Our producer came into town on his way to El Paso, and we had lunch with him this afternoon. The conversation eventually drifted to our second album, which we're going to make happen as soon as we get certain logistics worked out. Drew instructed us to record every song he hasn't heard yet. Then, as he did for our first album, he would provide feedback on which ones we should consider using.
Just get everything down as quickly as we can, he said, without worrying about quality.
I told him that I wanted to take a little more care than that. Every now and again we post our live-from-Ron's-living room recordings on the blog, and even though we don't need them to be perfect, they should at least be free of egregious errors.
Said Drew: "That's a terrible idea."
Cinder Bridge is a brand, he explained. The only songs we should ever make available to the public are the ones that are good enough to go on one of our CDs. If we post a scratch recording—what musicians call a low-quality live track that gives listeners a basic idea of the lyrics and melody—we're allowing people to associate mediocrity with our brand.
I see his point. And I hate to debate him on this or anything else related to the music industry. He's been in the biz a very long time. He's one of the best.
And yet, a blog isn't supposed to spend all its time trumpeting the perfection of a brand. Nobody likes the blogs that read like press releases. A little vulnerability helps you connect with your audience better than a thinly veiled advertisement, and it's a lot more interesting.
Further, I don't generally just put up a scratch recording and say, "Here's a song, please listen." The song comes with a story, or it ties in thematically with whatever topic I'm writing on. At the very least, it's a follow-up to some post where I talked about writing the song. "Hey, remember how I struggled to find a rhyme for that one line? Here's how it all turned out."
What do you think? Should bands post their scratch recordings, or make their audience wait for the stuff that's ready for prime time?