Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Saturday April 18th 2015, working on a new track in the studio with violist Nick Shadow.
Today is Record Store Day. And did you know that Projekt’s webstore is fulfilled out of Digital Underground, a record store based in Philadelphia? To mash-up these two ideas, we’re cutting the clutter by putting 126 (mostly import) titles on overstock sale in time for Record Store Day at the sale page; there are hundreds of additional titles listed. We have 1s and 2s available on these; grab what you want today!
Forrest Fang’s new album, Letters to the Farthest Star is out now on Projekt.
In the recent brave new world of “all you can stream” and on-the-fly playlists, it can be easy to forget that at one time the album as concept ruled supreme. At least that was my experience growing up during the heyday of progressive rock in the 70s and even during the DIY-indie days of the 80s. It wouldn’t occur to me not to play Yes’ Close To The Edge or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon from beginning to end, with a break in between to change side one to side two. At the same time I was listening to the music and admiring the cover art, I could read the liner notes to tell me not only who played what, but also when and where the album was recorded, with occasional shout-out to influences, family and friends. Listening was a very personal experience you could share with your friends. You might buy the latest King Crimson while your friend bought the latest Gentle Giant and have an album listening party with like-minded music fans at your school or your dorm.
In the 80s, I would continue this practice of listening to albums like REM’s Murmur, Husker Du’s Zen Arcade or Lou Reed’s New York all the way through. Today, listeners are not only split between the physical and digital format for music, but also are lured by the option of not paying anything at all or a nominal amount per album to stream it. I think that divorcing the music from its visual form has already had the unfortunate effect of fragmenting the overall experience to the point of lessening the listener’s personal connection to the artist. Turning the album into an a la carte streamable playlist of individual tracks takes this fragmentation one step further.
I’ve always to tried to create each of my albums as a whole, so that each piece becomes a part of a continuous story or dialogue. With diminishing sales of physical CDs (let’s face it, ambient just doesn’t cut it on LP, because the music is too long and too quiet), the album format in our genre appears to be in danger of disappearing into the 21st-Century equivalent of radio. It will make it increasingly difficult for artists like me to continue offering music in a physical form, which would be a shame. If you value the album format, please do what you can help keep it afloat. Thanks, Forrest
Sam commented: The one thing that I can say in reference to our fans is that Projekt albums are regularly downloaded in total. The Projekt bandcamp page is only full-album, and sales at iTunes is around 60% full-album (vs ala carte tracks). So there’s that to keep in mind.
Forrest replied: Hi Sam, That’s good to hear. But I’m also thinking of services like Amazon Prime that allow you both stream whole albums and make make playlists of individual tracks for very little per album. I could see how it would be tempting to a casual listener to stop buying albums altogether in favor of streaming. But, of course, labels and artists would get almost nothing for this, and it turns music into a loss leader for something else — much like the way Best Buy used to sell its CDs ultra cheap as a way to entice customers into its stores. We simply become fish bait for something else which actually makes the retailer money. At its heart I think it becomes an ethical issue.
Sam commented: Yes, you know have faced the same realization I have. All these services make it way to easy to NOT buy music…. because they want to sell their subscription. They don’t care what it does to us, as the “fish bait.” It’s nice to see we still have some loyal fans who support the full album. The creative piece of art.
One of the premiums for $10+ patrons at Black Tape For A Blue Girl Patreon Campaign* is a once-a-month one-hour Q&A live video chat. It will be exclusive for the small group of participants who have contributed $10 or more to support me and my music.
I’ve been comparing the different sites that offer this service and (I think I) settled on Livestream as the most economical ($49 a month!) and easiest to use.< Last night, I invited people on Facebook to check out a test stream. There were a few folks dropping in and out giving it a look, and three or four who stayed on for the whole hour. It was fun to interact directly with people who enjoy the music of Projekt... I think this could be a cool new way to stay in touch. Attendees post questions in the chat and I answer them live. Is this something you'd be interested in participating in? Leave a message below. Last night on the test, Jesse asked about new Projekt releases... Today is the street date for Forrest Fang's latest album, Letters to the Farthest Star. It is extremely limited to 300 copies; when these sell out there will not be a second physical edition. If you want a copy, order today from Projekt. Here are the links:
* Patreon is a crowdfunding site built for “empowering a new generation of creators to make a living from their passion and hard work.” patreon.com/blacktapeforabluegirl
Digital freelease: Fifty Shades of Grey (music for a sensual evening)
The bombardment of “news stories” about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is well underway; it gave me a fun idea: What if the film studio had contacted Projekt to put together the soundtrack? What would that sound like?
