Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Snail Tunes

Today (technically yesterday) I made public this four-track mini-EP that has, for the past nine days, been an exclusive treat for those who have pledged a dollar or more at my Patreon. Why, I'm not exactly sure of. I'm still feeling out exactly how Patreon is going to affect my public work and vice versa, what exactly their relationship is going to be. With the publication of this mini-EP, I've made available two new tracks that have so far only been available to my patrons: "No Introduction Needed" and "A Not-So-Minor Distraction." A few days ago, "No Introduction Needed" was made available for streaming from SoundCloud, whereas before it had only been accessible through a private link that was, again, only available to patrons. I'm trying to give patrons exclusive and early access to my new material while also slowly feeding it out to the public, while also keeping a flow of new exclusives popping up on Patreon. It's a weird little dance that I'm trying to learn the steps to.

Why I chose this mini-EP as a record to become available for the public I'm not exactly sure of, either. I just know that I was itching to release something publicly. But the two new songs are going to be available on the next record to go public, so why bother with this four-track EP? There's nothing special about it except that it gave a nice little package for my patrons to have early downloads of those two songs with. The only other reason I can think of to have this mini-EP made public is to call it a "sampler." As in, The Official Snail Tunes Sampler, or some shit like that. Which does have a bit of a nice ring to it, I guess. But then, shouldn't I make Snail Tunes a little bit more of an official entity?

Honestly, that's something I've been thinking of lately. Many of you will know that "Snail Tunes" began as words on a little button I created on The Lady's Facebook page that connects people to a Bandcamp app where they can listen to and download my music from within Facebook. Then I started referring to the Bandcamp page itself as the Snail Tunes store. Yes, as in that red button to the right. When I uploaded Instrumentality to my distributor, there was a text field to enter the name of my record label, and written next to it was "anything you like." So I simply put in "Snail Tunes," and it's given me a little smile whenever I see that album available to see that as it's listed record label whenever I see it in stores or on streaming services. And now, when I upload a song to SoundCloud, I enter Snail Tunes for the record label in the metadata, and I've added it in on quite a few of the existing songs as well.

See, without being entirely conscious of it, Snail Tunes has been becoming an entity merely by becoming a presence through the repetition of those two words. And an idea that's been sticking with me has been to "officially" turn The Lady anoNYMous' Bandcamp page into The Snail Tunes Store. I mean, all I'd have to do is change the banner on the page and always refer to links to it by that name, right? And there's even the option to purchase domain names (which is pretty cheap, I think) through Bandcamp, so I could even have theladyanonymous-dot-bandcamp-dot-com changed to snail-tunes-dot-com, or something similar. Voila! The Snail Tunes Store would "officially" exist and Snail Tunes would be a record label in all but corporate licensing. And I'm not starting a corporation. I'm not representing any artists but myself. So is that really needed? At what point does Snail Tunes become a real record label from simply an online entity? I'm not exactly sure, but it seems to me that if I were to change my banner and buy the domain that I will have set up a record label exactly the same way that Fluttery Records has (it's just a network of Bandcamp pages), except The Lady anoNYMous will be Snail Tunes' sole artist.

And then this mini-EP would suddenly be The Snail Tunes Sampler instead of just an early release of two tracks dressed up with two other tracks and some album art! Of course, even if that's the case, I still should have held off on releasing this a little while longer... And what exactly is the point of a sampler for a record label that offers nothing but free music anyway? Okay, so my madness doesn't entirely make sense even to myself, but, you know, why not?

Anyway, there's really not a whole lot to say about this release. Two new tracks that have been exclusive to patrons of my Patreon are now publicly available for download. "No Introduction Needed" is a new rendition of "Introducing..." Unlike the slight alterations for the alternate spins, this is a complete re-recording from beginning to end, with many small changes in the instrumentation to be found among the larger ones. The song begins with the original melody on cello instead of piano, jumps the groove from being melancholy to a hip-hop beat, and is all around a kick-ass version that I'm very proud of. "A Not-So-Minor Distraction" seeks to bring more of an industrial quality to "A Minor Distraction" with the addition of heavy and ponderous electric guitar tracks and an additional drum track, and I've added some cello and changed a keyboard solo to an electric guitar solo. The success of this version is questionable, but I enjoy it, so I don't question it too much.

Both of these new tracks were inspired by the idea of creating alternate versions of each song featured on Pentacental, stemming from the original idea of a deluxe version of that EP that developed into the creation of Reprise. This deluxe version now exists, with the title Pentacental Overdrive, as another patron exclusive at Patreon - a reward for those who pledge five dollars or more. It will become publicly available eventually, but I don't have an exact date pinned down. Like I said, I'm still feeling out the incoming/outgoing flow of exclusives, as well as deciding what material will remain exclusive to patrons. So far, my thinking is that a compilation album called Era (an idea that I had when I was conceiving what to make available for wide distribution) - which is a reward package for patrons pledging ten dollars or more, at the moment - will remain a Patreon exclusive. But yes, I think everyone else can look forward to the release of Pentacental Overdrive in the near future.

In news and updates: I have finally begun work on revamping "The Songs" page of this blog, but I've run into the somewhat-anticipated problem of not being able to copy any of the original text into the new version without having the same formatting issues that the current page has. So I'm going to have to write all-new articles for each song from scratch. Total pain in my ass, and I'm not looking forward to it. So everybody just kind of ignore that there is or ever was a "The Songs" page for the time being, okay? The current version isn't up to date and has all those irritating formatting issues that I can't fix for the life of me, so I might as well just pull it... I don't know if I will, but it won't be updated and the new version will be posted when it gets posted. Moving on.

Under "cause for celebration," there has now been over 1,100 downloads of my music at I'm not the biggest fan of that website, as it has issues and isn't incredibly artist friendly, and it's a very poor avenue for trying to make tips. As in, if you donate to an artist, that artist won't see any money for six fucking months. And, of course, there's no royalties and no encouragement to support the artists whatsoever aside from a tiny donation button. But apparently it's a fantastic way to get your music spread around, because, yeah... Over one-thousand downloads! I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. One thousand is a pretty big number for a tiny cyber-busker who is also a tiny person. And that's not the only big number in my little career right now. There's been over 2,000 visits to this blog, over 3,000 visits to the Snail Tunes store, over 10,000 visits to the Lady's Google+ page... Yeah, I think I'm getting myself "out there," alright. I can't even conceive of what things will be like when I've been at this for a year, as it's only been a little over three months so far.

So my little inner snail has remained determined thus far. This has reached the point where it feels like a job. I don't always want to do it and I don't always do the things I know I should, when I should. It's not always fun. I didn't even want to be writing this article tonight, but I guess I'm glad I did, as it's allowed me to work out some thoughts and it's gotten me excited about a couple of ideas in the process. So here's to our inner snails, and may they remain resilient and determined, 'cause that's how we get shit done.