October 13

Monetization and Alienation

As I’ve used it before, the phenomenon of monetization of word of mouth refers to the practice whereby Facebook and other social media downgrade artistic media posts, forcing the artist to pay for advertisement in order get exposure for their work. The name “monetization of word of mouth” refers to the fact that Facebook literally […]

October 10

What do Singer-Songwriters Want from Socialism?

I would say I’m more spiritual than religious about socialism. But I was thinking the other day about how many socialist goals are difficult to align directly with things that musicians, and in particular singer-songwriters, want at first glance. For instance the concept of a union doesn’t obviously apply to singer-songwriters who work a bunch […]

October 08

Anti-Asian-American Bias in Indie Music Journalism

The question I initially asked was whether St. Lenox had any competition in terms of critically acclaimed male Asian-American indie music acts in the United States. Hypothetically not a difficult task, since the indie category is so freakin broad as to render it not really a genre. In this case, the requirements are (1) Asian-American […]

September 12

The Karaoke Crasher

I had an idea for playing shows, though it would take some time to carry out. The songs available at karaoke are a vast wilderness of perfectly good instrumentals with great chord progressions ready for songwriting. Given this, it is not difficult to write a new song with new lyrics based off of a karaoke […]

May 23

It is Rational to Play Sofar; It is Irrational to Attend Sofar

Should musicians play a Sofar event? The answer is that they should, if it is rational from an opportunity cost standpoint. For most musicians the answer to that question is probably yes, independent of whatever investment monies Sofar happens to secure. [Note: Investment is neither revenue nor profit]. If your average Sofar musician were to […]

May 17

An Empirical Indicator of the Tightening in Music Coverage?

Album Of the Year is a site that tabulates numbers for records that have been reviewed by a limited set of outlets, much like Metacritic, except they appear not to use a special weighting rubric to adjust the ratings of various outlets (or at least they initially did not) and moreover limit their outlet selection […]

May 11

Economics, Algorithms and Singlehood

There’s an ongoing push in some music circles to declare that the album is either dead or irrelevant, given the preference in consumers to absorb music by individual tracks versus by albums.  The argument, at least as its been trotted out lately, has been something to the effect of, “well, if the consumer absorbs music […]

April 29

Monetization of Word of Mouth

The method for doing business as an independent musician has been shifting quite a bit over the past few years.  I’ve been trying very hard to diagnose the problem, and how to figure out a solution for it, but it’s a very complicated issue.  I think I’ve figured out one of the sources of problems, […]

February 09

DIY, à la Fin de Siècle

The term fin du siècle (or “end of the century”) is, of course, an exaggeration because we are not at the end of the century at all. Nevertheless, it does feel like the end of a DIY era – though, as I will explain at the end of this essay, I would never say that […]

December 21

Towards an Asian-American Music

When I say “towards an Asian-American Music”, you may get the impression that I’m talking about a creative endeavor to create a new musical style or genre that is related in content-specific ways to Asian-American culture or history. That’s a natural reaction given American societal conceptions of music, I suppose. But there’s reason to suspect […]