Today I decided to make a change in my direction towards optimizing the Harlem Voices musical for performance. I, obviously, have tons of content to share but the main problem I need to address is focusing that content towards successful partnerships with other artists and performance groups. In the past I was content to compose a piece of music, then let it sit until I could convince a group I play cello with to perform it. However, these days I can rely on sophisticated software to reproduce the sound quality of orchestral instruments with such fidelity that most people cannot tell they are not listening to a live performance/recording.
Instead of concentrating on producing better content (more recordings, adding closed captioning to movies, or more extensive linking to the jazzicalmusic site) I need to market the musical to a saturated market. How can I get my very fine new musical into the hands of people who don't know me? How do I package my material so that it can serve those people the best? How do they find new musicals? Do they care about performing new musicals? These are the kinds of questions I need to answer.
Although I am not very thrilled about marketing my works, the collaborative nature of Harlem Voices demands that I do so. The larger question of how to successfully market the music I compose is difficult. I am fond of saying that no one will run down to the music store to purchase my new string quartet. I have used that quip as a shorthand way to illustrate my dilemma. It is brutally sad, and accurate... so brutal, in fact, that I have been in denial about it. Now it is time to re-invent myself as a "classical" composer who does not do my work from behind a guitar or in front of a band.
Today I had a breakthrough in my thinking about how to combine my digital content into a cohesive, unified system. I realized that I need to create a vehicle that will allow me to both sell some content and advertise/share other content. The trick will be to point all the pieces towards a "funnel" that will sort the various requests for information about my work and direct those requests appropriately.
Something as simple as providing captioning for YouTube (as seen below) movies of music that has lyrics can make a big difference in terms of accessibility to that music. It took a little while to do this today in YouTube but I am very happy with the results. I also set up Google Analytics to help me track activities at the Harlem Voices website and the website devoted to the Lewis-McKinley Symbolic Language (LMSL), a language (including software) I invented 20 years ago that describes the evolution of systems over time.
These two, disparate websites are an example of my dilemma: the Harlem Voices site needs to invite people to collaborate with me in producing the show (and purchasing products from it), while the LMSL is a highly abstract, intellectual work that I wish to share in order to advance a theoretical contribution to the fields of logic, cybernetic systems, software development, systems management and design, and visualization technology.
It will be interesting to see what develops!
I have been a fan of Weebly for at least 5 years. I love the interface and the value I have received from using their product. Just when I need them the most they are crashing. I don't know why, but it now seems impossible to create a new account. Worse, although I can change content of sites I am hosting on the platform, it is not possible to add to them. For example, I attempted to add a blog page to the Harlem Voices website but that functionality was totally broken. My cohorts in class were so frustrated at their attempts to create new accounts that they quite in frustration. After wasting way too long trying to find workarounds I finally decided to at the "Harlem Voices Blog" category to this site instead of embedding it into the Harlem Voices website, where it belongs. This is so frustrating!
I am attempting to combine all the digital assets that comprise the vast constellation of content I have produced for many years. I have a website called Jazzical Music where my music is published, there is a website for Harlem Voices (the new musical I composed), there is a site for my consulting firm, and this personal blog. None of these elements are meaningfully combined... especially not in a way that will allow me to financially benefit from content I would like to sell.
I am taking a class called "Countering Oppression in Media" at the Starr King School for the Ministry during the 2020 Winter Intensive that is helping me to focus on this obvious problem. Although the course addresses strategies to counter oppression in our society using media, it also provides us with practical tools to do so.
For so many years I have taken a scattered (and somewhat cross-purposed) approach to getting my music recordings, scores, and literary writings out into the world. Some of the work is suitable for sale, while some simply needs me to let people know it exists. For example, Harlem Voices is, by definition, a collaborative work. It will require other creative people to produce it. How do I get it into the right hands? How can I get other people to see it? How do I convince them to take on this very large, complete work that is so timely and can be so useful in dismantling white supremacy in the United States? These are the questions I would like to have answered during the course of this class. At the very least, I would like to go a long way towards answering those questions. I'll keep you posted!
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!