There’s something I’ve been struggling with throughout the process of making this record, and after talking with a few trusted friends I’ve come to a final decision: I’m not going to release my new record, Southern Writer, on Spotify, iTunes, or any other online platforms besides my website. I’m writing this letter to you because I felt this decision required an explanation.
Streaming services don’t pay their songwriters enough. They’ve essentially taken the main revenue stream for songwriters and chopped it into about a tenth of what it should be. I think it’s also changing the way we listen to music. With such an unending catalog of music available, and so many artists vying for your attention, it’s become way too easy to just click the skip button if the song doesn’t catch you in the first 10 seconds. To me that encourages uncomplicated music. I personally think great music takes time to evolve. Great music has to grow on you. You have to invest your time and figure it out. And I think streaming services undermine that process.
Most of the music industry people I have talked to about this decision have cautioned me against it and for the most part, I think they’re right. For just about any artist going forward, it’ll probably be necessary to have really good streaming numbers. But I’ve lived with it long enough, and I can no longer consciously be a part of the problem. The songs on this record took me years to write. They’re about my 10 years of driving through the night to get home from smoke filled bars. They’re about staying up all night to watch my daughter sleep the first night she was home. They’re about trying to understand the death of my best friend. They’re worth more to me than a click on a website.
I think it’s important to say that this is not really a “business” decision, even though it has to do with money. While the revenue from record sales helps keep my dream alive, it’s not really your money I’m after. It’s your respect. It’s my hope that if you pay for this album, you’ll try and get your money’s worth out of it. I hope when it comes on in your car, it’ll carry a little more value, and because of that you’ll listen intently. And I hope you listen often. These songs aren’t written to gain your attention in 30 seconds. But, I believe in these songs, and I hope that, given enough of a chance, you’ll see what I see in them.
I am forever grateful for your support.