David Scott Norton: Hey everybody, this is David Scott Norton The Local Music Podcast. Today I have with me Ian Tamblyn. Ian is a Canadian folk singer-songwriter, record producer, adventurer, and a playwright. He is coming to us from Quebec. Correct?
Ian Tamblyn: That's right. Chelsea, Quebec just north of Ottawa.
David: Good morning.
Ian: Good morning.
David: So I got turned onto Ian here off of social media. He's written a few articles and he wrote one called The Brief History of Why Artists No Longer Make A Living in Making Music - Why Artists Are No Longer Making A Living Making Music.
Ian: It’s a mouthful.
David: Yeah that caught my attention because I've read a few books about this one of my first guests put out a Musician’s Guide to the Music Industry to help people figure out how to market themselves and how to navigate the music industry today. I've got a guy coming up in a couple weeks. He's gonna talk about how to be a six-figure musician. And so I would love to get your take on this.
Ian: I’d love to be a six-figure musician myself.
David: And you also sent me this article called The Giant Maw and The Fragile Tangent which is super interesting, you know, so I guess let's - tell us about yourself a little bit and then let's talk about some of the some of the local music and how to keep making music.
Ian: Well, the first thing I would say to sort of headline it would be lateral thinking and that's kind of what I've done my whole career. I've been in the music world for about forty six or seven years and I have released 44 albums in album form, cassette form, you know CDs to downloads everything. So I've done that and I've also performed pretty much in Canada my whole career and so that is a nutshell about what I've done but there were various times I can think you know in 1982-86 there was a big recession and so I had to think well, how can I stay in musician? And in that case I started doing theater soundtracks. I was lucky. I did some theater soundtracks and then they kept on asking me back. So I ended up doing well over a hundred theater soundtracks and so out of that experience I end up writing plays. So for the door that doesn't - seems jarred another one will swing open. You don't know but you have to be - I think a musician has to be ready to say yes and jump into other things when they present themselves. Without compromising yourself, which I’ve done.
David: Yeah, everybody's done that, which is actually I guess what you're talking about with lateral thinking. I take that as a means to just jump.
Ian: Yeah. I think sometimes people when they're being trying to be a musician have a very set idea of what that is, you know, they want to be, you know, a folk singer. They want to be a rock star. They want to be a heavy metal artist or they want to be the champion on America's Got Talent or whatever. So that kind of thinking if it's too strict can limit you and then you see yourself in terms of success or failure relative to that narrow definition that you set for yourself. So I recommend opening it up a bit. I know that from that article that you mentioned, you know, a lot of people mentioned that it was very sad. And well that wasn't the way I saw it at all. It was just a look at how some time in recent years the technology has been so myriad that's left the practitioner somewhat dizzy.
David: Right, and I can see that from the article reading the article and reading the headline. I think some people can come away with that to be like, it’s just getting worse and worse and worse.
Ian: I know and that wasn't the point of the article. One thing that I would want to say is there’s a number of people, friends even, who say that if you dilute yourself well, then you're not going to be that good a songwriter, but my experience has been that everything feeds everything the work that I've seen directors do can influence what I do as a producer in the studio and what I did as an artist in the studio watching my producer gave me insight as to how to be a producer and so all those things feed into each other and they don't necessarily have to dilute what you're doing. So that's another sort of cautionary note is don't think that you have to be pure as the - you know, it doesn't have to be just one art form. I actually believes that having several arrows in your quiver can help all of them.
David: Exactly. I mean that's - I'm hearing that from a lot of people in a lot of different Industries, you know, the synergy of connecting with other people is super important, you know.
Ian: It is you know, and to use that idea of I've certainly watched various directors as I've been, you know, working on the soundtrack for a piece of theater and I've taken things that the way the director motivates an actor is not much different than the motivation I would give a performer trying to get a good track in the studio. The difference is theater is sort of an extroverted and hot medium in some sense. Whereas, you know, the work that we do in the recording studio is a cool medium to sort of look at Marshall McLuhan's way of looking at it. I'd liken the the recording world more to the close-ups of movies and television than trying to hit the far wall in theater.
