Streaming from the top of my lungs
I’m really tired; specifically of billionaires telling me I don’t work hard enough.
Hey there good morning,
^ I wrote that this morning. Good afternoon.
At the beginning of the year, I was angry but hopeful. I saw my enrollment in college pointless, and my multiple serving jobs insufficient to get my head above water. My Patreon is small but encouraging. I feel myself becoming increasingly aware of my output, my value, and how to act online with intention. This required a lot of logging off.
Lately, I’ve been able to focus on my craft instead of survival. This has meant more time spent writing and making music and less time working minimum wage to pay down maxed-out credit cards enough to make the Apple Pay function. That’s meant more output from me than average, but it still feels less than what’s possible.
As Summer and the collective sense of quarantine comes to an end, I wonder how I can apply the internal lessons learned from the pandemic about power, truth, self-governance, and democracy’s fragility. I’m terrified of going back to normal.
I’m openly inquiring with you, the Internet, as to how to move forward effectively and progressively. What does it take to keep from gentrifying your mind, or tear down the parks and libraries in our hearts? What does it matter that even in the face of devastation, we persist with our worst behaviors?
How To Do Nothing has been an intensely formidable book for me that I’ll keep quoting for a while so you might as well read it, but I love this bit about productivity about being more than merely the new things we produce:
“Our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something new, whereas we do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says working musicians may no longer be able to release music only “once every three to four years.”
This stuff grinds my gears:
What is required from successful musicians, Ek insisted, is a deeper, more consistent, and prolonged commitment than in the past. “The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”
I see the point of what he’s saying; music is now sort of a byproduct of a broader brand and artistic image. I think I’m working on that (along with the music, and the production, and the marketing…) But like, every independent artist release is a ‘surprise drop’ in an industry and on a platform where 0 people may organically discover you. I have no means to strike a deal for playlist placement on their various genre mixes. All of my reach and marketing come more or less solely from me, which I find very annoying when you’re Tyler Scruggs, and your music product is also named Tyler Scruggs. You win this round, Owl City.
Maybe I should just go back to school in the fall? Eeep! Idk. America’s Science Teacher Hank Green with more on that:
Here’s a little wrap-up of what I’ve put out this month. Thank you for paying attention.
• July 2nd - “New Trash Endeavors” my new song!!
A gigantic thank you to everyone who is streaming my music on Spotify and Apple Music. It’s a small milestone, but I crossed 50 monthly listeners on Spotify, and I’m just stoked to get those gears moving after so long. $0 marketing budget Thanks for streaming and putting my songs on playlists where others listen. My music currently has a $0 budget, so every little thing you do helps!
You can find it everywhere here.
• July 11th - Some marketing company sent me the first season of Hulu’s new show Love, Victor, and instead of a review or gushy Instagram posts like they wanted, I wrote a 3500 personal essay instead. Check out: On Sin, Pride, and Hulu’s Love Victor
• July 14th - “Broken Mirror” is one of a few new songs I’m working on, and as a newsletter supporter, you can follow the process through the private podcast feed. From the first live band recording five years ago to 2020’s drum, bass, and guitar tracking.
• July 16th - Podcast exclusive full interview with Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher @ 2018 Atlanta Film Festival
In 2018, I interviewed comedian, writer, and director Bo Burnham and actress Elsie Fisher shortly before the Atlanta Film Festival premiere of Eighth Grade in 2018. I’ve never shared the audio from that interview, and I have more things like this if it’s something folks are interested in hearing.
• July 17th - “Broken Mirror” update #4 - more exclusive song tracking in the private podcast! Check it out!
• July 22nd - Re-Imagining Police is an op-ed I wrote for ProjectQ Atlanta. You can read the whole thing here. This is my favorite part.
Assuming that police killings are inevitable is defeatist, unproductive thinking. We need to widen our imagination to what’s possible. The militarization of the police, especially in contrast to healthcare workers in the pandemic, is why "Defund the Police" makes so much sense. You never hear about cops raising money for tear gas the way public school teachers collect box tops for basic school supplies.
Once it’s believed that there’s no acceptable ratio of citizens killed by police in a civilized world, the paradigm shifts. If we wish to live in a world of radical nonviolence, we must imagine a world without police brutality or mass incarceration and shape it with input from the people it affects.
• July 28th - At a thrift store last week, I found a 64-page children’s biography from 2001 called Latinos in the Limelight: Jeff Bezos, and I ended up learning a lot. I read the whole thing on Twitch, and someone was kind enough to watch me get my mind blown by the biographical facts about the world’s richest and most possibly Latino man Jeff Bezos. You can find the raw 3-hour stream there, but I’m putting the highlights on YouTube eventually.
• July 29th - I did another spontaneous livestream on YouTube to see how that felt. I pulled up an article of the 2020 Emmy nominations and spent half an hour talking about what I thought of the nominations. I need to add music to these streams and possibly fix the sound & cam set up, but it felt good to exercise being on Live. It might be a vital skill pretty soon.
• July 31st - “Feeling Profound (On T.V.)” is not a particularly new song of mine, but it’ll be the last time I use a parenthetical in a song title, haha. It’s been so stressful getting the Thomas CW remix back on streaming. It’s one of my most popular uploads, but all the old links are dead, it’s greyed out in playlists it used to be in, and it’s so friggin’ frustrating. There’s this weird rule regarding parentheticals in song titles when you have more than one. The song had to be uploaded as “Feeling Profound (On T.V.) [Thomas CW Remix],” but it was stuck in Spotify’s database as the incorrect “Feeling Profound (On T.V.) (Thomas CW Remix),” sans brackets. It’s all fixed now, and it has the remastered file and better album art, but golly, it was such a journey email-arguing to get it fixed. Do me a favor and add it to a playlist of yours somewhere?
I’ll see y’all in August. Be excellent to each other.
Tyler Scruggs is a writer, musician, and millennial swashbuckler navigating the digital frontier through internet content like this and love songs for your Zune. He brews his own coffee now and doesn’t feel it’s safe enough to go to the movies as much as he might like.
Feel free to validate him on Twitter (@TylerScruggs), Instagram (@Scruggernaut), and YouTube.
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