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Totally agree. He seems like a nice guy giving pretty standard tips. Nothing that made me go 'oh, that's how you do it'.  Fair amount of product promotion...maybe that's where he makes his cash.

What he doesn't do is say how he got his tracks in the charts. That's the secret juice that no one wants to give away.

I know there are ways to pay for listens (just like the old trick the record labels used to get their artist into the charts). But if we are trying to make money...that seems counter productive. 🤦

I'm yet to hear from anyone actually making a decent buck from this system. 

As my old band mate and now music promotor said. You'd make more money doing a gig and selling a few CDs after than you ever will off Spotify.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2022 at 7:02 AM, Carl Ewing said:

Musicians consistently fail to understand that the modern music business is a MULTI-transaction volume industry. One that relies on sustained / repeated engagement across the largest consumer population possible. That's why you should be focused on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube, and NOT on platforms that are built on a SINGLE-transaction volume model like Bandcamp

To be honest I have to say, is this actually said for real ? Or just trolling ?

Every single entertainment business in our society is a multi-transaction volume industry. And all of them are a rigged system, at least in relation to what it's sold to people, the usual american dream. This goes for music industry, writting, or any other creative industry. They move so much money because it is an investment in the most literal possible way, they put unthinkable amounts of money on promotion and marketing. That's the only reason they get so much money. Period. To make a lot of money you need first to have a lot of money already.

It should be obvious that the rules on that level don't apply to individual artists. That's why it makes from the unknown or small individual artist zero sense to go for streaming platforms where the only money is made by the ones that are already famous. The ratio of artists that actually get famous versus the ones that not is absolutely disproportionated. And has nothing to do with skills or quality. The only things that can get you a ticket for the famous lottery are A LOT of luck, a lot of money already to invest in marketing and promotion (and the knowledge on how to use it of course), or having the right contacts within the industry. Usually, it takes all the three. The ones having that chance are a very very very few compared to all the rest that won't have any chance.

So platforms like BandCamp are simply the only right choice and way to go for small artists (besides of course maybe having too a youtube channel  and some social media to at least try to get lucky, maybe (again, maybe), to be more visible out there in the general population). It's only If (again, if) eventually they get lucky enough to start moving a lot of people that would make sense to move too to streaming platforms. But until then (something that most aspiring artists won't ever get), streaming platforms are only a way to be played and scammed like Philip told.

Edited by Jeslan
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I'm going to share a bit of REAL advice and probably reveal way too much about myself.

Back in 2000 I was courted by labels such as XL.  I had the meetings, I met the execs. I ended signing with a small startup and had a moderate radio hit. Before screwing it all up. If you want to know what NOT to do. I'm your man. But I have picked up some really good advice over the days.

My biggest advice to any aspiring artists is:

1. Move to a city which is a music centre. You will never make it in a small town. A big fish in a small town means nothing. London, Manchester are the UK hot spots.  You need to live where the music lives. 

2. Scocialize, Socialize, Socialize. Meet people. Meet their friends. Go to parties. Be the life and soul of the party. Hold your drink. Don't be a *****. You'll make more connections that way than any conference.

3. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate. I came to the attention of various A&R people because I was collaborating with a female singer, gigging with a folk act, supporting a male singer, recording and producing an alt-acid techno guy. All this while holding down a full-time job.

4. Be Pro-Active. No one is going to come and find you. You have to find them. However, in this case I was very lucky as the label I signed with contacted me through MP3.com. But I also sent off demos, handed people CDs at gigs, emailed. That's how I got to meet XL Records.

5. Face Some Hard Facts. Are you pretty enough?  When I met the label folks, one of the first things they said to me was "we were worried you were going to be really fat or something". Sure you can say that was unPC, but at least they were honest. Just have a look at TikTonkers, YouToobers. They are all symetrical and pretty. It's a sad truth that if you are going to be a front man/woman you will need to look good. That doesn't mean beautiful in the TikTonk sense, but you will need a look. Looks matter in the business.

6. Face even Harder Facts. Are you young? It's a young person's business. If you haven't made it while you're young, it will be really hard to make it later on. Not impossible, Mark Sandman became famous in his late 30s and died in his 40s RIP.  There are always exceptions. But if you're starting out, be realistic.