David: Interesting. You just said that you went througha period with the recession.
Ian: Yeah, there’ve been a couple of them and when that happens the first part of this sort of body politic of a society, you know, the furthest extensions are the arts and so they are the first one’s to know how the recession or depression hits
David: And well you're saying like how you had to think and you know, how am I going to remain part of this? And so it seems like we know one part like I said is you jump out and get it in the theater you Diversified.
Ian: Still playing music though.
David: And I guess the idea of you know, how to survive or how to make a living really is defined by the individual though of you know, what what does make a living mean to one person versus another person?
Ian: Well, let’s look at that one a little bit. I think for me making a living as a musician is a very interesting thing because there’s lots of what I would call hobbyists out there. I purposely when I started cut myself off from other employment because I felt that my pen would be sharper if I was hanging on the edge and writing to save my life. And so I did that and then kept on adapting to continue to do that. So from the time I graduated from university. That was my job. So I one way or another I was able to do it. Fortunately I still live in the same place I did in 1971 and the rent was $90 a month.
David: So I guess that's the other point that I think of is, you know, people talk about making a living and a lot of people think about you know, the bling, you know, the cars the houses. Like I want to be a musician. I want to be famous and they think all these things make them make them a musician. And so I mean, how do you balance your needs of you know, I guess material things versus you know?
Ian: Well, I guess I have to use the word folky. In that sense my aspirations as a songwriter and musician were to be successful within the community. I was not looking for the bling I didn't didn't seek it nor did I want it. So that aspiration wasn't there. My aspiration was to to make a living within the community itself and the community being Canada. So my aspirations were were not to sell gold records or platinum records - it so happened that by circumstance I did but that was you know, that was a fluke. That that happened was just luck. My music was in the right place at the right time and it sold a lot of CDs that way. But that only happened once - well happened three times - but that was that wasn't my goal. You know, I wasn't out out to be having gold teeth and car chase sunglasses. So in that sense, I came more from I don't know - the Pete Seeger/Woody Guthrie tradition. I hate to use the word but almost a socialist tradition of music being viable and vital within the community. There's some bumps along that road, but that was the pill that I swallowed.
David: Right right you talked about in many articles about the musician unions and having to swear that you weren't a communist.
Ian: Yeah, that's true. Well that happened because of the McCarthy era in the United States that unions, you know were associated with the political left. And so they became very cautious and there were a number of outings that took place in the 1950s of various musicians. People like Pete Seeger were thought to be communist, you know, and then someone like Burl Ives I think kind of spoke at the McCarthy hearings and he was blacklisted by other left-leaning musicians at the time. So it's quite controversial. So the union I think in their caution made that part of the joining, that one could not be a member of the Communist Party. When I signed up to the Union in 1970-71, I found it humorous.
David: Yeah, I mean he's kind of yeah, the unions are pretty socialist. You know, it’s the whole definition.
Ian: I just found it amusing but I think they were covering their ass because you know, they were cited or you know, they were implicated during the McCarthy era and it cast, you know, even though he was discredited. It casts a long shadow in Hollywood and in other circles in the United States. I mean you could do write a whole book about that. As I said in the article, along came the punkers and the punkers - well some might be left-leaning as many of them were anarchists in some way or another and were just saying hell was that any kind of signing and the clubs that were opening up didn't want to be union clubs and so as a consequence people stopped signing contracts. The union wasn't keeping up in terms of its relationship to independent recordings. They didn't know what they were. And so the union fell into a dark time that it’s still recovering from if at all.
David: I just talked to a guy he's a you know Broadway musician and of course all of everything he does is through the unions in New York City. But beyond that beyond, you know, the big cities are the unions - do you think are they contributing are they just still struggling?
Ian: One. I think the unions are still a worthwhile entity certainly in Canada. All the union contracts with orchestras across Canada, whether they're local orchestras or or national orchestras go through our members of the union and go through Union contracts with the hiring body and also receive - each one of their gigs is of pensionable gig. So each time they get paid, a part of their pay goes to the pension and that can be sizable by the time they retire from the union. So it's quite worthwhile for those people. I'm not sure how much the union can do for individual musicians in part because so much has been eroded. You know in Canada, there are places where people are paying to play and that's very sad.
