goodbye 2018… hello, 2019!

It’s that time of year again, when one year passes into the next, and depending on what has transpired in the year that’s coming to an end, we’re either glad to see it go or remembering it at least somewhat fondly… or both, but we’re always hopeful for what the new year will bring. It’s like there’s this totally clean slate, if only for a few brief hours (or minutes) before we do something stupid.

So, on this last day of the year, buh-bye, 2018… and welcome 2019!

For Erin and me, 2018 has been a year of massive change (one big move).

I expect that for us, 2019 will be another year of massive change (another big move, probably to most likely).

I suspect (and predict) that for everyone, all of us, 2019 and every year from here on out, will be years of massive change.

I am told that if you start the movie Forrest Gump at exactly 10:38 pm, when you reach 12 midnight at the start of the new year, you will be celebrating with Forrest and Lieutenant Dan… wherever you are! This scene…

Well, some smart person just figured out that this scene occurs 1 hour and 22 minutes into the movie.

And hey, didn’t the Poseidon Adventure take place on New Year’s Eve?

Why yes it did. But you know, there’s got to be a morning after…

And then, who can forget the New Year’s Eve party scene from Boogie Nights? I know I certainly can’t… I lived it!

So now you know what we’ll be doing, what movies we’ll be watching tonight as it has been snowing all day here and it’s now 9 degrees in Littleton. We are, as they say, “In 4 the Evening

Very white and snowy today…

And does it seem odd to anyone else that we have arrived at 2019? Let that sink in for a moment… twenty nineteen. Could we see that far from say, 1980? One year away now from 2020…

Work progresses slowly and steadily on the new full-length album “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia“, slated for release in 2019. I should have some new previews of songs from the album up on SoundCloud in February.

I hope 2018 was kind and good to you and that the coming year will be even better. Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in 2019. Cheers!… Happy New Year everyone!

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…
Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released in the summer of 2018, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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the end of… the album (as we know it)? three articles on the demise of the download…

Cosmo, on a lazy Sunday afternoon… awakened by… opera!

This is a trend I’ve posted and commented on here on the blog a few times in the past but now it appears we are rapidly approaching the end of the download on some of the largest online music outlets, specifically, Apple iTunes. The music download, which had appeared to be so strong even only just a few short years ago, is going the way of the CD… and vinyl before it. Downloads are now becoming a niche market, just like CD and vinyl, and will soon be found only on music outlets such as CD Baby and Bandcamp. First quarter of 2019, as Apple outlined, is looking like the timeframe for this to occur. In part, this is due to the success of their streaming service Apple Music, which now is generating more revenue than Spotify.

Check out the three articles below, first from Digital Music News on the impending demise of the music download:
https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/07/10/music-downloads-extinct/ 

The second, from Forbes, taken from the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) annual year-end report:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2018/03/28/physical-albums-sell-significantly-better-than-digital-ones-even-today/#388b6051b538

And the third, from Billboard on CD sales:  https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8477070/cd-sales-not-dying-but-heading-towards-niche-status-vinyl-analysis 

Granted, a couple of these articles appeared much earlier in the year but one can assume that for CDs and downloads, and specifically album downloads, the trends haven’t reversed themselves since then.

I’ll throw in an additional article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which asks the musical question “should you hang on to your CDs”:
http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2018/02/21/CD-compact-disc-sales-decline-Juke-Records-Billboard-Best-Buy-Target/stories/201802210158

