Hello Everyone: As the above headline indicates, our independent Brainstorm Records label will be celebrating its 10th year of doing business later this year. It's an accomplishment we're proud of, and we're considering some ideas to help celebrate the occasion. At the very least, you can expect some new music to become available, perhaps exclusively online. We'll see how it plays out, and will let it be known just how our 10-year commemoration will take place. Perhaps it'll be an ongoing celebration involving several events to take place later this year. We'll see. We feel fortunate to have sold lots of CD's, and lately, more and more digital downloads of our music. Digital downloading has more or less brought back the "singles" element to the record business, with a few of our single song recordings, such as "Never Had A Bad Day" and "Come Saturday Morning," for example, showing outstanding sales as singles. Digital downloading also allows for an entire album to be purchased and downloaded, depending on the buyer's choice. It's no secret that the record business has changed drastically over the past 10 years. When we started our label in 1999, online music sales barely existed. Those who did offer music for sale online often offered it illegally. Laws have begun to catch up to technology in terms of protecting writers and copyright holders, in spite of piracy still running rampant in the record business. But now, our online sales of recorded music through digital downloads outnumber our CD sales roughly three to one. We're encouraged by the leveling of the international playing field that the Internet has brought to smaller labels like ours. Roughly 20% of our recorded music sales now come from foreign countries. Meanwhile, many record labels have gone out of business. Even the major labels are struggling to survive, desperately trying to adopt business models that work. The first record distributor we had 10 years ago, Lifedance Distribution out of Portland, Oregon, went out of business several years ago. They were great people, but they didn't adapt to the new music business. They never even put up a website. Progressive distribution companies that fill customer driven niches have survived and even thrived. We're happy for CD Baby, for example, who's handled our CD and digital distribution for the past few years, and the success they've enjoyed. They're savvy, fair, and easy to work with. Running a record label properly is a full-time job. Ideally it's a full-time job for a staff of several people. Since my performance schedule is so extensive and time consuming, it's difficult to run the label as we first envisioned it: as a full-service label open to artists with unique, creative, and saleable music. It's all we can do to keep up with the creation, recording, administration, marketing and promotion of my own work, let alone open the door to other recording artsts, as much as we'd like to. It's a struggle just carving out a few hours each week for composing, booking new engagements, and trying to keep up with the basic requirements of managing a music career. But at least we can truthfully say we've been successful, keeping our business as simple, functional, and effective as possible. Having said that, we're looking seriously at bringing in outside help to assist in the running and operation of Brainstorm Records. My main interest and skill set has always been the performing, composing, and recording of music. The administrative and marketing aspects are vitally important, too. But we're thinking that someone else can perhaps run the day to day operation of the label better than myself. Rest assured, Brainstorm Records isn't going anywhere. It's certainly served the purpose of providing a vehicle for me to make my recorded music available. It will continue to serve that purpose, as we have literally hundreds of songs we want to record, make available, and market over the coming years. But it seems clear that my talents are best utilized on the music/creative side of the business. So we've started interviewing potential canditates to help run the label and its operations. For those of you who've asked, my wife, Linda, who thought up the name "Brainstorm Records," helps whenever and however she can. But with her full-time job in the carpet and flooring industry, her available time to assist in the business of the record label is extremely limited. That's the update for now. For our growing list of fans, friends, and supporters, we thank you. It'll be fun to see how the next 10 years will see Brainstorm Records continue to grow and develop. As I said, we aren't going anywhere. For us, it's about putting out the best, most unique music we possibly can. Yes, our premise remains the same. First and foremost, it's all about the music. Best wishes to all, Jim

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Jim Hudak

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