An Eciting Surprise!

I got a statement email from Soundrop, the site where I distribute my music to selling/steaming platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play etc etc.  Now, I only have 2 tracks up to distribute – one the Smile Bomb collab I did months ago, and the other my Terra’s Theme with lyrics.  I would get occasional updates from my collaborator on Smile Bomb, saying it streamed this much on Spotify and things like that and it was cool hearing how much people were listening to it but I didn’t really think of the actual money being made because I knew it wouldn’t be that much.  And, I knew Terra’s theme wasn’t doing too well – last time I looked at it, it had made one cent USD.  It doesn’t bother me at all, but like I said, I just posted up on distribution platforms, realized doing singles wasn’t my thing (I’d much rather make full albums of covers so I don’t have to get a piece of album art for everything I do and realized that while getting Terra’s theme together).  I figured, “Distributing music really doesn’t make a difference, no one is going to buy my stuff anyways because I’m some nobody that if they did want to support me, they’d just listen to my videos on YouTube”.
Until I got my first payout from Soundrop!  Wooooo~

 

Like I said, I wasn’t expecting this at all!  You have to hit a certain payment threshold before Soundrop pays out any money to you, and it isn’t a big threshold but I hadn’t hit it yet.  I need to still look at the stats for Terra’s theme, but I’m like 100 percent sure all the revenue is from Smile Bomb, and it’s so cool!  It made me realize that no matter how small an amount you think you’re going to make, it’s worth putting stuff up there on platforms you can get paid for because someone may just be looking around and see your song or something.  Like it’s so cool to me that this is 100 percent passive income, and all I did was pay the 9.99 to distribute a few months ago and got this money now!!  Not something I really ever foresaw happening, but it did and it’s amazing!!

 

I’ve been thinking about making music to be able to sell/license  out royalty free style, and also been thinking about releasing compelation Eps/albums of my covers from the year I’m able to make money off of (aka the ones I made myself, using no karaokes for).  I think God was like “Yes do iiiit” with that because I log onto my computer today and see this, and it just inspires me to not slack on making music, and vocal warmups, and really hone my craft so I can make whatever amounts of money at this that I can.  This payout wasn’t expected, but such a blessing!

 

Don’t know how to close this post out because it’s really just me gushing and being excited so…I got my first Soundrop payout today!  Wooooo!!!

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Where Have I been? A Life Update

Hi guys, it’s been a while!  I figured I’d explain a bit about why I’ve been MIA on this blog because I tend to post on a regular basis on this one, where on The Blind Nerd I post when I have something to post.  The main reason is I just needed a break from the internet.  I guess a sort of media fast in a way.  I felt like the amount of using the internet and absorbing all of the pop culture media I was doing had gotten a bit out of hand, and was starting to impede on my walk with God.  I didn’t think it would really be this long, but I’ve mainly just been using the computer for when I actually need to use it for things, like mixing songs, looking up things, reading my Bible, and other than that and watching the occasional youtube video (which I’m also working on cutting down on) I disengaged from all the noise that is social media, and internet culture.  I really needed to disconnect, reaffirm my faith, and come back slowly but surely with a lot more discernment  to what types of shows, music, and media I expose my brain to.

 

Everyone’s walk  with Christ is different, and everyone has vices and temptations they have to try and stay away from.  For me, in a way, it was taking in soooo much of the pop culture media out there.  With the amount of shows trying to make statements, set themselves apart from other shows, and send messages for people to receive, it honestly was blurring  moral lines from black and white to gray, and for me personally that isn’t ok.  So like I said, just had to take a step back, start reading my Bible, spend more time with my family, and with Jesus.  I’m slowly trickling back into the fold but I don’t want to   be anywhere near as open to every piece of media that I used to be, because doing so was clouding my walk with God which also isn’t ok by any means.

 

So what have I been doing, you might ask?  Pretty much the same things I do when I’m offline – spend time with family, and bake!  I’ve been slacking on making jewelry but want to get back into that.  Also, been making music, and looking for old Gospel music and church hymns to listen to since I’m not finding too many modern Christian artists I’m liking.  If you have any good recommendations, I’d love some!

