Archive for the ‘business of indie music’ Category

post-scarcity model part four: touring

Over on his Tumblr blog, Mike Doughty lead an article on touring with this paragraph:

Radiohead wouldn’t exist without early major-label funding. The future won’t bring new Radioheads. All I want to say here, truly, is: let’s get used to it.

This far, I agree. Hell, I started with something damn near identical in Part I of this series, which came out before his, so I didn’t steal it. XD

He follows with this:

This means that there will be fewer bands.

I strongly disagree, but not in the obvious way.

A bunch of things I was going to talk about today – the way that old-school touring doesn’t work – he covered, just after I’d finished outlining this article. Go read his, if you’re curious. But to summarise: less money, fewer traditional venues (by which I mean live-music bars and clubs), the dissolution of concert-going culture (and it is mostly gone), much higher travel costs, and more. Lodging’s no picnic either.

Take that as read; they are the facts on the ground.


It’s kind of like this

One of Mike’s answers is: don’t have a band. They’re too expensive, it’s too much money, it’s $6000 a week for bare-bones, you can’t do it. Sound amazing as a soloist or duo.

I disagree strongly with that dollar figure, but leave that aside for now.

“Don’t have a band” is a solution, and it does work. And in fact you’ll have to do that to some degree – or most of you will, there are always exceptions. As part of that, you have to find new kinds of places to play and new ways to book and so forth; we’ll get to that, I swear to you.

But he’s absolutely wrong about fewer bands. Fewer bands is not actually the answer. More bands is the answer.

Here’s how it works:

You want to tour. A lot of musicians don’t want to tour, but do want to play. They’ll have day jobs they like, but they’ll want to play out and put serious work into it.

So you tour around as a solo or duo at first. As you’re doing that, you network the living fuck out of all the good local people you can, and build enough contacts to have a band in every town. Or, at least, have one in the central towns within an area that’s a day-trip away from shows.

This has actually been my game plan with CRIME and the Forces of Evil. A lot of people seem to think I want to be a solo act. Were that the case, I wouldn’t have a band-style name.

This isn’t bad planning; it’s a strategy. And that strategy has been: work my act up, play far above where my few years of experience would indicate (which involves a lot of catch-up in skills), write an assload of songs, get attention, get known…

…and start attracting Forces. An ever-shifting cloud of supervillains musicians, non-travelling or even travelling musicians with whom I get to play in different towns and venues. We meet up, we practice a couple of times together, we do a few shows, it’s awesome, we go our separate ways until we come back together again.


Not entirely unlike this

The best part is, everyone get something out of it. Touring musicians who want bands get bands without the travelling expenses. Limited-touring people get a chance to step up, play with more people, build into however much mobility they want. Non-touring musicians get to be a part of it, for reals, without any of the touring stress.

Alternatively, there are still a fair number of cover bands out there. This can and should be a new lease on life for them. They’re already all about covering other bands; now they can do it with the actual act.

And what makes this workable is the same technology that upended the old system: cheap, easy, reproduction. You make a scratch recording of how you want a song to sound live. Channel left is everything from the song except the musicians you’re meeting up with; channel right is the part they need to learn. Play both, you get the whole song.

When you get into town, you rehearse a couple times as a unit, mostly to practice timing, and then you do your shows.

Everybody wins.


so much win

Now, it’s a skillset, as with everything else. But it’s a skillset people can and will learn. I know they will, because I didn’t invent this. It’s already happening. SJ Tucker was my gateway for this, but it’s all over the place in both filk and nerdcore, two of the big forms of geekmusic.

It even has names. Sometimes it’s called the Instaband concept. I think of it as the Hive, but that’s my Teen Titans fandom showing, or rather, the AU fanon where…

Right. Sorry. Topic drift.

Regardless, I saw this happening and thought, I want that. I’m adapting it to my own needs, and I’m trying to build on it and improve it, of course, and I write about things because I’m one of those people who sees a problem and a possible solution and starts waving their hands wildly about going GUYS GUYS GUYS OVER HERE OMG!

Which I like to hope is a contribution as well.

Also, I recognise the connection to pre-recording-industry town bands and orchestras. If you don’t know; every little town, even really little ones, used to have a little band that played all the events – holidays, parades, whatever. It’d be made up of all the local people who had businesses or farms or whatever, but who liked playing music. Touring musicians would utilise them, too.


