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Shifting Paradigms

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Did you feel it too? Of course, you did. From 2020 through the thankfully maskless Holidays of 2022 we all experienced one of the longest, drawn out, global paradigm shifts in a century: the reshaping of our lives and society at large by Covid-19. Without a doubt our perceptions of life and living it have been forever altered.

With such dynamics, changes that occurred caused tragedy and hardships. But like new sprouts shooting up in land purged by fire, out of suffering and loss springs a new awareness with unexpected blessings; such as our need to be more sensitive to the needs of others, and how to be patient and communicate more clearly especially with families and friends. But as slow as the phenomenon happened in real time, powerful paradigms were shifting underneath the big picture without notice until we woke up in a new place altogether.

I began outlining this post during the lazy week between Christmas and New Year’s. I had a conversation about it with Susan Singer the media manager and co-developer of the David and Goliath Music website. Susan and I have been working together going on 8 years and she still tries to help me stay focused. Along with all we’ve accomplished I’ve gotten to be good friends with she and her husband Keith. Her encouragement and inspiration have been indispensable support factors for David and Goliath Music and instrumental helping me drag the DC Star projects and everything that went along with them across the finish line. Here’s a picture of us when I blew through Richmond VA last fall and visited their new home.

So, I said to Susan “I’m going to write the next NEWS blog and entitle it “Shifting Paradigms”. She chuckled and said “That reminds me of when I was attending a sales seminar years ago. The speaker said “Today we are talking about paradigms. Does anyone know something about paradigms?” … So, I raised my hand and said “Yes. That’s twenty cents right?” …

Hahaha! … good one! We’ll get back to a “pair-a-dimes” later! But that was the ice-breaker I needed to begin and wrap this post. 1 + 1 is 3 …. That’s called syn-er-gy!

Rather than using Susan’s or my perceived paradigm shifts to exemplify the length or width of the matter; I genuflect to the one that sent my last 4 months into blind auto-pilot and delayed my happy new year post by a month.

In consideration of the challenges of the last several years, and forgetting about our personal losses, medical procedures, bumps, bruses, trials and pitfalls, we plowed on with DC Star. We planned to release and promote 3 albums over a 16-week period which would be tricky. And because I expected interest to be great I produced the souvenir sets of CDs for DC Star fans and music collectors to commemorate the new material.

We were so excited about the releases until we got word that guitarist Jeff Avery was not well. Glenn Jones (living in SC) and Henry Farmer (living in NY) agreed to hook up with me and visit Jeff who lived in Clinton MD. But early the week we were supposed to go Jeff was hospitalized and went downhill suddenly. Jeff’s wife Linda called Glenn with dire news and he dropped everything and drove up from SC. The new DC Star “UNFINISHED BUSINESS” CDs landed on my doorstep in Baltimore MD on Thursday Sept. 8th, Glenn Jones arrived at the hospital in Ft. Washington MD Friday the 9th to see Jeff … and he passed away later that evening. I cried into my cases of CDs that Jeff would never hear.

That paradigm shift knocked me off center. Then unforeseen delays in the internet review process caused the digital releases to go out late. The promotional periods expired and instead of ending the year with 3 bangs it felt like slipping off the trapeze and flying into space. Eric Dalton sings about it. It’s called Oblivion.

From my very first band to the last, the only musician I played with for my entire 17-year performing career was Jeff Avery. He was my main man. Jeff, Kenn Taylor and I called ourselves “The KGV” for keyboards, guitars and vocals and delivered them with precision and abandon. All 3 of us could sing and our young voices harmonized as well as anyone. For several years our favorite band was Queen and we stunned audiences by playing their songs perfectly.

Before ending this segment, be assured, we will publish a memorial to Jeff Avery soon. He was such a quiet unassuming guy. Many people don’t realize that after leaving DC Star Jeff went on to play with a number of bands and record and release much more music.

So, back to a “pair-a-dimes” …. Some fun facts that may startle you. For this exercise I’ll use simple rounded figures, no super-fuzzy math. The largest streaming service on earth, Spotify, has a current payout for a music stream of (rounded down to the thousandth) .004 cents per stream. That means when 250 people have streamed your song you make ONE cent.

So … by the same calculations – 5,000 streams are worth a “pair-a-dimes”. Haha … ha?

To make a dollar you have to be paid for roughly 25,000 streams and thus 250,000 pays $10.00. There are countless internet radio stations that fall below exposure points requiring payments. In my estimation for every paying stream an artist gets there has to be at least the same number of streams, possibly 10X more, being heard free. By and large, American consumers are uninformed and fail to realize the enormity of other music and audiences. But reviews of our sales reports show streams going to Japan, Germany, England, Australia … all over the world. I sent a couple examples of digital accounting so you can see how complicated it is. And you can see that most payouts, even YouTube, are even less than Spotify.

