Monday, December 14, 2009

10 reasons to get the downloads

A little over a week ago, I gave you 10 reasons to buy the Zak Claxton album on CD. And, may I say, they were some excellent reasons. But as of last Friday, all the major online music stores are carrying the album. Let me also tell you that I was one of the people who embraced purchasing music via online downloads from early on. Why? Well, let's talk about those reasons right now.

1. Instant gratification.
No one can deny that it's awesome deciding that you want some music, and three minutes later you've purchased it and are already listening to it. While we ship the CDs as quickly as we can, there's still that wait for this physical piece of media to arrive to your mailbox. If you want some Zak music NOW, downloads are the way to go.

2. Easy upload to your iPod or other MP3 player.
There are lots of people these days -- dare I say most of them? -- who listen to music exclusively via their mobile device, like iPods and cell phones and various MP3 players. Well, if you're one of those people, digital downloads were basically made for you. You buy the song, connect your device, sync it, and boom: Zak tunes are ready to roll.

3. Choices of places to buy.
There's currently only one place to get the Zak Claxton album on CD: via the ZC web site store, through Amazon Checkout. But there are five, count them, five different places where you can get the album online as downloads. Let's list them (and link to them for your clicking pleasure)!

iTunes (more info below for those of you outside the USA)
Amazon MP3

So, if you're already comfortable buying music from one of those places, you can!

4. You're outside the USA.
Can we ship discs outside the USA? You betcha. However, since we're set up with Amazon Checkout to handle our payments, some folks may have difficulty using this service. While we love being able to present the album in CD format, for pure convenience's sake, it might be a lot easier just to download it locally. One nice thing about our relationship with Apple's iTunes service is that we have the album available in many places around the world. All you need to do is search for Zak Claxton in the iTunes Store in your country, and I should be there. The official list of countries where we have albums for sale includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom (in addition to the United States). Even if you don't see your country on that list, give it a shot and I'll probably be there. If not, let me and my record label know and we'll figure something out for you.

5. You think CDs are for dorks.
There was a time when the Compact Disc was a really cutting edge way of purchasing and listening to music. Sadly, I'm old enough to remember those times. By the way, CD players used to cost like $5,000 when they first came out. And people bought them. Frightening, eh? But the CD is now over 25 years old, and especially to some of the younger generation, the CD is kind of an antiquated way of getting your tunes on. If you're a person who thinks that a tangible medium for music is for Grandma, it's okay; we understand. Just get the music as a download, and then go have something pierced or tattooed or whatever is cool for people like you.

6. You don't like "Thanks Anyway" but you love "Falling Down".
When I was working on the album, I knew very well that by including a pretty wide variety of music, I ran the risk of having some people get way into certain tunes while absolutely hating others. The album is meant to be that way. Not to go off on a tangent, but when Led Zeppelin recorded their third album, they included some of their hardest rock tunes (i.e., "The Immigrant Song" and "Celebration Day") and some of their softest (think of "Tangerine" and "That's the Way"). I like albums that take you up and down and around, giving you different things to reflect your different moods. All that having been said, it's perfectly okay if you're totally into "This Afternoon" on the Zak Claxton album, but don't feel a burning need to get "Waxing Gibbous" or "Always Tomorrow". One of the great things about downloads is that you can purchase each song as a single, so feel free to cherry-pick my album and get what you like.

7. You're in an online music community.
A funny thing happened on the way to this zany web-based world in which we live: communities popped up that weren't based on anything as simple as the town where you live, the school you went to, and so on. These days, there are communities that span the globe which are devoted to music. Some of those communities are even based around the stores themselves (people who share iTunes iMixes, who write reviews and so on). Getting into the world of downloads can lead to a process of discovering cool music from artists both new and old that you may never have found otherwise.

8. You have the world's largest/most eclectic download collection.
Are you the type of person who is on a mission to fill up every last byte of data in your 500GB mobile media player? Do you like to scroll through 750 pages of songs in your computer's music folder? Are you determined to have a collection of music that rivals the lists on All Music Guide? Well my friend, you're currently missing 11 songs from the Zak Claxton album. They're out there... and you don't have them. Do not panic. Just slowly reach for your mouse and go to the Zak Claxton Dot Com Store, and you will be just a click away from closing that gaping hole in your collection. Whew. That was close.

9. You got an iTunes gift card for Chrismahannukwanzaa.
Happy holidays! I'm guessing that at least some of you opened a little envelope and received that most terrific of presents, a gift card to an online music service. Yippee! Now it's time to put that card to good use. You already have all the stuff you really like, and you don't want to blow $0.99 on some flavor of the moment that you'll never listen to again after you burn out on the tune in a few weeks (I'm looking at YOU, Lady Gaga). So while you're there at the iTunes Store or Amazon MP3 or whatever, just search for Zak Claxton, and I'll be practically in your stocking, hanging by the mantlepiece. Oh, and your Aunt Judy will love the fact that you took that card and got some damn fine rock music that will stand the test of time.

10. You want to.
It's your money, and your choice. If you want to spend a buck on a Zak Claxton song, you should just do it. You don't think twice about spending a buck on a Snickers bar while waiting in line at the grocery store. You barely think once about it, I'm sure. If you've heard one of my songs and you like it, you should get it for yourself. And while my music is sweet, it's going to last a lot longer than the candy bar, I promise. Hey, you work hard, and if you want something that will likely bring you some joy and peace and contentment and happiness, is it a crime to spend a buck on it? I didn't think so. Treat yourself today.

And finally, though I hate to do this, I need to end this silly little blog post on a slightly more serious note. A lot of folks over the past 10 years or so have developed some funny ideas about music... like, it has no value. Those are the kind of people that get digital song files and illegally share them with others. Look: we understand this. We know that when you like a song, you want to be able to turn other people on to it. That's totally cool! Musicians want their music to be heard... otherwise, we'd all play by ourselves alone in a room and not bother recording this stuff in the first place. But the reality is that we spend a lot of dough -- on instruments, on recording studios, on musical training and so on -- all in an attempt to make our songs sound great for you. It's a slap in the face when someone basically says, "Your music isn't worth shit, so I'm going to steal it."

You may try and justify this by thinking that you're not ripping off the artists... just the evil big labels who screw the artists anyway, right? Well, I don't know much about that. I'm not involved with any major labels. When you're talking about an independent musician, putting their songs on peer-to-peer nets or doing illegal file sharing of any kind just reaches into the pocket of the artist and steals money from them, straight up. All I'm saying is this: if you dig the tunes enough to want them for yourself, I thank you. But please pay for them. It shows respect for the artist, and it shows that you actually value music. If it's important to you, don't treat it like it's worthless crap. Kick down the $0.99 for a song, and you're going to feel good about it.

End of the sermon! If you have any questions about getting digital downloads of the ZC songs/album, you know where to find us.

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