2016 Year in Review
2016 contained both successes and failures for me and my music. Here is my report card:
I released not one, but two recordings: "Word", a collection of 3 spoken word/rock songs for download only in February, and "Roses", an instrumental rock CD under the bandname Total Flower Chaos in June. I am very proud of the music I created and recorded on both of these releases, so it was very disappointing that they were both commercial failures. Very few CDs or downloads were sold. My guess is that it is because I built my fan base on my acoustic singer-songwriter music, and most of them are just not into rock music-- at least not my kind of rock music. And then, of course, there's the fact that fewer people are buying CDs and downloads and are opting to stream music instead. Or maybe the music just isn't as good as I think it is. Maybe it's a combination of all three. Oh well, that's how it goes. I'm certainly not the first artist who thought he did good work and have it bomb with the public.
Standing O Project
I joined the Standing O Project, an artist-friendly streaming company, that pays artists much better than the big corporate streaming companies like Google, Apple and Spotify. So far I've only recruited one of my fans to join, but I will keep trying, because I believe in what they are doing, and I know that, once other people check it out, they will want to join.
Scupanon began the year as a quartet, but then we lost the percussionist and bassist, so by the summer we were back to the way we started-- just myself and violinist Paul Ermisch. But that's ok. The advantage of acoustic music is that I can play solo if I have to. We played ten shows in some new venues on the Colorado Front Range, including towns such as Nederland where we have never played before, and picked up some new fans along the way.
In 2016 our gigging strategy shifted from the traditional venues to a focus on the growing number of breweries on the Colorado Front Range. This is a result of the traditional venues shifting away from the model where the venue has its own identity and regular fans, to a self-defeating model where the band has to "bring your own crowd." By playing the breweries, that have a built-in crowd, we are able to reach new people with our music.
I continued my music classes at Metro St., taking Theory 2 and 3, Piano Class 2 and 3, a theory ensemble and a classical guitar class. I thoroughly enjoy these classes. Even though they're hard, I feel like they are making me a better musician.
I finished a couple of songs, continued work on a few more, and began a few co-writing projects. Big Joe Kinser finished a song I started called "If You're Lucky" and is now playing it with his band in Iowa.
Film and TV
I learned more about the TV and Film music business. I joined Taxi, an organization that connects songwriters and composers with music supervisors, publishers and libraries. Although it wasn't a top priority, I submitted a few songs and instrumentals, and composed my first instrumental cue. I plan to continue this work in 2017.
Total Flower Chaos
Due to all the above work, I wasn't able to put time into forming a rock band. However, that has moved up to the my priority list for Spring 2017, along with my music classes.
I started two producer projects, with singer-songwriter friends of mine. We didn't get past the beginning stage on either-- where I worked with them on the songwriting-- but hopefully they will resume this year.
In summary, there were successes and failures in 2016. In 2017, my top priorities are to continue my music classes in the Spring, form a rock band called Total Flower Chaos, do more songwriting, and compose music for film and TV. Due to negative trends in both the live music and recorded music industries, I will probably have to take a day job after my classes end in May. So that will slow me down quite a bit. But, of course, it won't stop me.
--Rob January 29, 2017
As 2016 comes to an end, I just want to thank everyone who came to a Scupanon show, and everyone who downloaded one of my songs or bought a CD. It's your support that allows me to make music.
--Rob Dec 11, 2016
I'm proud to announce that I was honored twice this month with awards.
The Colorado Music Business Organization (COMBO) chose my song "The Man in the Movies" as a winner in their annual songwriting contest. I'll be performing the song, along with the other winners, at their awards ceremony this Saturday night, Oct 29, at The Walnut Room in Denver. The program begins at 7:00pm. There will be about a dozen songwriters performing their songs.
The second honor I received this month was as the Standing "O" Project's Artist of the Week. As I mentioned in my previous posting (see below), the Standing "O" Project is creating an alternative model to the big streaming corporations. Half of their revenue goes to the artists, unlike Spotify, Google, Apple, etc who don't pay us shit. By joining the Standing "O" Project instead of using the big streaming corporations, you're sticking it to The Man.
But also, the Standing "O" Project is a great way to discover new bands and singer-songwriters. You can try it out for free. Then if you decide to subscribe, half of your monthly subscription goes directly to the Standing "O" artist of your choice. For some of you, I hope that will be me! It would be nice to be able to recoup some my my recording costs. So please check it out The Standing O Project.
And if you haven't yet read my blog which explains how big corporate streaming works, click on the Blog link at the top navigation bar.
--Rob October 27, 2016
I just posted a blog called "The Impact of the Streaming Revolution on Music Creators." Please click the Blog link at the top navigation bar and check it out. I think most of you will find the information surprising, even shocking. Due to obsolete laws, streaming companies such as Spotify, Apple and Google can get away with only paying recording artists a fraction of a penny when music lovers stream our songs. In my blog, I've posted the exact payments I've received from the streaming companies.
Now let me tell you about some people that are doing something about it. They are called the Standing "O" Project. It is an alternative streaming project that pays artists half of the revenue. What a concept!
I've become a Featured Musician at the Standing O Project, and I'm inviting you to join me in this very cool, grass roots effort to challenge the Apples, Googles and Spotifys and pay songwriters a fair cut for their work.
--Rob October 6, 2016
I just noticed that I haven't updated my website in 4 months. It's not that nothing is going on; just the opposite. I've been playing shows with my acoustic group, Scupanon, in several Colorado towns. I've been writing new songs, including two co-writes. I've been continuing my piano and music theory classes. Last weekend I attended the Durango Songwriters Expo, as part of my efforts to place my music in film and TV. I have a solo acoustic gig coming up in Portland, Oregon next week. I'm producing an EP for a wonderful singer-songwriter, Jim Broyles. I haven't cleaned my house.
--Rob October 3, 2016
Released June 7, 2016
Today I release the debut Total Flower Chaos CD, Roses, my first instrumental rock album. I began composing this music several years ago, and it was almost one year ago that we began recording. After overdubs, mixing, mastering, replication and artwork, and a crowdfunding project to help pay for it, the process is now complete, and I offer it to the world.
Please go to the Total Flower Chaos webpage under the music tab above for more info and how to listen to, download the songs, or buy the CD.
--Rob June 7, 2016
Have a Listen
Scupanon playing at Swallow Hill in Denver
Bands and Projects
Total Flower Chaos
This is my hard rock/noise/psychedelic rock project. The debut 5-song EP, "Roses", was released in June, 2016. As of now, there is no band, but I hope to form one soon.
Scupanon is my acoustic singer-songwriter band. It is a partnership between violinist Paul Ermisch and myself. A few percussionists and upright bass players have come and gone, so we are back to playing as a duo. We play frequently along the Colorado Front Range. For the Scupanon website, click here.
Rob Roper Solo Recordings
I how have about 10-12 unrecorded songs that don't fit the above categories, and continue to write more. Eventually they will appear on another solo record, depending on when I can find the time and funding.
I have produced my own last few recordings (Total Flower Chaos, Word, and The Other Side of Nowhere), and am currently producing an EP for Denver singer-songwriter Jim Broyles. I am looking for other singer-songwriters or bands to produce. If you would like to consider me as a producer for your recording project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll discuss it. For more info, click on the Producer link at the top of this page.
I am also looking to license my songs for movies, as well as compose original music for film projects. If you are a film director or music director, and would like to work with me on your project, please email me at email@example.com.