David: That's been happening everywhere. I’ve actually entered into some of those venues myself where you just lose money.
Ian: Yeah, I wouldn’t do that. To me that's a very slippery slope that you get into. I mean I have the advantage of being well down the road in my career. To some degree, I don't have to do that anymore. But I never did. It's the same as in the 70s. I my community, there were all these fern bars where it was posted the songs that you had to sing and I never did that either. Not because I couldn't but I didn't. I mean I would give probably give the worst version of Bad Bad Leroy Brown or House at Pooh Corner.
David: So they would make you play certain songs. Would they limit other songs that you had to play or that you couldn't play?
Ian: Well, they didn't want me to play my own songs. No, there was a list so you went and played the list and if you got through Starry Starry Night and didn't slit your wrists you’d have a successful gig.
David: Now is that something that was driven by music licensing or was it just like an artistic-
Ian: No, that was just the fern bars, you know? Cover tunes only. But in those cases, the bars were paying more attention to the plants than they were the customers or the artists playing there.
David: In your article you also talked about, you know, the PROs the professional royalty organizations like BMI ASCAP and SOCAN. Do you think they are helping at all? There's been a lot of changes.
Ian: The point of the article is about the lag time of catching up to the technological changes that are overwhelming us and I think that has been true for musicians, it’s true for engineers, it's true in the printed and photographic world. Things are still changing and the laws and legalities behind those things. We have in Canada a licensing agent the CRTC which overlooks all these things and they're overwhelmed by the various streaming services and the way things can come into your home. So it's no doubt that that ASCAP or SOCAN or BMI sometimes gets are behind the the 8-ball because you know, they're overwhelmed by Spotify or whoever the latest version of that is. You know in the 1990s I think it was Napster. And so after a while Napster gets caught. I don't know what will happen with Spotify because it's been down the road a little bit. The notion of Music being free is now something that like a disease has spread into the society. I still have this discussion. Maybe the horses have been let out of the barn. Maybe it is too late. But these agencies that are supposed to do that - in some in some cases they'll go after the bars or they'll go after Levi Jean outlets and try to get them to make up the shortfall because in some cases accruing royalties or getting the royalties paid is very difficult for these agencies. And so you have people at the local Levi's store whining because they have to pay a licensing fee or the bar plays a licensing fee. Another consequence, you know, so what did they do? The bar plays music by Spotify.
David: Right because I'd license is built-in.
Ian: No, there's no license.
David: They're paying Spotify to run interference for them essentially, right?
Ian: Yes. That's right. In Canada in various bars if you're playing music, whether it's canned or live, you have to have a SOCAN license. So to get around the SOCAN license, people are playing SiriusXM.
David: And they hide behind that, you know, that Sirius is already paying the fees or whatever and that number trickles down.
Ian: It is so much less than the previous thing. But like now I know bars that I said, well, do you happen to have this album here? And well, they look it up on the iPad. That’s not licensable. You know, they’re not paying the fee. I mean, I’m sympathetic to the bars but at the same time you have to understand that the average musician is living well below the poverty line. Maybe musicians just shouldn't you know, maybe it is as I said at the end of the article that we go back to a pre Modern Age and have it as a sponsored art form or it just goes back to the madrigals and people bringing the news by music and you get paid by the bucket. That's not making a living.
David: It's not. I guess when you say that musicians are below the poverty line, you know, I think probably a big part of that is that there's no there's no playbook out there. There's no one playbook because the scene’s changing all the time, you know, the rules are changing.
Ian: Yes, and I think too that it's aided and abetted by - you know, like the poem to an athlete dying young. It's the young who are suffering at the hands of this in some ways because they can live in an Econoline van and mattress there and KD Dinner along with their dreams and the dreams can last - well, they do last from age 20 to age 30, but by that time they hit 30 the KD Dinner is getting a bit stale.
David: So advice for people who are out there. You've already given some about diversifying and the lateral thinking.
Ian: Well, this is where you know, there's various movements afoot and one of them is - I don’t know if in Maine it is. That’s where I’m talking to you, correct?