7. Do You REALLY Want it.  What will you do IF it becomes serious? When I was being courted by the Verve's manager, had my demos circulating major US labels, and I was asked to collaborate with a famous female singer on an off-shoot label from XL....I panicked. I realised that things were getting out of my control. I felt like an imposter. Things happened so quickly that I withdrew....and that was the end of my meteoric rise. Once you start saying NO to offers, they dry up quicker than a Dublin bar on a Saturday night. 

Finally - don't forget to write some blistering music. Nothing mediocre. 'It will do' is not good enough if you want other people to take you seriously. 

If at the end of this rant you feel I am completely wrong. Just ignore my advice. If you think it helps. Pass it on.

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"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench - a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.

There’s also a negative side..."

Often attributed to Hunter S Thompson

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1 hour ago, bdickens said:

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench - a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.

There’s also a negative side..."

Often attributed to Hunter S Thompson

Never trust the word of a man that shoots himself in the face. 🤦

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Philip G Hunt said:

I'm going to share a bit of REAL advice and probably reveal way too much about myself.

Back in 2000 I was courted by labels such as XL.  I had the meetings, I met the execs. I ended signing with a small startup and had a moderate radio hit. Before screwing it all up. If you want to know what NOT to do. I'm your man. But I have picked up some really good advice over the days.

My biggest advice to any aspiring artists is:

1. Move to a city which is a music centre. You will never make it in a small town. A big fish in a small town means nothing. London, Manchester are the UK hot spots.  You need to live where the music lives. 

2. Scocialize, Socialize, Socialize. Meet people. Meet their friends. Go to parties. Be the life and soul of the party. Hold your drink. Don't be a *****. You'll make more connections that way than any conference.

3. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate. I came to the attention of various A&R people because I was collaborating with a female singer, gigging with a folk act, supporting a male singer, recording and producing an alt-acid techno guy. All this while holding down a full-time job.

4. Be Pro-Active. No one is going to come and find you. You have to find them. However, in this case I was very lucky as the label I signed with contacted me through MP3.com. But I also sent off demos, handed people CDs at gigs, emailed. That's how I got to meet XL Records.

5. Face Some Hard Facts. Are you pretty enough?  When I met the label folks, one of the first things they said to me was "we were worried you were going to be really fat or something". Sure you can say that was unPC, but at least they were honest. Just have a look at TikTonkers, YouToobers. They are all symetrical and pretty. It's a sad truth that if you are going to be a front man/woman you will need to look good. That doesn't mean beautiful in the TikTonk sense, but you will need a look. Looks matter in the business.

6. Face even Harder Facts. Are you young? It's a young person's business. If you haven't made it while you're young, it will be really hard to make it later on. Not impossible, Mark Sandman became famous in his late 30s and died in his 40s RIP.  There are always exceptions. But if you're starting out, be realistic.

7. Do You REALLY Want it.  What will you do IF it becomes serious? When I was being courted by the Verve's manager, had my demos circulating major US labels, and I was asked to collaborate with a famous female singer on an off-shoot label from XL....I panicked. I realised that things were getting out of my control. I felt like an imposter. Things happened so quickly that I withdrew....and that was the end of my meteoric rise. Once you start saying NO to offers, they dry up quicker than a Dublin bar on a Saturday night. 

Finally - don't forget to write some blistering music. Nothing mediocre. 'It will do' is not good enough if you want other people to take you seriously. 

If at the end of this rant you feel I am completely wrong. Just ignore my advice. If you think it helps. Pass it on.

That is indeed some very good advice, Philip.

