To Record or Not to Record…

So, my Father-In-Law was speaking to me last time we saw each other, and said something that has been bouncing around in my noggin since…

“I guess you won’t do any more CD’s, huh?”

“Huh” indeed.

At this point, I’m reading into things I’m sure, but of course my mind started to try and “fill in the blanks” of what he was actually saying with that question…

1) Since he still sees a lot of CDs sitting around, that this venture was a complete financial failure, and so I’d be nutz to keep doing them, since obviously nobody really wants them anyway.

2) Obviously, this whole creative-pursuit-part-time-no-real-job gig isn’t working out, and thus his daughter is having to keep our household afloat, which just isn’t right, so about time I got my round hiney out de doh, and get a real job.

3) If you aren’t making money, you aren’t ever going to be able to get a new vehicle, get a new house, and keep on getting and doing better and better.

4) I hate the whistle. Sell them ALL and use the money to get the aforementioned stuff.

(OK – that last one might be a bit of a stretch…)

And yes, I’m well aware that these are probably more about my insecurity than about what he actually thinks of our situation. But, I wouldn’t discount them entirely – our lives are very, very different from my In-Laws, and I’m sure there are times where Dad kind of scratches his head and mutters to himself.

So, since I’m having this internal debate, the opposing side takes the podium to refute the arguments:

1) True, we have a LOT of CDs around. We’ve sold a small number, but there are a lot left. HOWEVER, there are a lot because we did an initial order of 1000 each time – the cost per CD gets a lot better in that quantity, and since they have the shelf life of Carbon 14, it’s all good.

Oh, and the thing you don’t see is digital distribution – Vicki and I were looking at the online sales, and were pretty amazed at where my songs have sold… iTunes, iTunes Europe, Napster, Amazon, and others. Some were purchases, others were paid listens. The amount we see from each one is tiny, but take a lot of pennies and eventually you have a full piggy bank.

2) You’re right. The whole part-time-creative-pursuit thing is not bringing in much bacon. The ship has a lot of holes, and some days the waves get our legs wet all the way up to the belt buckle. We’re still trying to figure out how this whole thing works, and that takes some serious time. I keep asking Vicki if it’s time for me to get a real job… and she says, “you already HAVE a real job!” So, if the boss says this is what we do, this is what we do. I just need to learn to do it better.

3) This is also true. We’ll probably stay in our 100+ year old money pit, driving our ancient minivan, and not achieve the American dream of more and better. But is that bad?

– we are learning to be better stewards with what we’ve been given, a lesson I’ve been clueless about!
– there are reasons we bought this house, and things about it we love. Now it’s time to learn to make it into the house we want, not just the house we have.
– it takes time for a (almost) 50 year man to learn stuff. Lots and lots of time…

4) I know you hate the whistle. That’s the reason I play it. 😀 (just kidding… really. :-D)

I DO ask that question – do I keep recording CDs? Is it worth the time and money we invest into them? Or do I get rid of it and get a “real” job? In answer, the Lord keeps bringing new ideas for arrangements and songs. So, as Vicki said, “as long as He keeps bringing new ideas, it’s your job to keep recording them.”

And folks ask about the new material, are excited when they hear something new at a gig and find out that song is slated for the new CD, and in general report that they are blessed by the music.

And that’s the point. The financial, the “success,” the business model, all of that is secondary. Does the music glorify God? Does it minister to folks? Do people find it helpful to bring them closer to Him? Does it provide peace in a hectic world? Does it soothe when life can be grinding?

If the answer to any of these is “yes,” then that’s our reason to continue.

We may have enough of these puppies around to build a new addition out of them, but that’s not how we are measuring success. Success is when someone is encouraged, or blessed, or finds peace through what God puts together in the music. That makes it worth it. As long as He keeps giving the ideas, and providing what we need to make them, we’ll keep going.

Oh, and if He tells you something different – that we should stop before we hurt somebody, please pass that along. We are listening. 😀 I’ve always said, if this stuff is crap and really should never be heard again, somebody PLEASE tell me to stop wasting my time and give it up. 😀

So far, that’s not been the word we’ve heard.

One comment

  1. Godseeker says:

    Record! I’ve been a fan for some time.

    By all means, record until the boss–or the Boss–says stop.

    The CDs laying around your house may just be the result of something your blog touched on. More people buy digital singles these days. A full CD is becoming an older model. Keep using the digital sites and maybe look for new ways to market your work and link to it. It really is good music.

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