Everyone could use a little more love, though especially Bostonians this week. So I wrote down some thoughts.

According to Google:

Love is “An intense feeling of deep affection.”

To love is to “Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).”

Love is often boxed in, laid out with a specific set of rules and regulations, so that YOU WILL KNOW THEY LOVE YOU IF THEY DO THESE 5 THINGS (or 22 apparently). It’s segmented into actions and looks and words that ultimately prove nothing. Everybody expresses and experiences their feelings uniquely, and love is no different.

I spent a good part of my late high school and early college years trying to dissect love. I read stories, studies, and opinions on the subject – even tried experiencing it myself – and it always seemed to elude me. I think I’m starting to realize why.

I’m an extremely analytical person, sometimes to a fault. I research a subject, come up with a strategy, implement it, and analyze data. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t. Analyze. Love. You can’t make a points system with a checklist that will magically tell you when you know someone’s in love with you, or vice versa. One point for calling you back, 3 for flowers, 5 for remembering your favorite animal is the blue-footed booby. Of course, saying I love you would have to automatically reach the allotted number of points, but you’d have to deduct for unloving behaviors such as lying, forgetting your birthday, and not arguing fairly…

And then you’re this

Not only would that be exhausting, but it would be fruitless. Our perception is our reality – everyone feels and expresses their love differently. “Real love” is only definable by the individual experiencing it. The only distinction I’m willing to make is the love that encourages growth to both persons and the love that discourages it.

Love is not always patient, it is not always kind, and it certainly can show jealousy. The difference between Encouraging and Discouraging Love is that, with encouraging love, these instances are outweighed by times of patience, kindness, and understanding. When there is a fault in an Encouraging lover’s actions, the lover recognizes the pain they’ve caused and wishes desperately to remedy the situation. As my mother says, “it’s not hard to be kind to the one you love.” Love is one feeling of MANY that a person has in any given moment, it is not a trump card. Every feeling that contributes to a person’s decisions can be diluted or intensified by the other emotions. Love can be healthy with confidence and happiness, and it can be consuming and harmful with fear and anger.

“Love at first sight” may occur for certain people. Those who experience strong attraction as love may experience that feeling daily, while they’ll only consider it such if that love continues after conversing with and getting to know the person it is directed towards.
Let’s talk about “love at first sight.” When you say you love someone at first sight, it implies that the only tangible reality you have to go off of are their looks and the way they carry themselves. Everything else is your perception of who they could be based off of what little you know (and in this case, what you want them to be.)

Or maybe it’s just hormones

It is my belief and observation that those who claim to have experienced “love at first sight” are the ones who are willing to believe that the perception they have is actually reality. Maybe this person just happens to be very close to their first impression, or maybe they are so devoted to that perception that they can look past the discrepancies. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never experienced love at first sight.

That’s not to say that this love is “less real” than other types. Whenever I see “Real Love” in media, the implication is that it is everlasting and that if, one day, you no longer feel it, it never existed in the first place. A better definition is that you can feel love how you want and there is every possibility that those feelings will change. From moment to moment, neither you nor the person you love is the same, so how can your feelings permanently remain the same? In fact, even someone in love feels differently from day to day or hour to hour or moment to moment. That’s why it’s so much work and so imperfect. There is no control for love. There are no rules. There are individuals and basic societal guidelines that may work better for the majority of people, but could be catastrophic for others.

I am no expert on love…I haven’t done or felt it long enough to know everything about even my own experiences with it, but I have observed and analyzed and read other people’s observations and analyses. For me, love is admiration without idealization, it is compassion without pity, it is awareness that you are closer to someone than most (any) people ever will be, but that you will never know everything that person feels or thinks or does, and that’s okay.

Love is not perfect, but how could it be when neither lover is?

It’s late and I can’t sleep or really think logically, but I felt like I needed to say this.

Today was supposed to be a day of celebration and victory – the Boston Marathon is so close to the residents of Boston, whether they’re locals or college students, and it takes a special kind of fucked up to destroy it so thoroughly.

But there is so much good that we have to remember. Cry if you need to, for everyone affected, but try to remember that if you’re alive, then you have to try to take advantage of every moment. There is an abundance of blood donations, over 1200 people offering up places to stay, and of course the police, coast guard, and all the others who are protecting us, to remind us that terrorism will always fail to tear us apart. Let’s show them it will only bring us closer together.

