Distribution of Gymshoes music to online stores will end in March

After much thought and discussion, I’ve decided to end distribution of my music through Tunecore next month (March). I hope to make the music available again through some source, eventually, in the future, but what form that distribution will be and when Gymshoes music will be available again is at this point unknown. I’m considering Patreon to help support my work as an author, and — if I, indeed, do this — my music could possibly be rolled into one of the rewards levels there, though probably not the lowest entry level since people would be joining for my words, not my music. At this time my music is still available from Amazon Music or iTunes. If you’ve been meaning to buy it, but haven’t — and you don’t want to wait to see if (or when) it becomes available elsewhere — then now’s the time to get it from those vendors.

You may be wondering why I’m ending my relationship with Tunecore. I have no particular problem with them, but at this point they are not a good fit for my business. I’m not making new music and while I wouldn’t absolutely rule it out, I don’t have any plans to pursue it any further. Writing is taking up all my time now and it’s even more labor intensive than creating music is. So, you ask, why not just leave the music out there? Because as an indie artist I have to pay a lot of money just to keep the music in stores. Over the years sales have dropped to the vanishing point, and the distribution fees which were reasonable when I joined Tunecore at the beginning have increased as my sales have slowed to a stop. In short, it’s sucking me dry. The only reason I’m not turning a profit on my combined creative endeavors is because I’m losing huge amounts of money for distribution of albums which are no longer selling. “Selling” is a key word. I do get some money from streaming services, but that is, literally, pennies — not dollars. The streaming model of music services pay artists considerably less than selling the music does. So I’m being paid less money, less often (because as it gets older my music is less in demand) and yet I have to pay hundreds of dollars to keep that music available through various online vendors. The math has been hellishly bad for years now, but I’ve been reluctant to pull the plug. What’s changed? It’s just harder and harder every year to afford to take the hit of hundreds of dollars for just pennies in return. I just can’t do it anymore. I need to bring in more money, not less.

Which is why I’m considering doing Patreon. I’m currently checking it out as a Patron, and if I think it’ll be a good fit for me as an author, then I may set that up later this year. A lot of authors I know and admire use Patreon to supplement their income and support them while they work on long projects. But even if I do Patreon, I can’t say at this point whether Gymshoes music will part of that or when albums or tracks will be available. I’m still looking into things. If I don’t do Patreon, or if Gymshoes music isn’t a good fit for an author profile there, then I’ll look into other distribution options. But I cannot at this point guarantee the future availability of Gymshoes Music.

I appreciate all the support Gymshoes fans have given me over the years, but if Gymshoes music is to continue to be available for any future fans, I need a business model which will not cost me hundreds of dollars a year in distribution fees, for a return of only pocket change. I will post again on my Gymshoes Music site when I’ve made a decision about any possible future availability of the music. You’ve got a couple of weeks to get it from Amazon Music or iTunes before it goes away for an indefinite period of time.

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Halloween Soundscape Album: Eerie Ambient Music

Halloween Soundscape

Halloween Soundscape

Have you picked up Halloween Soundscape yet? It’s available all year ’round, but this is the season for it! (Oddly enough I often have a spike in sales in January, too. Perhaps evocative music for bleak winter days.) It’s good music not only for creeping out trick-or-treaters, but also for reading your favorite scary stories. The tracks were inspired by various classic stories. Check out the liner notes for background on each story. This isn’t some cheesy sound effect album, but long ambient music tracks. Since price is usually based on number of tracks, and these tracks are long, this album is a good deal.

It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other online stores.

The “season” for Halloween Soundscape is short so I appreciate you sharing links for the album, and writing reviews. This album’s success is largely dependent on word-of-mouth and social network sharing. I love seeing those shares on social networks! It makes things so much easier for me ’cause I’m not as comfortable flogging my albums and books as I need to be in the plugged in world. Thank you for your support— and enjoy the album!

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Media Player Changes

Tunecore has discontinued their music player, so full songs will no longer be available in the sidebar of any of my websites. I’m sorry. This was the best way to “try before you buy” because the pieces are often long and small clips don’t always give the listener a good view of the whole. Can you stream the music via music services? Yes, on some of them, but please bear in mind when you stream songs by Gymshoes that I receive only a few cents (maximum) when you do. Streaming services are not kind to artists; they’re designed primarily to provide revenue for the company, not the artist. Musicians provide lots of quality content for streaming services…and get pennies for streaming. If you want to support artists you love, buy the music. Again, I’m sorry for the loss of the sidebar media player, but that — like how much/little I’m paid for the music — is not something I have control over.

Music for #Halloween

Halloween Soundscape

Halloween Soundscape

As Halloween draws near and you’re reading spooky stories, decorating, and preparing to unsettle unwary trick-or-treaters, grab some eerie ambient Halloween Soundscape tracks to set the mood. I’ve piped it outside on Halloween night (gave the trick or treaters goosebumps), played it in the background inside, curled up reading a scary book while listening to Halloween Soundscape. It’s an evocative Halloween soundtrack for whatever your plans are. Track length makes Halloween Soundscape a bargain: the tracks are long, but album price is set based on the number of tracks, not the length of the album, so it’s a steal. 🙂

Try Before You Buy: You can stream the full Halloween Soundscape album in the sidebar. Read the liner notes as you listen. It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other online stores.

