A Grateful Departure

Hi everyone, it’s Arthur Hatton here.  It has been around three and a half years since I created Linescratchers, and as many of you may have noticed, our productive output has decreased over the last year or so.  This is directly attributable to the fact that I’ve had my first kid (he’s one year old now), and started graduate school.  Those two things have really taken away my energy to micro-manage things and make time in my schedule to talk with artists, listen to new music, and go to concerts.  Our fundraiser was an attempt at providing the incentive necessary to take Linescratchers to the next level, but it was not successful enough to really meet our minimum goals to do so (though we will have plenty of money for web hosting bills for the indefinite future).  I have given this decision a lot of thought and have decided that, in order to make room in my life for graduate school and research, being a father, and new blogging interests, I’m regretfully going to have to step down as the in-charge person at Linescratchers.

This was not an easy decision to make.  In a lot of ways I feel like I’m giving up a baby for adoption.  However, I also know that I’m a perfectionist, and I get very dissatisfied with myself if I do things half-way.  Either I do them right or I don’t do them at all.

However, I also did not want to just shut Linescratchers down.  So we have worked out a new system whereby contributors will still post articles, interviews, and reviews, without me telling them what to do.  On our Staff page I will compile a list of active contributors along with the styles of music they specialize in.  If there are any new artists who wish to be featured on Linescratchers, you can contact the contributors directly.  Expect lots of great new content over the next months (and hopefully years).  Don’t go away!  It’s just that I won’t be directly involved anymore.

One thing I just want to say here is that, in my mind, I consider Linescratchers an unqualified, total success.  When I created Linescratchers, I had reasons for doing it, and goals that I wanted to achieve.  Some of them were more abstract, like that I wanted to create a safe place for LDS artists to be able to really express themselves.  Some were more concrete – I wanted to interview Alan Sparhawk.  Along the way I’ve met some amazing artists, writers, fans, and people, and seen some amazing musicians live.  I was even able to create a couple dozen podcasts, some of which were great interviews of some amazing musicians.  I love Linescratchers and I really hope that it continues long years into the future.

If you are interested in what I’m doing nowadays, you might have noticed that I was recently interviewed about an album I just released, Odes.  I have also started a personal blog that I have been using to record my thoughts about my personal musical journey and other random things, and if you’re interested in following me there, I promise to try and entertain you as best as I can.  If you want to follow me in my music, you can find me at my Facebook fan page or on Reverbnation.  I am also involved with a psychology of religion blog called The Value of Saintliness, related to my graduate studies.

The thing I want to express most here is my gratitude.  I am so thankful to each of you – each contributor, each artist that really believed in us, each fan who follows us, each listener of the podcast, every family member that offered support, and every person that donated to the fundraiser.  You’ve all made this wonderful site possible and I wish I could just shake your hands individually.

You’ll still see me lurking around Linescratchers, and hopefully posting every now and then, and I will still be happy to answer questions or press inquiries about the site, I just won’t be pulling the puppet strings anymore.  To get in touch with me personally, please email me at arthur@linescratchers.com.

A Grateful Departure

Linescratchers Compilation Album

It’s been a hope of mine ever since I created Linescratchers to eventually make a compilation album that featured the best of our artists every year. I discovered that this is a legally tricky endeavor. In order to obtain copyrights for 10-12 songs I’d have to have each artist sign dozens of pages of paperwork, pay legal fees, and keep up with a ton of legal ramifications of selling somebody else’s music. Lacking sufficient time and resources to do all that, I put the idea on the backburner until a time when I could fully focus my attention on it.

However, with the advent of our newest fundraiser and plans to expand Linescratchers, I have been able to realize that dream in some way. We’re not actually selling the album – it’s a bonus gift for those who donate $20 or more to our fundraiser – and that means our artists could just donate their favorite or most unique tracks to us and we can give out free digital downloads to those who participate! It’s a win-win-win situation for our artists, our fans, and Linescratchers.

