So, this is the post I have been procrastinating on writing for months now. As I am sure you are aware, things are not well in the world right now. I have waited to write this update while looking at what I would need to do in order for my business to survive the pandemic and simultaneously looking ahead on when I may possibly be able to return services.
As of this moment all live concerts are cancelled until June of 2022, at the earliest.
Photography as a service may not be returning at all. Given that I have lost the entirety of 2020’s workload, with special consideration to the loss of an entire year’s wedding season (which provides the majority of my income), the cost of maintaining business as an event photographer in a world where there are no longer events is simply too much. As a result, I have made the painful decision to go out of business as a photographer for the foreseeable future. As of today, the earliest I can possibly (and safely) restore photography services would be roughly 2023 or even 2024.
Performances in 2022 are likely to be a strange thing as well. Many of the venues that I have relied on for the past 20 years have either permanently closed as a result of prolonged lockdowns ravaging their revenue, or will no longer be hosting live entertainment when they come back, even years down the line, out of the fear that crowds could spread disease. Many of these venues are looking at permanent distancing measures and a massive reduction of capacity born from the trauma we are all enduring, and the additional groups that come from live entertainment would not be conducive to these new environments. What concerts two years from now will be like, or where they will even be held, is just as mysterious to me as it is to all of you.
While on the subject of setbacks, I must also make note of CD Baby’s changes that have had a negative impact on myself and many other artists. I have used CD Baby for years now as both a major storefront and for digital distribution on all your favourite apps like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music. About 90% of all my music sales came from the CD Baby store. It was at the end of this past March, when the company was trying to help artists through this time of cancellations and fear, that CD Baby abruptly retired their storefront with only 48 hours’ notice to the artists using it in order to focus entirely on digital distribution (which makes only about 5% of my annual income for sales). The notice came by way of a post to social media that I saw randomly in my chaotic Facebook news feed. Not an email to long time artists, no warning, just kaput.
Despite taking a larger percentage out of sales, I have had a preference for Bandcamp for several years now given that there is no cost to release new music, no UPC codes required and I can re-upload new master tracks or edit audio without having to remove a record and pay for it all over again. The only downside is the lack of digital distribution, but as that makes such a pitiful amount by comparison it is far from the end of the world. My entire discography is, and always has been, on Bandcamp principally and that platform is the only place to find new music from my studio. I will eventually digitally distribute my back catalogue, but due to the debacle with CD Baby, I have changed my decision to wait six months between the Bandcamp and CD Baby versions to a year (or more, given the financial hardships that I am experiencing).
So, what happens now?
Like every other artist, I am turning to live streaming and will host all concerts online until at least 2022, barring any sudden changes to the world situation for the better. Right now, I am working on how to do that for the best possible quality in private sessions on Facebook. I am looking for a solid platform for public streaming and will announce where those will be taking place. YouTube seems like a good option, but given their history of attacking content where an artist is performing public domain classical music on behalf of major labels that will never forfeit their algorithmic claims, I am hesitant. Right now I am just weighing my options between accessibility, cost, partnerships, security, etc.
I am also re-launching online private lessons on the piano and electric bass. I had offered online lessons for years, but students always had a preference to come to me (or ask me to drive three hours away to them) for in-person instruction. This current situation means that virtual lessons are pretty much the only lessons you can get at the moment. Personally, I have always preferred lessons online as it means not having strangers come to my home, younger pupils coming in with the flu and spreading it in the winter months, and it’s much easier for me to move from student to student by switching Skype or Facetime calls versus figuring out where people should park on the road and if it impedes traffic on a narrow, dead-end street.
In order to separate some of the heavier stuff on this website (political satire, dark poetry, curse words, horror fiction, etc.) from the learning environment, I have already created a second website just for lessons and will make it a clickable link in the menu here to provide easy navigation when the time comes. I plan on launching that this summer, and hopefully we’ll all have a little more disposable income to spend on personal education, which is not really an option here in May of 2020.
If you enjoy what I offer already, please consider supporting me with that nifty little Tip Jar link to my PayPal.me or consider purchasing my music and artwork. Even a little bit helps right now.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and never leave the house without a biosuit. It’s so good to know what we now live in the world of Half-Life 2.