 

I haven’t posted too many baked goods of the month because…I sort of slacked on that haha.  I had 3 to catch up on in the month of August, but baked two new things and know the third thing I want to make to catch up with that resolution of mine.  Funnily enough, they’ve all been breads – I made a cherry bread, a banana bread, and am planning on making pita bread for the last catch up baked good of the month.  I’m super excited to do the pita bread, since I’ve been nervous to do any breads with yeast, and I’ve read that one is one of the easier breads to start with.  I probably would have made the pita by now if I wasn’t craving brownies and made those twice this weekend, but either way it will get done XD
The holidays are coming up too, so I’m really excited to bake some holiday goodies!  I’ll have individual posts about each of the breads coming, so look forward to that.

 

That’s all that’s been going on with me, hope the rest of you are doing well!  God bless!

Lesson Learned from a Seemingly Small Statement

I went to record some video today for a collab quickly because my computer cord is starting  to do a weird finicky  thing where it has to be positioned a certain way to be charging.  Because of that, I’ve been keeping it plugged in at all times because last time that happened, my cord died and I was without a computer for a few months.  I’m prepared this time, though!  Already backed everything up, and getting anything due to people done asap so I can not worry too much if the cord does die before the new one I ordered comes in.  It’s not being super intense with its amount of plugging in and out, like it stays plugged in and charging well but sometimes it does go in and out, in and out, so I’m taking extra precautions.  At the same time, I’m not sure if it’s just wiggling out slightly because sometimes when I position it and then move it around it just stays fine, but like I said better safe than sorry.  It happened to me once, I won’t’ be caught unawares again!  I’ve only had this computer for about three years, and am not sure of the lifespan of new computers but I feel like this one is getting a little worn out with all I do on it with such little ram.  But only thing I’ve ever needed to do is replace the cord, so I’m assuming what’s happening is a cord issue again (it’s a ten dollar off brand cord so I’m guessing it’s life  span isn’t as long as the Acer cord that died end of last year).  I’d like to get the Acer brand cord for this computer, but navigating the site is so freaking confusing I sort of gave up lol.

Because of that, I sort of didn’t really care about my appearance in the video.  I mean, I made sure I didn’t’ look hideous or anything, but I didn’t wear makeup at all.  I’m still a little self-conscious  about doing something like that, so when my Mom went in and positioned my camera to record, I asked her if I look fine without makeup.  Specifically I asked, “Do I need concealer?”

 

She went “Well yeah, you know you have dark circles under your eyes.  But you either put on concealer, or you don’t care about it”.
and that statement super hit me in a way it hasn’t.
Because I’m always so obsessed with how a video looks, how I look, how my music sounds, how interesting my videos are, that something as simple as “Yeah, whatever, I’m comfortable looking like this in this video” has never hit me.  I know she didn’t mean it like that and was just stating a fact, but hearing it and going “Yeah, she’s right!  If I want to hide that part of my face then do it.  But if you’re not going to, then also don’t’ sweat over it because it’s just a part of your facial features and people can deal with it because this is how I want to record my video”.

 

It was a weird moment, and possibly not the best choice for a collab video, but honestly it felt good to just make that decision and go with it.  I finished the video with only lip gloss on, and got it to my collaborator.  And just doing that honestly made me not stress about the video quality, because it was just me sitting there and being chill.  I’m debating vlogging, and knowing that I’m alright with doing something like that now makes me feel like I’d be more comfortable vlogging, as well.  Because I never mind when I’m recording video, but the preparation for recording said video, putting on a face of makeup and all of that is what always makes me second guess recording.  But now, I’m realizing something I realized a long time ago with my music:  Do whatever you want, own your decision, and roll with it!  It’s so weird to  be relearning these things, but at the same time I’m learning it in a different way so it sticks more.  Being less self-conscious is  an eternal struggle for me, so realizing that with such a small statement from my Mom was a big eye opener.

