You gotta love our independent, vibrant music scene. Follow any number of local groups of any genre, and you'll see self-promotion, rigorous social media presences and, most difficult of all, self-publishing of their own albums.
The clever acoustic rockers of The Yawpers, the creative cats in SunSquabi and the esteemed Elephant Revival aside, most bands around here don't rely on a label to help them produce music. These days, that help comes from the artists' loyal fan bases here and around the country.
ArtistShare, TuneFund, Kickstarter and Pledge Music are just a few of the online platforms that now allow fans to invest in an album project on the front end and be rewarded once the album is complete.
Start-up costs are a hurdle for most businesses, but a good band has already built a lot of credit with fans of their music. As long as the expenses and goals are detailed in the campaigns and everything is above board, our area has seen fans chipping in at an impressive rate.
Two local albums were funded just recently, with the campaigns raising a combined total of $55,337.
You read that correctly. That's an amazing amount for just two bands, and sincere congratulations should go to 2017 Rockygrass band competition winners Meadow Mountain and perennial alt/'grass/country crooners The Drunken Hearts for the achievement.
As I've been explaining the last couple of weeks in this "audiophile basics" series, great-sounding music starts in the recording process.
In order to preserve musical dynamics, wide frequency range and the 3-D "depth of field" of great recordings, the right people with the right ears and the right gear need to be involved in capturing the music, and care needs to be applied at every stage.
Seasoned, well-trained engineers are sensitive to the dangers of using too many mics or not keeping an eye on relative and absolute phase relationships, as an example of one among many subtle but important factors. Because they do this, they consistently produce excellent results.
And because of that, the good ones charge a pretty penny. For a band to get a really great recording, they must raise a healthy amount of money, and getting the actual music to be perfect costs even more, as extra time is what is needed most in that case.
So there's a freedom a band receives when they're financially backed by an audience of believers. Being able to breathe freely knowing they have room to try to be their best is an amazing gift we can bestow on our favorite artists. As a fan of original independent music, I want to say thanks to any of you who jumped on these campaigns and pushed them along.
I recently wrote about the Jaden Carlson Band's ongoing Pledge Music campaign, and this week, Jaden's electronic side project Synthlordz released a debut album called "Outlander"(via Spotify, iTunes, et al.) that is a real sonic treat and far from the funky sound of her normal group. Fans of local music should check out both.
In the next of the audiophile basics series, we will examine turntables, CD players and streamers. Stay tuned.