I went through the Projekt catalog and pulled tracks both cinematic and soundtracky for this compilation. It’s up for name-your-price at Bandcamp.
The Truth About Fifty Shades (a short editorial by Sam)
We can laugh and snark about how horrible the Fifty Shades books are. But the bigger problem here is the writer’s lack of knowledge about supportive, sex-positive relationships. She uses BDSM to mask two poorly-conceived characters who do not engage in proper consent or respect. (The writer is a boring bored* English housewife, who I can imagine watched a few porn videos for “research,” rather than getting involved in the scene, or talking to experts, or even reading some informational websites to learn the proper protocols for respecting a partner’s boundaries).
This is an even bigger issue than the 8th-grade-level writing.
What two people do together should be their own business; though I would hope they keep it safe, sane and consensual. When a book series sells 100 million copies, and has it’s attractive lead character force a woman to repeatedly do things she doesn’t want to do, that’s not BDSM…. That’s abuse! It is shocking that soccer moms who love this book for the (mostly generic missionary) sex, aren’t repulsed by the characters’ actions. This says a lot about American’s inexperience with sex, and inability to critically think about healthy relationships.
Consent Isn’t Enough: The Troubling Sex of Fifty Shades. in The Atlantic.
The Real Abuse at the Heart of Fifty Shades of Grey. in Relevant Magazine.
50 Shades of Grey: a film about male power, idealising emotional abuse as sexy when it isn’t. in New Statesman. (You can Google, for many more articles on this topic)
Bare in mind that I am not criticizing people’s involvement in BDSM; there are many relationships with it at their core. These relationships involve respect and consent, good communication, knowledge of boundaries, and love. This is necessary to give a partner a safe version of the ‘the pleasure in the pain’ they desire. Of course, it is also necessary in any strong relationship.
America accepted a really warped version of BDSM when it grew enthralled with these crappy books. The piece in the New Statesman says the film got the consent right in the BDSM scenes, but not in the overarching story. It’s unfortunate the filmmakers didn’t update the plot to address the serious problems in the novels.
On the positive side, publications are using the movie’s release as a catalyst to educated on these very important topics.
I have been criticized for calling E.L. James “boring.” So I will fix that and say she was “bored” (which is the word used in press descriptions. Does this make things better?)
You can leave a comment below.
With all the yap-yap-yap about 50 Shades of Rubbish, I should probably remind you about my book Rye — interesting characters, in original situations, humor, plus conversations and negotiations around consent, relationships and family of choice.
“Underneath all the androgyny and fluctuation, the book’s about human connection. Rosenthal’s use of sex and gender identities to illustrate how we reach toward and away from relationships is merely a new approach to an old idea: we all need intimacy with others to deepen our understanding of ourselves.” — Time Out, Chicago
Support Black Tape For A Blue Girl at Patreon and get all access!
Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Patreon campaign is building steam. It’s exciting! Patreon is a crowdfunding site built for “empowering a new generation of creators to make a living from their passion and hard work.” It’s a chance for listeners to directly support my art, while getting access to exclusive music. Thanks to my patrons, Sam
From Sam Rosenthal:A huge unimportant detail
At the time of this writing, fifty people have joined Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Patreon campaign. What a great first week! Get involved to make week #2 even more successful.
Patreon is a crowdfunding site for “empowering a new generation of creators to make a living from their passion and hard work.” It’s an opportunity to directly support the creation of my art, and in return you get access to exclusive music.
Last week I added these tracks to the patron-area: * “Please don’t go (mix 10),” the new track from the Patreon video (with Grace Young on viola) * Two early mixes from 1992’s DAT #5: “passion drained” & “on broken shells 3”
Even a $2-a-month pledge helps. It goes towards expenses such as paying Grace a salary for dropping by my studio to record. For less per month than what you pay for a cup of coffee, your contribution joins with other backers’ contributions to help me reach my goal of freedom to work on music.
Getting back to art.
Most of my time is occupied running Projekt Records. I was about to add, “It’s my day job,” but the fact is that I’m often at it all day and still here working on Projekt at 9pm. I’m sure you’d much rather I was writing and recording new music? Yeah? So would I. The problem is it’s not like the old days when I could take time off work and invest hundreds of hours in a Black Tape For A Blue Girl album with reasonable expectations of thousands of copies selling and income coming in to cover my expenses. Nope, these days people really love their free music; but the miniscule income from Spotify and youTube is not a viable way to try to earn a living.
With four succesful Kickstarters completed, I’m quite excited by crowdfunding; it’s a brilliant method for financing creativity. Late last year, I studied various sites, searching for one that conceived crowdfunding as I imagined it. I didn’t want another one-month-campaign to make a physical object. That leaves too many people out and feels like it rushes through the fun part!
