Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Revolutions Are NOT Safe In Cars

Well, folken, album four is online, in major music stores and on major streaming platforms! Sorry I've taken a few days to get around to writing the article, but a lot of my attention has been on the restructuring of Snail Tunes while promoting the album. This article will share a little bit about the album itself, but I have a feeling it will mostly go into detail about the changes that have been made, particularly at Patreon and The League of Extraordinary Snails.

However, the album is a pretty big thing in itself and is being used as the jumping-off point for a lot of the changes that have come about. It's being used a bit as a point of transition between The Lady anoNYMous, the primarily non-commercial artist, and The Lady anoNYMous, CEO of Snail Tunes. Okay, that latter title is still a bit of a joke. While Snail Tunes is now no longer just the words that I input in the "record label" box when uploading an album to DistroKid, and it's no longer an entirely free store from which I can spread my music, it's still just lil' ol' me. I may have a pretty big personality (that can be attributed to a lot of smaller ones), but Snail Tunes is still a far cry away from being a corporate entity. But it has taken its first steps in being a commercial entity.

One big difference for this album is that it was the first of my commercially-distributed albums to be offered for purchase and download from the Snail Tunes store, marking the end of an era in which everything at Snail Tunes was offered freely. I'm sad to see that end, and I actually hope to have enough support one of these days that will enable me to make it so again. If I can ever afford to offer all of my music freely again (as Amanda Palmer is able to, and even Nate Maingard is able to somehow manage), I will definitely do so. As it is, my anti-capitalist leanings won't let me sit too comfortably with this, and my music will still be free to stream from SoundCloud and YouTube, and I plan on still releasing free compilation albums after my music's made its commercial rounds, which will look a little bit like how this next Phase is going to go: a couple of commercially-distributed teaser-EPs leading up to an album, which will go through the usual promotional circus, before I offer a compilation of what was available on those EPs with some songs from the previous album.

So the next non-commercial compilation album will have songs from Revolutions, as well as songs from two four-track EPs that will have teased whatever the next album will be, and will be released after the next commercial album has finished its promotional rounds. Don't worry, I'm sure this will make more sense when seen put into practice. But right now, I'm getting ahead of myself.

As I mentioned earlier, a big difference for Revolutions is that it's not only offered from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play, but also from the Snail Tunes store, where not only have I been able to undercut all the other stores, but a purchase from which will directly support the artist, and that's gotta totally be worth something, right? Also, the Snail Tunes store is offering complete song previews instead of thirty-second snippets, so you can hear the whole thing before you buy it. Of course, you can do that anyway with the usual free streaming from YouTube and Spotify. And if you have subscriptions to Apple Music, TIDAL, or Microsoft Groove, there's really almost no need to go and purchase albums anymore (unless you really want to support the artist, and have a download safely tucked away for none-streaming purposes), but you're still supporting the artist every time you give a listen. I'm actually slowly warming up to these streaming services as an artist. As a subscriber to Apple Music, I've been pretty fucking thrilled with the service, but now since Apple Music has come online, I've seen a pretty significant increase in streaming revenue. So maybe it's not all streaming services...but fuck yeah, Apple Music has been treating me well as a consumer and a creator!

Now, with a playlist of the album embedded above, there's not any real reason for me to post the track list, except that it makes it slightly easier for me to refer to, and it's tradition at this point. So, without further ado, here's what that track listing looks like:

01. Reticulated
02. Overdrive
03. The Hallows
04. Hell is for Reels
05. Xenophobia
06. They Delving 3.33
07. Passage Through The Veil
08. Sublimate
09. Momentum (Higher Gain Mix)
10. A Good Mourning
11. Obfuscate
12. The Creeps
13. A Different Story
14. Matriculating
15. Revolutions
16. Solace

Really, as an audience, you've probably been exposed to all these songs already. They are, after all, all the songs that were original to the Obfuscate/Sublimate releases, plus some of the tunes from the anniversary releases, and, of course, the songs from the Matriculated teaser EP. What that means is that all of these songs are actually available for free download from the Snail Tunes store as part of other releases, with the exception of those from Matriculated. When assembling this track list, I thought of including more new material as further incentive to buy it, but the only other finished songs I had to include are those that are found on the Artist's Edition, and I didn't want to take away from the value of that version of this album. But be aware: there's three all-new original tunes not seen on this track listing that are included on the Artist's Edition so I could make that version nineteen tracks in length, to go with the theme of that version's release day.