 

I’ve been tossing around the idea of vlogging with my brother, but haven’t really figured out what I’d vlog about.  Would I post it on the same channel as my music?  Would that be a problem?  Maybe make a second channel?  Plus when I sit down and talk in front of a camera, it’s always so awkward for me haha.  I’m fine with podcasting, but for some reason on camera I’m like ugh this suuuucks.  So if you have any ideas, or tips on vlogging, post them in the comments!

Some Video Idea Brainstorms

This post is more of a brainstorming post for me about different video ideas I’ve been having so I can flesh out said ideas a bit more so here we goooo lol.
I got this idea from someone else who’s been doing this cool idea called a cover story:  they have their cover, but there’s a story or idea explored in text via the subtitles/captions section on YouTube (hurray for accessibility there!).  But it got me thinking about doing something like that for some of my videos.  Now, for their videos, they still add a full video aspect, but I’ve been thinking that doing a sort of storybook or slideshow thing could work?  I was thinking, I have a lot of lyrics that I wrote that turned out more like poems, so they’re just sitting on my computer  It would be nice to try and fit them to some music, post the poem as the visual aspect, and have that be the video.  Ideally, I’d like to have some sort of still images drawn (enter the storybook aspect) but in general, I’m thinking use the poetry to write some original tracks to as inspiration, then post the poetry as the video.
For covers, I thought of maybe making a little story, but haven’t quite fleshed that out yet.  I’m thinking combine my love of fanfiction with writing little stories for the cover, and make it like a storybook – like how Kirby’s Epic Yarm  plays out haha.  Super basic ideas so far, because like I said I haven’t quite fleshed it out, but I’m really inspired to try connecting my poetry to some music somehow.

 

Now on the visuals end, I honestly have no idea if reading poetry to music would really be interesting to people.  I’m willing to give it a try though!  I’d loooove to somehow add some other artistic aspect to it though, like maybe some artwork drawn by someone else, or some sort of tactile art I can make, take pictures of, and use?  Or some sort of stop motion posting, which is another idea I’ve had but doing stop motion skits put to my covers is a whooooole other animal haha.  I’m trying to think of ways I myself can make videos interesting, because sometimes I just don’t have people who have the time to edit stuff for me.  Which is completely understandable, I’m happy with the amount of people who are willing to help me out with the visual aspect of YouTube (my friends are pretty awesome) but at the same time I guess I’ll always be a I have to try to do things myself person just to see if I can do it XD

 

So yeah, just some ideas that have been bouncing around my head.  I’ll probably wind up trying some of them, and see how it goes!  My top favorites are definitely the poetry/storybook ideas, I think those ones are really cool and inventive.

 

Have any cool video ideas?  Would love to hear in the comments!

How do Our Musical Tastes Effect Our Composing and Critiqueing? Some Musings

With this music challenge I’m doing, in the VGMA Facebook group there’s a daily post where we all post what we’ve written.  When I post something, I like to go through the previous posts to see what everyone else is coming up with.  Today after doing so, it got me thinking about each person’s music tastes.  Everyone is doing different takes on the challenge with genres they’re into – may it be fantasy music, electronic, classical – but all in the vain of making it sound like it can loop in a video game.  But that also got me thinking:  How does the genre of music we compose in, and the genres we prefer effect our composing, critiquing, and musical dispositions?

 

Me, for example.  I grew up listening to country music.  So when I listen to a song, what I look for is good storytelling, an impactful emotional tone, and tend to strive for minimal arrangements with basic chord progressions.  When I build on something, I rarely change up the chord progression of one instrument and instead add something else – like a double strings harmony, a tambourine, something varying the texture of the sound over going into a different phase of the chord progression already there.  My comfort zone is doing an ABAB song writing structure – verse, chorus, verse, chorus with an occasional bridge if needed.

 

I like good vocals, but vocals over good emotion and storytelling have never been my thing.  I’ll take an ok enough sounding vocal full of raw emotion, over a belting power ballad that sounds like someone is phoning it in.  Once again, I think that’s because I grew up listening to country music, and it’s what I’m used to and favor.  Jumping to Celtic music when I was older wasn’t really a surprise, because country and Celtic are close cousins genre wise.  Same with folk, and indi:  all different branches of the same genre of music.