I started running again very recently, and I intend on running tomorrow, and the next day, and every day I can for those who can’t.

This is for the city I love, which I will sadly be leaving very soon. Be safe.

Dear Spotify,

Lemme just get this out of the way right now so we can move on to what needs to be said: I love you. So very, very much. It’s a big step, I know, but hear me out.

A little less than two years ago I was stuck using iTunes, a service that I once used with amazement, but which was proving to have more and more pitfalls daily. Then I heard a rumor about a revolutionary start-up in Sweden – one that discarded the need to store mp3s and transfer them from device to device (which has caused me to lose not only my iTunes playlists, but entire chunks of my previous library,) and instead let them live in the cloud, jumping, nay sashaying, from laptop to iPhone to desktop with grace.

As you can imagine, my excitement could barely be contained when I heard they were planning to release in the U.S. in just a few months. My high expectations were well met. I was tempted into the free month of premium and was immediately hooked, taking Spotify with me wherever I went. iTunes is now as outdated to me as MySpace.

Me. Except I have contacts because I’m not hipster enough for glasses.

Now that my adoration has been establish, know that perfection is an elusive little shit, so there are a few things I’d like to request.

1. Automatically Updating Artist Playlists

I love the fact that I can make playlists that include anything I want. I also love that I can search any artist and find the entire catalog that’s currently on Spotify. You know what would be even better? Combining the two so that I can have a separate section of playlists that are for artists – playlists that automatically update when that artist releases a new song or album.

You got closer when you added the ability to “subscribe” to an artist…but it’s not quite enough to be notified of the artist’s activity, I want their songs to be in my library the day they’re released.

2. More Features in The Artist Profile

Discovering music is one of my favorite aspects of Spotify, whether that be through the radio or searching for a band whose catalog I really want to delve into. Being of the generation that demands immediate access to ALL of the knowledge, however, it irrationally irks me when I have to use multiple sources to learn about these bands. (I’m not proud of it, but that’s the world we live in. Or so I’ve heard)

So please please please provide a little more in depth bio/profile for each musician. Even just a link to their website or social media would satisfy my need to Google one less thing.

3. Start The Radio On The Selected Song

Spotify’s radio is like Pandora in that it never plays the song that it’s based off of first. I understand why Pandora has this inconvenient feature – they have a non-interactive license, so the listener can’t actually choose the songs they listen to. Spotify, however, is based on the very fact that the user CAN choose what to listen to, so I see no reason why the feature remains. Maybe there is a legitimate reason that I don’t see, but until someone proves to me it’s not possible, I will continue to preach from my soap box. Slash blog.

4. Etc.

  • Sort Playlists (alphabetically, by genre, most obscure indie name, etc)
  • Remove the requirement to choose whether I want to search a song, track, or album on mobile version. Sometimes I just don’t know.
  • Starting from a web browser, don’t ask for my login information if the application is already open. It confuses me.

All that being said, I believe in what you’re doing, forget the haters.


Fall in love for yourself: Download Spotify

Some Spotify news and opinion articles:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/11/clearing-up-spotify-payment-confusion.html

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/03/spotify-eyes-video-streaming-unveils-first-ever-major-ad-campaign.html (please do this)

http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/12/spotify-6-million-paid-users/

I’m surrounded by musicians all day, every day. I see their struggles, I know their work habits, I understand their passions and beliefs. And we really need to clear some things up…

It’s not easy surviving as a musician. It never has been, it never will be. Most musicians have been told this their whole lives, but instead of accepting that it’s inherent in the career, they tend to look outside the lifestyle and toward those that listen to, sell, or provide services for music and musicians.

1. Record Labels Are Evil, Greedy Bastards

This is the most commonly spouted belief, and it makes sense why. The labels take a massive percentage of sales, leaving you with little. Not only that, but they have screwed over thousands of hopeful artists!

The Realistic View:

Record labels (generally) aren’t non-profit organizations. They need money to stay afloat. To make money, they need highly marketable artists with huge sales profits. Unfortunately, most of the artists they pick up are NOT cash cows, so the ones who are end up making up for the less successful investments.

Reevaluate:

Think of it as a loan. The record label gives you money to make a record, go on tour, etc. which YOU have to earn back. They aren’t there to hand you free money. You’re an investment. Remember that.

