Just a quick update today. I wanted to let you all know that my podcast now has its own stand alone website at yakkingwithyordy.com.
This change will make the podcast easier to find for people as well as just give it a cleaner format to exist in while not competing for space with the blog here. I think it is usually a good idea to test a concept before investing too much time and money and so that is why I waited awhile before splitting the podcast off into its own site. I know that there is a possibility that some of you who have subscribed to the podcast via various apps might see two listings for the first 5 episodes that have come out but that won’t happen going forward.
Thanks for listening and please update your bookmarks to the new podcast site! The blog will still continue here as well.
This week on the podcast I am joined by Dr. Ben Burkholder to discuss his new book “Bloodless Atonement?” and his recent trip to Haiti. Also in this episode, the news returns with more strange crime stories. As always, thanks for listening.
This week on the podcast I interview Gamechurch Director Chris Gwaltney. We talk about the games we’ve been playing, the ministry of Gamechurch, and how Christians can do a better job reaching the gaming community. There are a couple minutes in this episode starting around the 12 minute mark where the audio from Skype got kind of bad but it clears up after around minute 14. Thanks for listening and please be sure to visit the Gamechurch links below and subscribe and rate this podcast!
This week I make a trip to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC and tell you all about my experience and range of feelings as I made my way through the library. Listen to the podcast then make sure to take the current poll on the website and help make a future episode of the podcast!
I conducted a poll asking people what words came to mind when thinking about various Christian denominations. The results were pretty amazing. Guest host Duane Mays and I break down the results and try and to figure out what “worship javelins’ are. Also we’ve got strange headlines from Pennsylvania involving rabid raccoons and buckets of urine!
A couple months ago I was asked to do an interview for the Why Is That Important podcast to discuss Therapeutic Creativity. I had great time talking with hosts Joe Wenger and Andrew Martin about how creativity can be used as a means of personal therapy whether that creativity take the form of music, art, or even cooking. Do me a favor and check out their podcast and my interview.
During that interview, I briefly strayed off topic a bit to discuss an idea that had recently occurred to me: That we creative types are in a constant struggle between creation and consumption. What do I mean by that? Simply this: On any given day, I can choose to spend my time consuming other people’s creations or I can create my own for other people to consume. No one is capable of being in a state of constant creativity and productivity but surely I can do better than I often do. I like to think of this struggle between consumption and creation as a spectrum.
It is a strange reality where I can know and make plans for all of the creative pursuits that I say I care about and want to succeed at, but then can waste an embarrassing amount of hours playing video games (That dang Steam summer sale!) and not making progress towards my goals. I recently listened to an interview with author Rachel Amphlett on the MyKitaab podcast about her self-published books. In the interview Rachel talks about using project management spreadsheets to keep her on track. I’ve exchanged a couple emails with her and she was kind enough to share her spreadsheet template with me. What I saw surprised me….It was very very simple. There was no magic formula hidden inside. It was just a simple spreadsheet where you list what you want to do and you put a check mark in the month you intend to have it completed by. The key to her success in writing has very little to do with those spreadsheets I now realize. Oh sure, they keep her organized but the truth is that Rachel Amphlett and other highly prolific creative types like her are able to accomplish all they do through what everyone knows as self-discipline.
Developing the Discipline for Self-Discipline
That’s right. You just need to actively choose to do the work necessary to reach your creative goals. No special software, no self-help books, no amount of inspirational podcasts can instill in you the will to do more today than you did yesterday. You have to WANT it enough to do the work. I realize that I am not saying anything new here. The concept of self-discipline is an old one. What I hope to grasp personally, is to understand how people can develop good habits that lead to multiple books being written each year, multiple albums released, a continuous stream of finished video productions, or whatever the creative medium is. How do you become that person?
I don’t have the answer to that for myself, much less anyone else. What I do know is that I am trying to walk a little further away from the consumption side of the spectrum and closer to the creation side. We all need time to relax. We all need time for leisure activities. The key is finding a good balance that leads to the achievement of goals while also leaving space for family and friends, and just letting your brain reset occasionally.
When Taylor Swift announced in 2014 that she was pulling all of her music from streaming services I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it made sense. Streaming revenues in and of themselves in 2014 were not great and by making a big public spectacle out of her departure from the likes of Spotify she was sure to boost album sales through more traditional outlets.
What struck me as odd though is that her music remained on Youtube, the largest streaming music service in the world. Youtube’s streaming royalties are far worse than Spotify’s as well. This alone should have clued everyone in that the very public departure from Spotify wasn’t much more than a marketing ploy. And it worked too. Swift was the highest earning artist in 2015.
I should also note that the reason Taylor Swift’s share of streaming revenue is so bad is because of her record deal. She signed that deal and like most artists on record labels, I assume the deal sucks. The label does almost no work to create the streaming revenue and takes most of the profit. So why would her label go along with ditching Spotify if they stood to make tons of money? Again, it comes back to marketing. They knew that Swift’s pre-teen audience would still go buy the album and they manufactured a public feud with Spotify to create buzz around the album 1989.
Streaming Revenue in 2017
Fastforward to 2016 and I wondered why they hadn’t changed course and released 1989 to streaming services. The market had shifted significantly in the 2 years since it was released and surely everyone who was going to purchase it had already done so. But still they held back without explanation.
