Calling It Quits (Kinda)

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Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby keener » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:19 pm

This morning, Richard Smith posted a link on his Facebook page that shows some stats regarding how little musicians are making off of CDs and online sales: ... rn-online/

This came on the heels of my reflecting over the past couple of days on the possibility that I've been uploading too many videos, potentially contributing to the "music should be free" madness (entitlement thinking) that seems so prevalent these days. I now have 83 videos on YouTube. I never expected to have so many, and still find it hard to believe I've done that many. While I am certainly not a pro, I am good enough that an aspiring picker might be inclined to download my free videos to "learn from" instead of getting good quality material from real guitar teachers (John Knowles, John McClellan, Craig Dobbins, and so on). I don't want that to happen. As I've mentioned before, I've uploaded videos so my music wouldn't die with me ... I have nobody to play for otherwise.

Anyway, the article Richard linked to also came on the heels of my reading of another article on "free stuff:"

This is a long article, and it took me a couple of days to slog my way through it, reading a little at a time. It talks in broader terms about the problems with "free" and even gets into talking about some Really Huge problems that are likely to follow. Example: 3D printers will (in 20 years or so) cost 10's of millions of jobs and totally change the global distribution networks, because, if you want a frisbee, you just use your 3D printer to make one, instead of buying one (by then, the printers will be so sophisticated you can make much of what you want). The article also talks about the disappearance of the middle class. Like I say, I found it to be sluggish reading, but some of you may want to work your way through it.

The "confluence" of all of this has led me to the following: I do not presently plan to do any more uploads, but, knowing that I probably will do one at some point, I commit to not uploading unless I also take down one of the existing videos. I really should go through the videos and do some pruning, anyway, but I am inclined at this point to just do pruning a little at a time.

Obviously, this is not going to make any difference for musicians who are struggling to make ends meet, despite the fact that they are among the best in the world. It is a symbolic gesture on my part, one that will lessen a bit of my guilt. I cannot change the new dynamics of the music world (the same dynamics are starting to impact publishers of books and ebooks now, too). And, I know this will not start a movement that will make a difference. Basically, we are stuck with the new dynamics, and things are actually going to get worse instead of better.

It's not like this is some sort of "huge sacrifice" for me, as I've pretty much had my fill of making videos anyway. It's just something I feel like I need to do.

Thanks for the fun.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby Eddie Estes » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:17 am

Bruce I would not quit if I were you. A lot of what you have up
is your own stuff. If you love doing that why quit?

As far as the 3d printer thing:

Technology always advances and there are winners and casualties in that. Always.
If not we would still have a great market for steam engines.
Eddie Estes
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby RonBloor » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:20 am

You don't want to do that Bruce... You, me an probably every one on this board love this crazy thing called guitar. Sure there are many other things in our lives, but we are bitten and it's not such a bad thing. I can't speak for others here, but I can tell you that I'm glad you are one of the afflicted and better yet that you are such a great player and contributor to this forum. Please stop being so philosophical this early in the morning!!! Go play (and record) some music for us.. :)
Ron Bloor
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby Longridge » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:01 am

While I appreciate the facts presented by Richard I also am hesitant to throw out the baby with the bath water on this subject. Richard is an amazing artist.
It may be that the profit on CDs simply isn't that great and that contributes to the perception of lower incomes..... Remember this.... MP3 digital versions of most artist's music is readily available for purchase, is a suplemental method of distribution, cost less to produce than CDs, and is easy to distribute for $. At about $1 per song, artists must be making a profit from this new method of distribution or they wouldn't allow their product to be sold digitally.
My goal is not to sit at my computer watching clips of bad video and sound on YouTube and Facebook, etc.
I have a stack of CDs which grows regularly as I find talent I like.
I have found some amazingly talented guitars players on YouTube and find myself wanting to purchase their CDs or digitally download of their albums so I can carry the music with me in my car or share in small group events to encourage others to become fans. Younger fans may opt for downloadable format only but is that a bad thing? Most of us are hooked into buying something from these artists once we find their style suits our fancy.
If the hue and cry from more artists becomes public on the subject of fewer sales of CDs, it may be the technology of digital distribution that is the culprit as much as anything.
If I am completely wrong on this I feel certain more evidence will be forthcoming from other artists on the subject.
On a slightly different subject... I wish more of the really good artists would come to the Virginia/Md/WV area to perform.... then I could really get interested in their wares. It is, after all, a metropolitan area yet for some reason we seem to draw more other cultural events than really good guitar players.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby PhilHunt » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:18 pm

