By Susan Salidor
My husband Jay has tried all sorts of things to promote my music. He isn’t afraid of rejection, so he has hawked my music to everyone and everything you can imagine. He’s the one responsible for registering my music with CDBaby and the like, and for making sure it is on lists for all sorts of licensing opportunities, but his efforts on my behalf go way beyond these efforts.
For example, he sent my song about thrifting (“At the Resale Shop”) to dozens of thrift organizations, and now stores throughout the country play it over their sound systems. A song we wrote together for a friend’s wedding, “One More Reason to Celebrate,” is currently listed on Internet wedding music sites as one of the top songs for wedding ceremonies and receptions. When I stumbled across this while searching for my songs on the Internet (a really good way to keep track of where your songs are living), I was surprised and mentioned it to Jay that same night, asking if he knew how it attained such status. He told me that some years ago he submitted it to a few wedding music sites. “I guess it caught on,” he said.
Jay sent one of my new songs, “Wiggle ‘Til the Cows Come Home” (on my CD Come and Make a Circle 3), to dozens of dairy companies with the hope they might choose to license it for their own purposes. So far no bites, but he has received lots of nice responses. And while I’m on the subject of “Wiggle ‘Til the Cows Come Home,” Jay suggested to me back in January that I might want to think about animating one of my songs in the near future. I took this to mean that if I didn’t choose a song to animate, HE would, and since he is all about actualization, I got moving and chose two possible songs, one of which was “Wiggle.”
I liked the idea of animation, and I saw it as a way to promote the new CD in a way we hadn’t yet tried. Once the songs were chosen, Jay put an ad on Craigslist for an animator. In a week’s time, he heard from over twenty artists and forwarded me the most promising resumes. I read the introductory letters and visited their websites, after which I narrowed the list down to two animators. I sent each artist the two songs I had chosen and waited to hear their ideas for each and their fees. After consulting with Jay, I chose Rayah Long, who then sent me a detailed contract outlining her duties, my rights (I own the video) and a production timeline. It all sounded great: $400 (to be paid in installments via Paypal) to animate a song that runs just under 3 minutes, to be finished in two months. (FYI, Paypal is where my royalties and download monies go, so I like to use it for my business expenses when I can.)
I really enjoy process. While I love performing, I relish the act of songwriting. I love finishing a new CD, but I so enjoy being in the recording studio and breathing life into the songs that will live on that CD. Working with animator Rayah Long turned out to be mostly fabulous. She created adorable animals and children for the video, and, as time went on, she seemed to better understand the “actions” in the song and the underlying humor.
Two months turned into three, and sometimes weeks would go by without hearing from her. But in the end, $400 got me an animation of my song that I am happy to share with the world. You can see it here.
What will a professional animation of “Wiggle ‘Til the Cows Come Home” mean for my music? It is too early to tell. Jay hopes it creates more “hits” for my song since it, along with all of the others, are monetized. I like the idea that my song lives in an alternate form on the Internet and that the animation might attract more children and their families to my work. I am content to wait six months and assess the response to the video; Jay loves the Wiggle video and is already asking me what song we should animate next!
Susan Salidor is a member of the CMN Board.