 

So even when I compose something video game themed with repetition, I go for that folksy feel, or an emotional, acoustic sound.  But I notice when I’m arranging something, even when I plan to make it sound all orchestral it always winds up being about 5 instruments or less because when I try to add more, in the end I like how it sounds with less.  I struggled a long time with that – thinking my arrangements aren’t good enough with more sounds but now I realize that’s just how I compose things, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

There’s been a lot of buzz in the VGM cover community about when a track starts “Not being a cover anymore” and my opinion on the subject?  As long as there’s part of the pre-existing melody in there, it’s a cover.  The VGM cover community is by far the sweetest community I’ve ever been a part of and the discussions on the topic lately also got me thinking of this topic.  Like my favorite music is acoustic and folk, and whenever I see acoustic guitar cover artists in VGM I always get excited because they’re also channeling that folksy, minimalist feel I love.  Now when you do something high energy like say, a battle theme, it’ll sound completely different on piano or acoustic guitar, even if you’re still keeping the same energy and vibe from the original track up.  So does that still make it a cover?  Yep!  In my opinion at least.  I saw a really cool way of phrasing this though.  The original music is like a canvass, and you’re painting with the source material.  You can go as basic with the source as you want, sticking to the original as closely as possible, or you can get abstract with it, adding your own take on it, expressing your style and spin on the track on it.  My last cover was like that, and my next few covers will be like that, as well – and to be completely honest, I’m really happy they’re going to be.  I’m really excited to be putting my own stamp and style on tracks that I love, and have gotten the most challenge and enjoyment from composing my last few covers, and in doing so have gotten lots of inspiration and motivation to do more covers in my own style that doing a note for note arrangement wouldn’t, and hasn’t gotten me in the past.

 

But yeah, all of these musings just sort of popped into my mind this morning and decided to make a blog post about them.  Didn’t really touch on how this effects how we critique things, but probably  along the same lines as why we compose in certain ways – no matter how unbiased we try to be, we’ll always have some sort of preference to wanting to hear something sound like the genre we prefer.  Not saying that’s always the case, but I know for me at times I have critiqued something wanting something I prefer thrown into the mix lol.

 

I’ll stop there, I honestly could go on about these topics for ages!  What sort of music genres did you grow up with, or are into that you think inspired your musical inspirations?  What are your thoughts on covers that are a lot different than the original, also?

More YouTubeness

So this is going to be me talking about YouTube video stuff so if you’re sick of reading about it (I don’t blame you if you are) then go ahead and skip over this post, I’ll see you next Tuesday XD

 

But After dumping out my feelings about the video stuff this Tuesday, it helped clear my head a lot.  That’s generally the reason I keep up this blog, it’s really cathartic and helps clear my head.  But I was thinking about my whole stupid overthinking of making videos and came to a realization that I just need to play each upload by ear.  Before I mentioned having a certain type of song be one video format etc etc but I think doing it that way is silly.  For example, there’s a song I’ve had finished last month and I really like.  I don’t know why, but for this video in particular, I want it to have imagery  that isn’t me singing in front of cam.  I feel like this song would lend better to some animated visuals, but it’s a cover I arranged from scratch so my brain kept on going “You have to record youself on cam, dems the rules!”.  But I really wasn’t feeling it for this one.  So instead of realizing I needed to do another format for it, I dragged my feet on the upload of it and it’s a month late, which is ridiculous!  I think I just need to go with my gut, not force certain videos, and like I said just do what feels right for the song.  I get the same amount of views, at the same speed over a month so why not just post what I feel is right for the video.

 

There’s another video that I have in the works that I’m super excited to do.  For this one, I really feel that recording myself on video for this one is the right decision.  I’m excited to record on cam for it, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Just like the video I mentioned above:  I didn’t force it, and recording on cam just came to me as the right decision.  So I’m just going to go with what I feel is the right call on a video to video basis, and see how I feel about it.  I already feel good about it just writing this down, so I think it’s definitely the right call.