  • The takeaways from all these developments would appear to be obvious:
    Streaming has now become the de facto medium for recorded music and appears to be the endgame… for now. I had mentioned this in a post from 6 years ago, although it didn’t really occur to me at the time that the download would go away (and it won’t, completely).
    As far as streaming being the endgame, it has been the self-perpetuating nature of the music industry to come up with new delivery formats along the way as technology evolved, so I suppose eventually, something may come along to replace streaming. Except that the streaming platform really didn’t come from the music industry, did it? That came from the tech industry. What new medium could replace streaming? Right now, I think most people don’t know.
  • Albums sell more on the physical format – CD – than on downloads and are most effective sales-wise, but only when the CD is released on the album’s street date. If artists don’t release a CD on the street date, they’re leaving money on the table… And then retail outlets like Best Buy pull their CD stock off the shelves.
    There is this, however, from the Forbes article: “People have been saying for a long time that the physical album is done, but the category is responsible for more money coming into the music industry than digital album and song sales combined.”
    And this from Billboard: ““If we had CDs on those albums, the [format’s] sales numbers would tell a different story,” Newbury Comics head of purchasing Carl Mello tells Billboard. “When 90 percent of the most popular music [hip-hop] in America doesn’t show up on CD, of course sales will be down. Duh.”
  • There is no music industry “recovery”. The tech industry has effectively hijacked the music industry. Or, maybe as one label executive has said, “[the labels] are reacting to what’s happening in the marketplace, not causing it.”
    I tend to think that’s the case.
    Until some new/revamped format replaces streaming, any recovery has been put on hold. Indefinitely.
  • If there’s any music or any albums you need to download, you should probably do it by the end of the year, and also back up downloads you have purchased in the past (blank CDs are good for this… you can still get them at Office Depot/Office Max and online). Just sayin’…
    After that it appears that CD Baby, Bandcamp, and eMusic will be the last refuge for digital downloads (and most of their inventory is independent or emerging artists… hey, like me!).
  • And to answer the question of whether you should hang on to those CDs (or vinyl, cassettes, or anything else other than 8-tracks)… well, do you listen to CDs? Keep ’em. Did you have vinyl, sell or get rid of it in favor of CDs, only to regret it later? Do you have downloads? Back ’em up. Streaming is hot now… but for how long?… ‘Til the next “hot” format comes along?
    Remember that the music industry has historically made and continues to make a significant chunk of their money from selling the music consumer the same music over and over again, just in different formats.
    And please, continue to purchase music… rather than or in addition to streaming. Thanks!
    I’ll leave you with this from musician Danny Michel to illustrate what streaming has actually done within the music biz: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10160771798630467&set=a.10150674561930467&type=3&theater

Nights on Venus news:
Currently, I am continuing work in the new studio, recording and mixing songs for Nights on Venus’ next full-length album which will be my 6th full-length album… entitled “Late Night Meditations in/on Suburbia” (yeah, it keeps morphing a bit), set for release in 2019. It has taken a while to get back in a groove after the move, almost 5 months ago, much longer than expected, but I think I’m there now… only to be interrupted by the holidays of course, but I’m taking everything right now as a work in progress in this, a transitional year, year-and-a-half, or for however long our interim residence in the suburban hinterlands will be and it’s all coming together. There is new music posted on SoundCloud – excerpts from the forthcoming album and you can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/nights-on-venus/sets/excerpts-from-late-night

Includes the already-released single “The Wheels Are Coming Off” from this past June, 2018. I will be adding to the playlist over the coming months.

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…
Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this past summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

 

 

annual fall foliage tour, pts. 1 & 2, works in progress…

Happy fall, y’all! Best time of the year. The autumnal equinox occurred yesterday evening at 7:54 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time…

When this time of year rolls around, it’s time to get on the road and get to the high country for the annual fall foliage tour of the aspen leaves turning bright yellow, because that’s what we do here in Colorado. Usually we go to Squaw Pass, right up the road from Evergreen on the way to Echo Lake and Mt. Evans, and we did that yesterday, combining it with a hike up Chief Mountain, a trail we hike every year. A very windy hike I might add. This is fall foliage, part 1… there wasn’t a whole lot of fall color except for a few areas. The peak color should be this week, and we’re going to Vail for a few days later this week. That’s part 2, and will be an update next Sunday. A few pics from yesterday:

Looking toward the Mt. Evans massif from the Juniper overlook on Squaw Pass Rd. (Hwy. 103)… (sized just right for a screensaver)
Early start on the trail as always…
Looking west toward Mt. Evans…
Onward and upward… into the wind
At the summit
Erin and me… the Shmoopies, windblown on Chief Mtn.
And of course, every completed hike ends with beer… good beer. This is from El Rancho Brewing Co., Evergreen… a Peach IPA on the left and a Hatched Milk Stout on the right, infused with Hatch green chiles…

And just because this song is lodged in my head right now, I remember that I was listening to this 39 years ago when I was living in Midland, Texas…
Hold on, hold on, hold on, to what you got…

Nights on Venus News:
Well, when you make one major change in your recording setup, you should expect systemic changes all the way down the line and that’s what has happened. Major studio upgrades which I’ve been incorporating over the last month-and-a-half. Everything right now is kind of a work in progress (and ironically, the street we now live on is named Progress Circle). I’ve renamed the studio – for the length of time that we’re here in the ‘no man’s land’ of west Littleton – to Confluence Music Studio, and I’m pushing everything out into 2019. So, there will be no release of a new single next month. There may be one in December and then the full album will come out in the first half of 2019. And, oh yeah, the title has changed… the album title will be “Late Night Meditations in Suburbia“. We’ve jumped tracks… expect maybe one or two surprises.

