Criminal?

October 20th, 2017
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I don’t post a lot about the music business for different reasons. Even though I have a lot of experience, and even have done things many people would consider having “made it” I still don’t feel like I have it figured out. I have a similar thing about advice in general. No doubt people like to hear about how to succeed, but if anyone has spent anytime reading here you see pretty quick I have a bit of a philosophical view on success, further – and I mean this seriously, I believe there are too many people missing the operative word with regard to music as in “play” music… just like “play” sports. Sure it is a multi billion dollar business, but far too few people play anymore. Having said that, today I will be posting briefly about some disturbing trends in the music business. Rodney Jerkins is a producer writer who co-wrote the top 10 Justin Bieber hit As Long As You Love Me. His writing partner owned 20% of this top 10 hit. His royalty statement had him earning$149,000.00 in 3 years. Top 10 hit, 3 years in, $149,000.00 from BMI. I’ll post part of the article then a link:

“The song played on the radio, it had 347,820 spins.  The royalty amount on that alone, was $53,000.”

“Let’s fast-forward to this page, the interesting page.

“Sirius XM, not bad.  1,509 spins, earned him $765 dollars.

“You ready for this?

“Pandora: 38,225,700 spins earned him $278.

[audience laughs; starts talking; one person says ‘WOW!’]

“I’m not finished.

[audience quiets down]

“YouTube: 34,220,900 spins earned him $218.17.

[chatter in the audience]

“Now I did the math for you guys.  That’s on 20%.  If he were to own 100% of the song, on YouTube he would have earned $1,100.

“If he owned 100% of the song on Pandora, he would have made $1,400.

[audience member: ‘jeez’]

“That’s why I wanted to get involved.  Because to me, looking at those numbers, that’s criminal.                    LINK TO ENTIRE ARTICLE

I believe it is criminal. I believe it is unsustainable… it is unethical. With music licensing I made more on 1 song I write than 34,220.900 plays on YouTube (or Pandora). As an example I wrote a tune that MTV used repeatedly on a show. Every time the show played I made $300.00 ($150.00 actually after the split with Jingle Punks) The show repeats, rolls out to Europe etc, and the checks keep coming in for me every 4 months. Granted – I have no radio play (yet), and I am just taking one example… but Pandora is the same – and I would venture to say – most streaming is as well. It is horrible. Currently I don’t use any streaming services. Not streaming on these commercial sites was never a conscious plan… but at the moment it seems counter-intuitive if one wants to maintain control of their intellectual property / publishing / profits / creative sovereignty. Anyway – thought I’d share because if you are a musician, and you write – you need to be alert and vigilant. Til next time….

Father of me, thou art my bliss secure.

October 19th, 2017
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Make of me, maker, whatsoe’er thou wilt.
Let fancy’s wings hang moulting, hope grow poor,
And doubt steam up from where a joy was spilt–
I lose no time to reason it plain and clear,
But fly to thee, my life’s perfection dear:–
Not what I think, but what thou art, makes sure.

GM

quick update >

May 24th, 2017
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soooo lots going on…but you wouldn’t know by my posts! I was recently brought on-board to write a screenplay for a movie contest…how did that come about – you ask? Basically I wrote a short piece of fiction in a comment section of a blog, and it was believable enough for a local movie dude (who has won some awards) to contact me and ask for more … which I did (the subsequent terrific feedback hasn’t hurt either). Screenplays are a bit tricky – you don’t just say >>JANE says “WHAT”<< You say >>Jane looks coldly at Jim, she raises both hands in the sky – the camera pans in quickly while a jungle beat pulsates – Jane says WHAT while storming toward Jim<<....know what I mean?? Also I will be doing the soundtrack and theme song... having a blast with it. It is my first full blown movie project where so many of my interests collide. The movie itself will only be about 8 minutes long - and I will write more as I progress, but it has been a hoot so far.