David: Yeah, I’m in Maine.
Ian: I don’t know if there's a thing called The Hundred Mile Theory and that's - around here we have local restaurants that are even though we have, you know a wintry climate right now. They're getting their groceries from a hundred-mile circumference. They're supporting local farmers and producers and cheese makers and so on and there's a bison farm about 50 miles from me where they're serving the high-end restaurants in Ottawa that sort of thing. It has been put forward in theater communities that there be a hundred mile theory so that a theater company can tour within a hundred miles. Musicians, in theory, could do the same thing, but what you have to do is inculcate the worth of the musician in the community that the musician is serving the community. Now that sounds pretty you know, folky and nails and boards sort of thing, but it can be done and it has been done. And we have a number of circuits now in Canada. There’s a Home Routes concert series that runs across Canada sort of based on that model. And so there are small circuits that people are traveling around doing house concerts small halls and so on. So it has gone. You know, I think there's across Canada there must be close to fourteen hundred venues.
David: So how does that get managed?
Ian: You could check it out at Home Routes, they'd be an interesting group to talk to. I've done two circuits with them. One in the Yukon of all places, but I went around for two weeks and played, you know, I think it was 12 gigs in 14 days. And then another one I did was in Central South Alberta. Places that I wouldn't otherwise have access to but they've built up a series of house concerts. And so I go there and there's this concert series and people are doing it in various areas through almost across Canada from BC to the maritimes.
David: And so that's just a is it like a formal board or-
Ian: You apply to it. And they've done the footwork and got the funding and so on and it's really a good idea. That refers more back to that other article that I wrote called The Giant Maw and The Fragile Tangent. The Giant Maw is the mainstream music industry. You hustle yourself you go to the big city, you find a label you get a producer you get a publicist a manager with that and that and you do the album and someone introduces you to the North American Giant Maw the big market and that’s the standard way. And if you want to become really well known across North America, that's the way to go. But if you are interested in a more community-based career The Fragile Tangent of these small concerts is an alternative. I know that when I like went to the North American folk Alliance in Montreal, it is invisible, but I was amongst 3500 to 3800 musicians who were doing it that way.
David: And so essentially The Fragile Tangent is just the network of the-
Ian: The network of communities. If I went down to the United States well then the first thing I would do is suss out an ergonomically smart route to take and do that. I'd have to do that because I have to inform the immigration authorities exactly where I'm playing and so on. So I’d look at a place. Well, what would be a logical place? Well there's kind of a critical mass to play in Vermont. There's another critical mass that you can make it worthwhile in Massachusetts and so on. You could do a whole circuit in California..
David: So you have this Home Routes concert series which seems like a central authority that you can go to.
Ian: That’s based out of Winnipeg.
David: And for the US is it just you contacts or is there somebody else that helps you?
Ian: For me it would be my contacts or somebody. But I would probably phone the North American Folk Alliance in Kansas City. Anybody with acoustic guitar is now considered a folk musician, but Mumford and Sons ain’t exactly a folk band. Folk, to my mind, includes King Sunny Adé and Youssou N’Dour from Senegal as much as it does Guy Clark and Lucinda Williams. You know, it’s diverse. It's more about an attitude than it is about music.
David: It seems like on the Fragile Tangent it would seem like people have a better definition of what a genre of music is. But the Giant Maw, which is I guess the corporate industry, will play pretty loose with an artist and say that they’re folk or their country or their rock or whatever they are and most common people would be like no they’re not.
Ian: Yeah, that’s true and yet - a number of years ago are there was a Canadian country star his name's Johnny Reed and I met Johnny Reed at Bishops University in Lenox Hill Quebec and he was in one of the plays that I was doing the music for as musical director for. So at the end of it he said I want a career in music and then asked me what would be the best way to the top and Canada and I said, well the one that seems to have the freest form right now is country music. So he marketed himself as a country singer. He was not a country singer. He was an R&B singer and he was from Scotland, but what he did he got a guy from the economics department from Bishops University and they formed a plan and they went after the Giant Maw and they got it. They went after the center. They had an economic plan and he was talented but he wasn't a country singer. But they marketed him as one.