‘Til the update next Sunday…

And Part 2 of this year’s Leaf Extravaganza… 9/30
The pictorial continues… we are true fall leaf/color junkies.

On the Meadow Creek Trail, just north of Frisco…

More from the Meadow Creek Trail…

Looking southeast back toward Lake Dillon…
The Vail Valley… early morning on the Booth Falls Trail…
Hiking up the Booth Falls Trail…


On the Eagle Bahn gondola above Vail…

Hello, October!

Looking south from the top of Eagle Bahn… Mt. of the Holy Cross is the high peak in the center…

Riding up on the Eagle Bahn gondola right before sunset…
Looking north toward part of the Gore Range, Vail…
As dusk approaches…
Last light, Lionshead Village…
Heading home…

Although we missed peak color by about a week going further up into the high country – it’s always a bit of a crap shoot – there was still more than enough spectacular color and scenery, and it was good to get away and relax for a few days during the low season. We’ll do it again next year.

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…
Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

the dust settles… suburbia, santa fe, and sea change…

We made the move back on July 6th and Erin and I have been here over a month now. The whole process has felt like falling into a black hole and now we have emerged on the other side, dropped off in generic, white-bread suburbia. All in all though, aside from the unrelenting glut of corporate chain stores and restaurants and the clusterfuck that is the South Wadsworth and Bowles area in Littleton, which we avoid as much as possible, I like where we are now as it seems to be a kind of “no man’s land” that the greedy developers haven’t discovered yet. That of course, will change, but hopefully by then, we should be moving again. We went from Golden Ridge to Dakota Ridge, traded in a view of the dilapidated trailer park to watch the goings on at the dog park, which is infinitely much better, and we’re still about 15 minutes away from Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison.

The view to the northwest toward Morrison, afternoon thunderhead. Yes, we live next to a freeway but we hardly ever hear it.

The energy has shifted in a big way over the last month… so much that is new and all for the better, but I underestimated my down time in the studio; I am only now getting back to work and it’s August. The addition and incorporation of new gear in a new recording space always slows things down a little and some of that had been anticipated – the purchase of my first completely analog synthesizer since 1986 – but replacing a computer, operating system, and installing a new version of the music software I’ve been using was not expected but became necessary. A certain learning curve is involved. As a result, the full album, Outlier, will be coming out sometime in the first few months of 2019. I’m already hearing that this is a going to be a very different sounding album from what I first envisioned. A sea change. So now a 2-3 song single release is planned for October, early November as I finish up with what has already been recorded and mixed and only needs to be mastered at this point.

All that’s missing here is a unicorn…

The dust continues to settle and new routines become established… In the meantime, we took a short weekend trip down to Santa Fe last week for the opera and to do all the usual Santa Fe things we do.  And it became a kind of nothing-goes-as-planned weekend (brought to you by… Mercury retrograde, of course)… from almost getting fried in the Waterfall pool at Ten Thousand Waves when a lightning storm moved overhead to power outages in town and technical difficulties at the opera the next day.

And now we have one!… Thanks Ed!

We ate enough excellent New Mexican food at Maria’s and the Shed with coin margaritas to make up for it. A much-needed road trip in the midst of all the recent changes. A brief pictorial here:

Sunday morning on Water St., downtown…
Santa Fe Opera House, waiting for sundown…
Another Santa Fe morning…
Art market on the Plaza…
Margs at the Shed… It’s very orange-y in here…
First ones at the Cowgirl on Guadalupe St., always a fun place…
Heading back home through the Springs, Pikes Peak in the center…

‘Til next time, when we’ve gone hiking for the first time this summer, just as it’s coming to an end (thankfully as always).