St. Pepper reporting for duty, ma’am!

But it was much harder in many ways, because while you could have sheet music, you couldn’t know what it should sound like. So quality was lower, and it was supplemented by touring bands as that became more possible. With large touring bands becoming economically unviable, we’re kind of going back to that system, only this time, with far better tools – and better quality.

In short, all of this can happen, because it is and has done before. Given the correct circumstances, it will again.

And we’re over 1000 words already, so that’s all for today. We’ll talk about where to play out in a post-concert culture, and ways to make money at it, next time.
 


This is Part 4 of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, an ongoing series of articles about, well, what’s on the tin.

part three: even pressing play makes my fingers ache

In parts one and two, we’ve described how the music industry has destroyed itself. That’s pretty straightforward; look around and the facts are just sitting there. Acknowledging reality sounds trivial, but we can watch tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars being burned as people try desperately not to, so clearly it’s not as easy as you’d think.

It’s more difficult to build something new than to blow up something old, and those of us on this side of the line have the difficult job. So I really want to hear from you guys. I don’t have all the answers here. I have some ideas, and some experience, but it’s going to take a lot more than just me.

One quick item before I get started, though:


I have a show on Friday! Westercon 65, Seattle Airport Doubletree, Friday, 8pm, Evergreen – the same place as nwcMUSIC’s shows. It’ll also be webcast by @omnisti at http://sjnk.tv/ (note that’s .tv NOT .com!), live! So come in or tune in! But not both please, that would be confusing and feedbacky. 😀

Okay, back to business.

First, you have to know that there’s no one way to approach this. There never has been, really, but for some decades there was a dominant model. People wrote books about it and everything.

Throw that away. If you’re reading this, the commonality you share is that you don’t get to do that.

You instead must turn some of your creativity and inventiveness to the business side of things. Either that, or have someone on your team who can do that for you, because there isn’t really a career path here yet. There’re the makings of several, but it’s all pioneer all the time now.


Try not to go all Donner Party on your friends.

In many ways, the wilderness is quite freeing – particularly if you have a good BBQ sauce if you can shake your fear of failure. You either need to be or get to be a goddamn research scientist of music career, always trying new ideas. I try to look at it as “get to be,” and opportunity, but since I’m kind of terrible at the business part, I don’t generally succeed. But I’m still sluggin’ away! XD

For many, the hardest problem with this will be overcoming the sunk cost fallacy. It’s a real problem. For others, it’ll be coming up with things to try. For still others, it will be the emotional grinder; this really is a game of failing and being rejected, and that’s hard.

Whatever you try needs to be focused on overcoming the triple-threat of problems:

  1. fan alienation from the music industry
  2. a generalised end of perceived value in paying for recordings, and
  3. something we’ve not talked about as much: the death of bar-and-club touring. We’ll get to that next week.


Were it only that easy

The good news it that the first two problems are overcome the same way. The way to have people give you money for music and recording now is to get them to buy in, rather than just buy.

What’s the difference? To buy in, they need to see themselves as partners in the music’s creation. Minor partners maybe, but partners nonetheless. There has to be a personal connection, or at least the perception of one. They have to be interested in your music, but they also have to be interested in you. They need to be invested in you and/or your art.

This is very different to the old-era “buy” model. Once upon a time, you’d hear something you liked on the radio or at a friend’s house, and you’d buy the recording. That no longer has perceived value, as we talked about in Part II.

But the personal connection – that has worth. Get them interested, get them emotionally involved, share the experience; that gives value. That lets you start to build a base of fans.

How to do that is worthy of its own post, and you’ll get one! But I promised some talk about making money today, and I’m going to hold to that.

So let’s talk recording, and how to make money from it.

In recording, front-loading the money is key.


no, no, no!

If something doesn’t exist yet, it can’t be downloaded, so raise money to record a project before you even start to record. I don’t mean “advances,” either – I mean payment, at least of costs.

Money can come from all sorts of places; IndieGoGo, Kickstarter are examples of crowdsourcing patronage combined with pre-order and unique gifts. They get something first, or different, something not so easily copied, whether physical or not. That makes it of scarcity value again, and worth paying for.

Traditional patronage also works. It’s been important for me. I’ve a few fans who are particularly interested in what I do with music, and they’re interested enough to say, “here, I will help you do this.”

