Something nice in the inbox today: A video series making good use of my music and the Non Commercial Creative Commons license I offer to all, on a topic I find very engaging.
In April of last year, Zack McCune was sued by the RIAA. He ended up $3,000 lighter (he settled), but with a much richer understanding of the contemporary debate surrounding music, copyright law, and file sharing. Part I gives an intro to his story, while Part II explores the disconnect between young downloaders and the recording industry. Part III, presented here, concludes Zackâ€™s misadventure and examines where it led him: to the Free Culture Movement, which advocates more flexible intellectual property law.
The track “Elephants on Parade”–clearly an early favorite–was played on the latest edition of All Songs Considered.Â Said host Robin Hilton, “This past year the staff of NPRmusic fell in love with the playful songs of electronic artist Podington Bear.” This tune can be found on Meet Podington Bear, available as the first of 10 CDs in The Box Set, for download via HUSH, or iTunes.
This from HUSH, my label.Â Has a new P Bear jamm: “Wii Oui”.
We are delighted to share this party favor with you: DECA: A HUSH 10th Anniversary Compilation. It’s a rare snapshot of an invigorating cross section of artists mostly calling Portland home. The majority of its 28 tracks (tracklist below) are previously unreleased, and it features a 36 page pdf booklet.
One note: Should you opt for the convenient, high quality zip download you’ll find you’re given an opportunity to pay an amount of your choosing for it, with the proceeds to go to funding a retreat for the artists who participitated. Songs are the richness of our community and we enjoy sharing them. It is an increasingly rare and meaningful gesture–which does not go unnoticed–when one is willing to pay for them of their own volition.
Those of you who caught my post about the season finale to This American Life may recall I said it was one of the best 60 minutes of television I’ve ever seen. The episode conveys a rich sense of, um, lifespan by weaving together footage from a half-dozen or so people of varying age named John Smith, the most popular name in America. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The following video does something similar, culling entirely from YouTube, and without the arbitrary fix on the name John Smith. It’s a vivid collage of tender, funny, and character driven snippets that’s so much more than the sum of it’s parts. I’m happy to have two songs sandwiched in this soundtrack.
This is the kind of stuff I love being associated with. Big ups to editor Denrae.
In the recent past I’ve been brief with the posts, but I suspect it will take a few words to get through this one. If you’re just joining us from Rocketboom or HUSH Records or someplace else and have come to see what the fuss is about, I hope you’ll feel welcome to kick back and rock that player over there on the right for a bit, even if the urge to go check your Facebook or something in a few seconds is overwhelming. Consider the launching the Pop-Up P Bear Player. If you haven’t seen this video, it might be of interest:
Now then. Hi, my character name is Podington Bear. My given name is Chad Crouch. But I suspect I’ll always be Podington Bear. I’m too far in. The short of it is that I made a bunch of songs over the past 18 months, gave em’ away to whoever would listen, then archived it all in a box set recently released by the label I founded here in Portland a decade ago, HUSH Records. So there was a little posturing involved. A little make-believe. No names, no connections to start. Then voila, “signed”. I signed myself to my own label. I doubt that anyone would feel particularly duped by that, but just in case, sorry if it takes some of the shine off. The music remains the same, yes?
So, I just want say a few things and then be done.
I’m going to keep making instrumental music. It will still be attributed to Podington Bear. I won’t start plastering my face on record covers and stuff.
I’ll probably make music and sing over it again. Not sure what that will be called or when, but I kind of miss singing.
I definitely won’t match the rate of output of the past 18 months, and intend to diversify the musical offerings, as with the recent Sound of Picture podcast and blog.
I’ll probably invest a little more time in beat production on future pop stuff. Play some guitar again. Maybe get a little help from my talented musician friends.
Why the ruse, you ask? In part it was like any other gimmick, designed to get a few seconds more attention. [I’m told gimmick has a cheap connotation. I use the word in the sense that any entertainment boiled down is a gimmick: you can’t amuse or entertain people without their attention in the first place. Cartoon bears simply have a history of being very approachable. In the very least I was unconsciously aware of this when the tiny lightning bolt went off in my mind.] But, beyond that Podington Bear was/is my power animal (That’s a reference to the wonderful Thumbsucker film) shielding me in my creative state. Lastly, it was a research and development experiment for the business of music, unfettered from the history and business model of HUSH Records. Adaptation requires experimentation.
And worth noting: This unveiling is prompted in part because of my cover being blown anyway, at least temporarily, to writers and fans who imported The End CD into the ubiquitous iTunes application. The user-driven database Gracenote CDDB listed “Poddington Bear Aka Chad Crouch” in the composer field, flashing briefly for those who might take note. While correct on one count, it failed to be precisely right. (The correct spelling of Podington requires only one D, not coincidentally like the popular portable music device.)
I think that’s about it. If you got this far thanks for reading. I hope you’ll find something to like ’round here today.
Oh and hey: if you do, enter your email up there so I can keep in touch.
About: Chad Crouch founded the HUSH records label in 1998 and has directed it since. His previous recordings include four albums with his band Blanket Music (2000-2007), one album under his given name (1997), and one EP under the name Toothfairy (2006). HUSH will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at The Aladdin Theatre in Portland with Laura Gibson, Loch Lomond, and Nick Jaina on July 12.