Saturday, January 31, 2009

Themes and schemes

Cinder Bridge music fits comfortably within a certain genre, which radio stations have saddled with the unfortunate name "adult album alternative." Think Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, Badly Drawn Boy, Death Cab for Cutie, the Dave Matthews band ... basically pop with intelligence. If you like those guys, you have a shot at liking us.

But we're still having trouble finding our audience. I touched on part of the reason in my last post. If our potential fans tend to like the kind of music described above, they can find it on the radio. They don't need to scour the Internet for bands like us.

Here's the other problem: People who groove on adult album alternative don't form a distinct subculture. (If they did, AAA would have a less dorky name.) There's no one place you can go to find them, either online or in real life. They listen to the same radio stations, but since we're not on the radio, that doesn't help us.

I hadn't given this problem much thought of late, largely because I've been buried in work. So I suppose it's fitting that an idea finally came to me through a work project -- designing a self-help book for people facing momentous life change.

Some backstory: I spent the better part of my twenties in graduate school, where I alternated between wondering if this was really what I wanted to do with my life and trying not to think about it. Though I extracted myself from school before I stumbled into songwriting, the issues I'd struggled with inspired a lot of my songs. Much of my earlier work centers on dealing with change and facing some kind of major life decision or another. As I kept writing, I got it into my head that I wanted to make an album in which this choices-at-the-crossroads theme ran through the entire thing.

A few years later, through an incredible combination of luck and goodwill, the album that had only existed in my head went into preproduction. Our producer had reservations about basing our choice of tracks on a theme. He thought it might be too limiting. But like I said, there were a LOT of these songs to choose from, so we managed to pull it off.

I always hoped that people who'd gone through the same kinds of things I had would listen to our album and love it. Sadly, I had no idea how to find them.

And I still don't know. But it occurred to me that if my self-help author can focus on life change and build a successful practice that way, they're definitely out there. And maybe our music will help them feel like they're not alone.

So I've done one thing. I've changed our album description on CD Baby.

It reads a little too much like a book blurb for my comfort -- not surprising since I write a bunch of those for the day job. Still, it's a start. Maybe we don't know where our audience is, but hopefully this will strike a chord with them if they find us.

Whaddaya think? Might this intrigue potential fans? Or will it make them point and laugh?


Anonymous said...

I would strike "disturbing your comfortable routine" from the first line. Aside from that, I dig it.

cinderkeys said...

Thanks. :) I'm not married to the "comfortable routine" bit. I'm open to suggestions as to what might go in its place.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything needs to go in its place! Your metaphor is evident soon enough, and keeping the first sentence short sets a snappier mood for the whole passage.

cinderkeys said...

Changed. Except now I think I need a different term than "status quo" in the second sentence. Eh. I'll think about it later. :)