I have two main goals: ongoing funding for my music and immersing you in the process of developing new work. Patreon does this. It’s designed to facilitate your direct support of the music. With your pledges, I will spend less time at the job and more time creating new and exclusive tracks I share directly with you.
“Now hold on a second, Sam,” I imagine some of you saying. “Why all this talk about money? Shouldn’t it just be about the art?”
As Iggy Pop recently said, “To tell you the truth, when it comes to art, money is an unimportant detail. It just happens to be a huge unimportant detail.”
Those hours and days in the studio take away from time I could be working at Projekt. You understand what I’m saying here! The phone company and the gas company don’t take payment in the form of high fives and a Mp3 of new songs! : )
I’m thrilled that some of you have already backed me on Patreon.
And understand that it’s not just about the income; crowdfunding is also rewarding on a personal level. I love that I get to know people who are deeply into my music. Last week, I met graphic artist Antony Johnston. I’d love to share something he wrote:
The music you made with BlackTape, especially in the ‘classic’ Chaos / Garden / Remnants era, has been part of the soundtrack to my life for the past 20 years. As a creator myself, I know how hard the current climate can be, so it’s my pleasure to support the Patreon campaign. The new music excerpt ‘Please Don’t Go’ is lovely — more of that, please! Reminds me of dark nights, driving home from those early Whitby goth weekends in the late ’90s…” – Antony Johnston (writer of Umbral, Spooked, and Dead Space)
I want to make more of that sort of music: music that can be the soundtrack to the next 20 years of your life!
Your recurring monthly contribution of $2, $5, $10 or more will make it possible.
Antony joined my Patreon campaign; so did Tristan, Marcos, Draven, Julia, Rob, Tori, Bill and a bunch of other amazing people. In fact, we reached the first Milestone Goal of $300 and now we’re headed towards the $500 Milestone Goal: a two-hour livestream mixing session, where you can watch me in the studio, with a view of my monitor, as I mix and process the music.
I’m thinking about the creation, the connection, and the challenge of seeing this through and succeeding. It’s incredibly sweet to know people are stepping up with pledges to support my work. You can make a difference in tackling this huge unimportant detail: the manner in which artists earn money.
Please pledge here. Thanks for that.
PS: Back to the topic of free music, here are two name-your-price albums for you to enjoy. The Collection is a ‘best-of’ from Blacktape, while Fifty Shades of Grey is an imaginary Projekt-themed soundtrack for the upcoming film.
PSS: At last! I’m famous!!! (file under: “The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!”): https://email@example.com,-122.422213,3a,75y,124.32h,83.6t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1siAPMvFgx0jhuqBacQxFnjA!2e0
From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.Digital freelease: What if Projekt had put together the soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey?
In the next couple of weeks you’re going to be bombarded with ads and news articles about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. While I’m not expecting much from Hollywood’s mainstream idea of what is erotic, this did give me a fun idea: What if the film studio had contacted Projekt to put together the soundtrack? What would that sound like?
I went through the Projekt catalog and pulled tracks both cinematic and soundtracky for this compilation that’s available for name-your-price at Bandcamp. You could also go buy it at iTunes, but you certainly don’t have to; that’s for people not-in-the-know.
I had a lot of fun putting this imaginary soundtrack together. I think I’ll do more in the future. What would Projekt’s version of the new Star Wars soundtrack sound like? Blade Runner 2? The rumored new X-files? I think we’re going to find out!
Enjoy Projekt’s freelease of Fifty Shades of Grey (music for a sensual evening) at Bandcamp.
To celebrate the release of Alio Die/Lorenzo Montanà’s CD of ritualistic soundscapes and technogenic landscapes, Holographic Codex, we’ve added all of Alio’s back-catalog releases to Bandcamp.
Through Monday, they’re on sale for $5 !!!
Pledge your support to Black Tape For A Blue Girl on Patreon; get all access to our new music
SHORT VERSION: If you enjoy Blacktape’s music, want exclusive access to unreleased new work, and can pledge $2 or more a month, please become a patron of my art.
Watch the video & pledge at: https://www.patreon.com/blacktapeforabluegirl
Hello, I’ve discussed here on the Projekt eList — and my Facebook page — the dramatic changes that have swept through the music business in the last 15 years. Only a few artists I know survive off their art. Most of us have day jobs, music is something we do when we can find the time. My day job is running Projekt Records (working with the artists, doing graphic design for the covers, product management as the CDs are manufactured, communicating with my distributors and press contacts). Hey, I’m not complaining, it’s a pretty fun job. I work for myself, and I’m involved with music every day.