Plus, there are other venues. In Canada, at least, you can get grants from arts councils; I suspect such things will become more, not less, important as a percentage of money, over time. Soundtracks are an option, particularly book soundtracks; commissions never hurt anything either. Just keep rights to perform and record.

However, none of that will fly until you have credibility. You need a track record of being able to do your art, sure, but even more importantly: you need to show the ability to get other artists interested in making your art with you. You need to demonstrate the ability to draw others in on a project.

This gets back to the whole idea of crowdfunding and making your fans part of the process. Bear with me, I promise you this makes sense.

Once upon a time, you could gain a lot of artistic cred in doing it all the parts of your art by yourself. That used to be showing off your talent; being able to do that credibly impressed people. Prince, the 80s superstar, got a lot of attention from other artists and the like by doing his first two albums entirely solo; the general reaction to that was, “…how? You must be a music god.”

This is where I failed on Dick Tracy Must Die. I treated it too much like an art project, doing everything myself, from note one on track one all the way through to package design. It was very much an art-school approach, which makes sense, given that, well, I went to art school.

But I discovered that no longer impresses. If people actually know you actually played all the instruments, you get multi-instrumentalist cred, and other musicians might care, but in general? Not so much.


Try not to react this way

In the previous era, that kind of complete-skills-package alone would’ve been enough to get people to hit play and give you a listen.

Now, it’s not. Not with Garage Band, not with looped music, not with sampling, not with all kinds of other tools lowering the required skill level to make a song. Even if you do it all the old-school way, playing all the instruments, nobody’s going to know that unless they already care.

You still need a lot of DIY to start to succeed; but it’s necessary, not sufficient.

So what impresses now?

What impresses now, what stands out in an ocean of output enabled by technology, is that ability to draw others to your art. There are no gatekeepers anymore, at least not in an absolute sense; that also means there’s no pre-screening.

The resulting flood of art and music means people get far more discriminating about even being willing to try you out. People are far, far less willing to hit PLAY. There’s simply too much; they need some kind of pre-screening.

Seeing that you’ve drawn others to your art is one form of that pre-screening.

This is especially true in music, where there’s a time commitment and often barriers to play. You can glance at fanart for a quarter or half a second to see whether it might be your kind of thing; music, you may need to get headsets (if you’re at work or school), you may have to fiddle with something you aren’t always using (like the screen), you may need to turn other sounds off – all those are barriers keeping peoples’ fingers off that PLAY button.

And that’s where has to start. That’s why nwcMUSIC, the little geekmusic festival I run at Norwescon, has a tagline and a graphic.


press PLAY

Get past that barrier, and you can build from there.

More to come.
 


This is Part Three of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of articles about, well, what it says on the tin. There are no barriers to availability now, and copying is free. What’s a musician to do now?

part two: the damage is worse than i thought

I was going to write about making money in a post-scarcity environment today. But something’s come through in comments so very clearly that I have to write about it first, because you need to understand this before you can even think about trying to make music for money.

Last time, I talked about how the record companies had brought a lot of the current situation upon themselves. I wrote about how their insatiable greed and desire to attain a we-own-everything and you-pay-for-every-play system had ruined any chance at some sort of DRM-based continuation of the old way.


NO MUSIC FOR J00

But it’s worse than that. Responses to my first article made across the web – Facebook, Livejournal, other places – have clearly illuminated that they did far more than just fail at rent-seeking. They have successfully convinced everyone that people do not own the music they “buy.”

The record companies would, of course, be the first to affirm this. They’d correctly say you own certain very limited “use rights,” and that’s it. They’d suggest even those could be revoked. You most certainly don’t own the music, and there’re things you can and can’t do with it, mostly on the side of can’t.

Their former customers now agree. They totally get it. Congratulations, RIAA! Congratulations, MPAA! They get it! They pay you and DING! They don’t own the music! You won!

And in doing so, you have destroyed the value of purchase. You have destroyed the value of ownership. And you destroyed yourselves, and everyone else with you, because nobody is going to pay good money for something they don’t get to own.

People not only see music “ownership” as meaningless, they see themselves as being played for suckers and contemptible rubes. They see examples being made of people like them in court. They hear clowns from the MPAA talking about how leaving the room during commercials is stealing from TV networks. They post a family video with music from an album they bought and paid for in the background, and get a DMCA takedown and threatened with loss of internet access.

