Leet Music 2013 Post Mortem

5 good things and 5 bad things that happened in the year 2013…

Good #5: Getting hired to sing.

This year seemingly out of nowhere I’m running into a client demand for my singing voice. Even when “Yuri The Only One” was at it’s peak in popularity nothing like this happened, but this past year I’ve had a number of paid projects making “LeetStreet Boys” style music with my voice, or even work as a session singer. Something I had not anticipated but of course very happy about.  I get a lot of flak for using autotune on my voice, that it somehow makes me a bad singer. The way I see it, autotune is a production tool like reverb or distortion. Highly electronic music demands perfect pitch, and autotune can make a good performance sound better. I encourage any naysayers to come out to my next live show and decide for themselves how good or bad I am.

Bad #5: YouTube is a mess.

Several months ago, Google decided that they were going to force Google+ down the throats of everyone on YouTube in order to comment on videos. The result has been a steep drop-off in the amount of video comments. Without the strength of the community aspect, it seems more risky to invest a lot of money in making YouTube videos.  Google+ sucks. It’s basically a Facebook clone with all the same annoying image memes and dumb news stories, except that at least Facebook has a large audience. The most unfortunate part is that even after signing up for a G+ profile, I was still totally unable to figure out how to comment anyway. I am hoping that another video site will proliferate because Google / YouTube doesn’t seem to care about what their audience wants.

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Good #4: First AAA game project.

After 8 years of doing this professionally, I’m extremely proud to have been part of the music team for Ubisoft’s “Just Dance Kids 2014.” I want to thank David Ortega for this opportunity, and it’s great to finally feel like one of the “big boys.” There’s something legitimizing about working for a world-class publisher, as well as being to say that you can find something I worked on at retail stores everywhere.  I am hoping that this credential will help lead to more work from established companies and overall trustworthiness.

Bad #4: Internet / gaming press has hit rock bottom.

I have a degree in marketing, and I used to be able to send out solid press releases to journalists and have my stories covered by the press. Unfortunately, my latest effort at this has been largely ignored, even with the strength of a great video and 100,000 views in a short period of time. The quality of writing and writers has just gotten worse. Instead of communicating with someone who I respect as intelligent, I feel like I’m talking to someone with the maturity of a college freshman. I’ve started boycotting certain press sites I find particularly sensationalist and vapid. I’m even thinking about starting my own press site  since these people seem to have their own lame agendas and there is lots of quality under-reported news.

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Good #3: Released a new artist project.

Zuki Nyu was my passion project this past year and something I wanted to do for a long time. It’s only 2 songs but it was really hard to schedule the recording sessions and I spent a lot of time on it.  I love how it sounds and I’m very happy that it got finished and released. Will it be a hit? I have no idea, and it’s always hard to break a new artist. I’m doing my best to figure out how to make it work in spite of the current logistical challenges .

Bad #3: Live booking has been a struggle.

I used to be performing 4-5 live shows a year with LeetStreet Boys, but this past year there was only 1. Even with a loyal fan base, a new album release, an awesome music video and a song in a console game responses from conventions have been slow at best. Even though there are lots of anime conventions, there are only a small number that can afford to fly in and pay a band from outside their region. LeetStreet Boys has already performed at many of these events in the past, and they generally do not repeat bands. As conventions grow in size, the less influenced they are by their attendees’ requests since they know people are going to come no matter what. I’m hoping this changes next year.

Good #2: Made a great new music video.

The music video for “Imaginary Boys ” looks awesome! I’m extremely happy about the quality and authentic anime style of this video. This is what “She’s So Kawaii” should have been, and this helped me put a lot of the issues with that project in the past. My data continues to show that a music video is the most effective tool for a recording artist in terms of reaching a larger audience and increasing sales. Immediately after the video’s release, “Imaginary Boys” jumped to being the best-selling LeetStreet Boys song almost every day. Huge thanks to Songwut Ouppakarndee and his team for their outstanding work on this.

Bad #2: The demise of Flash gaming.

For many years I had several clients that were very successful at distributing and developing browser-based Flash games. Unfortunately, 2013 saw me lose my job with both clients when their finances dropped and they laid off the whole team. At it’s peak, I was earning a significant amount of my living from Flash game websites, and I even had the opportunity to develop 3 beat matching games based on LeetStreet Boys music.  LeetStreet Boys game “Guitar Hero Hero” reached over a million plays on a popular Flash arcade site! As consumers have gravitated away from computers toward mobile devices the last few years, these games have lost a lot of their luster from ~2009 when the industry was at it’s peak. It was a good run, and it’s too bad that I won’t be able to this anymore.

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 Good #1: The rise of visual novel games.

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of work for two of the leading visual novel (and related) game developers, and seen significant growth in this industry. Where they were once considered niche products, they’ve become widely available on Steam, mobile devices, and the future looks bright. Winter Wolves Games currently focused on visual novel hybrid games using the Ren’Py engine, including heavy RPG and life simulation elements. Hanako Games focuses on pure visual novel games. Both developers do excellent work and it’s a privilege to be involved with their projects. In addition to more demand for music, I’ve participated on several visual novel game panels at anime conventions, and even got recognized for a theme song I produced for the first time. I’ve got several more unreleased projects that I’m excited about, and hoping for more to come!

Bad #1: Paying stupid amounts of money for health insurance.

My health insurance premiums were ridiculous this past year in Massachusetts. Ouch! It feels like being punished for being entrepreneurial and getting screwed by the medical industry. The republican congress opposing nationalized health care is hypocritical.  They wouldn’t go for 5 minutes without health insurance, but somehow think it’s OK for millions of people not to have it. I’m happy about Affordable Care Act becoming law and hoping the situation improves. I am also seriously considering relocation to a less expensive area depending on how the first part of next year goes.

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One Comment

  1. winterwolves says:

    I agree on bad #4. Seems like now the guys in charge of many news/reviews sites only review something if fits their own agenda, or if is so famous that they must talk about it, otherwise they ignore it.
    Totally unprofessional.

    Anyway: good luck for the next year!

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