The label began as a vehicle for my music, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. For twenty-nine years, I’ve been releasing ethereal, gothic, & darkAmbient albums. But we’ve only released two CDs in the last decade; the problem really is that the day job takes up all my time and I don’t get into the studio to create. I want to get back to the way it was in the 90s when I was a musician who ran a record label, instead of being a guy who runs a record label who occasionally has time to make music.
I’m asking for your support to make this possible.
Albums sell a fraction of what they did at the peak of the music industry, back when Remnants of a deeper purity was released. Even with the dramatic decline in sales, I realize people still listen to a lot of music; there’s so much available at our fingertips. For most people, their preferred price point is FREE.
There’s not much financial support for creators within “free.”
That’s a big problem in the system. Legally and ‘illegally,’ it’s easy to find music that you don’t have to pay for. But all of us artists deserve to be fairly compensated for our work. It takes time, energy, and passion to create music. And there needs to be return on that time spent, in orders for creators to keep creating. We live in a world of real things… like rent. Our landlords don’t take high-fives and MP3s of our latest song as payment. : )
And honestly, I don’t want musicians to be hobbyists. I want it to be their full-time job. As I wrote here on the list, last October, “I don’t want my favorite artists to be amateurs. I really want to live in a world where artists can focus on their art… Think about it! It’s a very weird world where the-average-joe expects to be paid for their labor, and yet people are generally OK with the artists they love working some other job so music can be their hobby.”
Yet I realize I’m a hobbyist. In 2015, a band like Black Tape For A Blue Girl, with years of history, doesn’t sell enough CDs and downloads to pay my living expenses, let alone support five of us. My “real job” keeps a roof over my head, and pays for my son’s ice hockey & my cat’s medicine.
I’d rather spend my time making music; it’s fun and challenging and interesting.
I’m beginning to see a solution that makes it possible.
Crowdfunding seems viable to me. It’s a direct connection to those who love my work. Plus crowdfunding has been so rewarding to me; not just monetarily, but on a personal level. When I did the Remnantsvinyl Kickstarter back in 2013, I loved posting updates, and private messaging, to keep you up-to-date on the status of the manufacturing. In the process, I learned more about you: the people who love what I create. It feels good to talk with people who are excited about music. Invigorating. In my line of work as Projekt’s label manager, I spend a lot of time looking at what has been lost over the years, and too little time thinking about what draws you to music, and excites you about we create.
Wayne Dyer says, “What you think about expands.” I reflect on this often, try to stay positive, and focus on the good things. Thinking about what’s possible is much better than dwelling on what can’t be done. Either strategy solidifies the reality of that particular perception of the situation.
Oh, got a bit off topic. Let me reel it back in…
I’m recreating the sort of exchange that happened during the crowdfunding of Remnants, and evolving it into an ongoing experience. I’ve started a page on Patreon to immerse you in my work: get access to my music as it’s evolving in the studio. Patreon allows YOU, the patron, to support ME, the artist, so I can dedicate more time to writing and recording songs for you. This really makes sense!
“Patreon is empowering a new generation of creators to make a living from their passion and hard work… Over 125,000 people have become patrons of creators on Patreon, paying them over a million dollars every month. Their patronage takes the form of a recurring pledge – a promise to pay creators per work or per month. The sum of these ongoing pledges constitutes sustainable, reliable salaries for professional creators around the world.” (from a blog on Patreon)
This is a return to the patronage system. But rather than one King, there are many Kings who support my music.
You are the new Kings.
In the last 24 hours, 20 patrons have signed on to support me! $189 expands my thoughts about my goal of setting aside more time to work on music. As more pledges come in, I have more impetus to take off from work to make music.
Your recurring monthly pledge of $2, $5, $10 or more gives me the freedom to follow my muse.
Patreon is different from Kickstarter. Rather than providing one-time support to fund an object such as a CD, you’re giving ongoing support. The money goes towards a sustainable, reliable salary (which I’ll use to cover my living expenses, plus wages for my bandmates when they join me in the studio, gear repair, plane tickets, out-of-town studio sessions, etc).
You’ll get exclusive access to Black Tape For A Blue Girl in the studio: * private posts featuring work-in-progress * behind-the-scenes videos * revised versions of new songs as additional instruments are added * tracks that otherwise would never be released * early mixes of songs from older albums * live recordings * and my updates in the activity feed (where we chat and you meet a community of other Blacktape fans)
Thanks for your interest in supporting me. This is how to make a difference in 2015!< Watch the video and make your pledge to help keep the music flowing. Thanks!
PS: Even if you cannot afford to pledge today, it would be incredibly kind and helpful if you share the link on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thanks. https://www.patreon.com/blacktapeforabluegirl