2. Pirating Caused The Industry To Collapse (and must be stopped)

That damn Napster had to start the whole file sharing craze and cause no one to ever want to pay for music again. Anyone who downloads music illegally should be fined thousands of dollars to stand as an example to the others.

Slowpoke: enemy of musicians everywhere

The Realistic View:

This is a huge, tangled ball of finger-pointing, advancing technology, human nature, and old-fashioned beliefs that is really impossible to fully evaluate in a short, 4-point blog post. Pirating isn’t the insanely horrible act that (most) everyone in the industry makes it out to be.

I understand that it seems to have led to a steep decline in CD sales (although, for the record, that is highly debated and there are many other reasons that contributed to the decline,) but the fact of the matter is it comes with the territory. People want accessibility. That’s obvious by how technology is always moving toward ease of use, instant connection with anyone all over the world, and access to information. Facebook, Google, Spotify, they all have different services, but they provide one thing that people want – access.

Reevaluate:

Use (most) people’s natural inclination to pirate (because it’s easier) to your advantage. Find ways to extract valuable information, such as an email address, whenever someone downloads your song (on your site, for free) or make it easy to pay for your music. Downloads for donations are a great way to do this. As Amanda Palmer recently brought to media attention, it’s better to “let” fans pay you than to ask them to pay you. Spotify is another great example, because all it takes is one time to sign up and there are millions of songs at the user’s fingertips. Speaking of Spotify…

3. Spotify (or Pandora, iTunes, etc…) Is The Enemy

A newer cliche, this rant came about when the Internet started to find ways to monetize the digital music revolution. Similar to the record label argument, it claims that Internet streaming and MP3 download companies hog all the profits and only pay artists a pittance for their work. You may see where this is going…

The Realistic View:

Spotify is NOT a bottomless pit of money. In fact, right now they are struggling to find a way to turn a profit and stay afloat (although the situation is constantly improving. Perhaps more on that later.) If we focus on Spotify, we can look at how insanely difficult it is to get labels (and their repertoire) on board for a “fair” royalty rate, which leads to a struggle to get advertisement revenue, which means a smaller amount of money to pay labels, which leads to fewer songs…it’s a pretty vicious cycle.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, each play may earn a VERY small amount of money, but artists do get paid for EACH PLAY. If your songs merit many listens, eventually it will add up.

Reevaluate:

The vicious cycle I brought up earlier can easily be reversed. It just takes a little bit of faith and cooperation from labels. If labels trust Spotify and their ability to attract users and advertisement, then Spotify will have a larger collection to work with, which will lead to more people being interested in the service, which will lead to more advertising revenue (and paid subscribers,) which will lead to more label confidence, more songs, more listeners, etc. It can be reversed, and I believe we’re slowly coming around to the right track.

You, the artist, need to focus on using Spotify as a fantastic marketing tool, and get those listens up as much as possible. Do you put your music on Bandcamp or Soundcloud? Spotify is free for possible fans, and it will automatically pay you. Bandcamp and Soundcloud won’t. There is a small fee for getting your songs up there, but with a big enough fan base, it can easily be worth it.

4. I Create Music, I Deserve Compensation

Musicians say that they should be paid because they make music. They spent time and creative energy to put out a piece of work and now they deserve their reward, dammit! People don’t steal coffee right? Why is it ok to steal music?

Let’s really think about this for a minute

The Realistic View:

That statement is unrealistic. Yes, you put time and effort into your music. Yes, it’s shitty when you don’t get paid for all of that effort. But listen, it’s not about how much work you put in – It’s about supply and demand. If people don’t feel that your music is worth paying for, sorry, it’s not. As for the coffee thing…coffee is a tangible object, it is far more difficult to steal a cup of coffee from Starbucks than it is to download a file. It’s apples and oranges really.

Reevaluate:

Again, it’s all supply and demand. Give the fans a reason to pay you for your time – use human nature to your advantage. After the very base needs and safety, humans crave love and belonging. They want to feel like they are part of something and it’s your job to inspire those feelings. Music, at it’s core, isn’t a product for a base need like food or shelter. It is there because we need more than that. It elicits feelings of every kind – joy, sorrow, anger, frustration, understanding, remorse – and YOU are the ones that create it. The fans want you to know how your songs make them feel…but more importantly, they want you to live up to those feelings. To understand them like the songs do.

