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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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El Fracasado (the loser)

27 June, 2008 (12:51) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Mark got a call on his cell phone from a British bloke who is an acquaintance of a friend. The guy’s name is Clive and he claims to be an out of work musician living nearby, in Gracia. Our friend Lee gave him our number, told him to call us because maybe we could distribute his music. He seemed harmless enough so Mark and I agreed to go meet him at Plaça del Sol, 2 blocks from our place. I was expecting him to be tall, skinny and with black hair. I had no basis for this. The guy was meant to recognize us, Mark being tall and wearing a hat.

We walked to Plaça del Sol and waited a few minutes when an unassuming older man approached. He looked like Anthony Hopkins in a slightly down and out role, wearing a non-descript wrinkly shirt and pants. He looked to be in his 60’s but might actually be in his late 50’s; its hard to tell when a man has a balding grey head. He was nice enough but a bit pathetic looking, like someone who’s been beaten by life. We went to his favorite nearby bar for a drink to see if we had anything in common.

Clive’s been living in Spain for about 20 years and has been working odd jobs in that time. He says he left England because he was getting in debt. He moved to Spain to start a new life, got married, has been working in different businesses, creating music for the fun of it. “I’m a music inventor. I can’t read or write music but I ‘invent’ it’ as I play.”

I say diplomatically, “We sell music for composers who’s music fills a market we don’t already have covered. Do you have a recording we can listen to?”

“No, I don’t have anything on tape or CD, but I have recordings that could “easily be mixed by someone”.

We said “we don’t do that.”

“I could bring over my 4 track recorder and drum machine to show you what I do”.

“No, we need a CD or a tape”

“I don’t have any of that fancy technical stuff to make a CD, I’m not sure how to mix the music but I’m sure someone who knew what they were doing could do a good job.”

Mark says “We only sell music that’s ready to go. We don’t mix or separate into loops. We expect our composers to do that.,”

“Huh?” he says. Clearly he was expecting we’d want him to bring his boom box over, play us all his tunes, we was hoping we’d pick a few and want to magically release them through our site.
We told him to check out our website, that he’d understand better what we want if he did some leg work and listened to what we are selling already. He replied that he has a computer and he has ADSL at home, but he doesn’t know how to use any of it.

What do you say to someone like this? Clearly all we have in common is living in Gracia, nothing else. it turns out he hardly even knows Lee, who gave him our number.

I felt for the old fellow, sitting there pitching his music to us – I suppose every musician hopes someone with a record company will some day discover them. The funny thing in this scenario is that our company, Partners In Rhyme, is in the position to make something happen for anyone with a viable “camera ready” product. Lots of composers approach us by sending CDs to us in the mail, which we listen to and some of which we see market potential for and negotiate the standard 50/50 deal, which is a solid industry standard. But never has anyone approached us wanting to bring their box over to play their tunes for us to audition. Clive is already a fond memory for me. Who knows, maybe he writes the most brilliant and original music we’ve ever heard… but even so if a composer doesn’t hand us a camera ready product, we certainly don’t have time to create *their* product. Even more, if a composer doesn’t have it together enough to simply play his music to the people he is trying to pitch it to then he is definitely a lost cause, no matter how empathetic we might be towards him from having been in his same position quite a few times ourselves in the not so distant past.