Happy Holidays and a merry Christmas from A Different Drum!
The end of 2010 quickly approaches. When I look at this past year, I see one that has been full of personal challenges, but also full of interesting surprises. It is the year that A Different Drum's label took on a new approach by releasing limited edition CD's to VIP subscribers in order to keep the new music coming out– basically keeping the label alive when it otherwise would not be able to press forward much longer. That has been a positive change in 2010. The feedback I've received from the subscribers so far has been very positive, and that gives me hope for the future.
Now, as a little piece of nostalgia, I'm going to end the year by looking back at where it all began. Back in January of 1996, A Different Drum was a music store– yes, a physical, brick-and-mortar store that was only starting to build an online presence. That was the year that I produced my first compilation CD entitled, "Rise! America's Synthpop Underground". That was the first release from A Different Drum's own label. It has been out-of-print for many years now, but it was recognized at the time as a wonderful snapshot of America's underground scene in the mid 90's when synthpop was extremely hard to find. Even to this day, some fans consider it a treasure.
You can see a listing for that CD on Amazon.com here , though the only copies floating around are used CD's being sold by individuals:
There are very few of these CD's available in the world, but it is fun to see that there are still a handful of copies to be had, for the collectors who want a piece of A Different Drum's history.
In fact, as I look back at the label's nearly 15-year history, I see that a large portion of the more than 300 CD releases are now out-of-print and only available as collectibles for the serious hunters. In fact, sometimes I come across Amazon listings like this , where a single CD is being offered for over $70, or a 5-disc set is $199, and I'm surprised that some old label releases have reached a sort of "cult classic" status:
Here are a couple interesting pieces of information and a special offer to celebrate the past, and the future of A Different Drum's label.
The two oldest label releases that are still in print are the following:
The Nine "Native Anger"
Both of those were reprinted in second editions a few years ago– the Cosmicity with a minor tweak to the artwork and The Nine with a complete rework of the cover art from the original (files for the original were lost by the printer at the time we wanted to make another batch). In fact, those are about the only releases that remain in print from the first three years of the label. Since then, Cosmicity released several other albums, plus a couple of offerings under Mark Nicholas' own name, and The Nine went through several band name changes including Alien#Six13, Alien 6, and new Tenek.
If you would like to celebrate A Different Drum's history by picking up one or both of those two classic albums (Cosmicity "Isabella" and The Nine "Native Anger"), here is the deal…
Email me and let me know which one (or both) you want, and how much you want to pay for each CD, with a minimum offer of $1 each. In other words, if you want to buy both, and offer $1 each, then I'll invoice you for the price of the 2 CD's plus A Different Drum's regular shipping charge (so I don't lose money shipping them to you). You can click to complete the payment and the CD's are yours. OF COURSE, you can offer MORE than $1 for one or both of the CD's. For example, if you email and say, "I'd like the Cosmicity CD for $20" then I'll invoice you for that amount, and I'll consider it a generous contribution to help keep the label alive for longer, because heaven knows this business needs the boost. But it is up to you. Offer what you want and I'll take it, up until January 1st, 2011.
Again, the offer expires on January 1st, 2011. So, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you want either CD, or both, and how much you are willing to pay for each (or how much you're willing to "donate" if you like to think of it that way). Heck, if you're feeling generous and offer a nice amount, I'll throw a little something extra in the package.
MORE NEWS from the upcoming history of A Different Drum:
One of the bands that I have had the honor of working with for many years, both as a retail store, and as an independent label, is The Echoing Green. It has been fun to release everything from rarity collections to full-length albums with the headman, Joey, and his gang. They are 100% good people and their music is always top-notch. Well, it has been several years since The Echoing Green has put out a new album, but you'll be happy to know that the wait is almost over. The new album is complete and being mastered and prepared for release in early 2011.
A Different Drum will be releasing the exclusive CD edition of the album! Though it will not be a VIP subscriber release, it will be a limited edition from the beginning and is expected to sell-out quickly. I'll have more information about that upcoming album soon, and I'll set up a pre-order page once it is at the factory. But in the meantime, you can now order some of their older material from A Different Drum's website at super-discounted prices!
Pick up the fabulous album, "Music from the Ocean Picture" for only $3 while supplies last, and order it right here :
Pick up the limited edition 2-CD combination release, "Songs of Innocence and Experience" which combined the rarities and demos collection called "Science Fiction" with their wonderful album, "Hope Springs Eternal". Order the 2CD combination for only $6 while supplies last right here :
If you don't have either of those releases, then here is a chance to pick them up very inexpensively and prepare yourselves for the upcoming 2011 album!
GOODBYE to MYSPACE:
It has been very interesting through years of running this business to see how the internet has changed. Not only the technology keeps changing, but also the ways that people communicate and interact socially are always changing. I remember when I first started A Different Drum as an online store for synthpop, I was mostly communicating through a modern synthpop newsgroup. Later, some forums popped up which were hit-and-miss in terms of content. Often those forums were informative and provided interesting ways to hear new music, but I found myself somewhat turned-off by the argumentative nature that would come into play in some of the discussions (it was almost a game for some people to get into "flame wars" and argue about musical preferences). So, I eventually gave up following many forums. Then social networking exploded and Myspace became a huge hit– especially as a tool for new artists to gain exposure. That spawned competitors like Facebook, and that brings us to the the "now". Myspace really has been overrun as a social networking site by Facebook, and only exists now as a way to advertise (so much so that they now call it a "social entertainment" site rather than a networking site). Attempts to "befriend" one-another was overtaken by bot programs and nothing seemed very real or genuine anymore on Myspace. Though Facebook is the king of social networking, they too have to battle some of the spam-like uses for the site. Anyway, I kept up with Myspace for quite a while, and I think some people may have discovered A Different Drum artists through the website, but I no longer find any need to keep a Myspace page / profile running for A Different Drum as a business. The stats are meaningless, and I don't know that it serves any purpose at this point for the label. I think it is probably a great idea for individual artists to maintain a Myspace account since people use the site to explore new music, but not for A Different Drum as a label. So, I'm closing the Myspace account as of today. Thanks, Myspace, for filling a void at a moment when we needed it, but I'm moving on– your bazillion messages and invitations are meaningless to me.
It will be interesting to see what comes next in terms of music exploration and discussion sites for folks like us. There are already MANY out there trying to fill that role, and it's almost hard to keep up with them all. No matter how you explore your music, I hope that you'll always feel comfortable just emailing me when you have a question about A Different Drum, or that you'll find what you need at www.adifferentdrum.com where I've always tried to stick to the basics 🙂
Well, that's all for this Christmas evening update. Thanks for supporting this music for one more year! I'll be back in touch soon…