Music fans see constant haranguing from the industry telling them what they can’t do. And they see other people saying fuck that, and doing it anyway.

I want to grab industry people by the ears and say, LOOK, GUYS: before all this, before even cassette tapes, people shared recorded music. Sharing is part of the point. In the past it was portable record players, or going over to your friends house and playing songs there, or if you had enough money, even a record player in the car. You’d trade albums and borrow and return and not care.


And that didn’t start with the transistor, kids

Now all of those sharings are replaced by throwing the songs across the net, since a lot of your friends aren’t physically close. Conceptually, to much of the public, it’s the same thing. And they’re not just being told “no, you can’t do what their parents did,” they’re being told “not only can’t you do this, we will fuck you up and destroy your family.”


Honestly, there’s nothing funny about this

So guess what: people aren’t buying music so much anymore! Is it surprising that people won’t pay for something they do not see as having value? It’d be far more surprising if they did. Forced sales through threat and intimidation only get you so far. “Here, give me $5 for absolutely nothing. Oh, I might sue and destroy you, but it’s even more likely if you don’t pay.” “Fuck you, no! Oh hai, bittorrent.”

Once you’ve shattered that money-for-value association – and it’s good and shattered – even DRM-free music files become clutter. They’re something to have to keep track of and back up and worry and think about. And with little to no ownership value, who wants to bother?

It’s arguably not even zero value. It’s arguably negative value.

As a result, many people are turning to supposedly-universal subscription services. But even there, it’s the same dicking-around-with-rights games. Subscribers see songs appearing and disappearing as companies fight about licenses, and gods forbid you try to use the music for anything. Same story for the MPAA and studios and Netflix and such – same idiocy, different media.

So people get tired of it, and we’re back to OH HAI BITTORRENT, because the industry has destroyed the value of both ownership and paying. In the process, it has destroyed itself, and indies trying to leverage recording income are being taken down as collateral damage.

But there is a saving grace here, for musicians: this rejection isn’t about the music. Download estimates alone show that.

It’s about rejecting the current recording model.

Get ahead of that curve, and you can guess about half what I’ll be writing about next. Spoiler: it’s not all about playing live.
 


This is part two of an ongoing series of articles about music in the post-scarcity environment.

so the problem with all of this

As you’ve probably seen by now, Emily White, an intern at NPR, posted this commentary about how she’s bought maybe 15 CDs in her life but had a library of tens of thousands of songs, and how people of “her generation” won’t pay for music but will pay for convenience. Go read it; I’m a bit curious how many downloads aren’t included in those CDs but were paid, but let’s assume the answer is “not many.”


And all of the pr0n

In response, we have David Lowrey writing about how horrible this is and stealing from artists, and how evil “free culture” is. He argues that bands do make money from labels (counting advances as income – and wildly understating the sad facts about how all that money is taken right back), and brings up a lot of what I consider economic false-flag arguments about how Google and Apple and Megaupload et all are raking it in from piracy. But read his column yourself.

And over here, Jonathan Coulton finds himself agreeing really with both sides, and empathising with Mr. Lowrey, but saying we’re leaving the age of scarcity here and that there’s nothing much to be done about it. That’s true, but doesn’t go far enough.

First, I’ll admit this right up front: David Lowrey is right, at least in part. This will destroy the old system. Really, it already has, and 21-year-old Emily White is the spectre with cloak and scythe staring its participants in their faces. Understandably, they do not like that.

And in some ways – particularly the earlier versions of this system – this is a bad thing. It did pay people – vocalists, instrumentalists, studio engineers, producers, artists – all kinds of people who made and are still making artistic contributions. Along the way, some artists – even some of the “talent” – made real money.

Now, people who came up in that system find it collapsing around them. That’s brutal, and there is real suffering for it which should not be ignored. Leaving aside the corporate end, and the gatekeepers, and the eat-all-your-money-and-own-your-everything and lawsuit-happy RIAA and MPAA ass monkeys, there are artistic contributors – musicians – of the old system who used to make a living and now don’t.

That sucks. I sing the praises of trying to find new ways to do all this a lot, and of the opportunities, but the wreckage is real. A lot of it’s deserved – Burn, Warner Pigs, Burn – but as always, a lot of artists are going to take the worst of it. That’s unfair.

