began the process of detachment around 2019. It was then that I decided I had to part ways with streaming and what the music industry had become. I simply didn't feel I was a part of it in any way. And I certainly didn't want it to continue being all about streams. So, after a year or so, I made the choice to remove all of my music from digital distribution. It had to happen. However, that decision was combined with several other life choices that made the final execution of removing my music from the world very easy. Life goes on and whatever I have left of it, I want to at least enjoy it. If creating music is a part of that, then I want to enjoy that. It's very very simple.
This morning, it's a clean slate. I'm right back where I started. I have some new music. I have every intention to finish it and release a collection of those songs. What that will look like is unknown, but what I do know is this: my music will be available through this website only. If I choose to offer free downloads, then so be it. If I decided to press CDs, so be it. Maybe, just maybe, I'll throw out a vinyl release for those who prefer that experience. Whatever the case might be, it will be available only through this site.
Be safe. Play nicely. Move forward.