Let me let you in on some insider music industry secrets:
The age of record companies taking a chance on anyone with less than 50 000 social media followers has gone.
The age of anyone below massive superstar level, even who have a record contract, being paid a big fat advance just for recording has gone. Labels pay for the upfront cost if you’re lucky, then pay a royalty on sales (paying themselves back out of the majority of the price paid for the music, which if it’s downloaded or – especially – streamed is very little to start with).
The age of record labels and recording contracts having a monopoly on good-quality recording has long gone.
The age of self-funded and crowdfunded albums being pro quality – with all that implies for studio time and equipment, attention to detail, producer expertise and finished product presentation – and a normal route for ‘grassroots’ artists has most definitely come.
Two prospective albums dear to my heart are currently seeking public funding to complete, and I think you should get involved. NB this is not a charity appeal, it’s an advert – start off by agreeing to pre-order the album, then start considering whether any of the add-on rewards appeal enough to part you from extra cash (or rather extra bank balance through the medium of typing … ):
He was Eaten by Owls: Inchoate with the Light go I
This is already recorded – I should know since I played viola on it, in an intensive few days of string tracking that also featured once and future freelance colleague Maria Kroon on violin, my then girlfriend Stevie Mitchell on cello and Robin Breeze on double bass (straddling classical and jazz roles). I’ve even heard a fairly final mix and it’s excellent – starting from a 60s folk-originals background (think Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and so on), Kyle, the core creator of this album, has moved on through post-rock, a serious injection of Steve Reich minimalism, and significant enough involvement in art music composition and the capacities of ‘classical’ instrumentation – harp, piano, clarinet and trumpet as well as the strings – to justify the ‘chamber music fusion’ label. This album also runs to pipe organ and chamber choir recorded at Union Chapel, and has melodic invention enough to give accessibility to its shifting time signatures, loop / phase structures (not throughout) and largely instrumental conceptions. Crowdfunding is only covering physical CD and LP duplication here, various funding including the PRS Foundation and Kyle’s back pocket having covered studio and performer costs (and Kyle having mixed himself, painstakingly!). It would be a shame if it could only be released in (basically profitless) streaming after being so carefully musically honed!
Deadline: 4 October
Still to raise: £1 520
Previous form: https://hewaseatenbyowls.bandcamp.com/album/chorus-30-from-blues-for-the-hitchhiking-dead-2
Lauren Lucille: second album
Lauren goes into the studio with producer Troy Miller in a couple of days and I’m not musically involved, so I can’t tell you as much about this album as Inchoate. However, I do know from seeing her live several times that Lauren is an effortlessly flawless songwriter (yes, I am massively jealous) and a charming and technically assured singer with a remarkable line in natural vocal improvisation. I don’t know exactly which songs are going on this album, but it seems safe to say from current live sets it will incorporate some more serious jazz stylings and proper throwback soul vibes as well as the jazz-inflected pop-singer-songwriter line of her debut album. The money is needed for making the album at all in this case!
Deadline: 31 October
Still to raise: £4 739
Previous form: https://laurenlucillemusic.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-here
Thank me when you enjoy the new albums …