Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Many of you won't need me to tell you this, but here at Swipe Towers, times are hard. I won't say we're quite in meltdown...*yet*. But let's just say that a couple or three mortgage payments down the line, we may well need to let the home help go; which means yours truly will have to go back to hoovering up those sequins myself (...with my knees....!) I don't want to lard it on here, but here's an indication of the depth of the pickle my auditors are currently attempting to extradite me from:
c.£28.75 (p.c.m.) - tights, plant rings, elasticated hairbands, sundries &c...
£60.00 (p.a.) - Songcast subscription.
£18.00 (per album, p.a) - Songcast hosting fee.
£875.67 (p.c.m.) - mortgage.
£150.00 (p.c.m.) - various pornographic materials (research...)
£250 (p.w.) - beer.
So, as you can see, we may not yet be Mark Knopfler, but we're certainly pretty close to being in dire straits...
But it's no use bemoaning the credit crunch - oh no, we're made of sterner stuff here at S.T.! Less of the 'hello folks and what about the workers' and more of the 'roll yer sleeves up', 'get on your bike, Norman' and 'gizza job!' for us. So, here's the plan. Obviously, the current business strategy (cobbling together ill-conceived albums of poorly performed and recorded pap and noodling around on Myspace all day, pretending to be 'marketing' them whilst actually doing little more than ogling a wide assortment of scantily-clad goth girls who may or may not be splattered in fake blood/wearing judiciously ripped and laddered hosiery...) isn't working. So this is what I propose to do...
Looking at the figures, I can see that my audience is not just incredibly reluctant to loose its grip on those hard earned buckeroonies. As well as being a miserly bunch of tight wads, they're also incredibly canny. The songs that seem to be selling tend, on the whole, to be the ones I'd have expected to (....you know, in tune, vague attempts made at having a melody...that sort of thing...) From this, it's probably safe to conclude that the path to financial security is better served by my coming up with short, snappy, accessible pop songs based around excruciating puns derived from long dead Hollywood screen icons than 8 minute epics eulogising the joys of Duracell-powered robotic sex (although the Japanese market is, as so often, an honourable exception in this regard - thanks lads!)
So far so good. Obviously, I could always follow the received industry wisdom and follow the tried and tested approach taken when previously bankable artists such as U2 or Coldplay fall on hard times and can't shift their pitifully out of touch product to an indifferent audience. But I think my followers are astute enough to see through my hijacking a globally televised event purporting to raise awareness of climate change/famine in Africa/shoeless guttersnipes in Burton-on-Trent etc. in order to publicise my new single (...that said, I'm obviously not ruling out such a drastic measure completely if things get *really* desperate...although I refuse to share a stage with Al Gore or Bob 'Sir Bloody' Geldof under *any* circumstances.)
No, I thought it would be more interesting to try a different tack. After all, why bother trying to second guess my audience as to what they'd be prepared to buy, when I can ask them directly and then tailor what I do to their needs? So, you could tell me what sort of songs you'd be prepared to hear me sing - themes, subjects, titles, styles - whatever. Or you could say, 'I like such and such a song by so & so - could you do one like that Bob?' and so on. Or we could mix and match - someone might, for instance, want a song with a lyric about child slavery in Indonesia, whilst someone else might want a song that sounds like a dance version of 'Where the Streets Have No Name'... the possibilities are pretty much endless. And it could be a lot of fun. This, it seems to me, is the logic of the digital download era; audiences are already shaping the form by their choices and clicking patterns. So why not take that process even further?
Ladies and gentlemen - I give you....the era of the bespoke song!
Sure, it's an experiment, and as with all experiments it's liable to fall flat on its arse - but heck, whether you get the result you expected or not, at least with experiments you usually learn something. So, let me know what you think and what you (and what you think other people) might be prepared to shell out your sponduliks for, and I'll get the 24 track powered up...
L.U.V. on y'all,
p.s. ...oh, yes, and how about a title for it too folks??