Getting On With It | Nathan Savage Studio

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Getting On With It

When I relaunched this website in July (Hello, World), I imagined I'd use it to share songs (and other things), occasionally, as they were made, but that's no longer what I want to do (with the songs anyway). After having some time to develop a creative process that works for me and some time to think over all I've learned about the music business (info below), I've decided that at this time I don't want to share my songs piecemeal. Instead, I want to write and release an entire album and use this site to document my progress along the way. So, today I'll begin with a story about how (this version of) this website came to be. [1]

Back in autumn, 2020—after COVID-19 came out to play, but long before it was under control—I was living with my brother in an old cabin on the outskirts of a small town. Things were going all right, I guess, [2] but I was wasting a lot of time. [3] Instead of making things like I should've been, I was spending a lot of time working on (i.e., bikeshedding) a prior version of this website and I was experiencing a lot of existential dread. Fortunately, I was prompted to make a change in my life when, of all things, my web host was acquired by a lousy company and I felt compelled to take my business elsewhere. After considering my hosting options, I decided that moving my dynamic, custom-made, fruitless site [4] over to a spendy new host (e.g., AWS, Google Cloud) would be pointless (and a slight pain in the ass), and so I made a more significant change: I moved over to GitHub Pages to save some cash and start anew. [5] The most notable downside to my decision, I thought, was that I'd be limited to posting static content, but the fortuitous consequence of this constraint, I figured, was that I'd feel pressured to focus on creating actual content instead of wasting time on bullshit. To further encourage myself to not waste time, I parked a blank page on the site (after futzing around) and promised myself I wouldn't work on it again until I had a plan.

Later on, when I was watching TV one day, I happened upon an episode of Open Door that toured a mansion owned by Zedd. [6] Now, I'd never heard of Zedd before, but after seeing where he lived for a few seconds it became clear to me that he'd done all right for himself making music for a living. So, I wondered: Why couldn't I do that? Why couldn't I try to earn something from making music? I might not become a huge success and end up with a mansion, but I could at least earn something, right? If I tried, what's the worst that could happen? I figured there was only one way to find out, and so I made it my goal to earn something from making music.

A couple of months later my brother moved out because I'd advised him to (not necessarily because he'd wanted to). Why? Well, I'd been applying for jobs in hopes of advancing my traditional career and I wanted him to get reestablished somewhere else before I landed a new job and needed to move (I figured it would be easier if he planned his departure in advance instead of scrambling to move last-minute). So yeah, he moved out, but unfortunately I didn't land a new job and so I found myself paying twice the rent, which really sucked, at first. It sucked a little less once I realized I had an empty room at my disposal that I could turn into a rudimentary music studio. It sucked even less once I bought some new equipment with some of that money the U.S. government had been doling out.

After working in the studio for about a month, I had a few new songs in the works and I was feeling pretty good about how things were going, creatively, but I didn't think I was doing enough to move towards accomplishing my aforementioned goal. So, to help me get some ideas about what I could and should be doing to move things forward, I read two books about the music business, [7][8] and they gave me a lot to think about. Some of the topics they discussed (e.g., copyright, distribution, royalties, sync licensing) interested me more than others (e.g., playing live, touring), but ultimately I'm glad I read these books in their entirety because they helped me develop a plan for accomplishing my goal. [9]

Once I had a plan, I finally turned my attention back to this long-neglected website. My objective was to create something clean and simple that would allow me to share blog posts about the things I create, links to external sites and an “about” page. To accomplish this, I mostly rejected JavaScript [10] and chose to rely on CSS for in-page interactions, I tried to follow some of the principles of responsive design and I tried to respect users who like to navigate the web with a keyboard. Anyway, after working on it in the evening for about two months I met my self-imposed deadline and relaunched this site on July 4th, 2021. Since then, I've made some minor changes, [11] but I've mostly refrained from wasting time and worked on music instead.

So, that ends my little story about how this site came to be. Now that I have a studio to work in, a plan for accomplishing my goal and a website for documenting my progress, I really am ready to get on with it.

[1] In other words, it's time for more ramblings with odd footnotes.

[2] I mean, does living in an old cabin with your brother during a pandemic sound “all right” to you?

[3] Advice: Don't waste your time.

[4] 'Twas being built with Flask and PostgreSQL, FYI.

[5] Initial commit

[6] By the way, if you're curious about Zedd (Anton Zaslavski), it's Zedd—not Zed. If you search for Zed instead of Zedd, you're liable to stumble down a rabbit hole that leads to a clip of Zed in Pulp Fiction, which is something you might not want to see. So yeah, if you're interested in Zedd, don't forget that second “d” in the name, folks! You've got to be careful about what you're Googling out there! ;-)

[7] How To Make It in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand

[8] All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman

[9] Here's some unsolicited advice from someone just starting out in music: If you're interested in making it in music and you're just starting out, you should read both of the books I mention above so you can become familiar with various aspects of the business. Even if, like me, you find some of the stuff discussed in these books irrelevant to your personal musical goals, I think you'll be better off for having learned about all that these books discuss.

[10] I made an exception for Google Analytics.

[11] The changes were made to clean things up a little and make it easier for me to write blog posts.

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