David: I guess that's important to have a plan but not have a like you said earlier about having such a picture of what the end is.
Ian: He was going for the Giant Maw and he did it. He now lives in Nashville along with 12,000 other songwriters working in nashville. The thing I’m talking about with the Fragile Tangent is that it is delicate. It is fragile. Certainly in Canada with our great distances if various parts of that tangent fail, then the whole thing collapses because then it's not economical to drive seven hours for one gig. It's just you know, it's these days it's just too much. It's not uncommon to drive seven hours. So if I'm going out on the road for a weekend. I usually get gigs from Thursday to Sunday.
David: And how far do you go?
Ian: Seven hours. Seven hours.
David: Between gigs?
Ian: Well, no. Say, for example, I live in Eastern Ontario or Western Quebec the border. I will go as far as Toronto west on a weekend. I could do the same distance in Ontario going up to Sudbury. I just came back from Mississippi. To give your audience an idea. I drove from Ottawa to Mississippi in three days. It would take me the same amount of time to drive from Ontario to the Manitoba border.That's how big Ontario is. It's huge and you know instead of having a population in California 34 million. We have 32 or 33 million in Canada across the same width as the US. It's huge.
David: It demands you travel further to get to those promotions.
Ian: It does. And what it does is with those travels it adds an additional thing and many touring musicians in Canada do so through grants from provincial or federal agencies because the country is so big.
David: I took note of your comment about the fragile tangent not being mapped. You can't see a picture of it. I mean is that something that you think is even possible? Is it possible to get a network to build a database or some sort of map?
Ian: I think that Home Routes has done that. They have a very specific route in each region of the country that they’re choosing to represent. It makes sense certainly in the two cases when I was touring with Home Routes. It made sense. Now within that, you know, you might get someone who drops the ball. Well, what you do then is at the end of your period doing the Home Routes concerts you send in your assessment and you say, you know, JF Wingnut in in Esterhazy failed to inform the people coming to it. And so you have a concert and arrive at his door or her door and there's seven people because he dropped the ball and you don't want that to happen.
David: So they have like a review system where like, you can review the venue or the venue can review you?
Ian: That's right. It's sort of like AirBnB and if you get too many bad reviews, you lose your license to do concerts. In some sense it's good to rotate it too. There's a couple of things. Because people get tired of opening their house, you know, and putting the chairs out and all that sort of thing. You know, you have to it has to be dedicated or people can get blase about it too, which is fair enough. But the other thing that's also true in these subscription series like Home Routes is doing is in many cases people pay for five or six concerts and that ensures that the musician gets the money. You follow me?
David: I do, yeah.
Ian: So like I just played a gig on the weekend and I got 800 bucks. Well about five people five couples couldn't make it the room was still full, but they'd already paid for the series.
David: Interesting. And they did that right through the Home Routes website or?
Ian: Well that was just someone doing an individual series and so he had six concerts per year.
David: That's an interesting interesting model there. So how does that factor into what you call the CRTC and SOCAN?
Ian: Well, it can and it can’t. For example, I mean we're getting into the minutiae here and I hope your audience can appreciate this. I mean, it may be different in the States but in Canada you the artist or the presenter can purchase an individual license per concert for a venue. Let's just say for example, it's $25. So then I submit and it be any place where you can submit a license as an artist or a submission on your playlist for anything over a six dollar ticket. So you'll be based on the size of the ticket, you know how much it was worth. In the case where I was playing this week people were paying $25 Canadian. So I submit that and I say that there were 60 people there and so I submit my playlist to SOCAN and in nine months I get a royalty along with the other ones that were in the period there's a lag time but then I get money for those concerts.
David: We do have the same thing here in the US. A similar thing because we have BMI ASCAP and SESAC.
Ian: Well ASCAP is associated with SOCAN.