A few years ago I used “The Monster Lives” in a video. This is one of the more subdued tracks on this spooky ambient album. Though the original inspiration for “The Monster Lives” was Frankenstein’s monster, the music works well for “sea monsters”, too!

Put on the headphones, turn out the lights and enjoy! 😀

The “season” for Halloween Soundscape is short so I appreciate you sharing links for the album, and writing reviews. This album’s success is largely dependent on word-of-mouth and social network sharing. I love seeing those shares on social networks! It makes things so much easier for me ’cause I’m not as comfortable flogging my albums and books as I need to be in the plugged in world. Virtual hugs for all those shares! 😀

The Post-Katrina Epoch

The first thing I saw this morning were images of flooding in Japan: water sweeping away everything in its path, people being rescued from rooftops. Coming so soon after the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it nudged me to write a little something here. I hadn’t planned on noting the anniversary of Katrina on any blog post because ten years on it still feels too tragic to write about and the media coverage of the anniversary felt a bit like opening an old wound. Katrina was bad. When we evacuated for Hurricane Rita not too long after Katrina, we stayed in a hotel with Katrina evacuees. I got a first-hand look at the face of Katrina. They had food, water, their dogs, a place to stay, and each other. They had no idea when they’d go home or, in some cases, if there was a home to go back to. Have you ever lived in a refugee camp and watched as a pickup truck offloaded supplies to refugees? How many people have you met who have lost everything and just barely escaped with their lives? For most people Hurricane Katrina is a historical event, something that happened on the Gulf Coast, far away from their own lives. For other people Katrina is a political event, with lots of finger pointing, fingers that are ticking off the ways the system failed. For some Katrina is a media event; the subject of documentaries and news stories, the source of dramatic footage and photos. For the people of New Orleans and surrounding areas Hurricane Katrina was a life-altering event, and for some a life-taking event. The survivors, whether they returned to New Orleans or not, are living in a Post-Katrina epoch. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who survived it whose life didn’t have an altered trajectory as a result of that hurricane. Phrases like “picking up the pieces” and “rebuilding” are weak words that cannot even begin to convey the reality of the Post-Katrina era to those people who lost everything.

I was born and raised on the Texas Gulf Coast. I’ve been aware of hurricanes my whole life. I’ve ridden out storms, I’ve evacuated ahead of storms, I’ve been hip-deep in debris cleaning up after such storms. But I do not know what it’s like to be a Katrina survivor. Not even after having met some survivors when we evacuated ahead of Rita. Katrina isn’t just a hurricane or a bit of history; it’s a community of people. Real live human beings like your neighbors, like you. Let’s never lose sight of that.

Be kind to strangers. You don’t know what they may have been through just to be standing beside you.

I have a small album of music dedicated to the survivors and rescuers of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Proceeds go to the Red Cross, who are so often first on the scene of tragedies of all kinds. You can read my liner notes here: A Tropical Depression. You can get the album from iTunes, Amazon and other online stores.

I’m in the Top 10! Wheee!!

My birthday was this past Sunday and I got a special present: an email from Reverbnation telling me I hit their Top 10 list! Woo-hoo! 😀 I just had to share the joy with my fans here because YOU made it possible! I am nothing without you. I really appreciate your support: buying my music and telling your friends. I haven’t seen the hard stats yet, but I figure that it’s sales of my seasonal album, Halloween Soundscape,  that’s driving the numbers. I always get a “bump” in sales in the fall because the eerie ambient music fits well with dark rainy days, reading scary books (it was largely inspired by assorted bits of fiction), and of course plans for Halloween. I’ve piped it out on the porch to add an unsettling atmosphere for trick-or-treaters. It’s not a bad fit for setting the atmosphere of a Halloween reading, or party (depending on what kind of atmosphere you’re going for). It’s not some cheesy sound effects album (though it does have a sonic landscape the will raise goosebumps). Turn out the lights and listen on headphones for the best effect. 😉

It’s very different from my bouncier more sunny tunes and if you want some happy music to bop around to, most of my other albums are uptempo. Surprise me again and pick up some my “poppier” tracks this fall, too. After Halloween Soundscape, you’ll something to take you through to the spring! 🙂

Tell your friends and let’s keep this Top 10 thing going for a while!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (She says, bouncing, dancing, and laughing!)

Free: Summer Thunder

A sudden thunderstorm rolled over the house today. I love those coastal weather patterns which bring summer showers. I grabbed my field recorder and raced out to capture some thunder! I got soaking wet before I was was done, but with a little editing (after drying off) I was able to add a brand new track to the Rainmaker project on the Download page. So cool, it’s hot…or maybe so hot it’s cool. End your personal drought with some free rain! 😀

(I also reuploaded the other Rainmaker tracks because I have revised the track list running order.)