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The Compact Tom FAQ

Who the heck are you, anyway?

You might have heard of Tom Smith, the guitar wizard. Soulful, heartfelt ballads all the way, resonant and gorgeous and deep with meaning. I'm the other guy. Also no relation to Tom Smith the other folkie, Tom Smith the comic colorist, Tom Smith the movie Foley artist, Tom Smith the playwright, Tom Smith the environmental scientist, or Tom Smith the rugby player.

Seriously, I'm a full-time indie musician. Most of my stuff would easily fall under a blanket heading of "geek rock" -- a strange mosh of satire, parody, popular culture, Life With Computers, politics, philosophy, and many many many puns.

What's this FAQ about?

I have a few questions I get ALL THE TIME. I figured it would be a good idea to provide easy answers.

Okay, then: Where do you get your ideas?

The Idea Mill, Schenectady, NY.

I've got an idea that you should write into a song.

Rates start at $349. Seriously, lots of people try to tell me what songs I should write. Some of them "challenge" me. I used to take those challenges when I was young and not self-employed. I don't have enough time to write my own. If there's one you really really want me to write, hire me.

I'd like to make a fan video/remix/mash-up of one or more of your songs.

Kewl. I'm immensely flattered. I would appreciate being asked about it first, especially in the case of stuff from Who Let Him In Here?, Domino Death, and the Digital Acoustic Compilation -- I own those songs, but not those recordings. (They're owned by my first publisher, Dodeka.)

Songs released for iTom and The FuMP are no problem at all. You just have to follow a few simple rules:

  • Don't do it for profit or commercial reasons (although if you're doing it as a demo for inclusion in an online resumé, I'm fine with that)
  • Credit me ("Words and Music © by Tom Smith --")
  • Show the license ("Released under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike license")
  • Release your video/remix/mashup under the same CC license

It's a good idea to have those credits either scroll slowly at the end or show up on screen statically for at least two or three seconds, to give people a chance to read 'em.

You're giving the iTom and FuMP songs away! Why should I buy ANY of your stuff?

Well, the first question to answer is really, "Do you like my stuff? Does it have value to you?"

If the answer is yes, then you should buy my stuff because of that value. Because it's the right thing to do. Because I'm supporting myself with my art, and if you like and appreciate it the best way to support the art is to support the artist. Because I have higher-quality audio available. Because I try to make the price reasonable. Because I work pretty hard on this stuff and it's not a big record label, it's only me, and every little bit kicked in goes to food, rent, and bills. Because I would much rather spend the rest of my life writing music for all of us than working in an office or retail store ever again.

I want the chords to a song. Send them to me now.

I'm working on a definitive songbook, Tom Smith's Big Book of Stupid Filk Tricks - The Director's Cut. This will be the Fake Book From Heck, with everything I've ever written and chords for all of it. There will also soon be YouTube videos of me playing a few of my most popular songs, with the chords made very obvious.

I need an MP3 of one of your songs. Send it to me now.


Will you pleeeeeeze put me into your Top Friends on your MySpace page?

No. Please don't take it personally. The last two times someone asked me this, I spent a half-hour searching through my friends and failing to find them. I could've been doing anything else during that time. If it was easy, that would be one thing. So instead, my Top Friends are people or groups or causes I think are cool, and whom I wish to support.

Hey! Be my friend on Facebook (or whatever).

I apologize, but I simply do not have the time to join every social network in existence. Here's the rundown:

  • I am very active on LiveJournal. If you want to friend me, fine. If I don't friend you, please don't take it personally.
  • I am pretty active on MySpace. I do check EVERY applicant, and if I don't like your page (we're talking active dislike, e.g., misogynistic profanity filled hip-hop, networkers and marketers who are trying to build their Friends count so they look more impressive, etc.) I will deny your friend request.
  • I'm on LinkedIn. If you know me, apply.
  • I have a Second Life account. I hardly ever log in, although I will do so more frequently this year.
  • I have a YouTube account. I keep a lot of videos there, with more on the way. I do not friend people or hang out there; it's storage for videos.
  • I have two Facebook accounts, one for me individually and a Group for fans to join. It took me a long time to get this going, because there are far too many privacy and intellectual property issues that keep coming up with them. But everybody's going there, so fine. Do not even bother sending me Hugs, or Join My Game/Group/Whatever requests, or whatever cute little thing they're doing on FB today. That's not why I'm there.
  • I do not intend to join the myriad of specialty social sites right now. Simple time constraints. So please don't send me requests, because I will just delete them.

When will Skullrose & Tourmaline/Girl Genius/Sounds Familiar/whatever be done?

When they are done. I can't rush this stuff. And I promise I won't keep them secret.

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