But the elephant in the room everyone is busily ignoring in their indignation is that the only way to restore this dying system and achieve Mr. Lowrey’s goal would be to destroy everything. Turn off the computers, shut down the net, blow it all up, get out the polyester and pretend it’s still 1971 just like the rest of the baby boomers have been doing since 1982.

Which won’t happen. So instead you’d install comprehensive DRM on everything along with massively intrusive surveillance of everything you do on your computer and your music, and – even in the best version of this – restrict everything you do now to only and exactly those things you could’ve done in January of 1971, just before chromium dioxide magnetic tape made first-generation cassette recordings off LPs worth hearing. Every time you hit “play,” their software would ask their servers whether they think you should, and a copyright lawyer would get their horns.

Sure. That’ll work.

Of course, that’s exactly what they’ve been trying to do. Ironically, I think there’s an argument to be made that they might’ve pulled it off had they been willing to settle for the old status quo, but they are and always have been too damn greedy. They’ve gone after the super-goals of we own everything and you pay us every time you listen, and the one thing you don’t do is get between Americans and their entertainment. Maybe once there may’ve been a middle ground of people willing to say, “yeah, it’s fair to keep paying here” had the industry been reasonable about it, but they haven’t been.

Ever.

Which really, is for the best. The mere existence of any such monitoring system is intrinsically abusive, can only be abused further, and, in fact, has been so abused. It’d be a bigger fiasco and bigger destroyer of rights than the drug war. Political censorship, information trolling, Sony’s infamous audioCD-based rootkits – the list goes on and on.

All these abuses and outrages and the fact that this is one of the few areas Americans actually care make that approach a total non-starter. And all of that, taken together, means exactly one thing:

It doesn’t matter what you think of Emily White.

Where there’s a way, there is a will, and all the protestations and harrumphs and those-kids-today you can cough up do. not. matter. This is reality, and reality does not care whether you like it. They have successfully rejected the old system and superseded it with their own simply by reacting to the new facts on the ground. As we’ve already shown, nobody’s putting the old one back.

It is long past time to stop complaining and start dealing with it.

So, given that: what can you do? How can musical artists make any money doing this, moving forward?

We’ll talk about that next time.
 


This is Part 1 of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of articles on, well, what it says on the tin.

and i thought i had nothing to write

Oh rite, it’s Monday. Hi, Jango listeners! Nice to meet you! I should upload some more songs for you guys over there. For CONVENIENCE! But I hope you’ll look at the band website, because you can play everything here. ^_^

Private liquor sale is new in our part of Cascadia, and while I was busking at market yesterday, I discovered the local hardware store got themselves a liquor license. They’ll begin selling spirits in a couple of weeks.

Chainsaws, nailguns, and vodka! What could go wrong? All that’s missing are fireworks.


Suddenly, this seems like a good idea

I think they need a new name. I’ve already come up with NAILGUNS’N’GIN and AMPUTATIONS R US. Comment with suggestions, and I’ll make a poll on Wednesday. XD

Today, I’m working today on the soundtrack album for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker. The soundtrack was originally mostly for the first book, but it’s evolved into an equal treatment of both. There’s one song where I need to figure out licensing, but it should be pretty straightforward; we weren’t going to do any covers, but, well, Anna had an idea, and if we can get the right vocalist, it’d be awesome. But we need the right male vocalist, somebody who can be a bit of a crooner. I only know one who has the right voice, and he’s pretty busy. But I’ve asked. Fingers crossed.

Leannan Sidhe’s album kickstarter is on its last five days! (Yeah, it says four, the last day is day zero to go and it counts down in hours and minutes.) They’re quite close to funding now, so if you’ve been waiting, get yourself over there and back it!


These guys

They’ve come this far in a 21-day sprint run (vs. the usual 30-day), so their metrics are actually really good. It’d be cool to pop them back onto the Popular pages in the last few days, get a little bonus attention, maybe trigger their newly-announced stretch goal. I’ve already backed, so g’wan, do it.

heading down to folklife

I’m gonna street-play Folklife this weekend – and attend, too, particularly as weather changes. XD Say hi if you seem me! Also, this is the last weekend for the review raffle, so post a public review of Cracksman Betty and let me know!

