We’re Running A Big Experiment…

Thank you to everyone who read and listened to and commented on my last blog post!

It has been lovely to re-connect with WordPress friends and acquaintances after my three-month hiatus from blogging (although I did continue to read a fair number of other people’s blog posts during that fallow time).

Last night I was unable to fall asleep.

I am guessing it was a combination of reading two more chapters of Deep Adaptation (which can be profoundly terrifying and heart-breaking) combined with falling asleep for an hour during an unsatisfying football game earlier this evening (our New England Patriots fell ignominiously to the Buffalo Bills with a final score of 17 to 47) combined with the several chocolate truffles (made in Canada for Trader Joe’s) which I ate in the late afternoon before bundling up in many layers — t-shirt, hoodie, thin down jacket, thick down vest, thin black jacket, hat, gloves, and huge winter parka — and walking around a local lake in the very cold, refreshing winter air.

I have included another new song in the player at the beginning of this blog post.

I had intended to release it at the very beginning of 2022, but two things have delayed me.

One is some confusion about whether I should continue to use CD Baby (the company that has been distributing my recordings with pianist Doug Hammer to various digital music platforms) as my publishing administrator.

In case you do not know, when one records a song, there are two main copyrights for that recording.

One is a copyright for the actual recording.

That is usually owned or controlled by the recording artist (such as Lady Gaga or Tony Bennett or an independent musician like me) or by the recording artist’s record label (which may have advanced the money needed to make the recording…)

The other is a copyright for the song itself.

That is usually owned by the songwriter(s) and/or their publishing company.

So when I record a song written by someone else (Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, for example), I own the copyright for my specific recording, and I pay a mechanical royalty in advance to the entity which owns the compositional copyright for that song.

When I record and release one of my original songs, I act as my own record label AND publishing company — and up until this point I’ve been using CD Baby as my publishing administrator.

A publishing administrator helps to track down earnings on behalf of the person who wrote the song.

I recently took an online class to learn more about how one might get one’s songs placed in TV shows and movies — and it turns out that one option is to find a sync rep to help me pitch my songs to music supervisors (who find songs for TV shows, movies, advertisements, and video games).

And some sync reps also like to act as one’s publisher — so having an agreement with CD Baby to be the publishing administrator for my original songs might be a detrimental to building a relationship with a sync rep…

So I’ve been stalled for the past month, wondering exactly what to do next regarding my publishing administration options.

And sadly, CD Baby — which once offered immediate phone assistance when it was a groovy, independent company — now only offers phone callbacks (during a window of time over a couple of days) or email responses (which also can take many days to get a response).

I assume this is because they were bought up by a larger company who decided that the immediate phone assistance option was too expensive and/or inefficient.

And it took two weeks for them to respond to my most recent questions about their publishing administration option — maybe because it was the holiday season and/or maybe because my question didn’t fit perfectly into one of their dropdown menu options for customer service assistance…

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Another reason why I have been delayed in releasing my new songs is because a few of them are about challenging topics such as our climate change/disaster and our current Covid epidemic/disaster — which I am guessing might elicit strong feedback/pushback (the prospect of which I find scary…)

And of course there is probably good-old-fashioned denial at work, too.

Sharing songs such as “We’re Running A Big Experiment” with the rest of the world (or rather with the people who have electricity and smart phones/computers and access to digital music platforms such as Spotify and Pandora and Apple Music around the world) somehow makes the topics I am writing about more real.

I can no longer hide in my own little puddle of denial once I put them out there.

And denial is an extraordinarily wily and powerful psychological mechanism/phenomenon.

One of the things I’ve been observing — in a spirit of curiosity rather than judgement — is how much denial can be triggered when one begins reading Deep Adaptation.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, a friend invited a group of us (seven total) to read it together and also to discuss it each month via Zoom.

Since we began this process, some of us have managed to write down the wrong time for our Zoom meetings, some have taken a nap and almost missed a Zoom meeting (until someone else called and woke them up), and some have gotten ill and missed a Zoom meeting.

And many of us — myself very much included — have struggled to read the recommended chapters before each monthly Zoom meeting.

What have been YOUR experiences with denial?

And with climate change?

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

I wrote in my last email that I was going to write shorter blog posts; so I’d better end this one now.

I am very grateful to you if you have managed to read this far and perhaps have also listened to “We’re Running A Big Experiment.”

Thank you!

I am also very grateful to Doug Hammer — for his wonderful piano playing AND his engineering skills AND his advice/input regarding the harmonies I sang on this song — as well as to the photographers and artists at Pixabay for their magnificent images.

