Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A whimper, or the best possible choice?

A local band I have truly admired for the last five years is about to call it quits. I've seen them play well over thirty times and have never been let down. I'm not going to say their name here. Rather, I wanted to focus on a deeper issue: how this band chose to put out their final album.

Most of the songs from this final album have been played live many, many times before. The recording of this record has been over a few years, and was finished well before it was released a few weeks ago. From a distant perspective, this record looks to be coming out on a whimper. All these years later and they're self-releasing this on CD-Rs and basically giving the record away? What's going on here?

Some backstory: the band's previous album was released on a local label, and thanks to a good publicity push, got some nice writeups in the national press, including Entertainment Weekly. There was something surreal about seeing this band written up in EW, even though it was a very, very small blurb. Surreal in the sense that I could point to my aunt, an EW subscriber who doesn't follow modern music, and say, "I know these guys personally," and she'd be impressed.

Fast forward to now and the band is a few weeks away from calling it quits (a key member is moving out of state). Circumstances make the nature of self-releasing understandable: why should a label invest time and money in promoting a record by a defunct band? Since the record's master tapes are owned by the band, they're doing what they want to do. But I can understand people who don't understand the band's situation who think this is a cop-out. I can relate to that thought as a fan, but I can also relate as somebody who wants to control how something I've done gets out there.

I know of someone who was a little sad to hear that I was planning on self-publishing Post. Meaning, the sadness was over how this book might just wallow in obscurity that way. Well, I'm pretty sure this person didn't know that the company I'm working with has great distribution and the book has a very good chance to find an audience outside of my friends and family. The idea of self-releasing is about the only main correlation to this band's situation. Post will hopefully not be my only book. I just want to release it how I see fit, just like my friends are with their record.


Todd Carruth said...

Hey thanks again for coming out and singing karaoke the other night. Your performance was awesome.

FrequencyDown said...

Hmmm, you'll have to e-mail me and let me know what band it is. I'm eager and almost afraid to know.