I spent 12 years playing professionally as a drummer. My first instrument is piano and I had started playing piano (lessons) by 3 1/2 and wrote my first song by 4 1/2. During the mid 90s, I quit a popular regional rock band I played in that got a good deal of notoriety. The two top Chicago rock newspaper critics predicted the band would be the next breakthrough band out of Chicago. Being in that band got my more recognition as a musician than I'd ever known . I had seen a show with two of my bandmates with Jimmy Chamberlain (Smashing Pumpkins) and after his set Jimmy walks up to me in front of my band mates and says he's followed me in two bands and I'm one of his favorite drummers...out of Chicago (okay, not as good as saying favorite drummers period -- he had to qualify it by adding "out of Chicago," but I'll take it). But the band's leader is a complete egomaniac and control freak and wants to start doing lipsynced shows, I quit the band. What's the point? I love playing music,  I'm not an actor. I play some demos of my original songs to some musicians I've played with in bands and get a keyboardist,  guitarist and bassist to be part of a band focused on playing my songs. I place an ad in a local music paper with my stage name and mentioning the bands I've played in stating I'm forming a new band and we're in need of a lead singer. I end up getting calls from a couple of very talented female rockers out of Chicago who knew me from one of the bands I played in and try to persuade me to meet with their bands and see how things go. 

One of them, whose band, Veruca Salt, was just signed to Geffen Records, tells me that she's seen me play, thinks I'd be a major upgrade for the band from the previous drummer they just fired for a drug problem and they need a new drummer ASAP and wants me to meet with the band. She (her name is Louise Post) stays in contact with me for the rest of the month telling me, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. " I eventually decline the opportunity to meet with the band for a variety of reasons. My own band, after three dozen auditions couldn't find a decent lead singer, and after playing with the bassist in my band in another band at a festival where he was high on crack and was caught making sexual remarks to a child, I threw the towel in on doing an original band, but by that time Veruca Salt had already found a drummer. 

My point? It's really difficult to make it in the music business. If you have an opportunity,  you need to seize it. Every piece of advice @Philip G Huntoffered above rang true to me, even though I was out Chicago-- a big city -- was with a top Chicago booking agent with two bands,  knew heads of a bunch of Chicago record labels pretty well,  like Touch and Go (Corey Rusk) and Prada (Ken Goodman) to the point that we could hang out at a club and watch a band, but navigating leading my own band, the right personnel,  being at the right place at the right time, doing the right promotions,  having the right look -- there are a lot of factors.  And the reality is, success at a major level, even in one of the US's largest city was a lot less likely when not living in LA (or NYC). 

Now that was all back in the 90s. The Internet and social media has, in many ways made things easier if you're brilliant at promotion, and have music that will strongly resonate with a large audience,  but on the other hand, things aren't like the 90s in terms of getting signed, success or what it means to be signed. And making it big without a big promotions team behind you is possible,  but it's extremely rare. To Philip's points, you need to be realistic about your music and you also need to be realistic. If your music or production isn't up to the task,  if you're 40+... And I  realize I may alienate a lot of people with this,  but A LOT OF PEOPLE making music are incredibly unrealistic about their talent.  Have you played live in front of audiences of decent sizes -- including busking -- and seen a strong positive reaction? What causes you to believe your music has appeal and is at the level it needs to be? You need some kind of reality check and I  believe the best place for that is still live performances in front of audiences. If you've passed all of those checks, you can move on to others.

I've had a long career in marketing,  with a publication of my own, a major book deal, lots of public speaking.... The promotion part of music is the most complicated and costly part. That's why 99% of artists need a record label or agency to handle this area.  But if you're on your own promoting your music, I can't help but think of an old adage, "Nothing kills a bad product faster than good promotion." And when you're on your own and didn't jump through hoops of getting signed,  there's an important element you missed, the opportunity to have a reality check. For an expert to give you an objective assessment of your music. While that isn't necessarily a definitive judgment,  a lot of artists have been told their music won't succeed and still went on to success, more often than not, it can be a reality check and without having any expert weigh in,  you may not be as realistic with yourself. I certainly don't mean to be discouraging,  I mean to communicate: do everything possible to get a reality check. Making it, even on a minor level, in the music business,  is incredibly challenging.  You can more realistically set expectations and objectives and gage your potential by getting objective expert input. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Jeslan said:

To be honest I have to say, is this actually said for real ? Or just trolling ?

