the price of everything, and the value of nothing



Most of my back catalogue can be found on BANDCAMP (link opens in new window). They give artists a very good deal and have more file options than CD BABY, but I can't sell any cover versions through them (which is a bit of a pain). They are ideal for anyone from the UK buying a physical album because it comes direct from me and not the US.

Of course, my back catalogue can just as easily be found on emusic, iTunes, Amazon etc if you're that way inclined. However, it's worth pointing out that CD Baby and Bandcamp offer a better service at a cheaper price, with the artist benefitting more too. Think of them as the Fairtrade options of the music world!


One of those questions I occasionally get asked is: how much did your last album cost to make? Up until now I've tended to laugh mournfully, knowingly or hysterically, depending on the weather and whether or not my hand had a drink in it.

The truth is, I have never recorded things to make a profit, and I'm sure I'm not alone there. I do it because I love trying to create art that moves, puzzles and inspires people, not least myself after the event when the whole process dissolves into unreliable memory and manuscript scribbles.

However, that doesn't stop it costing money to record and distribute. In particular, paying to hire: a suitable grand piano, professional session musicians (a very big chunk of the total), my recording engineer Andy (a good friend, but it happens to be his line of work) and a mastering engineer to polish everything off. And then of course there are all the promotional aspects that follow.



In this era of free downloads here, there and everywhere, I think the Radiohead example of asking people to pay what they think the songs are worth has a great deal of merit. But then Radiohead have a strong and loyal fan base of many years: they could do that with confidence whilst producing deluxe physical copies for the terminally ardent (and in due course release a 'normal' version in the 'normal' way). All credit to them though: they didn't have to do what they did.

So what are the thousands of aspiring artists to do in this crowded digital music world? There is no perfect solution. I, like most others, will continue to make albums and EPs available to download from regular sites like emusic, iTunes and the like, because many people do prefer to buy from stores they regularly frequent. (However, as I say at the top of this page, Bandcamp and CD Baby offer a better deal to both customer and artist, and they are very user-friendly.)

I will also aim to carry on making physical copies of albums available if at all possible; some will always prefer the work of art in their hands, the ability to read the lyrics and info away from a backlit computer screen. There is also superior sound quality to MP3s, though Bandcamp do offer lossless files (unlike most other online stores).

But for those who would prefer to download free tracks from my Soundcloud page, listen online or simply watch my videos on Youtube, you now have the option of donating an amount of your choice using the Paypal Donate button on the front page of this site. That is, if you decide - in time - that what I'm doing is worth your support. Sometimes music can be an instant hit to the bloodstream, sometimes it can take months or years to sink in. I understand that.



Ultimately, I'm appealing to your sense of fair play and, dare I say it, your conscience. My copyright doesn't really matter to me unless you're trying to copy something I've made to sell yourself. (You want to cover something? Cool. Get in touch via the contact page. I'll probably just say 'go ahead as long as you credit me'.)

If you decide you love what I do but truly can't afford to give me anything, that's fine; enjoy it. If you decide it's competent, but not really your bag, that's fine too. It's a copy of a digital file, not theft.

What REALLY matters is that you have an honest relationship with artists you encounter online. If something we create enriches your life, and you recognise that it has, give us something back by way of acknowledgement and support for our future work, even if the amount seems trifling. This digital busker is never going to ask why you only gave him a pound or a dollar. The Paypal donate button is on this website's front page.

And yes, if you like my stuff, go share it around: with your friends at home and abroad, that favourite aunt you don't see often enough, the object of your affection who doesn't know it yet, the postman, the next door neighbour's cat...

Be enthusiastic.

Be engaged.

Be honest.