Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Great Unknowns

Hi everyone,

As you know, I've spent the majority of 2013 on a non-Tolkien project. I'm hoping to be done with that by the end of summer, and with luck, will have more to share at that time. The upshot of that, of course, is that I've been a pretty negligent blogger as of late. True, there hasn't been much to report on lately, but I do feel bad that I haven't been able to connect with everyone.

Creative work is so odd. One dedicates years of hard, solitary effort to creating something, then finally gets to come into the sunlight and celebrate. But after that, one has to hop off the mountain and tackle the whole thing again. You're back in the foothills all by yourself--and oh, you're not allowed to take the same route in your attempt to return to the summit. The whole affair feels freeing, self-indulgent, satisfying beyond compare, and unnerving beyond recognition. I love it, but you really feel your mind straining at the seams ...

Anyway, enough of my whining. I'm actually checking in today to respond to a coupld of questions that keep popping up:

1) The LOTR: Complete Recordings seem to be very hard to find right now. The Two Towers, in fact, is listed as being out of stock, and is going for astronomical amounts on the secondary market. Will they be back, and if so when?

I've actually enquired about this, but the short answer is, I do not know the answer. The Complete Recordings have always been tricky to keep track of. Shore's company has a say in them, Reprise (the label) has a say in them, Warner Bros (who owns Reprise) has a say, CAMI (who produces the Live to Projection shows) has some say in which way stock is pushed. I, however, have no say. Thus, I don't really have any right to demand information. I can -- and have -- asked the various labels involved about what's going on, but the answers I get back usually involve a lot of checking -- again because there are simply so many fingers in the pie. If I am given information to post, I promise to post it. Otherwise, it's safe to assume that I don't know any more than you do.

It's important to note that the Complete Recordings are a very high-end product aimed at a very specific audience. They're very expensive to produce, thus labels can't go and run off an extra hundred every time stock dips. I know it's easy to assume that record companies are all conspiring to take advantage of the consumer by creating scarcities -- or that they simply are content to ignore the fans -- but this isn't the case at all. When creating something like the Complete Recordings, a company generally has to produce a massive number of units just to make it worth their while. They're paying another company huge amounts of money to create the physical products -- and each commissioned run comes with a hefty price tag. If a company did a short run every few months, they'd lose huge amounts of money, and would never again back projects like this. For such investments to make sense, record companies have to do very large runs once every couple of years. There's never a guarantee when -- or if -- the next run will take place. The labels know far better than I how to judge such things. Presumably, The Two Towers is between print runs. (I don't know this for a fact -- they could have a thousand sitting in a warehouse for all I know.) The decision, therefore, becomes whether or not a new pressing makes financial sense. Past sales are considered along with presumed demand, logarithms, forecasts, politics, chaos theory, and who knows what else! The point is, they have ways of making these decisions, and no one outside of a small handful of people is ever entirely privy to them.  I have a hard time imagining that The Two Towers is gone for good ...

2) This one's a chestnut, but it bears repeating: Will The Return of the King play Radio City Music Hall?

Again, I do not know. When Fellowship and The Two Towers played Radio City, I was very involved with CAMI, the show's producers. These days, that is not the case, so I don't have the access to the same information as I once did. I continue to hear there might be more large-scale performances coming elsewhere, and certainly the LOTR Live concerts are continuing to robustly tour around the globe. The Two Towers will make its Chicago debut this August (and I think I may be appearing in some manner, so stay tuned for that), so it's not as if there's no longer interest.

If ROTK comes to Radio City, it is unlikely to be announced on this blog. The producers will rightfully want a platform bigger than good ol' MusicofLOTR.com! And were I to know about such a concert before it was publicly announced, I would certainly be asked to keep my mouth shut about it. So, until the show's producers say something, assume that I either know nothing or am ethically bound to silence. Speaking of ...

3) I get a number of emails asking for hints about upcoming LOTR performances, either Live to Projection or the Symphony.

No can do, sorry. My relationship with the concerts has always been such that I'll announce things when contacted by producers, by the orchestras themselves, or by fans who have already seen something in the press. I cannot announce anything before it's official. It's really not fair to the organizers.

So what a cheery return to posting, eh? First I moan about the rigors of the creative process, then I list three questions that I can't answer! :) Sorry, all! I actually get a heavy handful of emails each day asking about all this, and while I do have some people that have stepped in to assist with such things, I thought it might be easier to just address this en masse.

It's important to note that nothing above represents an official announcement of any kind. I'm just trying  to explain why I don't know what I don't know, but I'm acting purely as an outside observer.

Back soon,


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