Every single entertainment business in our society is a multi-transaction volume industry. And all of them are a rigged system, at least in relation to what it's sold to people, the usual american dream. This goes for music industry, writting, or any other creative industry. They move so much money because it is an investment in the most literal possible way, they put unthinkable amounts of money on promotion and marketing. That's the only reason they get so much money. Period. To make a lot of money you need first to have a lot of money already.

It should be obvious that the rules on that level don't apply to individual artists. That's why it makes from the unknown or small individual artist zero sense to go for streaming platforms where the only money is made by the ones that are already famous. The ratio of artists that actually get famous versus the ones that not is absolutely disproportionated. And has nothing to do with skills or quality. The only things that can get you a ticket for the famous lottery are A LOT of luck, a lot of money already to invest in marketing and promotion (and the knowledge on how to use it of course), or having the right contacts within the industry. Usually, it takes all the three. The ones having that chance are a very very very few compared to all the rest that won't have any chance.

So platforms like BandCamp are simply the only right choice and way to go for small artists (besides of course maybe having too a youtube channel  and some social media to at least try to get lucky, maybe (again, maybe), to be more visible out there in the general population). It's only If (again, if) eventually they get lucky enough to start moving a lot of people that would make sense to move too to streaming platforms. But until then (something that most aspiring artists won't ever get), streaming platforms are only a way to be played and scammed like Philip told.

@JeslanYou hit the nail on the head. Just about every post I've seen from that individual lately looks a lot like a troll, whether he's attacking devs contributing to Ukraine and parroting Putin propaganda or talking about the music industry. I don't think he's on the level, that is, I think he's looking for trouble and deliberately makes efforts to be abrasive with people and to be a contrarian, often making inflammatory posts with points that make no sense, but only seem formulated to oppose others. He doesn't reply when asked how he's acquired his expertise, while people he insults have shared a good deal of knowledge and relevant personal experiences. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
Grammatical edits.
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Some people just can't be happy unless they have something to be unhappy about....

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

One of them, whose band, Veruca Salt, was just signed to Geffen Records, tells me that she's seen me play, thinks I'd be a major upgrade for the band from the previous drummer they just fired for a drug problem and they need a new drummer ASAP and wants me to meet with the band. She (her name is Louise Post) stays in contact with me for the rest of the month telling me, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. " I eventually decline the opportunity to meet with the band for a variety of reasons. My own band, after three dozen auditions couldn't find a decent lead singer, and after playing with the bassist in my band in another band at a festival where he was high on crack and was caught making sexual remarks to a child, I threw the towel in on doing an original band, but by that time Veruca Salt had already found a drummer. 

I remember Veruca Salt 😃

I think you and I may have had similar tastes. I love reading about other people's journeys. Thanks man. 💪 

The point you make about gigging is very true. I was gigging from the age of 15. Not all the time, but enough to know what it was like on a stage in front of 100+ kids. That is a great barometer of how good you really are. By my 20s I was gigging every weekend with a folk act. At one point we were tipped for success. Our well connected guitarist pulled a lot of strings and got up an A&R gig at the 12bar club in London. On the night of the gig, wouldn't you know it, armed police cordoned off the entire area because they were raiding a drugs den next door.  By the time they'd finished, we didn't even have time to sound check. Got on stage, guitarist plugged in his effects board *bam* the electrics of the venue blew every pedal. He huffed off stage and refused to play, so we played two acoustic songs... and that was that. Sometimes lady luck is not on your side.

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't gig more at my height as 53mph I only played a few promo gigs to support the single releases. Did support for Miles Hunt of the Wonderstuff, got invited to do a radio session at xfm, which unfortunately never happened.... But as I said, I was holding down a full time job at the same time. But I never really gigged seriously. 

Hanging out with the right crowd is absolutely essential ( even if a&r guys can be dicks). Use all the connections you have. Band mates with connections is always a bonus. Who you know will often trump most cards.

I'm sure I'll think of more crap to write. 😂

 

Edited by Philip G Hunt
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Re: James Hargreaves video. The "UK Chart" that he says his song got on was "Physical Singles." I can't imagine that it represents a huge market.

Was it bracing for this plug-in 'ho to watch this guy demonstrate getting his sounds using the ugly-***** DXi stock Vegas FX? Anyone here use Vegas ExpressFX on their master bus? Good lord.

