Drip – a new way of doing things

 

drip.com/sketchesfromanisland

A few months ago, I decided to leap into the world of social media. Cue Instagram, a radio show, Mixcloud, Sketches From An Island FB page etc etc.  Prior to this, I’d kept my distance, using only the International Feel FB & this blog to let people know what was going on, so it was a big step up / commitment to try today’s ‘social media game’.

Communication and the ability to communicate is fantastic and it’s certainly put the wind up a lot of established power structures, but, using Steve Job’s ‘Bicycle for the Mind’ statement (“… the computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds”) as a relevant example, sometimes, it’s good in advance to know where the brake is and occasionally apply it, before I/we/you disappear into a haze of trans-humanism and forget about the unique and simple beauty of a sunset.

Very quickly, it became apparent that I felt really uncomfortable doing all of this and after a few unhappy weeks, I woke up and thought….I never really do anything in my life that ‘plays by the rules’, so why am I doing this, particularly when I’m not even trying to push anything off the back of it…. I have always (and continue to) see myself as primarily a studio musician and producer, that’s where my heart lies.

So I ducked out of the social media world and felt a massive surge of relief at making the decision. I then had to untangle all the previous weeks work and the simplest way to do that was just to cancel all the accounts and stop doing the radio show (so sorry to anyone that was looking for them and all of a sudden they weren’t there).

To be honest it just didn’t excite or stimulate me and I think people are pretty savvy at spotting creative things done without love and good energy behind them, so it was best to stop as quickly as possible, for my own sanity and out of respect for everyone that does like what I do because it’s honest and true.

Once I had some space to think, I started to focus on why I thought I needed to do engage in social media in the first place (always good to learn!) and what (if any) the alternatives are.  The ‘why’ can be explained as a simple expansion of the ‘need to communicate’ that we all have as humans. I make music, it brings me a lot of happiness, I want to share that with others…

I also came to the conclusion that I am very much against giving away free content. It’s ‘become the norm’ and everyone else is doing it, but to me, it just doesn’t feel right (particularly when I found one torrent where the Sketches album had been downloaded 20,000 times !).  It reminds me of when I started International Feel and everyone said ‘oh a vinyl label in this day and age will never succeed!’  Life is 100% about following your own path, regardless of the noise all around you.

So it brings me to this point: Music is really really special.  It’s unique – it soundtracks our lives and encourages us to paint amazing images in our minds. It has the ability to make our hearts and souls sing with joy, it takes you ‘somewhere you’re not’, it’s an escape, a refuge (this isn’t a feel good movie so I’ll stop there).

Should that be free ?  Should any associated ‘content’ that goes along with music be free…. to me, its a strong no.

I’ve always believed that making music or running a label is all about the music. That has to be the starting point and that involves effort, focus, energy and attention to detail. Money should never be an artistic consideration, but as it’s the current accepted form of ‘energy transfer’ for a persons endeavours, it’s fair to expect something in return, particularly when we provide something of such unique value. This current environment of ‘music and content is free’ devalues our work, so I’ve decided it’s time for a different approach, one that feels more longterm and less fickle than the current mainstream social networks.

For me, my ‘moments of joy’ come from making music in a studio and then attempting to reach out with that music and communicate with like minded souls to form a connection, so I’ve decided the best way to achieve this is through a new(ish) platform called ‘Drip’, from our friends in New York at Ghostly International.

It’s like a private social network that gives me, as an artist, the chance to offer a variety of interesting and exclusive content in a new way.  This is a far better ‘fit’ for me as a musician and the musical world I inhabit, than playing the ‘social network game’ and being able to buy myself a pack of tic tacs every 18 months on the income earned from Spotify (but don’t forget kids, you could always buy 10,000 FB followers and then be able to afford your own pack of tic tacs !)

It allows me to offer you a total insight into my creative word. I lead a blessed life, 99% of the time I get to do what I want when I want, and if I’m clever I choose to fill it with things that make my heart sing. It’s with this thought that I’ve decided Drip is the best outlet for this creativity, on the simple assumption that if I’m feeling like this when I’m creating and people have a window into that creativity, they will not only see the process, but also ‘sense’ that joy and truth when they receive that creativity.

If you’ve got this far, you’re probably now thinking, well ok, what does that mean in practical terms.

It’s actually pretty simple. My ‘Drip’ will be a monthly subscription service and when you join you’ll get this unique & fully open window into my creative life, so, for example:

1. New Music

2. Exclusive Music

3. Back Catalogue / Unreleased Works

4. Work in Progress / Demo’s

5. Stem’s to make your own versions

6. Exclusive Mixes

7. Videos

8. Invites to gig’s (even I leave the house occasionally !)

9. Photos

10.Merchandise discounts

11.Anything else I can’t think of right now

Basically, I’ve no idea what this looks like in terms of quantity, but if you join me on this experiment / adventure, you’ll get access to everything I do, whether it’s an exclusive video, the chance to get an official release before anyone else (starting with the Sketches from an Island 3 release), or a work in progress / demo from the new Sketches from an Island album when I head back into the studio after the summer…even those weird little doodles I do all too often and then wonder what to do with.

If you are interested, you can find me here

Thanks for reading and hope to see you there.

 

Mark
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