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…
Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

the new single is out now, and move update…

Click for the larger image…

The Wheels Are Coming Off” was released this past week on June 12th and is now available on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, and all digital media outlets, including Spotify and Tidal. The final cover artwork appears below from the Bandcamp page.

The “B-side” on this is “Our Alternate Lives” which features Erin on alto sax. The mastering on the songs was done by Brian Hazard at Resonance Mastering as always. Thanks for listening!

Originally I had scheduled this release for the end of May, early June, but back then I did not know we would be in the process of moving during this time. We made that decision on May 4th and a month later, after the first and only weekend of showings, we went under contract (yes, the Golden market right now is hot, hot, disco… muy caliente). The inspection took place and has been signed off on this past week. We’re only waiting for the appraisal at this point but we will definitely be moving now in just 3 weeks, finalized as of yesterday.

It’s a sideways move, and speaks to the power of intention, the intent being that we would sell the house quickly and make this move with relative ease. So far it has been, and what seems like a puzzling move to some of our friends will ultimately get us where we want to go, which is back up to the mountains. Evergreen or beyond.

De-cluttering and packing is in full swing now. Even though we de-clutter twice a year already, there’s still a lot of stuff we’re getting rid of now – 6 years of being in one place. Moving is always a pain in the ass – it’s bittersweet, but you just can’t be attached to material stuff.

I won’t have too much down time in the studio during the move – the full album release is still planned for late November/early December, but if the release date slips into 2019, there will be another single release in mid-October.

It’s raining right now, finally… first time in a month. We need the rain, but no hail. Not here, not now.

All previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Sunday afternoon in the The ‘Cave Studio, Golden,CO… one corner of it anyway. Fender Strat “Buddy”, red Reverend Charger 290LE “Prince”…Reverend Rocco “Goldenboy” in the background…

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

“Everything popular is wrong.” – Oscar Wilde

on the move in the summer of 2018…

After 6 years here at la casa NoV in west Golden, we are moving to new digs within the next couple of months. This is the move we didn’t see coming but now it has come to pass, and this week, the purging, de-cluttering, and packing has begun. So this summer will be completely different than the last 6…

And the month of June now will be spent purging and packing as well.
Anybody out there a big fan of moving? Yeah, neither am I.
I’d rather be hiking.

Spring afternoon, Golden…

Erin and I would probably spend another few years here in the quiet oasis (bubble) we’ve created with our home, but the surroundings outside that bubble are what’s precipitating this move now. Long story short, the neighborhood had begun its precipitous slide downhill over the last 2 years or so, but especially over the last 6 months, aided and enabled by the City of Golden (boooo!).

The neighborhood wasn’t like this in 2015. Now it’s the constant construction, the increased traffic on the narrow streets, the un-maneuverable roundabout on the main thoroughfare in and out, the behemoth “luxury” garden duplexes, the eyesore to our immediate south, the nascent competition between two biker bars that will turn a half-mile stretch of West Colfax into mini-Sturgis this and every summer to follow. It has been the druggies and the “Breaking Bad” DIY meth lab in the trailer park (which the police, to their credit, did find and shut down), and the fence – the Goddamn tattered, ragamuffin fence of said trailer park which is owned by corporate slumlords based out of Chicago (hey, City of Golden, you ever hear of code enforcement?).

Erin has called it blight and she’s right. Granted, it’s far from the worst blight I’ve ever seen but it’s more blight than we care to deal with. This ain’t wine and it’s not going to improve with age. To the buyers of those new $700,000-$800,000 “luxury” eyesore garden duplexes, you’re going to just love your views of that trailer park and the ease of access into your new [overpriced] home. Enjoy! I imagine you will be talking to the City of Golden (boooo!) a lot in the years to come.

So, our house goes on the market in two weeks and we’re gettin’ out while the gettin’s good… Or as Chuck at the nearby U-Haul said, “Oh, you’re cashing out…” Something like that. Well, we won’t be going far… just 5-8 miles away, ’cause we’re westenders.

Right now I’m finishing up on current projects including the new 2-song single from Nights on Venus – “The Wheels Are Coming Off / Our Alternate Lives” – will be released on June 12th (6.12.18), about 3 1/2 weeks, in the midst of all the packing and general moving mayhem which I’m hoping can be kept to a minimum. The mixes on the songs are finalized and are going to mastering this week. And here is the preliminary cover artwork…

“The Wheels Are Coming Off”…

Final cover artwork may vary. We will see you next month, in transition.