And I remain truly grateful for all the blessings I currently have in my life — food, shelter, heat, warm clothing, electricity, a functional computer, access to the internet, a reliable bicycle, family, friends, and the WordPress community (to name just a few!)

One final deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

PS: You are always welcome to visit my website — where you can find many songs (and learn more about my musical life here on planet earth if you are curious).

You can also find me singing — with Doug Hammer playing his Schimmel grand piano — on SpotifyPandoraApple Music and other digital music platforms.

And if you are hungry for a more uplifting song as an antidote to “We’re Running A Big Experiment,” you are welcome to click here and listen to a song I wrote a few years ago when visiting friends in Toronto called “Another Good Morning” (which I recorded with Doug Hammer and released on a bunch of different digital music platforms last year).

I earn only a fraction of a cent any time someone plays one of my recordings on a digital music service — but they all add up!

PPS: If I have mis-explained the basic copyright concepts regarding recorded songs, please correct me in the comments section!

6/13/22 I finally distributed “We’re Running A Big Experiment” via CD Baby to various digital music platforms! You can click here to listen on Pandora, Youtube, Apple Music, Spotify, and more…

46 thoughts on “We’re Running A Big Experiment…

  1. Hi Will. I’m glad you’re back writing, singing, and pondering our grand experiment. I hope you figure out the best way to market and publish your music. You have a wonderful voice. I probably am guilty of denial. I do small things while knowing it will take many large changes adopted on a grand scale with the help of corporations and governments. And I have a fatalist perspective that if we don’t adapt in time, humans will disapear and nature will restore and move on from her grand experiment with us.

    • Thanks for reading and listening and leaving a thoughtful comment, Brad. I see lots of wisdom in your perspective and often wonder if things like Covid are feedback loops from mother earth letting us humans know that our time of fossil-fuel-driven dominance over the planet is soon to end. The Deep Adaptation book seems to suggest/acknowledge that we human beings have squandered our opportunities (as individuals, governments, corporations, unions, religious communities, etc.) to significantly change the trajectory of escalating climate-change-related disasters in our future. I haven’t yet finished the book, but I think that part of the work we can continue to do is to practise kindness, empathy, listening, curiosity, gratitude, respect, and connection with all of the interwoven beings — human and non-human — here on planet earth while simultaneously bearing witness to the present moment AND the unfolding future. And you seem to do a lot — and maybe all — of that already!

      • Thank you Will. I appreciate how deeply you care about our planet as I do. And I agree being kind and compassionate while taking steps that we can individually, and while we work/wait/wonder if the collective will join.

  2. I haven’t listened yet but will. As for climate change ….It has been going on for a very long time and will probably continue until the Creator decides otherwise. Denial fits the same. We just need to be on the side of truth and remember not everyone has the Truth. You will get all of this business stuff worked out but I certainly don’t know the answer. So….carry on.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and this thought-provoking song. I wish you luck marketing your music. You have a great voice that the world should hear.

    Denial is real in so many areas of life. It seems people would rather deny than face up to an truth they don’t understand, or that makes them uncomfortble. That is true of climate change and also the pandemic—too many self-interest groups spouting lies and sadly they have the attention of people who want easy answers and aren’t willing to search for truth.

    • Thank you for listening and reading and commenting, Michelle! Yes, we human beings DO tend to crave (and be satisfied with and even fight to the death for) easy answers. Nuance and contradiction and paradox and an ever-changing/evolving narrative require patience, perhaps, and curiosity and compassion and ongoing education plus a desire to learn? I very much hope that the future will NOT be increasingly terrifying and desperate. But I am beginning to accept that it very likely will be… A big part of Deep Adaptation (although I haven’t finished the book yet so I can’t say for sure…) is imagining different ways that our very challenging future might unfold — with more rather than less cooperation, with more rather than less compassion/empathy, with more rather than less willingness to tolerate complexity/uncertainty/ambiguity, and many more things that I don’t yet understand (or have already misunderstood!!!) Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I take heart from fellow human beings — like you — who are also looking at our unsustainable, consumerist world/mindset with fresh eyes!

  4. Will, I hope you make headway with CD Baby in moving forward with your ambitions to reach a wider market with your music. Yes, denial! In order to understand why and how we’re stuck in the climate crisis limbo, I’m currently reading The Truth About Denial: Bias and Self-Deception in Science, Politics, and Religion by Adrian Bardon. Sadly, according to the author, we are all subject to bias and self-deception. Only the gods know if we will get beyond this stranglehold of denial. I haven’t yet started reading Deep Adaptation, but I’m already aware of where we are headed as a species on Planet Earth. My sons are in denial of the chaos that awaits them, but I am confident that together they have the skills needed for survival. They both laugh at my attempts to grow food crops: some success with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and peppers; but so far a failure with okra, string beans, and cucumbers. I’m not giving up.

