Jon Shrier has gone digital.
The Whistler musician has finally put a handful of his songs — collectively called Part One — up on iTunes (via a service called CD Baby that makes it possible to make songs available for download in various places) so audiences beyond those at his shows can purchase his music. "You don't have to spend the money to go down to work with producers and spend more money on distribution and packaging," Shrier says. "You can develop savvy Internet attention and get into the habit of uploading your songs. That's the best way to make money."
In Whistler where record stores have long been shuttered, it's a way to entice potential fans to check out music one song at a time. Shrier decided to release his tracks as singles rather making the whole album available as one download.
"It's only a 99 cent investment," he says. "Everyone wants (music) now. That's why iTunes is so popular... I like the idea of an album not taking as long to complete because I get onto the next thing very quickly."
That's evident by his summer schedule. When he's not busy being misidentified in Pique (as he was in the picture of the listings section in last week's issue. Sorry about that!) Shrier has been playing the Upper Village Farmers Market, working on a project where he helps budding musicians discover their inspiration and shaping a children's album.
The latter project was sparked, in part, by his farmer's market performances over the years. "In recent years I've developed a kids following," he says. "It's inspired me and I just began writing. I tried to make it so kids would understand the songs. I was converting songs into a kids' format. They need something friendly, engaging and positive."
While he's still writing those songs, he'll continue to play around town as he's done for the last 15 years since moving to Whistler from Montreal. His next pair of gigs will be at the Crystal Lounge Friday and Saturday where he's planning to perform as a duo with a still-secret guitar player. "They're a fantastic guitar player," is all he will reveal.
He also plans to release another collection of songs online, dubbed Part Two, in the near future. Putting his tracks out on the Internet — and, by extension, releasing them to the world — has felt like a major accomplishment. "It's taken me a long time," he says. "It's nice after so long that I have the ability to get my songs out into the world... iTunes feels like I crossed the finish line, in a sense. Now I've entered another race."
He points to a fellow Canadian musician (whose honed quite a different sound than the acoustic singer-songwriter) as an example of the potential of the World Wide Web. "My song could sell a million copies. It's possible," he says. "It happened to Bieber. The Internet broke him. There was a spark."
To check out Shrier's songs (or Justin Bieber's, for that matter) search his name on iTunes.