Re: The Troll. Yeah, it was. Obviously, with the hit-and-run, he's not interested in an actual discussion. Bonus, though, and one of the things about this forum that continues to amaze me, is that a troll post didn't wreck the thread, rather it was fertilizer for a pretty interesting discussion. Are we all enough veterans of online forums that we know better than to get wound up and launch ad hominem attacks at trolls? I used one of my favorite anti-troll tactics, which was to ask them to elaborate. In my long experience, that's a troll kryptonite. Stay reasonably polite, keep asking them reasonable questions.

Re: @Philip G Hunt's excellent points, #7 is especially important. Once you get the attention/success you think you want, will you be able to embrace it and live with it? As Spock wisely put it, it is often better to want a thing than to get it. I'll add that it's best to figure out as much as possible what you want from a music career. "To earn a decent living" is NOT enough. There are many avenues for musicians to take toward this goal. Member of live touring band, sessions, teaching, casuals. One thing I know about myself is that my creative process takes a long time. If I were in a situation where I had to cough up new gems every few months, that would be hell on earth. So I have to pull back. What is success for me at this point in my life? First I want to make music that pleases me. Next I want to put music out that people enjoy and I would also in some way like to connect with the people who enjoy it. The pie-in-the-blue-sky goal would be to be able to take the stage in front of an enthusiastic audience (this is the least realistic goal, but I would love to make it happen). If I make any money at all from the process, that's gravy. That's why Bandcamp plus a YouTube video for each song suits me. With Bandcamp and YouTube, it's easy to know what reach you have with each song. You know how many times it's been played and/or purchased.

When I was putting together hobby bands, I took my goals one at a time. If we managed to get a club to book us so we can play in front of people, that was success. If we got more shows, success. Get a following, success. Record a decent-sounding demo, success, get it played on the radio, success. With my last band, those were the boxes I ticked before Philip's point #7 seized the other members and they wandered off. And I'm happy with that. How many people dream of doing those things and never get to do them? I've played on stages in San Francisco! I've heard myself on the radio! I put together a cool band, wrote songs and played lead guitar! When I watch other musicians playing, I've felt the strange autopilot in-the-moment bubble they're inside, a feeling like no other. That zone which is outside of normal perception of time and space. How many people get to feel what that's like?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, bdickens said:

Some people just can't be happy unless they have something to be unhappy about....

Yep, either that or they want us all to be as miserable as they are.  What has kept me coming back to this little group through the years is that fact that it is overwhelmingly a really kind group of people. I recently had a couple of people get nasty on me here -- but I thought, I have been part of this community and the old forum for longer than I can remember -- easily a lot more than a decade, maybe a couple of decades. And that kind of stuff rarely happens here. Where as, I used to spend time at KVR and VI Control and you see a lot more bad behavior there. By and large, this place is a group of well meaning people. I've only recently shared some of my original music -- and I was never a singer -- and I stopped playing 20+ years ago due to bad tendinitis in both wrists, so my playing isn't very good -- at best, it's mediocre -- and my vocals are even less good, but I think I was a decent songwriter (but I never had a chance to get my own music heard back when I was a musician, as I only ever worked as a drummer and my attempt at my own band was a flop because we couldn't find a decent lead singer after months of auditions).  I've been blown away at how kind and encouraging people have been, I figured no one would listen and at best I might get some tips on mixing and someone liking a song, but the feedback has been far beyond that and people are being kinder about my music than I am about it myself. And I really owe you an apology,  @Starship Krupa. Dropped the ball on sending you my project files largely because I'm embarrassed about my vocals and don't think it's worth your time. I have been super grateful for your offer and perhaps, when I find I have a vocal that's even close to worthy of you spending time mixing a song, I will ask for your consideration. But I think my vocals on that Beatles' cover are embarrassingly bad to the point where I think I'm going to take it down from SoundCloud and I don't want you wasting your time on it -- and again, you don't know how complimented I am and grateful that you extended that offer. It really encouraged me. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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35 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Re: James Hargreaves video. The "UK Chart" that he says his song got on was "Physical Singles." I can't imagine that it represents a huge market.

