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free music, shareware, business models and reckless idealism Saturday night I recorded 5 songs that I've written, with guitar, vocal, violin, some percussion and mandolin. My dad did the engineering, and will be taking the tracks home to Maine to mix down for me and try and see what we've got. My plan for this project is just to give copies away for free. If people like it, I'll ask them to send me $5.00 to defray reproduction costs and finance a future project like it. This is an experiment that others have tried, and few have really made any money at it. When I was a kid you could get computer games for free with a little note that said "This is Shareware. If you like this title, please send $10.00 to...", etc. Stephen King also experimented with writing a book this way, where you could download copies of a chapter for free, and if enough people paid in he promised to continue the story. I'm not sure how that panned out for him either. But so far everyone's been working for free, so I have little to lose besides $10.00 for a spindle of blank CD's and time spent doing something I enjoy with people I like having around. I had considered getting the reproduction done professionally, and including packaging, but that would be an added expense that I don't care to incur. If I take in any money from this, it will go to some of the people involved, and for my part will go towards more music. So support the arts, if you like it. About the music: With one exception where I kept messing up the words, everything was done in single takes. For my part, you can sometimes tell. We recorded guitar, vocal, and violin all at once, and I added single takes of cajon (box-drum) and mandolin to a few of them. The songs are little rough on some edges, and unpolished, much like the songwriter, but if you've heard me play before you'll be used to that I'm sure. Ashlie Skidmore plays violin, and plays no wrong notes at all. I play enough for both of us. So if you're interested in hearing the end result when it becomes available, drop me an email at lukestevens (at) gmail.com. You'll need to piece the address together yourself, but I'm sure you figured that out. This will help me figure out how many copies I need to have made to start with. Tell me whether or not you would consider making a $5 donation, if you are happy with the product and deem it worthy. If you're not someone I see regularly, give me your address also.

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