Posted on | February 25, 2013 | No Comments
I am honored and excited to be hitting the road backing up a wonderful artist, Keiko Matsui. In less than 12 hours we will be headed to Russia and the Ukraine for 5 weeks of shows. It’s my first time visiting this part of the world, and I’m really looking forward to it. Feel free to visit her website and visit the tour page for a list of dates.
Posted on | September 8, 2011 | No Comments
We all know that the music industry has changed substantially over the last decade or so, but today a realization brought the new landscape into focus for me a bit more:
The so-called “long tail” phenomenon that flooded the internet with scores of new artists and bands harnessing never before seen capabilities to record, distribute and promote/market worldwide did more than just signal the beginning of the end for “major labels” and their business model; it has forced a change in the responsibility of our culture.
It seems that every day or two I see someone promoting a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to finish an EP or album, a request to “like” their project on Facebook, a contest that prompts fans to promote them for a chance to win something, or some other attempt at interaction between artist and audience. In other words, the new opportunities made available to artists brought along with them an increased reliance on support from fans.
Before all of this happened, most were used to buying a CD at a store and seeing the occasional concert, and the artist/band kept making albums regardless (for the most part) of how intensely you loved them or how often you bought their products. Now, in this new digital environment, most projects need loyal, money-spending fans (and friends) in order to continue. Most are releasing 4 to 7-song EP’s instead of 9 to 14-track albums because it costs less, and many often pre-sale their EP/album before it’s done in order to help pay for it.
That’s why I’m dubbing this era a return of “Patrons of the Arts.”
The concept is an old one, and it used to be the only way music (and most other art) was funded and cultivated. Whereas back then it was usually a noble or some other rich philanthroper footing the entire bill, modern artists need numerous fans to be loyal supporters in smaller, regular amounts.
So then haven’t fans always been patrons of the arts? Not really. The major labels worked like banks, funding most everything for the artist/band in the form of a loan that was recouped along with interest, aka ownership of content. So most of the time we were paying the labels, and depending on each band’s deal, the labels gave them a certain (often small) percentage. Bands failed business-wise while being incredible popular and “successful” (anybody remember TLC going bankrupt from a bad deal?).
For better or for worse, without the financial support that was once provided by major labels, today’s artist needs an elevated level of support from their fans. It revives a mostly dormant responsibility in humanity to actively patronize art or risk it dwindling or disappearing. It prompts the question: how important is it to you that [art you like] continues being created?
Posted on | June 8, 2011 | No Comments
A few days ago an idea popped into my head that I have decided to follow up on, and I’m sharing this in case there are other guitar geeks/enthusiasts out amongst the internets who might be interested.
Using the lovely functionality of Twitter, I’ve started doing a “voicing of the day” — posting a picture of it, along with minimal notes about which strings are played. I’ve always enjoyed discovering chord voicings that resonate with me (sorry for the pun, but it really is the best word to describe it), that are unique, or just simply “sound good.” And now, I share.
If you dabble in the Twitterverse, you can search #voicingoftheday to see them in a list, or simply follow my handle: @garymelvin. If you don’t Tweet, I’ve also been posting them on my Tumblr blog with a similar tag, “Voicing of the Day.” (clever, huh?)
I probably won’t do one every day, but I’ll be doing them regularly for a while. Who knows, maybe other guitar nerds will wanna join in… chords will be flying everywhere… but I digress…
Enjoy the sounds.
*Updated June 29th, 2011:*
I have made a dedicated page for this series and plopped it onto a subdomain: voicingoftheday.garymelvin.com (thanks, Tumblr.com!). The link can also be found under the “About” section of the navigation menu.
Posted on | March 23, 2011 | 2 Comments
I had a girlfriend once who observed this in me and pointed it out. Now that I’m aware of it, I wear it like a badge of honor. Maybe some of you are like this too and can relate:
I am in constant need of new (to me) music that inspires me. When I get a hold of a new CD (yes, I still buy CDs), the first step is to check if it satisfies the inspirational requirement (aka do I “like” it). If it does, it enters a heavy rotation until I know every single second of it like it’s part of my DNA. I internalize it until I can air-drum the whole thing; until I’m singing in key the first part of the next track during the silence between tracks; until I’ve learned all of the mixing magic (aka “ear candy”) through repeated headphone listens; until I hear the lyrics in my head and discover how they relate to me… until I know the album on the most personal of levels.
Shortly after I reach that point, the feeling of deprivation returns, like a heroin addict who needs a fix, and I’m back in search of new music. I’ve honestly gone through periods of a somewhat depressed state when I couldn’t find music, new or not-new, that challenged me and the vast library of music that I have heard since I’ve been alive (that’s not meant to be snobby, I’ve just listened to a lot of music). During that time, it’s almost painful to listen to anything, which sounds a bit disrespectful when what I’m listening to is music that was once new to me. But that music is already a part of me, and it’s the need for evolving creativity that cries for satisfaction.
I believe it is this constant search for artistic creation (of all kinds) that drives me, and humanity in general, to learn, grow and improve. Stagnation doesn’t do much for us — we thrive while evolving. It’s this acknowledgement that gives me the confidence to prevent “settling.” It also shows me that we can, and should, demand integrity. I can’t accept watered-down attempts, and in my opinion, neither should you. Artistic expression (music, visual art, food, writing, etc.) should not be safe. It should push boundaries and take us out of our comfort zone, reminding us of what we are capable of. That’s where we learn the most, and no matter what your belief about existence and why we are all here, I think we can agree that learning is never a bad thing.
Who’s with me?
Posted on | January 11, 2011 | 1 Comment
Happy 2011, everyone!!
I decided to sit in front of some cameras and mics once again, this time performing a song off my latest release, “Trust.” Enjoy!!
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