JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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• Why DIY is so great. And sucks, too.

Yesterday, I finally approved the final proofs of my CD art work. I feel good, but nervous, because the last time I did this, I received my 1000 CDs from OasisCD and they were so riddled with errors that I simply had to pony up for a do-over. This might be the only full CD I ever make and I want it to be the best it can be.

Why all the mistakes? Simple, because in the true spirit of today’s Do It Yourself music world, I did all the art direction myself and I am not an art director. I can fumble my way through InDesign and Photoshop, but to say I know these programs would be like saying George Bush knows English.

In fact, the more I think about DIY, the more I realize what a double edge sword it truly it is. Sure, anyone can now do everything, from writing songs to recording them to creating the art work to registering them to posting them to marketing them etc, but at what cost to their core art? Instead of staying up late trying to crack a verse, you’re fumbling around in Photoshop or struggling to grok a web site for posting your music to. Or maybe your computer has crashed and you’ve got to figure that out. Art? Who has the time anymore?

Anyway, despite my reservations, I would not trade today’s DIY world for the days of yore for anything. To go back to a time when just about every aspect of making a record meant being highly dependent — and in debt — to others would be like having to go back to a time before cell phones. I could survive, but would I want to?

And so I wait with crossed fingers, toes and eyes, and hope that when my CDs arrive this time they are perfect. And if they're not, I will simply have to consider any flaws as, um, charming.