I have been drumming a lot locally in churches, and am working with a few different music projects. I recently picked up a vintage 60’s era Rogers Holiday drum kit and some very sweet Zildjian K’s – Imma say it loud and proud – this kit sounds so buttery, focused and fine…(as they say) kid you not…I’ve got drool marks all over the place and I haven’t even got it all set up yet…it has been said Ludwig has it and Gretsch has it – but Rogers Holiday IS IT! One new addition is a 24″ Zildjian K Light Ride – puttin the OOh in my LALA 🙂 Further I am revamping a whole bunch of music studio stuff, new trigger configurations, new mic implementations, new software, new synths, lots of new music / songs… I really should post more knowhatimean? I know, Instagram and such – right? Photos – right? And to think I’ve been a professional photographer with work @ Disney Epcot and Kodak Gallery Award blah blah blah – can’t even get Instagram off the ground… LOL!

Let’s see – I am on letter 815 of Vincent Van Gogh… and that too has been an eye popper. He is basically in an insane asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence France ATM… he recently cut off his ear… the whole story is so heartbreaking, and to think as he sits in the asylum he says;

“However, melancholy very often overtakes me with great force, and besides, the more my health returns to normal the more my mind is capable of reasoning very coldly, the more to do painting that costs us so much and doesn’t bring in anything, not even the cost of producing them, seems madness to me, a thing completely against reason. Then I feel utterly sad, and the bad thing is that at my age it’s darned difficult to start again with something else.”

Not realizing his paintings would eventually command the highest prices in the history of art – and today – even his tiniest scribbles sell for a cool million. Yet there he was October 1889, alone, semi-motivated, fighting for his sanity, ignored (generally) by the art community, and utterly broke / broken. I am in the last months of his life – it is roughly a 9 months from today (in the letters) that he commits suicide. In Holland (where he is from) and in the art world in general he is a hero and a genius. The dichotomy is breathtaking.

I have been offered an exclusive deal with Jingle Punks which is cool…. dunno if I even mentioned this before. Anyway – that’s it for now – catch ya’ll on the flip-side!

thoughts from Van Gogh

March 15th, 2017
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I am a big fan of gaining inspiration from a wide variety of sources… I enjoy painting, photography, sculpture, many musical styles, movies, poetry – the list goes on.
One of my favorite reads currently would be the Letters of Van Gogh, found online here
It is really amazing to read this brilliant artists thoughts… as he struggles with lack of finances, being ignored, and an almost superhuman passion to paint / work. In one of the letters he is referring to a fellow artist that had “pecuniary difficulties” which, according to Van Gogh caused the artist to “lose his wits”… as he describes the artists situation to a fellow artist Van Gogh says;

“He is prompted to act in his crisis of nerves to make money – – – whilst painters would make pictures…..”

I wonder how many musicians are driven to make money in a crisis of nerves… instead of music?

Till next time.

new tune jtmellow

November 13th, 2016
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I had Mr. Jonathan Thomas over recently and we wrote a few different things… this one is the first one, which features Jonathan playing lead and rhythm bass over a hip mellow groove. Nice ambient feel IMO. More to come.
jtmellow (audio only)

Man’s highest action is to reach up higher,

September 7th, 2016
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Stir up himself to take hold of his sire.
Then best I love you, dearest, when I go
And cry to love’s life I may love you so
As to content the yearning, making love,
That perfects strength divine in weakness’ fire,
And from the broken pots calls out the silver dove.

GM

thoughts on creativity

August 10th, 2016
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IMG_1228
… so I am fixing a water connection to the front of my house, and I look down and see a folded paper on the ground… I pick it up and unfold it, and find this;

song seed

song seed

well, well, well…

 

 

 

a song idea. from when? I had no idea. I have piles of songs and pieces of ideas spread literally all over the world. Funny thing, I don’t remember this song, writing it or even what the context was when I put it down. I remembered part of it – but not the chorus (exactly). I remembered enough to want to work on this more than the other song I was doing. Is this weird? I dunno. I have spoken to, listened to, read about, and worked with creative people of many varieties…and it seems the creative “process” varies quite a bit from person to person. Sometimes I wonder if the process is actually quite similar, but the artists awareness is of varying degrees. The reason I say this is that most everyone is surprised by their great “idea” and if it was truly their own, I don’t think this would happen. That would mean an idea is given… and if so, who gives it? I believe the Lord gives ideas, and we elevate or flush accordingly. I find the process of creating a song or video, or even just drumming so utterly pleasant. Exhilarating even sometimes… Here is an interesting thought from Van Gogh about painting – but many of his ideas parallel music.