David: Okay.I found this problem when I came back from California after I recorded my first EP and I came back here to Maine and I do mostly cover songs. I’m not a songwriter. So I sing a lot of old Hank Williams Johnny Cash that kind of stuff and I started running into places that I wanted to play, you know, smaller venues, coffee shops, wineries and they said they'd love to have me but I have to sing original songs because they don't have a license and that was kind of my first, you know intro into this. I'm like that doesn't make sense at all and started digging into it and you know, and realized the requirements for live music are different than your recorded or your stores playing over the -
Ian: It's exactly what I've stated.
David: And so I went out and I didn't like the answer so I had my company my Acadia Music Group just as a record label so I can do my first CD. I realized I could go ahead and get a concert promoters license. And the same thing turn around and sell those per event licenses. So if you use me as a concert promoter, then you can pay me. I think it's for a free concert it's like 40 bucks for all three combined and then if you sell tickets it kind of scales. So it's a lot cheaper even if you sell tickets because most of the venues don't sell, you know, they're not big money making ventures.
Ian: No, and there’s a certain point where I’ve gone oh, the labor of me filling out the forms and sending them into SOCAN is is greater than what I'm going to get from SOCAN.
David: Exactly and that's where I'm at right now being this intermediary. I still have to fill out those - I have to have to do the promotion and I have to fill out those those setlists and I get a lot of pushback from artists from from the bands that are like we're not going to fill out those setlists. Because they confuse, you know ASCAP with record labels. It's a lot of work and eventually you try to get automated and so it's easier and then my understanding is if I can become a larger promoter, those revenues those setlist actually go back to the artists.
Ian: Yes they do. Yes they do. And then some cases it is, again, an economy of scale. If you imagine someone like us doing it, you know, and for 40 people well that's going to accrue so much money. But then if you have a Canadian artist like Bryan Adams playing at a hockey arena, well just imagine that within that ticket price there is a royalty figure of two dollars each time. So you have 16,000 people listening to Bryan Adams. Well, he's going to make thirty two thousand dollars in royalties alone.
David: Just out the royalties. And if he's playing cover songs, he picks up somebody else's song, you know, they'll then split up.
Ian: Then the people who did the cover song are going to make that money. If you're fair about it, you know, I just had a situation where somebody recorded one of my songs never asked permission and never paid mechanical rights nor did he ever register the song on any of his setlists. My point to him was if we as musicians are going to be, you know, screwing our brothers, then it won't work. It just invites others to bend and break the rules as well.
David: I’ve run into a few people like that - a few people who are like no don't pay those fees, you know, wait for the companies to sue you. Wait for somebody to sue you because it's not worth it for them to sue you.
Ian: Again the economy scale if they're going to sue, you know, they're going to sue Bryan Adams before - but Bryan Adams doesn't do cover songs. He does his own songs and if someone like Bruce Springsteen does a cover song he's got an organization that has got that covered. And from what I know Bruce Springsteen, he's going to own up to it.
David: And so yeah, so that's my deal with them now is when I submit that set list, it just goes into kind of a an algorithm, you know, based off of a lot of other-
Ian: That’s right. That algorithm or bell curve is the same for radio play too.
David: And if you get larger, so if I was one of the top eight hundred concert promoters, they actually look at my set list and they say well we're going to we're gonna divvy up these you know, 45 bucks 40 bucks and we're gonna put it to the songwriters who were on the set list. That's pretty cool.
Ian: Well in that case if you're doing Hank songs, you know, that's going to go to his estate.
David: Sure it is. Yeah, but you know, it's their money, you know, their songs, it’s their property. So I guess the other piece - I don't know if you have this also in Canada - here with I think with BMI as an independent artist, I do have one song that I co-wrote. If I go and I report that as an artist to BMI aside from you know, what the venue is reporting, it’s like double-dipping. I also get paid by BMI for playing that song live. It’s not a lot of money but every, you know. I know some people who are just singing their own songs, they’re making a few hundred bucks a month just singing their own songs because they report them.
Ian: Yes, that's true. And all those things are - I think we're probably coming to near the end of where we can be with all those things are part of that lateral thinking of doing it of making a living as a musician, but the same time don't drive yourself nuts doing it. I have two friends of mine who worked as independent musicians for 10 years and at the end of it they said that they were nearly bankrupt and gave up. So in some sense if you take on the business of music you can drive yourself crazy you have to sort of do what you can and take it easy on yourself. In anything. If you get so worked up about the music business, you'll forget about the music.
