Community Supported Agriculture

Final Thought, January 2011

I see this music industry as a similar industry to the organic farming industry. Independent Organic Food Producers farm their land and grow their food for the same reasons that Independent Musicians write our songs; we believe in the philosohpy, we enjoy the process, we want to be part of a larger cycle of sharing and nourishment.

And we, like earth-based food farmers, sow new seeds with each season of songwriting. This necessitates new crops. The process begins itself anew. Here I am in cycle #11.

What is particular to our music industry, however, is how dramatically the “game” has changed over the past decade. Unlike before when albums were a primary source of income for the artist, they are now more often than not a liability. Artists still need to produce evidence of their work, but making a physical product has become a less and less viable choice.

I can testify to that. I am confident that my music has gotten better and not worse over time, but my sales have dropped dramatically. It’s just a market reality. I don’t take it personally, but it changes everything. I have to be more creative, not just with my music, but now with my business plan.

So, this begs the question “why make CDs?” Well, for one, this is a world that still values the “collection” of live show memories, not to mention the fact that musicians are still expected to have albums by the fans and the industry alike, just like grocery stores are expected to have food on the shelves. And what’s more, we want to share the music. We want the harvest. We want to feed people.

A CD’s viability is rarely considered by the end user, just like the viability of the farm is rarely considered by the shopper at the grocery store. That’s typical in our disconnected world. But, in order to counter that growing reality and keep these farms afloat, we desperately need community. We need the musical equivalent of community supported agriculture (CSA), i.e. those interested in eating the organic veggies or hearing the new songs who are willing to pre-purchase these treats in exchange for being assured of the following:

*the farm’s sustainability (insert “music” for “farm”: support the artist!)

*the integrity of the crops (insert “songs” for “crops”, i.e. no ‘conventional’ please!)

*your priority treatment as shareholders or “Ambassadors”

Thank you so much for being one of the people who understands the need to support the art by supporting the projects and the artists directly. We will sustain. I’m quite sure of that. And that sustainability will be testimony to the community in which it resides.

In other words, thanks to you.

THANK YOU.

For being out there.

All the best this January, 2011.

-es

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