Also, I signed up for ReverbNation. Who should I tell it I sound like? I’ve dropped a couple of bands but I need more.

ReverbNation is also making weird things happen where Facebook is telling me people are liking my activity there but not linking me over, but when I go there directly it’s not showing up there. I’ll figure out what that’s supposed to mean when I’m not so busy. If you’re doing stuff, where does it go?

preparing for nwcmusic

So much more work to do for nwcMUSIC 2012 at Norwescon 35! I’ve been making posters and banners and all that. We’re also going to run an open mic (first time) and a session (first time) and Cascadia’s Got Talent! (which is really Cascadia’s Got a Gong Show, but let’s not quibble) and many other performance opportunities including overnight playspace – there are so many things going on!

Plus concerts, of course. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So much awesome! It’s the kind of lineup I can’t believe we’ve managed in only our second year.

So what do you guys think of the “social digest” thing anyway? It’s only posted a couple of times so far; this is an example. It’s one of the features of Fanbridge, and I asked the mailing list before turning it on and people seemed okay with trying it. I didn’t entirely realise it’d echo to Facebook and Twitter too. XD Do you like it?

PS: “Colour only, sir. More expensive!”

another day another dime

So there’s this social micropayments system called Flattr. Members sign up, pay a little a month (€2), then can, on sites with a Flattr button, click on that button. The click is logged. At the end of the month, the €2 is divided across all the buttons you clicked on, less 10% which goes to Flattr, which is how they make money. Wikipedia says it’s been around since 2010 but only went really public in 2011.

Have you even ever heard of this thing before, or seen a Flattr button? I mean, it’s the kind of thing that’d be cool, if people used it, but I really doubt people would. Certainly my experiences with online revenue make it seem unlikely – I’ll make more money at a single good show than I have lifetime online. (That’s why I’ve been focused on YouTube lately – YouTube is far more plays per day than Bandcamp, CD Baby, or iTunes or any of that, and since I want shows, well…)

So have you even heard of this? Do you use it? Do you know anybody who does? Now that you know about it, would you use it?

do not post actual content to c/o/m/p/u/s/e/r/v/e/ Pinterest

A PSA: under current as of now license, anything you post to Pinterest belongs to Pinterest, including for resale and licensing, forever. I haven’t seen a license this broad since CompuServe tried this in the late 80s. Be aware.

Scientific American outlines the license.

billy corgan thinks everything sucks

This is going around: Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins thinks everything sucks. Here’s a YouTube embed:

Basically he agrees the major label system sucks, but not for the same reasons we do; being one of that tiny percent to actually make money in it, he thinks that part is just fine. He just thinks the people who do manage this feat are the “winners.” What he hates is what he calls the “singles mentality” and homogenisation, combined with the death of the album form, which he sees as removing the connection between little indie band (j0) and MEGASUPERSTARDOM RAR!

And he also spends a lot of time crying for the mass cultural experience.

But at the same time, he also hates on the indie scene, mostly on his exposure to it through alternative rock, declaring it eternally “precocious” and incapable of sustaining an audience or band, dismissing it entirely as, “What’re you going to do, sell albums to the same 10,000 people every year?” and saying bands that go that route are just going to be working back at Burger King in ten years.

As opposed to almost all major label artists who end up back working lousy day jobs and bankrupted.

Personally, if I can sell 10,000 albums a year, I’ll be totally psyched. I’d also be making more money than most major label artists. But to him you don’t count unless, as he puts it, grandmothers know about you. You have to CHANGE THE WORLD, MAN. Like he, um, didn’t. (Sorry, guy, got news.)

I don’t actually want to spend this entire post hating on this interview, because he has a bunch of things to say in there which are varying degrees of legitimate, like how goddamn behind the technology curve the major labels have been and continue to be. But god damn, dude – do some fucking math. The label-and-album system that did work for you (and for about 10-15 other artists a year) didn’t work for anybody else. Except the labels, of course.

You’re so concerned about all this, about the “little” and “indie” bands who are so “precocious?” How about floating some goddamn ideas instead? Because the album as an art form may come and go – Dick Tracy Must Die isn’t just an album, it’s a goddamn concept album – but changing fashion of forms isn’t going to save anybody. Not even the labels.

Meanwhile we, the eternally “precocious,” will be over here, trying to get some work done. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll figure some shit out.

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