But some of you have still asked about the track listing, and I’m happy to oblige. Here are the songs on the first official Linescratchers Compilation Album:

Kirby Heyborne – The Hard Way
Rumbo Rumba – Ya Va A Salir El Sol
Young Sim – I Apologize
The Barefoot Movement – Find Ourselves
Good Morning Passenger – Empty Beds
Australis – Sacred Earth
Idiot Glee – Don’t Go Out Tonight
Mayan Fox – Move
Colby Miller – Collapse!
Kristen Lawrence – The Ghost of John
Roxy Rawson – (new track – to be determined)
(NEW!) The Neighbors – (to be determined)

I didn’t ask all our artists to donate a track. You can see that I really focused on having as broad a variety of music as possible: from rap to indie to violin to Latin to Halloween to acoustic to New Age and more. I think this is an important step in really showing what Latter-day Saints are capable of creating artistically in modern times. No doubt in 100 years, Mormon historians would probably be interested in these tracks, just to see what Mormon artists of the early 21st Century did. Once again, this album is available to those who donate more than $20 to our fundraiser (downloads will be made available as soon as the fundraiser is over at the end of the month). Enjoy!

Linescratchers Compilation Album

ANNOUNCING Linescratchers: the Online Magazine, Fundraising Campaign, and Compilation Album

Dear fans, musicians, and readers,

We have until October 30th to win your support!

Linescratchers has been around for over three years now. We’ve existed in pretty much the same form since we began: a little blog.  As much as I loved putting distance between us and the “LDS musician” industry and sending out “Are you Mormon?” emails to semi-known celebrities, I soon realized that I couldn’t do it alone.  I recruited a group of bloggers from all over the country who are committed to finding and promoting LDS musicians everywhere.  We’ve slowly grown into the biggest website of its kind.  Where else can you find Alan Sparhawk talking about the “fluke” of making money with musicIan Fowles talking about punk rock, The Aquabats!, and theologyKirby Heyborne talking about being an actor, songwriter, and the woes of being a “celebrity” in the Mormon churchYoung Sim on his family’s escape from Liberia and so much more?  Linescratchers features the largest network of LDS musicians in the world, and we now celebrate the best of LDS musicians in our Annual Linescratchers Awards, the only award of its kind.

Our loyal fans and readers, you have provided the greatest input, comments, suggestions, and general motivation we could ever ask for.  Many of you read regularly, comment, and listen to the podcast. Because of that, we want to grow, improve, and continue providing the content you deserve.  After a solid run in the group blog format, working out the kinks in our system, we are ready to take this to the next level. And this is where you come in.

Blogs are great for what they are, but we want Linescratchers to be much more.  Great blog posts get buried soon after they’re published.  Our design doesn’t lend itself to compelling pictures or a polished format.  Furthermore, our contributors are a core team of volunteers.  Life happens, and creating solid and consistent material can be tough.

Therefore, we’ve decided to expand Linescratchers into an online magazine.  

“What’s the difference?” you might ask.  Well, the new Linescratchers will have:

  1. A professional site redesign.
  2. A quarterly, downloadable PDF/mobile edition featuring the best articles and interviews of each quarter, so you will be able to access Linescratchers on your mobile device and e-readers.
  3. More LDS art-related categories, such as film and theater.  While music will always be our primary focus, an online magazine format will allow us to venture out into other categories that you might also be interested in.
  4. A network of advertisers and other professional relationships.  While ads normally suck the cool out of good websites, we will feature neat and relevant partners like venues where our artists perform, studios, music shops, LDS-related sites, and labels.  Above all, this will allow us to provide you, the readers, with…
  5. Higher-quality content.  We aim to produce even better content than we ever have before.  We will be able to do this by giving our contributing staff and editors compensation for their work, so they can make more time for it.

For this to work, we need your help.  I am happy to officially announce a month-long RocketHub campaign to fund our website overhaul!  Funds raised throughout the month of October will go to graphic design and other costs associated with running a slicker, higher-traffic site for the next year while we wait for advertising to kick in.