So, the blatant truth (do I offer any other kind) is that if you're interested in getting the most outta your money, you should buy Matriculated rather than this album, and you should go ahead and download Obfuscate, Sublimate, Progress Report - The Anniversary Spin, and Revival. Then you'd have all these songs for the price of that EP, which you can get for $3.56 (if I'm remembering correctly) from Amazon. Yep, that's the link right there. Go for it. Or you could make a pledge on Patreon and get an additional three unreleased songs on the Artist's Edition. Or you could sign up to The League of Extraordinary Snails and get all four commercially-distributed albums (a $20 value from Snail Tunes) for $10.

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that part. See, Revolutions was the first album to be available for purchase from Snail Tunes, but I went ahead and made the other three available from there as well. The pricing mostly reflects how new they are and that, with purchase, you'l be able to download them in a format of your choice, from the crappy standard-quality MP3 that all other stores give you as your only option (you have no idea how much it irks me that they have the nerve to charge for such poor quality) to the best quality audio available, depending on how much data storage you have available for your music library; and you'll also have unlimited access to high-quality streaming of the albums from Bandcamp and the free (with purchase) Bandcamp mobile app. That's why Instrumentality - as an album whose songs are all available for free download already - is being offered for as low as $3. And being as it's my store, selling my music, I'm able to undercut even Amazon - which previously had the lowest price for all my music - and charge only $7 for Revolutions.

But, as part of the restructuring I've been doing around Snail Tunes, and my business plan in general, I'm not offering all four albums when you sign up for The League of Extraordinary Snails! Yes, I've raised the price for The League from $5 to $10, but I feel its worth it with the addition of the commercial albums. And Leaguers will also get the teaser EPs as they're released, as well as any bonus content I come up with. This makes The League almost as good a deal as becoming a Patreon Patron. The main difference between Leaguers and Patrons now is that Patrons will be receiving extended Artist's Editions of not just the albums but of the teaser EPs as well, and will also receive more frequent bonus content. For this, I'm charging Patrons on a per-EP basis, but the albums will be completely free.

Man, after so many headaches of coming up with different ways to explain that to my Patrons, I think I just found the most succinct and understandable way... From now on, if somebody asks, I'll just refer them to the blog. Anyway, to start off on the right foot with my Patrons about the changes happening, I released a new three-track single to them with some all-new material, and to give y'all an example of what I've been up too lately, I'm going to share one of those new songs with you, dear readers.

So that's an example of what Patrons have access to well in advance of everybody else. The other two songs on this single won't be available to the public, or even to Leaguers, until the first EP teasing the next album is released. The release schedule is going to be similar to what I was doing with the Snail Tunes EPs before this commercializing restructuring of things, except now the public EPs will be shorter and will be commercially-distributed, and not available for free download. Patrons will still be seeing seven-track (or thereabouts) EPs leading up to the albums.

Getting back the album at hand...it it a very special album, being as it does mark the one-year anniversary of my putting out music, which is how it got its title, for being a revolution around the sun. Of course, you can take "revolutions" to mean many things, which is also how it's intended. Pretty much all of my titles are meant to have multi-faceted meanings. The cover is intended to connote the kind of destructive revolution that is sometimes necessary for positive change to occur. Hopefully, the changes I'm implementing won't be destructive and will be all-in-all positive. I'm trying to step on as few toes as possible in the commercializing of Snail Tunes and my music. Hopefully, people will find these changes as something to applaud, rather than as cause for detraction.

Anyway, that's really all there is to share at the moment! So far, my energy for Snail Tunes and trying to make a living as an artist has been reinvigorated, and I hope that y'all stick with me and see what comes of all of this!

Your Lady,