Monthly Archives: April 2012

Opening my album 1234567 for the very first time

Watch me, TODDO, as I open the first box of CDs of my brand new EP entitled 1234567. Will the artwork be correct? Will the audio actually work and sound good? Did they misspell my name? Oh, the suspense is killing me

Why I Give My Music Away For Free

Why would I spend countless hours toiling over my songs?  Writing, recording and producing them.  Not to mention the sizeable expense of building a recording studio and self-funding all aspects of an album release (photo shoots, website, press releases, artwork, press kits, radio promotion, media advertising, videos, etc) — only to turn around and give away the end result — the music — for free?  What am I crazy?


Here are some of the reasons I am giving away my music for free:

  • Reduces the barrier to entry
  • Builds a fan base faster
  • I`m not trying to make it in the music industry.  Rather, I`m trying to build it – build a relationship with fans, build longevity, build a back catalog, build a musical career.
  • By giving away music I stand out and thus I partially address the problem of my obscurity (which is the crux of the problem in the first place)
  • If you think about it… piracy is not altogether that different than something going viral.  Which is what I want; right?  The old school rules applied to the new model is insanity.  New school rules – like giving away music rather than charging – IS the new model.   
  • I prefer the long-term exposure over the paltry, short-term money
  • Free music is 10 times more likely to get listened to.  So would I rather have 100,000 people have my music for free or 10,000 people have it for purchase? I`ll take the 100,000 any day of the week (Comes down to the question of whether I`m better off or worse off if more people know about me.)
  • The idea of Federal Penalty and fines and imprisonment for piracy — you know that really scary verbiage on the back of every CD — is crazy.  Yeah, let`s build a warm, long-term relationship with my new fans right after I threaten them with legal action if they share me with their friends.  Seems a lot like demanding a prenuptial agreement right at the altar. 

Believe me, I think music in general is highly valuable – way more than $.99 or whatever iTunes charges! But basically there are new rules in the music industry. Granted, the new rules are not 100% clearly defined to the extent that you can, say, computer model them or something. But there are new realities that are as plain as day to me.

For example, retail is not coming back. My records will probably never be on any store shelf. Sure, there`s space just enough for the top of the top of the tier. Like when U2 puts out their next album it will be in Wal-mart for sure, or Adele or Lady Gaga. But for the rest of us, those slots are not available. But thankfully, the internet came along and made all that irrelevant. We have things like iTunes and Amazon and CD Baby. But again, that model is upset too because we have YouTube and BiTorrent where anybody and everybody can rip songs without paying even one red cent – let alone .99 cents – to own your music.

In my opinion, charging money for music only serves to quash the viralability – if that is even a word – of a new artist. Why try to fight the flow of the stream – ie. the internet and its free exchange of content? That`s like trying to swim backwards up Niagara Falls.

A much better solution is to try to harness the internet`s tools and ethos and build an audience directly by providing the music for free download in exchange for your email address and zip code. The new model looks more like and other such sites. And artists who are already doing extremely well within the new paradigm are like Josh Garrels, Jonathan Coulton, Keller Williams and others.

Do I care to make any money ever at this? Sure. If you want to see me in concert or have the physical CD in your hands or have a t-shirt on your back or a sticker on your amp, et cetera – that is going to cost you.  But the music?  That`s free!

I`m sure I`ll think of even more reasons as I go along.  But this is my list as of now.  What are your thoughts on this?  Pros and cons a very welcome!

Press Release – New EP 1234567 Launches May 1, 2012

1234567 EP,



On May 1, Hembot Recordings will release singer-songwriter-producer ToddO`s first EP 1234567.  ToddO, hailed as an enigmatic voice by Wildy Haskell (Wildy`s World Reviews) will tour in support of the record.  Dates and venues to be announced.  The record will be available by free download from with physical discs available for purchase. Additionally, iTunes and Amazon will sell the release.

Who is This? – the first single from 1234567, will go to radio in late April.  The driving acoustic and synth-based track showcases the warmth and power of ToddO`s vocals and lyrics that are deceptively simple yet powerful.  It is the epitome of an eclectic musical vocabulary — rock, indie, spirituals, even Chicago-style horns.  From the driving Dave and ukulele-drenched Freedom in You and foot stomping power of Made to the anthemic  Hallelujah Chorus and poignant No, No, No to the whacky Cali-pop fuzz of No More in Heaven, ToddO manages to be at once different and accessibly catchy.

Named for the number of songs on the EP, it features both of his children (RubyO on background vocals and RyanO with hand claps), drummers John Mole and Matt Arcaini and trumpet player Bill Dalo. All of the instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, bass, ukulele, keyboard, percussion and vocals were performed by ToddO.  He also produced five of the tracks.  (John Mole co-produced Freedom in You and Who is This?)

Nashville, Tenn mix engineer Lee Bridges (MercyMe, Paul Baloche, Tenth Avenue North, Bebo Norman, Third Day, Newsboys) mixed the 1234567 EP sessions. Hans DeKline for Sound Bites Dog mastered the tracks in Hollywood, Calif.

1234567 builds upon the three singles that ToddO has released since 2010 and yielded a development deal with former Capitol Records A&R head Loren Israel (Neon Trees, Plain white Ts, Jimmy Eat World).

Track Listing – 1234567 EP:

1 – Dave
2 – Freedom in You
3 – Made
4 – Hallelujah Chorus
5 – No, No, No
6 – Who is This?
7 – No More in Heaven