You might ask, like Peter of old, “Behold, we will donate and follow you (on Facebook and Twitter); what shall we have therefore?” The answer: our Linescratchers Featured Artists are behind us 100%.  We are offering a special bonus compilation album featuring tracks from some of our best LDS Featured Artists to everyone who donates more than $20 to Linescratchers!  This compilation will include songs personally donated to us from:

Kirby Heyborne
Young Sim
The Barefoot Movement
Roxy Rawson
Idiot Glee
Colby Miller
Kristen Lawrence
Good Morning Passenger
Rumbo Rumba

This compilation is not for sale. It will only be available for those who donate more than $20 in our RocketHub campaign.  Anyone who donates at least $10 will receive a special mention in our first quarterly magazine.  For our high-roller fans, donations of $50 or more will receive the compilation album and Linescratchers merchandise.  All reward levels are available on our RocketHub site.

Thank you to everyone for participating in all our struggles and joys over the last three years.  We hope to be around for a long time, and we want you there with us!  So what are you waiting for?


ANNOUNCING Linescratchers: the Online Magazine, Fundraising Campaign, and Compilation Album

Grand Opening: The Linescratchers Network!

Hi everyone!  So a few weeks ago I mentioned that we were working on a secret project at Linescratchers that would involve many blogs and bloggers all over the LDS music world.  Well, it’s time to announce our grand opening of The Linescratchers Network!

Linescratchers.com isn’t going away of course.  We still have plenty of cool interviews, featured artists, and music reviews right here at Linescratchers for you.  However, our fearless Web Administration Wizard, Tim, has put in countless hours of coding (not to mention lots of little picky suggestions from our Staff) to create an entirely new website.  It’s a way of connecting LDS musicians with their fans, and vice versa.

At The Linescratchers Network you’ll see an updating list of blog posts from all over, as well as Twitter and Facebook updates from our featured LDS artists.  You’ll also see an iTunes playlist on the right that will allow you to sample and purchase selected music from our featured artists.  You’ll notice a Featured Video that gets updated semi-regularly.  Lastly, you’ll see cool blog updates from venues (where Linescratchers play), our friends at some fellow Mormon arts blogs, and some other random links that we think you’ll find funny/cool/interesting.

So what are you waiting for? CHECK IT OUT! Make it your home page!  Come back every day to see what’s been updated!  Interact with cool musicians who blog!  Get introduced to new music written by Latter-day Saints!

A permanent link to the network will always be available here at Linescratchers.com.  It’s the “Network” tab on the top of this page.  Last but not least, it’s still in the beta stage of development, so if you have any reasonable suggestions/comments/concerns, please email me at arthur@linescratchers.com and we’ll see what we can do!

Grand Opening: The Linescratchers Network!

Seeking applications for blogs, writers, or musicians!

We have a couple items of blog business to share with all of you.

1) Are you a…

…featured Linescratchers artist?
…LDS musician/writer/blogger with your own music blog?

We are currently working on a secret Summer project and we are seeking out all our friends and fellow musicians out there who have your own music blogs, publications, or organizations. If you don’t have one, and you’d like one, start one! If you need help, contact us and we’ll help you set it up!

Email me at arthur@linescratchers.com and let us know if you have a blog that you update regularly. Please let us know what kind of blog it is: a discussion blog with cool questions, dialog, stories, or discussions, OR a blog containing news about your band (or any combination of the above).

2) Are you interested in interviewing cool musicians, reviewing free music, raising interesting questions, or otherwise working with us at Linescratchers (for FREE)? We are always seeking out bloggers, writers, and web administrators to help out! Send a message to dallin@linescratchers.com to find out how you can help.

3) Are you an LDS musician who doesn’t write LDS music, who has never been featured on Linescratchers? If so, please send a link to your music, a bio, a couple mp3s, or just an email to arthur@linescratchers.com and we will let you know if you’re what Linescratchers is looking for.

Thanks everyone, and keep rocking!

Seeking applications for blogs, writers, or musicians!