Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three songs at zakclaxton.com

I just did an update over at zakclaxton.com and added three song that you can listen to in full. Previously, I'd only had 30-second samples of the each song on the album, but I decided it was a good idea to give people a better taste of the complete songs. The reason I'm doing this is simple: selling music is a pain in the ass. Lemme tell you why.

1. You can't suck.
People tend to not listen to things and say, "Oh my GOD, that sucks! I must buy it immediately."

2. People think music has no value.
I had this discussion with a young guy awhile back. He said, "Music should be free, bro." I calmly asked him why he felt that way. "Dude, it's just music. People make it because they like it. I shouldn't have to pay for it." Gotcha, so because I enjoy the process of making music, it has no value. Perhaps if I gave the impression that creating a new song was painful and depressing, I'd be able to sell more albums, I guess.

3. People hate new music.
They do. Look, I love lots of old music. I've purchased tons of stuff off iTunes that was recorded before I was born (which was about 700 years ago). But I've also found that when I open myself up to hearing new stuff, there's a LOT of great new music out there... you just have to look off the beaten track for it. But still, when most people are parting with their hard-earned $0.99, they're probably going to make sure they have that Led Zeppelin or Stevie Wonder tune missing from their collection rather than take a chance on someone new. Hey, I can't blame them.

4. People steal music.
Don't look all shocked. They do. They get on peer-to-peer networks and download music files illegally, from someone's hard drive or server that they've placed there illegally. A side result of people becoming comfortable with stealing music is that it reinforces their perception that music has no value... see #2 above.

5. It's really hard to get noticed as a musician/songwriter.
This is nothing new; it's always been hard. You think there are a lot of ways for musicians to get noticed these days, with plenty of places to be discovered on the web, not to mention traditional promotional tools like radio play, getting on soundtracks, in commercials, and so on. Well, these are two problems. First, being on ReverbNation or MySpace or the like means only one thing: you're one of seemingly 10,000,000 other jerks trying to be heard. And in trying to get played on the radio and so on, you're also one of many, many artists trying the same thing. Again, this has been true since the first days of recorded musical entertainment. It is what it is.

6. It ain't easy being indie.
People who are signed to record labels get the benefit of the label doing marketing and promotion for them. Most independent musicians like me get... nothing. So, it's completely up to the artist him/herself to do things to make people aware of their music.

So anyway, back to my original point: I had the realization that I was doing myself a disservice by keeping my music so tightly reigned in. I can't imagine buying a song I haven't heard in full, and the samples at iTunes and on my site and my blog and so on just aren't enough. That's why you can listen to three complete songs on the front page of my site now. If you like them, go to iTunes or Amazon or somewhere you buy music, and buy them. And yeah, I made that part easy too; the ZC site store has direct links to all the online retailers who carry my stuff.

Anywhoo, enjoy the tunes. And, if there's anything else you think I should be doing to get these songs noticed, please do let me know. I'm happy with the way things are going with this album, really happy, but I also don't want to skip by any opportunities that are out there.

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