Monday, 23 June 2008

A setback

I thought maybe it's time I explained why my pace of blogging has slowed recently, and why I've got so behind with commenting on other blogs, and responding to emails and everything else. There's been a bit of a setback with the music which has distracted my attention away from the garden.

The small independent record label who released my album Mind The Gap has gone tits-up, and I haven't been paid for my sales. The most immediate impact of this is that my album no longer exists as a going concern, at least until I can get it re-issued. I'm not impressed, because CD sales are one of my few sources of income, and the album (which only came out last August) represents two years' work.

It's not just me either. I've spoken to a number of artists from the same label and it seems none of us have been paid, nor even told our sales figures. As if it isn't difficult enough for musicians to earn an honest crust without having somebody else pocket our hard-earned cash. For some of the artists the sales figures matter more than the money ... how can they make a decision about whether it's worth re-issuing their albums when they've no idea how many they've sold? We've all been treated very shoddily.

I must admit my first instinct was to curl up under the table with my thumb in my mouth, but after a few weeks of being very depressed I'm ready to get on and sort things out. One thing I have in my favour is that my album has been getting good reviews - really brilliant reviews in fact - so I know I have something worth pushing. It's just a case of what to do with it next. Rather than throw myself on the mercy of another indie label, I'm planning to set up my own tiny label and release the album myself. It will mean scraping together a few hundred pounds upfront to get the CD pressed and printed, and a lot of work promoting it, but at least I'll be in control of things and will have a sporting chance of hanging on to any future income.

15 comments:

Dale said...

sorry about the record, have you thought about Magnatune, it seems really popular with artists like yourself.

Magic Cochin said...

How disappointing and frustrating! Good luck with your new plans, I understand you wanting to stay in control after such an experience.

Best wishes
Celia

Susan said...

That's frustrating indeed. Perhaps a doing a show together with some of your fellow artists who've been ill-treated by the label might be an idea? Seems like it could garner some press attention, given the situation, and help with promotion for your album.

Ottawa Gardener said...

That sucks. It's hard for others to understand how hard it is for artists, the work that goes into the most paltry paid projects and then for this to happen. I'm frustrated on your behalf. Hope things improve!

Joanna said...

What a great decision out of a horrible situation ... I'm sure you'll keep us all posted about how it's going - GOOD LUCK

Joanna

toads said...

Great to have you back on your blog :-)

Greenmantle said...

Good luck with the "own label". I was just scanning your blog for a good name (After all, "Apple" never did the Beatles any harm)

"Purple Pea Publishing" might not catch on though I fear....

So how about "Ne Plus Ultra".... apposite to your musical aspirations, but with hidden significance!

Karen said...

I'm so sorry about your record; it's so hard when bad things happen to good people. I hope that something else will work out!

Veg Heaven said...

Sorry to hear that Rebsie - that's obviously why I couldn't get a copy a week or so back. Put me in the queue for 3 copies - daughter sings in folk clubs and son is mean banjo player in a band. I'd like to say I taught them all they know but they have their own talents with a touch of my enthusiasm!

Best of luck - I really hope you get this off the ground.

Anna said...

How annoying!!

Good luck with your own label anyway - I have every faith you'll succeed!

Matron said...

That's so frustrating! all your hard work and your income too! Don't give up!

Seahorse said...

What a pain :( Very best of luck with getting your work back on the market.

Muppet said...

My copy of the CD has arrived safe and sound, thank you! Just smiling along to Leafblower :)

Adam said...

Sorry to hear the bad news - but on the up side, by putting it out yourself you get to keep complete control of your own music. My younger brother (a professional musician) has been doing this for over 20 years and tells me that he wouldn’t work with a record company now, no matter what he was offered.

Here’s an amusing little story for you. When little bro’ (he plays baroque and renaissance music - I won’t name the instrument - it would make his identity too obvious, and we don‘t know who reads your blog) wanted to move beyond the local Arts Centres and started looking for serious venues 25 years ago he found it impossible to get any bookings without an agent.

He slammed the phone down one day saying “That’s it. If they want a f*#~%$g agent they can have one”. He drove straight to the printers, ordered notepaper etc., with the name of a fictitious agent emblazoned at the head. Within weeks he was conducting telephone conversations with venues both in the UK and in mainland Europe, in a faintly camp voice. The bookings began to roll in - including at Cheltenham Music Festival. After about five years, the character had really taken on a life of his own and the “agent” was receiving invitations to all kinds of industry events… my brother even spoke with people who claimed to have met him?!

At this point the game started to become a little difficult to maintain, at which point my brother decided that his creation should exit stage left, so the “agent” had a “serious car accident”, and slipped quietly into oblivion. By this time however, the people running the venues had all met my brother, heard him play, and were prepared to deal with him directly - especially when he explained to them “***** was such a good bloke, I don’t think I could work with anyone else”.

Little bro’ has never looked back.

folk songs said...

I'm also a musician just like you. Frustrations? Forget about it! Go on make your own recording studio just what I have done.