“I tell you, if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.
You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.
Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of ‘you can’t’.
Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.”

Personally I don’t see things this darkly, but his point about the muse is certainly something to consider… even if you don’t have writers block. So many suffer paralysis from analysis. DO! WRITE! PAINT! CREATE! Don’t let that demon doubt (which would steal your very life if it could) tell you you can’t. Who cares if you get famous or rich? The joy you get from learning and overcoming an obstacle, and then saying THERE IT IS will far outweigh the voices that criticize… and you will destroy the whining “you can’t”. Creativity must have risks, it must sometimes fail, it must challenge and inflict, it must inspire. Sounds like learning doesn’t it?

You may not create the perfect masterpiece in your new medium – but you will be learning, and everything you learn about creates a lifetime of opportunities and interests that will swell your heart and fill you with inquisitiveness about possibilities. You can. 🙂

new song > got no soul

June 22nd, 2016
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For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul… Jesus Christ (Mark 8:36)

Hello all, I hope these first days of summer are greeting you with joy and radiance. The next song up is based off of the idea
Jesus highlighted in Luke 8:36… and that is what good is it to have the stuff, the status, the style – but lose your soul? I drilled through to the Greek Lexicon and the got this definition for soul.
I think the song text is fairly self explanatory. I used a mix of live and sampled sounds, myself playing drums, bass, percussion, acoustic guitar, keys and harmonica – with a special shout out to Doug Wamble for the slide guitar work. I had the song done fairly quickly but tweaked it for a long time – and also wanted to do a video… ya’know – I was just having fun. In the video I used a lot of visuals to support “the world” and to be frank – any or all of the items are perfectly fine to have – and are approved by God (in my view) but it is when we replace God with the world – or lose our soul in the process of getting our place in the world that we have the big issue Jesus meant. While I was mixing it we had guests from Europe visiting. One of the guests is a big classical music fan (and fan of very little else), but he described Got No Soul as “Hillbilly music” (some might say this is a derogatory term)… to which I say ” I put the “Hill” in Hillbilly 🙂 > I could care less if someone high brows a style of music – to be honest – I listen to just about anything. So many people miss out on so much in life with preconceived biases. I honestly don’t know if my guest liked this song – I played it for others that did like it very much indeed. I hope you enjoy it as well. As usual I have several formats for your viewing and listening pleasure.

got no soul
got your car, got your house
got yourself got yourself a brand new spouse
got your job, got your pay
got you got you got yourself every little thing that you want today

you got money money money with your sweet cash honey
get your little grubbies on the greenback fine
money money money get your sweet cash honey
get your little money your due

got no soul got no soul
got no soul no no
got no soul got no soul
you’ve got no soul

got your fortune got your fame
when no ones lookin you just hang your head in shame
got your this got your that
all you got you got you got everything you want
and that’s a where your goin now

money money money with your sweet cash honey
all more money that’s all that’s fine
all your grubbies on your hubbies little money
everybody see you sigh

got no soul got no soul
got no soul no no
got no soul got no soul
you’ve got no soul

no no no no…..

got no soul got no soul
got no soul no no
got no soul got no soul
you’ve got no soul

got no soul (audio only)






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Quicktime————got no soul

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ipad/iphone lowrez file————got no soul

kindle / samsung / android file————got no soul

“Because children have abounding vitality,

June 2nd, 2016
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because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

GK Chesterton

To trust is gain and growth, not mere sown seed!

April 21st, 2016
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Faith heaves the world round to the heavenly dawn,
In whose great light the soul doth spell and read
Itself high-born, its being derived and drawn
From the eternal self-existent fire;
Then, mazed with joy of its own heavenly breed,
Exultant-humble falls before its awful sire.

GM