Today my new recording project Colchester Harbour releases its first album, a song-by-song remake of Blossington that turns my most subdued and acoustical album into a loud, garage-punk thing called Blossington Too. It comes out exclusively on Bandcamp, for now, and I'll explain why in a minute. But first, I wanted to share a few facts about this project:
- I played lots of electric guitars while Tish, who sang BGVs on the last two DH albums, takes over as lead vocalist (I did some BGVs but mostly just stayed out of her way because she's a much more charismatic singer than me). And my brother Jef was called forth to bang the drums (remotely since he's in Toronto).
- If we weren't forced to do this remotely, this thing probably never would have come together, because it hurts my ears to play loud music in the same room as the drummer.
- Jef and I didn't give each other ANY NOTES before recording our parts. Tish and I would record a scratch vocal and guitar, send it to Jef as an attachment to a blank email, and he would send back whatever he came up with for the drums, again without commentary. Then a little while later I would send him what was essentially the finished track.
- We probably would have called the band Harrow Fair if it wasn't already taken.
You can listen to it here, and buy it if you're feeling generous:
Now, why only on Bandcamp?
Don't worry, Blossington Too will be coming to all your favourite streaming platforms on November 6th. But in the meantime, I wanted to try a little experiment.
Think of going to the movies. I know it's hard to remember the movies right now, but forget about Covid for a second. Typically, a movie comes out first in theatres. People pay 12 bucks or so to go see it. They're paying for two things: to get the movie in the highest quality available, and to see it earlier. They know it's going to be on streaming platforms (VOD) within the year, but that doesn't stop them.
So I'm trying something similar. First, an "exclusive" release on Bandcamp, where you can pay for higher quality music (which you can download and keep forever), before a "wide release" through my distributor that will put it out on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. (Note: on Bandcamp you can still listen for free before you buy, as many times as you want.)
The reason behind this experiment is that the now-ubiquitous streaming platforms aren't a fair or sustainable source of income for the creators of the music you listen to. Even major artists are making negligible amounts from Spotify – so a nobody like me is making zero. Bandcamp has its problems too, but when live music disappeared this year it seems to have emerged as the preferred anti-Spotify out there.
In its first year, my last solo album "And a Roof" sold 1 copy. Before 2019, I was consistently selling at least one CD per show, but those sales disappeared along with CD players in laptops and cars. The cost of manufacturing is so high that I still haven't broken even on the production of Blossington, which came out in 2017. Like it or not, music is a digital medium now 99% of the time.
And for this reason I'm grateful for streaming platforms. They allow me to distribute my music to people at a tiny fraction of what it used to cost, and they make it incredibly easy for those people to listen to it. But we're still waiting for a solution that is good for both the consumer AND the artist. I don't know if Bandcamp will be that solution, but at this point I just want to try something new and see what happens.