Sunday, June 7, 2009
What Comes Back?
Originally posted on myspace June 5th 2009
If you read my myspace profile you'll see that where it says "Label" I put down: "Don't Have One--Don't Want One."
Recently one of the songs that I recorded and made a youtube video of was "ripped" by SebastianHawks, a man in Holland, and his (much better) version has gotten over 36,000 views. As of this writing, it's been up for one month. When this started to happen and I told friends about it, very often the first joke they'd make would be something about my upcoming record contract. Isn't that what everyone who does music wants? Fame? Fortune? A Record Contract? Well, no. Not really. Actually, that isn't what everyone who does music wants. It's what a lot of people, especially men and women in their 20's want, to be sure. But it's not what everyone who does music publicly, that is to say: recording, posting, making CD's, etc. wants. More personally, it isn't what I want.
The more I come in contact with the "Entertainment Industry" the less I want to have much to do with it. My main interest ends with occasional consumption of "the product." What I want is to do is this: Write and record as many songs as I feel like writing and recording, in any fashion that feels right to me. I want to post them on the net free. (Donation basis downloads are essentially free downloads, as free will donations are pretty rare. I post them at myspace and also at my site www.GeneBurnett.com where I currently have 17, soon to be 19 albums up.) I want to perform as much as I can locally, anywhere that remotely feels right. And, I want to do this for five years and see what happens, what "comes back" from the world.
I'm in the middle of year two right now. I'm looking to see what comes organically, naturally, with very little force applied. It's not a tactic or marketing ploy. I'm interested in what comes back, even it's nothing at all. It's been pretty slow going sometimes but I never dreamed that at this point 36,000+ people would have heard one of my songs. And that particular ongoing episode came out of the blue with no force from me whatsoever. I showed up. I wrote a song, I had it videoed and put up on youtube, and then I was back at work. 6 weeks later I had about 1100 views, one of which was SebastianHawks who was moved freely to combine our work and who ended up taking the song to a much higher level of exposure. From that exposure, as of this writing, has come 36,000+ views, 6 CD sales, 49 youtube subscribers, and 4 actual tips! And of course, this particular chapter in the experiment is just beginning.
What I'm essentially after is the satisfying experience of putting a song together that releases some kind of charge for me. One that leaves me feeling better for having gotten it off my chest, out of my mind, and out in the world. After that, I want to perform it in front of people to see how it changes as a result of doing that. Then I want to record and post it. Then I want to do that again. I like being heard, especially if I'm also being enjoyed, but that's not why I play music. I play music because I have to and because I love to. My greatest aspiration is to continue. What I hope "comes back" from the world is enough money, appreciation and support to enable me to do so.
So no, I don't want a label or a contract. No, I don't want to be famous as a goal in itself. No, I don't want to tour "in support" of a CD for two years to pay back a record label for lending me the money to make what they themselves had more to say about the creation of than I did. No, I don't want to live in a van. No, I don't want to chase the brass ring of public favor.
Don't get me wrong though....I'm not knockin' it. If it's your kind of life, there's nothing better. It's just not mine. In fact if someone who's into the show biz life and has made the necessary, uh, "adjustments," wanted to cover one of my songs or use it in some project or other, I would be thrilled to death. Publishing royalties are like tips to me. Record label money is more like wages. I like playing for tips. I find out what I'm really worth. Not much, it turns out; but I'm grateful for what I get and I'll take it!
So we'll see where it goes next...maybe nowhere. It's really fun creatively to just surrender to a plan like this. You don't dither around much deciding what to do, you know what to do and you just do it. You know, like it's a five year experiment. This weeks results don't mean much. I'm taking a pretty long view here. I'm just committed to showing up, performing, writing, recording and posting free for 5 years. At that point I imagine I'd either quit or continue but I really don't know what will happen. It all depends on what comes back.