Thursday, September 22, 2005

Big in Japan

This site/link in Japan is the source of over 12,000 downloads in only the last month for one of my songs, Beautiful Moments, which is interesting considering it was a tune I 1) have never formally promoted; 2) recorded the same night I wrote the song - a live piano/vocal rendition; 3) intended as a rough demo just to get a sense of the tune; and 4) named WIP.mp3 so that everyone knew it was just a work-in-progress! (I've since decided to adopt the WIP.mp3 file as a placeholder for my advertisement of the moment - for obvious reasons!)

Occasionally I see a pattern of interest for certain mp3 files downloaded from my site, but usually nothing dramatic. Until tonight.

Apparently, I'm big in Japan.

Once a year or so I look at my site's statistics provided by my host...it's usually the same deal over and over. Endless searches for trumpet fingering charts, lots of virtual trumpet links, surprisingly little action on my Real Trumpet offering (surprising to me because I feel Real Trumpet a more substantive and useful product), and of course only a smattering of evidence of interest in my songs, compositions and arrangements..except for the ones that have remotely provocotive names (e.g., Big Girl - yes, the "Live" version is number two on the most downloaded list for this site - gee, I wonder why? But Little Man - a song for my son - isn't even on the radar).

But apparently one of my cryptically named mp3 files (WIP.mp3) is being downloaded thousands and thousands of times - but why this one? Clearly, WIP means something interesting in Japanese. Wish I knew what. Bet I can guess. This I do know for sure: WIP is the title for my next Blowholes tune!

Obviously there's a perfectly reasonable explanation...I mean, no one is THAT interested in my work (ha! besides me)...are they? And it doesn't matter because writing music brings me great joy and satisfaction. Naturally there's a business side to this art and it's nice when there's interest in one's work. But why such interest in a rough demo of a song...intended for a very few to hear...a recorded version of a song I never got around to removing or renaming?!

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I know the truth, which is this: no one is actually listening to my song. The site is just a feeding ground for piranha-like appetites for free MP3s and WIP.mp3 just happens to correlate to something provacative in the English to Japanese translation. Dang! So okay, maybe I'm not so big in Japan after all - just digital fish food for the masses...oh well.

The song is real though...

I loved the tune when I wrote it and am still do; I like the shape, mood and lyrical intent - harmonically there are some interesting things happening too. Its harmonic underpinnings are rooted in Jazz but there's clearly a "pop" thing going on as well. It is understated with bits of sophistication and that's a nice space. The lyric is a poem to the past; to friends far and away now...to dreams...fantasy reflections, and if I'm honest, it's a song to the me of another when. I never got around to producing this song they way I still hear it... I wrote a little arrangement for a small group and we tried to perform it one night in the lobby of the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis for a benefit. Turns out I forgot to transpose the Alto Sax part when I printed the part (that was a "moment"), but I do recall performing it somehow. And at least one singer in the local area asked me for a lead sheet and permission to perform it, which of course I happily gave.

In the song's chorus there's a reference to Google (which, in addition to being a gianormous number, is a registered trademark). Wanting to be legit, I emailed their legal team asking for official permission to use the Google name in my song...I'm not certain I ever got a response, but at least I tried - so the lyric stands until they decide to sue me...sue me...what can ya do me? I won't hold my breath!

Finally and for the record (and especially for all my dear friends and fans in Japan, whoever you are) here's the lyric to Beautiful Moments, my penultimate work-in-progress or whatever WIP means in Japanese:

Beautiful Moments Words and music by Rob Birdwell

When the moon is out tonight
I will pause at the sight
And reflect on the times
We shared long ago

When the night lark is singing
I will sing right along
And try to recall
That old melody we wrote

I can Google your name
But I won't find a trace
Of those beautiful moments
From another time and place

I can hold my breath
Till I'm blue in the face
Still those beautiful moments
Are elusive as grace

When the sun is on the rise
I will rise up and shine
Slip inside my space suit
And fly far, far away

To Venus or to Mars
Either one will do
See the Earth from the other side
The other side of you

I can Google your name
But I won't find a trace
Of those beautiful moments
From another time and place

I can hold my breath
Till I'm blue in the face
Still those beautiful moments
Are elusive as grace

Thought I saw you in a passing car
Headed west on Hollywood Boulevard
What ever happened to old you-know-who?
Yea times are pretty strange now,
Whatcha gunna do?

When the moon is out tonight
I will pause at the sight
And reflect on the times
We shared long ago

When the night lark is singing
I will sing right along
And try to recall
That old melody we wrote

I can Google your name
But I won't find a trace
Of those beautiful moments
From another time and place

I can hold my breath
Till I'm blue in the face
Still those beautiful moments
Are elusive as grace

I can search for your name
But I won't find a trace
Of those beautiful moments
From another time and place

I can hold my breath
Till I'm blue in the face
Still those beautiful moments
Are elusive as grace

(c) Copyright 2008 Rob Birdwell / BirdwellMusic.com
All rights reserved...even in Japan.
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