Make them feel understood and they will give you their last dollar without question.


Musicians do wonderful  and inspiring work. Music has led me through every chapter of my life and will be with me until the day I die. But the fact that you are part of that mystical community that creates art, doesn’t mean that you are exempt from the economy. There is a business behind music and, as much as it may pain your artistic nature, you’re going to have to deal with it if you want to make this your life’s work. Otherwise, maybe it’s better as a hobby.

I’m a month in to my last semester of college and all of my classes are beginning to feel more and more a hindrance to real life…Namely startup work, networking, job applications, and, most recently, graphic design.

Computer Meme

Me. 24/7.

I’ve found throughout college that, while classes can be useful, many of them condense knowledge that can be found with some creative Googling. I may be more proactive than some, but I’d still like to think I shouldn’t already know what I’m being forced to learn before I take the class. Therefore, life has become a waiting game. Waiting to to get out of class, waiting for positions to open up, waiting to hear back from the positions I’ve already applied for (the ones I found in between all the companies looking for programmers,) and waiting for the day when I don’t have that stressful but comforting title of “student” to fall back on.

Of course, waiting is a bit of a misnomer…

One Does Not Simply Meme

I’ve hardly had any time to myself since the beginning of the semester and everything I do is to try to actively gain experience, knowledge, and credibility. It’s fantastic, but there’s still an underlying feeling of it all just having to wait – and that when the wait is over, I still won’t be good enough.

Even so, I’m being patient – proactive but patient. Currently I have no idea where I’ll be living in the summer or the fall, but there are ideas floating around and opportunities to be grabbed. They create a template that I can work with and a plan to be looked at from all angles. If A happens, then my path is B. Fill in the blank. Planning for a few different options makes it easier to accept what I don’t know, which is so difficult for the human mind. For now though, it all comes down to waiting.

 

I should have been a computer programmer.

Band of The Week: Mojo Kick

Genre: Blues Rock, Grunge Rock, Punk Blues

Listen If You Like: Jack White, The Black keys, Crash Kings
 
 
 
 
 
 

You may (or maybe not) remember from when I first started blogging that I love going to shows. If I can find a good show for every night of the week, it’s been a fucking fantastic week. There was a blizzard (snowpocalypse? yay sensationalism) this past weekend and the worst part wasn’t that every place to get food was closed or that I could barely walk anywhere, it was that the shows I was excited for were canceled.

Pictured: not me

That being said, there are so many shows each week that I have to pick and choose. And I’ve noticed some patterns in the shows that get the shaft. So here are some reasons I won’t be going to your band’s next show:

1. You Had A Show A Week Ago

And have one next week too. Even if I haven’t been to any of your shows, I’m more likely to see the band who plays, at MOST, every two weeks than someone I know I can just wait to see next week.

If I have seen your show, playing so often provides no distinction between each performance. It’s better to play a show, then take the time to develop your songs, performance, or stage presence, and THEN play a show. That way it feels completely new and interesting and I’ll actually be interested to see what you have planned for next time.

2. I Have No Idea What You Sound Like

This baffles me. Fans don’t become fans by finding you on Facebook and waiting until they can go to a show to hear your music. Fans are formed with the least effort (for them) possible. Put up at least one song before you start playing out – unless you’re playing open mic nights where there’s a guaranteed audience.

3. It’s In Another State

Facebook has ways to sort your friends for a reason. If I’m in Boston and your show is in Rhode Island, there’s no way I’ll be coming…just don’t even invite me. I’ll get all excited for it and then realize it’s definitely not walking distance. If you want to offer me a ride and place to stay, that’s a different story…I’m always down for a good adventure 😉

4. You’re strategy consists of PLEASE PLEASE COME TO OUR AWESOME SHOW WE’LL LOVE YOU FOREVER!

You cannot annoy me into attending your show. And for the love of god, don’t send me a personal message unless we are close enough that we’ve shared a fork.

 

Now here are some tips from my favorite Internet places:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/11/how-do-bands-promote-custom-tabs-on-facebook.html

http://howtorunaband.com/10-ideas-to-promote-a-show-in-a-different-city/

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/10/how-to-promote-a-show-you-may-not-like-what-youre-about-to-read.html

http://schiffblog.com/2012/03/18/the-aar-cycle/