David: Right. I think having yourself in the position to take opportunities and be lateral is important.
Ian: There was a period where I was banging on doors in the more I banged on them they wouldn't open but I what I didn't realize I should have looked sideways because the banging on one door had the effect of opening another. I mean here's a case in point. You call me up because of an article that I wrote. Not because of my music but because an article I wrote went viral so, you know it wasn't - you called me not because you know me as a musician, but you called me because I did this other thing. So do the other thing that's related. And having you know, 47 years of experience even though I’m a dull turnip some of these things start making sense.
David: Yeah, and actually I loved your article and that's why I jumped out. With the headline I kind of my first reaction was like, oh that's kind of depressing.
Ian: That wasn't my headline. That was the web page’s headline. They’re the one that captured your attention.
David: But when you read it and you read through it and it's great information and in the podcast for my listeners, I'll put the link to link to it. It's really great information about the history of recording in the music industry and then, in general, it just opens the conversation, you know, like we're having today. What can we do? What’s the thing to do?
Ian: I found more information from the comment section on the on the article too because everybody has an opinion on this. Everybody. So I did learn some things and in some cases I'm going wow, I can see the downside of going viral because I just - my inbox was inundated.
David: Well, I enjoyed it and I like your new article. Is this new? The Giant Maw and The Fragile Tangent?
Ian: It's an older one.
David: I'll get the link for my listeners also. Do you write regularly for any certain magazine or website?
Ian: I do, yeah. It's for Folk Roots Canada. That's where this article originally appeared.
David: You are on all the social media right? Twitter and -
Ian: I am but I ignore it as much as I possibly can.
David: You talk a little bit about social media in the article. I think it’s good for the synergy part of it, for finding people to have conversations with.
Ian: It is, but I have a webmaster who does that for me now and I pay her. Because if I’m out there moving around and everything else there are people who are more fluid with the social media than I am, much more. My dad told me a long time ago, Ian, you can’t be an expert at everything. Delegate. Again, you know, if you’re trying to be the little red hen that does everything, you are going to be spread thin and so worried about whether your website is up to date that your chop start - you know, you’re spending more time on the business of the business than you are on your chops.
David: Exactly. I got that same advice from one of my previous guests also, you know about stop doing things that other people can do for you.
Ian: Yeah, I think that's true, you know again, but temperate with what your budget can do, but for sure I just went okay to my webmaster you can take care of this because I've got so many hours in the day to do things.
David: Do you have a way to to gauge or tell if even doing that participating in social media really - everybody says you have to do it but you know if you're paying somebody else to do it, do you think there's a return on investment there or is it just you know?
Ian: Wow, that's a whole other discussion. A friend of mine just released an album and did the whole Facebook Twitter release publicist and else and she's dizzy from it. She's exhausted and wondering the same question.
David: It'll be interesting to find out everybody's take on this because you can spend so much time.
Ian: I mean I'd have to to suss it out a bit more and look at what's happening. I know that my webmaster thinks that it's working but that's because she's getting paid by me. So I don't know.
David: And I actually just did the same thing. I have, you know websites out there and even with this podcast it's a lot of work and you know, and I had to go grab somebody to help me because it's just a lot of work and I still don't know. I don't know. I don't know if it's you know, there's a return on investment on it or you know, if it's just a fun thing to do.
Ian: Well speaking of which I'm going to have to go because in about an hour I work at this time of year at a sugar bush and I have to get there and start the fire.
David: Okay. That sounds great. Well, it's been great talking to you and we're connected now online and we’ll be chatting once in a while, hopefully.
Ian: Please do. I hope this work’s for you.
David: Don't go away though. I just want to wrap this up. This has been Ian Tamblyn Canadian folk music singer-songwriter, record producer, Adventurer, and playwright. I’d like to talk more about that Adventurer piece and the trips, but maybe another time.
Ian: I'd be happy to.
David: Thanks for joining the local music podcast.
Ian: My pleasure.