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Your Ad Could Be Here

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(Yes, I really should be working. I do have things to do.)

I watched garbage being picked up this morning by a “pup.” A “pup” is a miniature garbage truck, that retrieves trash from mostly residential neighborhoods, and rendezvouses periodically with the big garbage truck, which has only to compact the trash and haul it to the dump. In our town, the “pup” is mostly used where there are steep hills. When I was city manager in Vale (not the rich place in Colorado), we considered buying a “pup” for the city-owned garbage “company.” It saves a bundle on fuel costs. With gas headed for $5 a gallon (and diesel probably higher), I expect to see the “pup” used even more.

Is there a lesson in this? For music, specifically? Of course. I wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise.

Rising fuel prices—especially in an already-collapsed economy—are going to put a damper on people attending concerts, especially ones that are far away. It already costs 25% to 100% more, depending on your vehicle, to drive to Portland (90 miles) than it does to take our little tax-supported bus service (which, be it noted, does not go to Portland at night). So people will still go to Portland for shopping, et al.—but nighttime concerts? Probably not. (Tickets cost too much, anyway.)

That’s an opportunity—mentioned before—for independent musicians. We can play concerts locally, and people can and will come; I’ve seen it. So, more concerts. Definitely. (I don’t have much lined up for Concert Season yet.)

The dark side, of course, is your band can’t afford to travel much, either. 30-plus years ago, the Dodson Drifters would pack up the band, instruments, and PA system in my big old gas-guzzling Travelall, and travel two hours to do a concert. But gas was 25 cents a gallon. Today, it’s 15 times that (and headed for 20)—but working bands are being paid the same as they were 30 years ago. “Deathgrass” aren’t being paid even that much, because we’re not well enough known (yet). And I’ve commented before that the band doesn’t travel well, because most of them have real jobs. (Of course, they would travel if they were offered enough money—but how does one get to that point?)

PODCAST, maybe? Being a technological dinosaur, I don’t know much about how it works. I do have an idea what I’d like to use it for.

What if we did a concert and “streamed it live”? I think I know a DJ who could do that; I don’t know if we’d have to do it at his place (small studio), or whether it could be beamed or streamed from a larger hall. And could one do video as well as audio? Of course, you’re not making any money from all those people listening (and maybe watching) on computer screens out there “on the Interwebs”—at least not yet—but you are reaching a much wider audience, one you could maybe never reach in person. (Hey, I even know some folks in Europe, Asia and Australia. And I bet they have friends.) One might be able to sell ‘em a record or two. And whoever did the streaming would be reaching a wider audience, too. (I wonder what they could sell?)

And if one could do it on a consistent basis, one could showcase a lot of new talent. “Live from the Bay City Arts Center! It’s…” The lesson? (Always there are lessons.) I think it’s that there are wider consequences for everything you do. Take advantage of them instead of doing something that’ll close them off.

I’ve been asked to do a contest promotional piece for a music publisher I know—for pay, even (yay). And I’m told if play practice goes well Wednesday night, the cast will be given Thursday off. I could go play music…



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