time for something different.

for a good few years now, i’ve been making my albums available in public places so whoever wants them can take them at their leisure. i’ll let this blog post serve as the official notice that i’m not going to be doing that anymore. i was going to take the time to explain all the different reasons behind this decision, but i don’t really feel like getting into it all at this juncture. suffice to say it’s time for a change.

from now on, it works like this: if you are my friend and/or someone who acknowledges me once in a while (the two things tend to overlap, from my experience), i will continue to give or send you new albums as they’re released, without provocation, just as i do now. anyone else is going to have to get in touch with me, give me their address, and let me know they want some music. or if they’re nearby and they want to meet in person for a coffee or something, i can give them the music face-to-face.

no communication, no music.

i’d like to make one thing clear. i’m not compromising or “giving up”, nor am i punishing anyone for anything. and while i like that i’m going to save some money by doing this, when you boil it down it’s not really a financially-motivated decision.

what i’m doing is not allowing anything anyone else wants or thinks to exert any influence over any part of what i do anymore. i’m still not charging any money for the music, and i’m not putting full albums up in digital form here or anywhere else. that would be compromising and, on some level, giving up. what i’m doing here is the exact opposite. if anything, i think this makes an even stronger statement about not viewing music as a product or an attention-generating tool. i just don’t feel the need to be so vocal about it or throw it in anyone’s face anymore.

i’ve made myself and my music very easy to find for a long time now. while i don’t regret having done that, i don’t have the energy for it anymore. i’ve been doing all the work up to this point. now other people can put in a little bit of the work if they want me to keep sharing pieces of myself with them.

that’s not a threat or an ultimatum. it’s just the way it’s going to be from now on. i’m not going to give anyone any more opportunities to treat me or my music as disposable, and i’m not going to go through any of the motions of playing any part of the “game” on even the most tenuous level. for me that stuff has always felt like a total waste of time, and completely secondary to what creating music is supposed to be about.

the best course of action, as far as i can see, is to make the whole thing even more personal and scale it back a little. so that’s what i’m going to do.

in plain language: for all intents and purposes, my music is now “free mailing list only”, and the how/where to get CDs page has been edited to reflect that.

and really, i think the occasional small moment of acknowledgment (i’m not asking for or expecting epic e-novels like the ones i write) is a pretty small price to pay for a lifetime of free music.

i see it as a win-win situation. if a large amount of my audience drops off because people decide they don’t feel like taking two seconds to communicate with me, i save an insane amount of time and money and probably feel an even stronger connection with the remaining few where there is something of an ongoing dialogue, whether it’s here on the blog, in emails, or in face-to-face meetings. if i get some emails from people i don’t know, giving me their addresses and letting me know they exist, i get to find out who some of these mysterious fans of mine are and maybe even get the occasional little bit of feedback from them. there’s a positive outcome either way.

i realize i sometimes have this no-nonsense way of writing that can come off as being angry. as i’m reading this, i’m thinking, through arched eyebrows, “i kind of sound like i’m pissed.” yes. i think through my eyebrows. don’t you?

i’m not saying any of this in anger. i just feel like it’s time for something different (hence the title of this post), and time for me to maximize the effectiveness of what i’m doing.

i’d like to thank liam and the whole gang at dr. disc, tom and frank at phog, james at ah some records, and the two kyles at bubi’s for all of the support over the past few years, and for allowing me to distribute my music for free through their establishments. they’ve proven to me that there are other people out there for whom making money is not the be-all and end-all. thanks to everyone at CJAM for playing my noise. and thanks to anyone who’s ever grabbed a CD, for whatever reason, whether they enjoyed the music or they chucked it out the window of a moving vehicle.

those of you who are already on the “list” (i would hope most of you know who you are), expect to keep getting music from me until i’m dead, or until you stop acknowledging me  — whichever comes first. as for the rest of you, the ball’s in your court now. you can bounce it around, or pass it to me, or break a window with it. it’s all up to you. i’m going to keep making music and talking about it over here either way.

2 comments

  1. Johnny, sounds like a great plan. It was very generous to give away all those CDs, and still is, but this way there’ll possibly be a lot less wastage.

    1. that’s what i’m thinkin’…i’m all for the stuff being available for whoever wants it, but i’m realizing some people just take the cds because they’re free, with no interest in the music and no real intent to ever listen to it. which basically amounts to me saying, “here, person i don’t know, who will never communicate with me in any form — here is my money. put it in your pocket.” this way, i figure i’ll do a better job of focusing the music in the direction of the people who have a genuine interest in it, i’ll feel like i’m being a little more effective in what i’m doing, and i’ll save a bit of money in the process.

      so far only one person who wasn’t already on the mailing list has contacted me and given me their address, but hey…you can’t make people acknowledge you if they don’t want to. and i think it’s a pretty good list just the way it is, so i’ve got no complaints. all’s well that has no smell, as they say…

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