 

I’ve also realized, that the type of music I do lends really well to a simplistic style!  Since I do folk, acoustic, and Celtic stuff usually, when I do record myself on cam having it set up the way I usually do is fine.  Because folk music is really Earthy and raw, I feel confident that I can keep the format I have and it’ll work out.  Not sure if I’ll throw in playing some instruments along with me singing, I think I’ll play that by ear too.  May shoot outside sometimes, as well!  Just to get that nice folky vibe in my videos.  Once again, I feel confident this will work well, and can’t wait to get back on the video saddle again, feeling a lot more confident in the production of my videos.  Before, I’d make a video, but I’d be so uncertain about making it.  But I want to go into the second half of this year confident in what I’m doing, no matter what it turns out being, and for me going with my gut instinct always winds up being the right choice for me:  Sometimes I second guess myself, but whenever I go through a cycle of doubt I always circle back to what my initial choice was.  Silly, I know, but it just happens haha.

 

So the second half of this year (it’s crazy it’s already June) I’m going to focus on what I already planned to focus on, making my videos the best quality I can.  I know now that doesn’t mean be on camera at all times, but instead if means do the video you think will fit the song, and do what you’re comfortable doing for each song on a case by case basis.  And, get some better lighting, so I feel good about recording on video.  Also, don’t stress out about being in full makeup every time I record, because that has been a huge deterrent  for me wanting to record sometimes as well.  All in all, the lesson I take away from  this is: Never give up, trust your instincts!

 

YET ANOTHER Musical Revelation

Sometimes I feel like I go through the same revelations over and over again but with different aspects of it becoming more relevant to me at a certain point in time, because this definitely lines up with my play easy instruments and make them dynamic revelation I had a few months ago.  Either way, it’s coming up again, so time to blog about it!

 

While working on a recent arrangement, I wanted to mess around with guitar chords for it.  The guitar VST I got is…well, not that hot (it was really cheap so not surprised) and I started being like I need to learn some basic guitar chords grr grr I’ve had one just sitting around my house for years (seriously, I bought one in 2013 and have touched it maybe twice) when it hit me.
I really don’t want to learn to play guitar.

 

It’s not that it’s a bad instrument, I love the sound of it.  I just have this aversion to learning guitar, that I don’t have with playing piano.  To have a strings instrument to strings instrument parallel, I don’t have the same aversion to learning the mountain dulcimer – which is a beautiful sounding, folk instrument that you play like a piano.  It’s small, it’s simple, but something about how raw and Americana the sound is just speaks to me in a way that the guitar doesn’t.  Or rather, that learning the guitar doesn’t.

 

I can see myself using it for arrangements, when using guitar is something I have trouble integrating when I think about using it.  Will it be easy to integrate?  Probably not as easy as I think, but I’m far more open to learning to play the mountain dulcimer than I am the guitar, and I shouldn’t fight that.  I learned that the hard way with the recorder:  It’s a nice enough instrument, and easy to play, but at the end of the day I really wanted an ocarina, so why did I buy a recorder in the first place?  Well, I figured it would be easy to integrate also, which it sort of is but just haven’t found a reason to use it.

 

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to go the learn to play an instrument route, be sure it’s something you know you’ll really enjoy!  If you can, go play one at a music store, but if it’s inexpensive, why not just buy one and see how you like it?  Once again with the recorder, I would have always wondered if it was for me if I didn’t buy one.  The mountain dulcimer, you can purchase a starter one for 70 dollars or less, so no huge investment to see if I’d like it.  Plus, looking at how to play videos makes it look super easy, and it’s in my current comfort zone of instruments I’d feel comfy buying and playing.  The last instrument I wanted was a stringed one to get my folksy, indi, one woman band complete, so I think that stringed instrument is going to be the mountain dulcimer as far as physical instruments go.  For guitar and other things, I’ll just get virtual ones to use.  If only all of these were free, that would make my life easier~

 

I also know a few people who play guitar, so if I want something more authentic sounding I’ll just ask them to play for me.  In fact, I’ve done that for a cover I’ve been wanting to do for years, so I’m majorly pumped for that!