Back in 2000 I had a girlfriend whose bands got to No1 in the UK physical indie charts. They only ever printed 500 vinyl singles.

When I met with the a&r at XL he told me a story about his band getting into the UK singles charts. They beat Michael Jackson and only ever made a print run of  1,000. 

You don't need to sell a lot to get into the physical charts...and you can cheat the system.

Back in pre+internet days, big name artists would be in the top ten, not because of sales but, because of pre-orders made by the label itself.  This was an old trick to get the song onto radio and hopefully recoup losses once the public became aware of the song.  Nowdays artists do the same on Spotify etc by paying for plays. Or paying reviewers. Same old crap, just a different format.

If you want to shell out some money, you can rig the system.... But you still need a great song.

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1 minute ago, PavlovsCat said:

Dropped the ball on sending you my project files largely because I'm embarrassed about my vocals

I can't imagine why you would be embarrassed about sending stems of your dry vocals for a relative stranger to listen to solo'd up on a very revealing monitor playback system. 😂

(Just upgraded my interface and then spent a couple of days restoring a vintage Crown D-150 to use as my studio amp and I can suddenly hear all manner of reverb tails, transients and trippy little stereo effects in records I thought I was familiar with)

I've told you before that I think your vocals have character and they will sound even better with judicious application of psychedelic era Beatle-y processing. Whenever you're ready, buddy.

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2 minutes ago, Philip G Hunt said:

If you want to shell out some money, you can rig the system.... But you still need a great song.

And in this case, "great" means "one that people want to listen to over and over."

So true. Chart numbers only pique interest; you can get all the exposure in the world, but if people hear what you do and don't want more of it, you're sunk.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

I can't imagine why you would be embarrassed about sending stems of your dry vocals for a relative stranger to listen to solo'd up on a very revealing monitor playback system. 😂

(Just upgraded my interface and then spent a couple of days restoring a vintage Crown D-150 to use as my studio amp and I can suddenly hear all manner of reverb tails, transients and trippy little stereo effects in records I thought I was familiar with)

I've told you before that I think your vocals have character and they will sound even better with judicious application of psychedelic era Beatle-y processing. Whenever you're ready, buddy.

Sincerely, Eirk, you're way too kind. I will do my best to try to do better vocals and if I can pull something better off, I will contact you and I would be absolutely thrilled that you would spend time on anything I've done. I mean, I'm quite sure that you have more talent than me in every area (music and production) and you're offering to help me -- I do have a mix of gratitude and embarrassment and I just want you to understand that I am truly grateful for your kind offer. 

Edited by PavlovsCat

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great thread guys, really enjoying the real world stories 👍

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58 minutes ago, pwalpwal said:

great thread guys, really enjoying the real world stories 👍

I can't help but sense that our friend is going to come back and complain that this shouldn't be in the deals forum. But this thread is exactly what makes this place so good. A bunch of really helpful people sharing knowledge. It's why I like it here so much. I learn from people, but I also love learning about people. I love that I've just gotten to know  a little about Philip and he's shared his music with me and he's very talented. I've already communicated with Erik (Starship Trooper) in the past and he's such a helpful and nice person -- a credit to any online (and I'm sure offline)  community, and you too, pwalpwal, sharing helpful videos. Okay, I'll stop myself,. Yes, this really isn't a deals forum thread, but it's a really cool thread, IMO.  And I agree, I enjoy the stories and want to hear more and learn more about the others here and how we can share our experiences to help others. Honestly, I'd love to hear everyone's backgrounds. I find it very  interesting and considering that the thread itself is already off topic for the deals forum, I don't think it would hurt.   

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2 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

Yes, this really isn't a deals forum thread, but it's a really cool thread, IMO. 

I wonder if this section of the forum needs to be renamed to something like Deals+ and a description added that states that this forum is primarily about deals but product announcement, demos and rabbit trails are okay too.

I am like many others here. I live in the Deals section and rarely if ever venture into the rest of the Coffeehouse. But I thoroughly enjoy the non deal discussions that happens and would not want to see it disappear. The Deals forum is truly a unique and special place on the Internet.

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