Evan Bartholomew, aka Bluetech, has taken to social media with a stat claiming that his newest album, Basement Dubs EP, hit over 400 file-sharing sites before it was officially released.
Ouch! That’s quite a hard hit for an independent musician who is trying to convert his studio to a solar powered off-grid space.
Bluetech says that he wants to “live in integrity with my beliefs and be a responsible musician doing everything I can to honor and care for my wild and gorgeous planet.”
He then elaborates on this more by calling his fans to action…
If only 10 percent of my fans supported this release I would be able to convert to solar power. If you hear me, the message I’ve been putting forth in my music, to love and honor the planet and its peoples, your support is greatly appreciated. – Bluetech
After hearing that Bluetech was facing this uphill battle to rally his fans for support we reached out to him for a chat. Here is a transcript of our conversation..
We love that you are vocal about the ethics in music sales.
Honestly, the inspiration for me to comment about the significant imbalance around peoples music consumption came not only from the response to my new release, but the fact that many of my good friends and incredibly talented people have either already stopped making music, or have given up trying to make it work and found day jobs and only occasionally release music. My metaphor is that people wont really miss the forest until it’s gone, and I’m not sure that people are truly aware of how close their favorite artists are to throwing in the towel. There is such a massive inequality in the ethics of many music fans, which I don’t believe is intentional, but rather a pervasive misunderstanding about the actual personal affect that music piracy has on the artists that they know and love. I tried to make the narrative personal so people would have an access point to relate. Unfortunately, though the post went viral, there were WAY more people that “liked” the post than actually supported the album.
What was the turning point that brought you to speak up about the topic of illicit downloads?
It’s a bit disheartening that after 10 years and personal requests, there is still only about a 2-3 percent conversion of fans who feel that my music is worth supporting. Still, 2-3 percent is better than none, and as long as I can find a way to make it sustainable, I will continue making music.
Do you think there is a space/time/place for free music downloads? For your own music or for others?
I think free music absolutely has its place as a method of wide distribution, and have absolutely no problems with the concept, however I feel that the content creators should have the decision about when and where their work is distributed for free. It’s not a perfect model, but Spotify offers free music, and they actually pay a percentage of their ad revenues back to the artists. Its micropennies, but as a model it’s still better than nothing!
Going solar in the studio is a cool concept. Can you tell us about what kind of setup you are hoping to have? Are there currently studios doing similar things?
I don’t know of any other studios going solar, but my plan is actually to convert my whole home space to a solar setup. It will change my working habits, and require a much more vigilant awareness of my power consumption, but I actually think it’s kind of cool. My creative cycles will be synced with the movement of the sun and allow for a more organic and in the moment relationship to when I work. Budget is a huge concern, so I am going to learn how to make do with less, and ration my power usage, but ultimately it’s this type of thinking which is needed to begin to ween ourselves from an addiction to unsustainable resource usage, right?