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, released on July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
Cover artwork for the most recent 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, released on December 23rd, 2017. Available now on all digital media outlets…

The most recent releases from NoV are the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day” and the full-length album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, both from 2017. “We Are All Haunted…” includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Sunday afternoon in the The ‘Cave Studio, Golden,CO… one corner of it anyway. Fender Strat “Buddy”, red Reverend Charger 290LE “Prince”…Reverend Rocco “Goldenboy” in the background…

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

“Everything popular is wrong.” – Oscar Wilde

the more things change…

A couple of articles this past week from the Digital Music News that everyone should know about, if you didn’t already. For both listener/consumers of music and music creators, this is a heads up.

The first article:
Fair Warning: Amazon Music Will Delete All of Your MP3s on April 30th

Right there in the very first sentence… “Underscoring the death of MP3 downloads…” Well that sounds ominous. If you download regularly – and I do, though not necessarily from Amazon MP3 – you may be wondering: when did this happen?

Apparently, this has been an ongoing thing the last couple of years and as the article points out, “It’s a dying product, and Amazon is just managing the wind-down.” Not unlike, say… the 8-track tape in the early 1980s. Not profitable for them, I get it. But, as a music producer and record label owner, I do know that a fair amount of my sales have come from Amazon MP3. And the implications for you, if you are an independent recording artist producing music, are obvious: after this month, Amazon MP3 downloads will no longer be a source of revenue, a stream of income for you, and you will have to make that up somewhere else.

As an Amazon MP3 listener/consumer, pay special attention to this: “Users can choose to keep their tracks on the cloud simply by clicking “Keep my songs” under Music Settings“. That means their cloud is also going away.

On a personal note: This is the main reason I don’t trust “clouds” wherever they exist in cyberspace… just too nebulous for me.

OK, haha, pun intended… At least Amazon is giving you “Fair Warning”… Cue Todd; Edgar Winter on saxophone.

Second verse, same as the first:
An Apple Executive Says iTunes Music Downloads Will Be Shut Down

This news is significantly more alarming, again for you and me – the independent recording artist. The timetable seems to be set for the 1st Quarter of 2019. From Jimmy Iovine, now an Apple executive but as rock music fans know, a record producer going all the way back to the early 1970s: “There is no concrete timescale, but he said: “If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying. It’s very simple.”

The takeaway from both of these articles: the big boys – Apple and Amazon, and others – are driving music listeners and consumers to their subscription services. Streaming.

Well, as I’ve said before, listening to music through your smart phone through ear buds really is not the way to listen to music (see my post from 2/4/2018). I don’t care how good the quality of the phone is or if you have Bose ear buds, I will repeat: this is NOT the way to listen to music. Music you care about anyway…

Sure, I get that a subscription service is convenient for the consumer, but really, subscription streaming is to music what Keurig pods are to real (i.e., good) coffee. And that ain’t good. Lazy is what it is.

(Of course, music > coffee. I only make this analogy to reference the current popularity and convenience of the “product”).

In case you hadn’t noticed (or I didn’t make it clear previously), I am very passionate about music – very passionate about the way music is written, performed, and recorded, very passionate about the way it should be heard and listened to, and very passionate about the way music should be put out into the world. I really don’t care if it’s more expedient for music distribution companies to go all-in on streaming or what their bottom line is because in the long game of musical chairs these companies play on how to deliver music, it’s just another format for them. And just another format means that it can be easily replaced with some other format at any time.

In fact, this is the whole history of the music industry: selling the same music to us, the music consumer, over and over again in a never-ending smorgasbord of new and different formats. It keeps the money rolling in…

And it has done so, right up until the digital age…
I know, I’ve done it. I would have an album I loved on vinyl. When I didn’t have a good quality tape cassette recorder back in high school, I’d go buy the cassette tape of the same album because it was convenient and I wanted to listen to it in my car on the tape deck. A high-school classmate of mine, who has been a music lawyer in the industry for many years now, said at the time (and obviously, I have not forgotten it), “Boy, the record companies must love you.”

I’m sure they did. When CDs came out in the late 1980s, I kept my vinyl albums and bought many of the same albums on CD as well (look ma, no pops! And these’ll last for 75 years… or so we were told).

