fourstones: 2 Bombs in a Row

I’m not sure why (and I’m hard pressed to think about it too much) but my last two Magnatune project, “Riding the Faders 2” and “Chronic Dreams 2” have flatlined in sales – and at a very low place at that. Chronic 1 and La Vie Chill still pop a sale occasionally and along with RTF 1 I can’t complain, which is to say I’m really grateful that plenty of people think they are worth paying for.

I seriously doubt this is a reflection on Magnatune or even tip-jar-fatigue because the music on the follow-ups is different than the first editions and it might just be that the newer ones don’t connect with people like the first ones did. There is the possibility that Magnatune’s new subscription mode which debuted a week after CD 2 went on sale has absorbed my album sales. (Album sales are posted nightly to Magnatune artists, but the accumulation of royalties from subscription streaming is only calculated a few times a year so it’s possible I’ll see big numbers for my music then – but I’m assuming not.)

Whatever the reason, I’m using the dead sales figures as a rationale for seriously focusing my music on a relatively narrow target. I recently compiled a playlist on ccMixter of the “Undiscovered fourstones” and especially when held up against artists who have actually mastered many genres (I’m thinking now of Loveshadow) I couldn’t help noticing that my attempts at the various styles seem less convincing than ever, even to me. I can only imagine what potential customers might be hearing. I’m definitely over that.

So while it may all sound very contrived from an artistic perspective, the fact is I’ve been leaning toward this kind of thing anyway (note the drastic and consistent increase in ccMixter uploads using my Cry Baby wha-wha pedal).

For better or worse, this is all you’re going to get out of me a while. Maybe, you know, forever.

9 thoughts on “fourstones: 2 Bombs in a Row

  1. teru

    Sorry to hear about the newer releases.

    I am sure, everyone in the entire history of music who have released 5 albums have at some point noticed dips in sales. Not all of those dips can be attributed to specific reasons.

    Just saying.

  2. Brad

    That’s cool, you should do what feels right.

    But to what degree do you let your current album sales dictate your artistic future?

    It’s possible your current material just needs more promotion and marketing BS.

  3. John Pazdan

    I used to wonder why people would make up names for themselves when posting..and now I am beginning to doing various different types of music..VERY different not always as successful as sticking to “what you know”… so by posting under another name, you can test things out without “compromising” your known schtik. seems..

    I like what you do..period..and if it doesn’t have z wah Wa’ on it..I don’t care bout that either. Same goes for another 150 or so people at the Collective..which is another cool thing about it.

    I know (o yea I do..) about that feeling when you listen to a master of a genre though..and start to wondering why you EVER had the insane idea to try to make something you don’t have a grounding in..but in the end that’s growth…and you make these things not because you think they will “sell”..but because initially you are attracted to the sound of them..why I play bass ..I think…and the chicks.

    OTOH..I just heard Wah Wah Watson on the extended version of “Papa was a rolling stone”..maybe we should play together sometime Victor…same roots.

  4. fourstones Post author

    leaving the door open the ever so slight possibility that the new works might not be, you know, as good as the earlier work, let’s say I’m feeling a convergence of things pulling me in a different direction. Dead sales is just one of the things in the mix.

    like I said (and teru reiterates) it’s pretty easy to overthink these things.

    @john: what is this thing “jamming with other musicians” you speak of?

  5. John Pazdan

    I dunnknow V..I got this insane idea the other day..about getting together in a room with other people who also play musical instruments, including tables..and chairs.. I mean turntables..though I DO want someone who can play buckets, garage door springs, djembe, kalimba and brake drums too..and improvising off of several music structures..(these used to be called “tunes”) that I have written. You would do this for a while until everyone is happy or at least marginally undisatisfied, then you make a “recording” of what you are doing, and go to an “agent man”..who will book you and your friends into a night club or concert or Art Gallery..where other people can come and hear you and dance too, the “dance too” part being pretty important, as these “tunes” are dance music, ie music for people to dance to.

    I know, call me crazy. Dance music made by live, improvising musicians…ha.

  6. gurdonark

    I love it when a comment gets eaten by the machine, because it forces me to be more succinct the second time around.

    Everyone sees other music through their own prisms, but for me, the “La Vie Chill” sound, whether it be called “groove-soaked ambient” or just “wonderful downtempo chill”, is your best sound. I think there are worse things that being great in one or two genres, and merely only very good in others.

    I think that your issue on sales is not quality but marketing. Your natural customer is a film or a commercial maker who will license your stuff. It’s a matter of viewing listeners and marketing contact generation with a view to that market, because that B2B market is your natural place for sales growth. I never view marketing as “BS” because what could matter more to a creative person than “getting the word out”?

    It’s amazing how many genres Loveshadow can do,or. conversely, how ditto ditto can take any source into his genres and make them sound as if his genre is the only right one.

    I think you’re making sense here,because I think that while it’s fun to experiment, it’s also very good to say “I can do x so well that people I like want to hear it–and isn’t the goal of my music in part to attract listeners I actually like?”.

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