I have to agree with Eddie. If you enjoy it...then why stop? Sure you're not a professional. Neither am I, but I enjoy working and slaving on a tune and putting it on youtube for people to watch and enjoy. I think you've done some pretty darn good videos and you should keep on doing them. I think personally you should do some tutorials and show some people some of your licks...or perhaps teach some more tunes.
It's nice to take a break for awhile though. I know sometimes I go months without even touching the guitar and then when I pick it up....for some odd reason, I play better.
I've said this before and I'll say it again (and I know Eddie will agree), as far as the guitar players nowadays (fingerpickers that is), AWAY FROM CAAS, NOBODY KNOWS WHO THEY ARE. And I don't mean to be crude or rude or anything. But, it's the truth. If you go into Guitar Center and ask someone working there, "Hey, have you ever heard of Jim Nichols?...he's a great player"..or "Hey, have you ever heard of Muriel Anderson?...she's a great player" ...the person working there will look at you as if you had three heads. No disrespect to any picker that I just mentioned, but it's the truth.
I think we all enjoy playing finger-style guitar. We all love the fact that ones like Chet, Jerry, Merle, Paul, Lenny, and others have paved the way for the generations of pickers to come. I mean just take a look at Richard. Son...I tell ya' he's got it going on! There's only a few people that I gotta give credit to and that's Richard Smith and Scotty Anderson.....those guys have mastered that neck from stem to stern!
As far as cd's go....within the next couple of years you're gonna see the slow demise of them and they will no longer be produced. Everything is going digital. Soon, EVERYTHING will be digitally streamed. It's pretty sad though...but it's reality.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby keener » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:19 pm

Thank you fellas. I appreciate that you have appreciated my music.

This is something I feel that I should do though. I do try to do the right thing (generally after I've tried everything else), and I think this the is the right thing for me to do.

I know that most folks on the Chet Boards are from the same generation that I am, from the generation that believes you should pay for what you get. But, my videos are being viewed by the younger generations, too. (This can be seen from the demographics for one of my videos, image attached. This is pretty typical of the demographics for all of my videos.)


I have tried to rationalize this in the past by saying to myself "your videos have mistakes and therefore are not going to detract from sales by actual pros." And, being human, I've also enjoyed getting my ego stroked. I had a comment from The John Knowles on one tune "Beautiful ... just beautiful," and many flattering comments from many of you. Too many to list my thanks for.

But there is now a general expectation by web users (excluding a lot of Chet Board'ers who share the same ethics that I do) that music should be downloadable and free. This is really hurting a number of the world's best pickers, and I just don't want to be a part of that.

I disagree philosophically with much of what Sam Harris says, but his article on the Future of the eBook, helped drive this home to me: ... -book.html

It's just another area where people are now expecting an artist's/author's material to be given to them, that they are entitled to it, and that even a small fee is too much to pay.

I recognize that, technically, I am not going to make any difference at all. But for me this is the right thing to do.


Update: I recognize that some of my tunes should be available in the public domain. I'm thinking primarily of my tributes to Chet, my dad, my wife, Jerry, Tommy Jones, and Buster Jones. Those should be available to everyone, and I have always intended that they be available to everyone.
Last edited by keener on Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby keener » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:25 pm


You and I must have been entering our posts at the same time, so I didn't see yours until after I did my response above.

I hear you, and I sure as heck wouldn't want you to do what I am doing: You need to keep pumping out them videos, man!

I do expect I'll upload again, at some point, but I feel strongly that anything more than 83 videos is too much. i feel that 83 is too much, but I don't have the guts to whack a bunch of them just yet (I do plan to kill off some of them later, though). So, whenever I upload one, an existing one comes down.

Thanks again to all of you, for your really kind words, and you have done wonders for my ego.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby PhilHunt » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:50 pm

One thing I would recommend doing is disabling the "Embedding" feature whenever you do upload a video or disable that current feature on your videos. The reason I say this, is because various youtube "copycat" websites steal those URL addresses and automatically upload them on their websites WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSSION.
I keep all of my videos exclusively on youtube.
You'll need to select this under INFO AND SETTINGS/ EMBEDDING for each of your videos....- and then select......No, external sites may NOT embed and play this video.
Just a piece of advice.
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby keener » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:20 pm

Thanks, Phil.

Yes, I should go with the non-embed option. Unfortunately, I have already used several of the embeds myself, on my three little half-assed blogs, and on Facebook. To go the non-embed route would make a mess out of those posts. So, I'll just live with the embed option. I appreciate the input, though. I know it makes for easier "stealing" of the content. Same with the mp3's I have on one of my blogs ... I can see from the visitor logs that some of the mp3's are being scraped, eating up some of my bandwidth. Miffs me, but that's just a consequence of the route I went.

Thanks again
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Re: Calling It Quits (Kinda)

Postby RichardSmith » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:15 pm

I wouldn't quit either Bruce! I just wanted to help make folks aware of the info. i'm out on the road playing live, that's how i make a living. You can't stop progression like the online music business, you just have to run with it and figure out how to make it work for you, or do what I do and not put stuff online.
Maybe myself and other musicians might benefit more from the promo it'd give me to have stuff online, but I'm just being cautious at this point. Still, I figure no-one is going to look for your music online unless they know about you first.
I'm happy to trot around all over the US and Europe playing gigs! I get to see a lot of places.
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