What Would Ray Do?

sg_ray.jpgAs an artist and fan, I wonder what we could "demand" in 2008?



It has been documented that Ray Charles was the first artist to demand the rights to his own publishing and records. Not asked for… Not requested… Not thought it would be a great idea if someone offered it to him… Demanded!

As an artist and fan, I wonder what we could "demand" in 2008?

First, that artists communicate directly with me, the fan! Why is it so hard for artists to figure out how to communicate unless it is a 10-word MySpace posting? The epitome of this is Brad Skistimas, an artist out of Dallas who is the number one-selling 100%-independent artist on iTunes. I discovered Brad, aka Five Times August, in September 2005; two-plus years later, he has banked in excess of $200,000 from all the songs, streams, live feeds, licenses, et cetera. He listened to his fans who demanded "access."

Second, be about the music. If it takes you a few years to come out with a good album, take the time; your fans will appreciate you and support you along the way. Have you tried letting your fans help you? You never know what you’ll get…maybe a Grammy, maybe a gaffe. Either way, you won’t know until you try.

Why not support an artist? If you go to a show and you liked the artist/music/whatever, why not give the artist a tip? What is a five spot to you – well, besides another beer? An artist who receives a tip knows something happened that night and is not sure what to think. I have done this on several occasions with acts that have sold hundreds of thousands of albums to local bands that sell 1,000 albums. Almost all react the same way, wide-eyed and in denial: "No, you keep it!" Last time I checked, I took five bucks from someone who offered it…which leads me to…

Your creation is worth something! Ray knew it (so what if he was one of the more amazing artists of three decades). Why don’t you realize you don’t have to have a deal with Atlantic Records to be worth something? You can be unsigned and earn a living. You can be more than a casual fan and create a minor epidemic around an artist. Whatever you pay in will be paid back to you numerous times over.

As a fan, you can demand that your artist perform, and perform well. As an artist you can demand that your fans pay you…perhaps it has to be more subtle, but you can get your cake and eat it, too. | Cannon Fletcher


Soundgreen was born out of a love for music and the artists who create it, and the driving belief that there had to be a better, perhaps more efficient compensation system.

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