The Art of Listening
…is a lost art in the 21st century.
As Duke Ellington once said: “The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.”

Truth… and I would say that applies equally to music listeners/consumers. Listen to music the best way possible – when you have time, on a good stereo system, not as background music on your smart phone to go with your “active lifestyle” or whatever. At those times, you’re not really listening. Sure, you hear some music. Hearing isn’t listening.

And it’s not just music. In the larger picture, not listening has become endemic to this culture (I’m speaking American culture since that’s where I’m situated). Very few people take the time to actually listen – to what’s being said, to others – without trying to get their own two cents in, talk over someone else, refute someone else’s argument, or interrupt, distract or deflect (watch any network news program). The act of real listening is something that is no longer really valued on a societal level, and it shows up here, in the appreciation and valuation of listening to music as well.

True listening to an artist’s music implies ownership of that music through an available format – that is, you have a copy of that artist’s music that you can listen to anytime you want, in-depth, at your leisure, and is not dependent on anything else, such as a platform to serve it up to you via the Internet. It is always there available to you because you paid for it.

You love a particular artist/band’s music? Then buy it. Own it. Listen to it all you want. Most of all, enjoy it. Their music has enhanced your life. Forever. It has made your life richer. I would say this even if I were not a musician/recording artist since I am and always will be a music listener/consumer as well.

Spend your money on the artists you love, not on a subscription service that does not pay artists nearly enough or a fair rate for their work, or in the case of Spotify, is only there to sell you… Spotify, the platform. What’s next? Spotify, the Movie?

The implicit message of subscribing to a music streaming service is that you really don’t care about the music you claim to love because you’re supporting the service and not the artist, by not investing in that artist’s work.

The music is the most important thing, first and foremost. Spend your money on the artists, not the techies. I say this both as an artist, but also as one of those ‘techies’, having been in the I.T. world as a web developer for 14 years.

As I said earlier this year regarding any particular streaming platform, you cannot put the cart before the horse. Because eventually you have no horse (i.e., the artists making the music). Spend your money on the artists and on those formats which have endured – i.e., CDs, vinyl LPs, MP3 downloads where you can find them in the near future (CD Baby, Bandcamp, eMusic for sure… Rhapsody?), and even tape cassettes. There’s a reason those formats have endured and continue to: they’re the best… for listening. Ownership of the music you love is the way to go. Always.

What am I listening to right now? My favorite ZZ Top album, “Degüello“… on vinyl. Yes, I did grow up in Texas… Tejas. Yes, I did grow up on vinyl records, reel-to-reel tape (very sexy in the early 1970s), tape cassettes, 8-track tapes, digital audio tapes, CDs, DVDs, digital downloads (MP3, MP4, FLAC, .WAV), and… occasionally streaming (but I don’t subscribe). Did I leave anything out?

What this means for me as a music producer whose revenue stream from downloads comes primarily from Apple iTunes at this point is that I will be releasing the next album and subsequent albums on CD with an eye toward vinyl LPs as the budget (me again, as record company) can accommodate. It also means I will be going through my previous albums, probably re-mastering a few songs, possibly re-sequencing a few things to put the entire catalog on CDs, again with an eye toward vinyl. Is there a demand for this? Most likely… not. So full speed ahead.

Nights on Venus News:
Just finished up the mastered demo for “The Wheels Are Coming Off” which will be featured in the forthcoming Bond movie, “Bond 25“… No, just kidding (but it should be). You can preview it right here via Soundcloud.

The Wheels Are Coming Off” will be released as a 2-song single at the end of May/early June with the B-side, “Our Alternate Lives“, and both will appear on the new album, scheduled now for late November, 2018. More details to follow… As always, thank you for tuning in and, most importantly, listening… – Craig

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, released on July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
Cover artwork for the most recent 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, released on December 23rd, 2017. Available now on all digital media outlets…

The most recent releases from NoV are the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day” and the full-length album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, both from 2017. “We Are All Haunted…” includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Sunday afternoon in the The ‘Cave Studio, Golden,CO… one corner of it anyway. Fender Strat “Buddy”, red Reverend Charger 290LE “Prince”…Reverend Rocco “Goldenboy” in the background…

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Words to live by…
“Everything popular is wrong.” – Oscar Wilde