    • Hurrah that you re not giving up! I will track down the book you mention about denial. I love your way with words:: “Only the gods know if we will get beyond this stranglehold of denial.” It really is a fascinating and horrifying time — when so many human beings (thinking of Covid, for example) are dead set (and sadly that is not just a turn of phrase for more and more vaccine-deniers…) upon doing the exact opposite of what would be helpful for the common good. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  5. As much as I understand the effort, you should probably look into other options so you know what’s out there. Good luck with expanding your audience!!! Now I’m going to go listen to the song…

  6. A thought provoking post, Will and I love the track (which) I have shared on Monday Musings…I would be interested in your groups and your thoughts on Deep Adaptation. I have also listened to Jem’s YouTube talk…While on the face of it I agree with much of what he is saying…I also have reservations about some of the actions planned…some of the actions carried out previously have had two fold reactions..Yes, the government have responded maybe not in the way that was wanted but also the public have responded in two ways an acceptance of the actions but when it effects their livelihoods it sets them against these actions…Is that a good thing or is that the intention people against people to me that doesn’t bode well…
    I do not however have a clue as to what would be a successful action to take apart from collectively doing everything we can and making manufacturers and supermarkets aware by not buying certain products… collectively that would work…if there is no demand there is no need to supply…manufacturers would have to change as for them it is about profit..Hit them where it hurts…

    • Thank you for sharing it!!! It IS hard to know what actions to take which won’t boomerang and unintentionally make things even worse… Also very hard to figure out a solution to the fact that so many of our livelihoods (and aspirations and dreams and goals and expectations) are completely unsustainable… Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  7. That’s a beautiful song, Will, and beautifully performed.
    I’m a pessimist about climate change; I think it’s been too late to avoid it for some time, and we’re seeing the effects already. I catch myself feeling maudlin about the “before times” when we drove with the wind in our hair, as you say. Then I think we deserve what we’re about to experience. Aging boomers in chaotic times–not great! Anyway, no more of this doom and gloom right now. (Maybe that’s denial.)
    I liked your post; you addressed a variety of topics, with great picture choices!

    • Thank. you for reading and listening, Audrey! I love your comment. My family loved to drive long distances — and in the early days (before the days of air-conditioning when my parents were driving a VW Bug or Carmen Ghia or Microbus) the wind certainly whipped some of our hair. The folks who wrote/edited the Deep Adaptation book certainly share your (and my) perspective that it is too late to avoid increasingly dramatic/horrific climate-change-related weather/famine/disease/conflict/refugee/etc. events. They are focused on how we might navigate the challenges more (rather than less) respectfully, gracefully, open-heartedly, gratefully, collaboratively, communally, lovingly, creatively, curiously… I also agree with you that many of us (those who have been ignorantly or blithely or selfishly consuming way more than our fair share of natural resources for the past decades/generations) deserve what we are about to experience. Each day that I still have food and electricity and an internet connection and health care and family/friends who are alive is a big blessing which I do not take for granted. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  8. I learn so much from you about copywriting and publishing music. My head is spinning, and I can see where you have tough choices to make. No wonder you couldn’t sleep after the terrible Patriots loss! 🙂

    • Thank you for your empathy, Jennie! Pondering my choices/options from a place of ignorance is frustrating. But this, too, shall pass. And on. the topic of football, the Buccaneers and Mr. Brady and Mr. Gronkowski (plus a bunch of other great players) are still in playoffs… On yet another topic, I was telling a mother in one of my MT classes about your blog after she shared with me that she and her husband have been reading aloud a lot to their one-year-old son. I am going to send her a link to one of your blog posts about the many-layered power/value of reading aloud to others.

      • You are welcome, Will. Tomorrow we will definitely be watching Brady and Gronk. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Edelman joined the team next year? I really like Mac Jones. He is much like a young Brady.

