I was early to the self-releasing party. I paid for and released my first record, “Language of Love”, more than 20 years ago, in 1996. We recorded it to tape in Tim Stambaugh’s home studio in New Orleans. It was an exciting time. I felt like I was in control of my own destiny. I was going to own my own masters, and as would naturally follow, I imagined I’d own my own destiny. This was an era, if you remember, when a record could go out of print and disappear – an era when you might record for a major label and get dropped before the record came out. So I really thought I was being smart. Not that I had much hope that a label would be interested in me anyway, but I was aiming for self sufficiency, full artistic control, and most importantly…sustainability; all I hoped to do was make enough back on each record to be able to pay for the next one. This was really not an unrealistic goal. Well…as I’m sure you can imagine, nothing worked out quite like I’d hoped. I won’t go into all the sordid details, but when the streaming revolution happened, I watched my potential earnings on all my self-produced masters turn to dust. Of the 9 records of mine that are out, I own the masters for 7 of them. I basically spent every cent I made on making my own records. As you might imagine, I was reluctant to make them available to be streamed. I refused to even use any of the streaming services out of principle. Then I started experimenting with having some titles available for streaming while others wouldn’t be. Finally I gave in. Mostly it’s because I finally started using the streaming services myself, and I loved having the access. From the consumer standpoint, it’s a no-brainer. It’s so convenient and so well suited to our current technological phone-driven reality. But once I gave in and allowed my records to be streamed I discovered something else problematic. There are so many other artists with my name that my streaming life is completely tangled up with lots of other John Ellises. So although my records are on Spotify and Apple Music, if someone goes there to look for them, they will likely end up listening to someone else’s music. I’ve been trying for a while now to get this all sorted out, but to no avail. The robots that organize all this just don’t care that much. So today I made a Spotify playlist that has a few tracks from all 8 of my albums that are available there. I share it with you here for now, in hopes that at some point in the future, my streaming life will be fully disentangled from all the other John Ellises, so that my capitulation to the current technology at least allows people to hear my music who want to, and I don’t just get drowned out entirely by the shouting of others who share my name.