Along with Spotify, our music aggregator CDBaby also distributes to these paying retailers: iTunes and Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, YouTube, TicTok, iHeart Radio, Resso, Deezer, Shazam, Title, KKBox, Napster, LINE Music, Saavin, AWA, Claro musica, Kuack, Anghami, Slacker, Medianet, 24/7, 7digital, InProdicon, Kdigital, NetEase Cloud Music, Boomplay, Qobuz, Tencent, Hungama Music, Peloton, Joox, Apdaptr and Ayoba.

Before you think of this as a list of mumbo jumbo, consider; Hungama Music is the largest streaming service in India with over 25 million titles in their repertoire and NetEase Cloud Music is the fastest growing digital distributor in China with 600 million users and a 50/50 mix of international music titles. Hmmmm …. Holy smokes.

I remember reading an article in 2012 (the year my first release “American All Star” came out) about how iTunes, the leading digital music retailer at the time, was releasing 5,000 tracks a week. Geez, I thought, how on earth is anyone going to be able to break through the “noise”? (the volume of competitors) 20,000 tracks a month …

Last Fall I read an article; Spotify alone is releasing 50,000 tracks ... per day! Some averages are closer to 60,000. That’s 2 million a month. I’ll bet theres a lot of incredible music in there along with tons of real noise as well. But it’s unfathomable, isn’t it?

AND NOTE: Spotify is just one streaming platform!

The guy in the next two graphics is Tony van Veen, the world renowned music distribution expert, lecturer and founder of music aggregator CD Baby.

If you look at the 3rd digital sales report above you'll note it is the first 1/2 page of our digital sales for the month of January 2023. I checked it just for kicks to see how close my "fuzzy" math is. The total report was 37 pages long and totaled just over $8.31.

So, to wrap the “pair-a-dimes” … arithmetic; here we go music fans. Year end statements show that we had our best digital year ever. Net revenues were $96.85. So hypothetically:

At a payout of $1 dollar for 25,000* streams, $96.85 represents 2,421,250 streams from music lovers everywhere. Remember, this is an average per-payout estimate and doesn’t include countless free streams to God know where! I am humbled … So we had, roughly estimated but potentially even greater than, 2.4 million paying streams in 2022 from all over this planet.

Did you ever think you’d hear how excited I would be to make $96.85? The point here is; whatever streaming service you listen to; Please request DC Star and D&G Music titles!

Since you’ve read this far you are awesome and the finish line lies ahead …

Indie filmmaker Stephen Nerangis sent D&G Music four VIP tickets to the Baltimore premier of "Hammerjacks: The Rockumentary”! So, Susan Singer, Ray “Goliath” McCrory, DC Star’s manager and attorney David Sherbow and I got to see the debut at the theatre together! It was a rare, terrific event! I have a lot of admiration for Steve for having the grit to see this project through. Almost five years in the making, with the Covid Tsunami that hit the music industry, the paradigm shifts he experienced must have seemed more like black holes. But with the encouragement and help of his staff he delivered the long awaited film. Bravo SN.

I encourage anyone who is interested in "Hammerjacks: The Rockumentary” to visit the website and view it on Venmo or get your DVD copy ASAP! Due to the tremendous cost of licensing the movie streaming is only available for a limited time. ·

After raising seven incredible children of their own, our senior audio engineer John Grant and his lovely wife Rene adopted 3 foster children. In his spare time (I hope you laughed out loud) John is producing another full-length big-band album, he's the gunslinger guitarist in a classic rock band, and can’t find enough time from all of the work he is in demand for to hook up for a chili dog. I am not happy about that part.

Possibly the most exciting news to kick off 2023, our go-getter audio and video technician, producer & shredder man in New York Eric Dalton bought a house, built a beautiful hi-tech studio there, and: Da,dadada, dadada-daaaaaaa: The new EDP studio is open for business and still has that new car smell!

The Hammerjacks screening was so hectic that Steve Nerangis and I didn't even have time for a picture. So here is my favorite photo of us last fall at the M3 Rock Festival.

DC Star drummer Glenn Jones and bassist Henry Farmer are happy, living in SC and NY in their own “private Idahos”. While pursuing her photography business and a number of film related endeavors Susan is on staff with D&G Music and radio icon / MTV VJ “SMASH”, the infamous“Adam Smasher” Asher Benrubi. I’m happy to be a soldier in that camp! You’ve got to check out SMASH too! He is still a heavy-weight broadcaster, rock and roll encyclopedia, comic, and truly a fresh inspiration with his Sunday Praise Party shows.

Thank you for hanging in for this long read. I hope you appreciate why it was so long, hope that you may have learned something or at least been entertained, and most of all;

I want you to know how grateful I am that you have proven:

David and Goliath Music and especially DC Star are loved … and live on.

And we did it together.

I wish blessings on you and yours for 2023!

And as always … stay tuned! – David Simmons

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