Then the revenue numbers for the music industry for all of 2016 came in and for the first time ever, streaming revenue made up the majority of all music revenue. That is an impressive paradigm shift from just a couple years earlier. It is the same type of seismic shift that happened when music listeners switched from buying CDs to downloading MP3s.
From the very beginning, the decision to hold her album back from Spotify felt like a backward decision from an artist and label that were looking at the future of the industry and stubbornly refused to accept reality. But that was then and this is now.
Here in 2017, two and a half years after release, they finally bowed to changing market conditions and put 1989 on Spotify and other streaming services. Will her next album be kept off of streaming platforms? Doubtful. The time for principled stands against streaming (read: marketing ploys) is over. Streaming is here to stay and Spotify is the king of the hill.
In the previous years when the album was not available for streaming, many independent artists were able to earn thousands of dollars by recording cover songs of Taylor Swift’s music. Swift might not have been interested in earning streaming royalties but that doesn’t mean other artists couldn’t profit from her songs.
My Thoughts on Taylor Swift’s Album 1989
One final thought. I never listened to 1989 until last week when it was finally available to stream. First off, I realize that I am not the target audience for this kind of music. I’m not a 15 year old girl and perhaps that has affected my opinion in a negative way.
Overall I found the album to be disappointing. The lyrics were just empty pop music lyrics and for some reason I had expected a bit more from Taylor Swift. I should give some credit that lyrically it isn’t the same low brow sex filled lyrics of the likes of Katy Perry or Meghan Trainor. But to me it was all very uninspired and uninteresting. What do I know though? Millions of teenage girls can’t be wrong, right?
Well gang, a month ago I released a new song and somehow neglected to mention it on my main blog. Time to rectify that situation yes?
On April 7th I released a single titled Only The Good Lord Knows. This song is an expression of the questions that surround the loss of a loved one and searching for answers that may be hard to come by.
You can find all of the relevant purchase and streaming links over at my newly revamped music website: Yordymusic.com.
Please take a moment to listen and if you like it share it with a friend. This song wasn’t planned. It wasn’t part of my release strategy for this year. It just needed to happen. Sometimes you just need to work out your feelings in songs.
Stay tuned for more new music to come. The second half of 2017 should see the release of a punk project I’ve been working on for awhile and if I am able, more Yordy music and a sophomore release from my Americana project Dropkick Possum.
I’ve been a member of Facebook for 8 and a half years now and during that time I have witnessed the social media giant go through a number of changes. Some of those changes came from the company itself like modifications to the look and feel of the site to abrupt changes to their privacy policies (which of course led to scare tactic posts which still sometimes make the rounds). The most impactful changes have come from the users themselves though and the social soup that is Facebook has changed quite a bit over the years. I wasn’t around for the site’s founding so I can only guess what that was like but I remember distinctly the evolutions it has gone through in the user base.
First, there was that initial period of reconnecting with old friends from high school and college and learning what everyone had been up to in the years since we had last seen each other. Oh this person never got married? This one is on marriage number how many now? That one joined the army? …you get the picture. That was fun for awhile and then we all settled into a comfortable social media existence of sharing funny stories involving our kids or cute cat videos.
Every time there was a major election, things would get tense for awhile but then generally settle down after the election back into the sharing of cat videos and girls making duck face for some reason. The 2016 presidential election was different though. Perhaps it was the media that pushed such a divisive narrative of both candidates. Perhaps it is that the internet has matured into this untamed beast that offers an unending supply of political commentary that no one really wants but seeks out anyway. Or just maybe it is us who have changed. We’ve all been using Facebook for so long that we’ve gotten bored with what it has to offer in terms of social connections and so the only thing left is to share our opinions loudly and repeatedly as if anyone’s mind was ever changed by an internet argument.
A few weeks ago I was thinking about writing a blog post about how Facebook has become a place of zombie friendships. Not all Facebook friendship match that description but I am sure that most of us could classify the majority of our Facebook friends that way. The idea being that friendships in the real world often fade away due to life circumstances and new friendships form as our lives go in different directions. But thanks to Facebook and other social media, these friendships are kept alive in some kind of zombiefied state where we don’t really know the people anymore and probably haven’t seen most of them in years but still have this tenuous connection to them via the internet. The result is that we often don’t move on from these undead friendships like would normally happen and so our growth as human beings is stunted because we aren’t seeking out new friendships that should have taken their place.
And that is where Facebook’s slow death comes in. Most of our social media friendships are old and tired and in a lot of cases there isn’t much holding them together anymore. If Billy from your highschool has become a skinhead or something 15 years after graduation, it is pretty safe to say that you don’t have much in common anymore and the political view points that Billy espouses probably don’t resonate with you at all. Let’s hope not anyway.
So here we are, several months removed from the 2016 presidential election and the anger and political postings have not subsided on Facebook. I’ve chosen to block links from overly-politicized news sources over and over again in the past few months but certain individuals just keep finding new ones to post. So I started taking it a step further by unfollowing these folks altogether. I haven’t unfriended them yet and maybe I should but for some reason I keep hanging on to these zombie friendships just like everyone else does.
One thing I know for sure is that if we don’t all get back to stories about how cute our kids are and funny cat videos, that Facebook will die a slow death. Maybe that would be for the best. After all, the real world certainly has more to offer.