When in a Depression: Create and be with friends.

I would very much like to make a new record. But I'm at a weird crossroads, and I can't decide whether to continue to forge ahead on my own or sign with some sort of small label. We artists know that we can no longer make money by selling CDs now that everyone just downloads them, mostly illegally. For the few of you who don't understand just how much illegal downloads have affected sales, remember my huge viral hit "Blue Dreidel No. 9" back in Chanukah 2007? Despite the HUNDREDS of emails I got from around the world -- and the 1000 YouTube hits on the first day alone -- from people telling me they'd put my song on their iPods, I've collected only $36.10 in digital sales to date on that record. Kind of shocking, don't you think? Luckily I don't have to split that hefty profit with a record company. I'm not fussing at you, kind supporter of independent music. I think folks just don't realize how much effort and cost goes into putting out a CD.

Despite the frustration and expense, however, it's thrilling to me that there is no longer a standard way of releasing music. I get to be extra creative and try all kinds of new things, and I'm not limited to "Record. Duplicate. Do Press Release. Have Show. Tour. Repeat." This blog, for example, in addition to being a daily writing exercise, has been a really great way of connecting directly with people, during times when it's just too costly to be out touring. (To those of you who just read my blog, it might interest you to know that I am first and foremost ... a musician! Shocker, in the blogsphere, I know.)

I like the idea that I get to be creative, however, and I do know that I have extremely loyal and supportive fans. So I'm trying to be creative about making my next record. Whether I take some cash advance or not, I'm still going to have to make this next record on-the-cheap. And on-the-cheap means being inventive and working with friends. Luckily, that is my favorite way to work.