        Thank you so much for telling me about the mother in your MT class. And thank you for passing along a blog post to her! I told you that a mother in my class is currently in MT training. I will have to get an update from her. I told her all about you. 😀

      • Hurrah for someone doing the MT training! Music Together has been a big plus in my life. I will be curious to hear what they think (and I might end up meeting them at a regional training session once we can return to having them in person…) I love the idea of Julian Edelman joining Tom and Gronk in Florida. Sadly another beloved receiver whom Tom, if I am understanding correctly, lobbied to get signed by the Buccaneers was not able to keep his personal demons at bay this season… Deep sigh. Mac Jones seems sublime and wise/talented/poised beyond his years. Hopefully he will continue to enjoy playing and will continue to improve and continue to stay with the Patriots. And I LOVE pointing parents and grandparents of young children towards your blog!!!

      • Yes, cheers to Mac, and to Tom (albeit he had a terrible game yesterday.) I can dream that Edelman joins the team, but I don’t know the story behind personal demons or Tom lobbying to get him signed. Thanks so much for pointing parents and grandparents toward my blog. I will let you know about my parent and her MT training. Stay warm, Will.

      • The demons reference was not about Mr. Edelman but was a reference to Antonio Brown, who was conspicuously not in the stadium helping win yesterday’s game… And today is a sunny day, which always lifts my spirits!!!

    • Thank you for listening and commenting, Anita. I love your beautiful images of the (often natural) world!!! It is worth protecting (and as you know, our human lives depend upon the healthy feedback loops of many, many, many non-human ecosystems here on planet earth…)

  9. The hoops us creative people have to jump through to get our work out there can be so complicated and disheartening sometimes! The song is passionate and lovely, I particularly love the way the end builds to the finale.

    • Thank you for reading and listening and then leaving such a supportive comment. Sometimes it DOES feel as though the fossil-fuel-driven, corporate-controlled, capitalist plutocracy in which we currently live makes it hard for creative people (who don’t want to go into advertising and/or dream up complicated financial schemes for wealthy people to get even wealthier) to make a living. Let us persevere, however! Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  10. Hi, Will. So much in one rich post—as always.
    I used to believe that art and polemics don’t mix, but often art reaches people in a way that polemics can’t. I like your song a lot, and I think it’s brave and right and valuable for you to be going in that direction.

    Best of luck in sorting out your intricate publishing/representative matter. Just reading about it made my head hurt!

    Stay warm and safe!

    Annie

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and uplifting feedback! Learning about the ins and outs of the (ever-evolving) music business seems rather pointless when compared with the climate catastrophe that is already upon us. However, by writing songs about what’s going on right now (I have another one I’m in the process of mixing called “Waltzing With Covid-19), I feel I can bring both threads (polemics and art) together a bit… Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

    • Thank you for listening and leaving such a lovely comment!!! I do a lot of harmonizing when I am singing by myself, but this time Doug helped me fine-tune, record — and layer! — my harmonic ideas…

      • Funny you write that! I am currently in the midst of fixing/mixing a bunch of songs with lots of harmony which Carole Bundy, Molly Ruggles and I recorded in December — and Bobbi Carrey and I have recently resumed working on a project (“In Perfect Harmony”) which features songs with harmony. So 2022 bodes to be a year FULL of harmony…

  11. Reading your posts always makes me think, Will. There is always much to ponder. Music is wonderful – I don’t know where I’d be without it; love your music! Amidst all the tumult in the world, I am coming to realise that the most important thing might be to listen. Listen to somebody else. Yourself. Listen.

    • Thanks for this lovely, thoughtful feedback, Mike! I agree that this might be the era of listening… perhaps to people who never got enough listening/care/attention as infants/children/teenagers/adults and are now acting out their un-met needs on everyone else (by driving their 18 wheeler truck into the center of their country’s capital, for example, and blowing incredibly loud horns non-stop for days at a time…)

      • It’s a crazy world. So much I don’t understand, including the hate that disagreeing with a point of view seems to generate and confusing the right to protest with disrupting other people’s lives.

      • Yes. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. My best guess is that underneath the hate is an unacknowledged terror — about the increasing climate catastrophes that await us, for example, due to our over-consumptive ways of life for the past few generations and/or (in the USA among many white folks anyways) that people of color are going to rise up and exact revenge rather than justice. I continue to be amazed that most of the political leaders of color in the USA remain committed to a path of justice (rather than revenge) even though justice continues to be thwarted again and again and again… Which brings me back to your original comment about the power/value of MUSIC and thinking about the extraordinary musical practices/rituals/innovations birthed in the African-American community here in the USA which have blossomed into gospel, blues, jazz, rock, funk, pop, hip hop, rap, etc. Let’s all keep singing!

  12. Beautiful song for a tragic moment in human history… thank you very much for bringing the urgent issue to the critical conversation! Xoxoxo

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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