A little under two months ago, I published a rant on why the traditional, record-company-driven, distribution model has been letting me down for the past two decades or so – to the point where there were albums I knew existed – and wanted – but I could not get them, because nobody wanted to actually sell them to me. One example was an album from Allan Holdsworth called I.O.U.
I also ranted on how I had my doubts about, what with the additional cost of distributing music physically (by manufacturing a CD and shipping that to me), how much of my money would end up in the artist’s pocket. I realised that record companies have additional costs such as promotion and whatnot – but it’s not like artists like Allan Holdsworth got promoted extensively. I was thinking at the time that alternative distribution models, such as crowd support for an artist, and downloadable high-resolution audio files, might work a lot better, and smoother.
Well, believe it or not: less than two months after that, my prayers are answered. After 15 years, we get a new release, with previously unreleased material, from Allan Holdsworth… through a crowd-backed effort, and with no physical media involved! Leonardo Pavkovic and John McCracken, you are my heroes!
(And yes, of course I had to sign up for the signed-booklet option. Even over the time during which there were no new studio releases, Allan’s music has given me more sheer unadulterated enjoyment than I could afford, so signing up for a measly 8 euros to download a handful of FLAC files would not have been very much putting-my-money-where-my-mouth-is.)
I really, really, really want this to be a success. Allan will be 69 this year – after innovating jazz, and the use of the guitar (not just in jazz) for over 40 years, he deserves a decent lucky break. Frank Zappa called him “the most interesting guitar guy on the planet”. Eddie Van Halen called him “winner and still champion”, and “the best in my book”. Surely someone who deservedly gets this praise, and who, on top of that, is an innovative composer, should be able to sustain himself from his music… no?
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OK, I’m done plugging. I am one of (I hope) many for whom the wait until August will become unbearable…