A few thoughts about Mailing Lists

02020-07-15 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

Let me first thank you for the comments you left on the post Mailing Lists. They are helpful and appreciated.

I am not a star nor do I have aspirations to be a star. I view myself as a craftsman. I play guitar and I make music. I have been fortunate to do this for the last 30 years – in March of 1990 I quit my day-job in Santa Fe. Making music, in my opinion, is a lot like crafting pottery or making a sword. It takes time and an understanding of the medium. I think my albums sound better than ever. The album Fete sounds amazing. This is puzzling because my hearing is not nearly as good as it was thirty years ago. Yet it makes sense, too, because hearing is nothing without the decoding that happens in the brain. My mixes are better. The sense of space, the locations of the instruments.

I am not a good salesman. I don’t like the process. I know many people seem to think that in this new economy every musician has to devote time to developing a social media presence and amass followers. Some musicians spent hours every day doing just that. Me, I’d rather play guitar, work in the studio, or take photographs.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about social media, and about mailing lists, and about the idea of taking an active role in promoting myself. I realize that I don’t want to… I just don’t. What my heart wants to do is to shut down the mailing list. A good craftsman doesn’t advertise… they make pottery and people come to them and buy their products. I don’t want to send monthly emails to thousands of people to advertise my work, the recordings or the tours.

If you like what I do, I hope you will return to my website, to this blog, and to the page that contains the Touring Schedule. If you are on Twitter, I will try to make announcements there. 140 characters – that much I can handle.

I don’t want to sell anything but I will continue to make stuff – music, photography, video, writing – and some of it you will be able to buy. If you want to.


  1. Will P

    With so much “digital” music now a days it would be cool to make an album connected to art. Maybe a series of your pictures that inspires an album that we can buy, hang as art in our spaces while we listen to the album. Just a thought.


      I like this. I miss the days. I would buy a record and lay on my bed looking at the artwork and read the words.

  2. Ken Conaway

    I’m hands on. I love to have a disk in my possession, even if I listen in another format

  3. Delena l

    Myself and all of my friends think of you as a star! But personally I have no use or interest in any form of social media, so I completely understand that you would not find it relaxing to put self promotion out there. Your music speaks volumes and I am happy to search for your music and schedules. Really hoping you could find time for Detroit or Michigan some where , we would be the luckiest to be in your presence. Best wishes always!

  4. Noreen

    Hoping to see you in October at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Love your music.


      Bottom line: I am glad you followed your heart.
      I just want to say that I never felt like your emails were self promotion. Sure, they provided opportunities, I have not perceived your opportunities in a sales pitch way. I’ll move along with the times and figure out the app I did not have before. Just know that your approach is what matters. It feels like an invitation/ window into your world.:)

  5. Julie

    My friends and I think you’re a star and appreciate your talent plus down to earth style. Wishing you days with more of what inspires you and less of the hassles. It will be wonderful when you can safely tour again. Meanwhile, thank you so much for the virtual streaming concerts with Limepay link – it’s been a great way to enjoy your music and the sound is fantastic! Stay well!

  6. Fernando Olmos

    Hola Ottmar. I totally concur with you. Being a flamenco guitarist myself, I too just want to make and play music, for myself really. I care about the world, but I cannot chase it. I only want to help where and when I can to share love and culture, with others. But if they listen or not – meh. Life’s too short. Cut your costs Ottmar. I’ve had to do the same – remove wix account, ebay, etc.. and just focus on music and post them here or there. If the world likes what I do – good for them. For me, I am happy.

  7. Steve

    “I think my albums sound better than ever. The album Fete sounds amazing.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with that.

  8. Rich Bradfield

    Your missives will be missed. It does all make sense though.

    Thank you.

    Be well.

  9. Rik Cazares

    I have attended your shows in Houston for many years(since well before the amazing yoga studio show) and love that it usually coincides with my birthday, so I have an excuse to treat myself to tickets. I truly FEEL when I listen to your music. I have enjoyed your emails, but understand the decision to stop sending them and I will continue to follow your art in whatever format I need to.

  10. Andrew

    Ottmar, you are totally a star! No other star shines like you do! You emit your own beautiful rays of excellence! Your energy has heavily influenced my life and music for over 25 years and I’m extremely grateful for that! I can’t even imagine how many mornings have started with The Hours Between Night + Day.
    Find someone awesome to manage your email blasts. I’ll bet you can find a fan to do it for free. I would probably even do it for you.
    Try it from the approach of sharing your journey, as opposed to promoting yourself.
    Let people into your life. Connect with your community. Tell us about your pets, your travels, the blessings in your life, about the new music you’re creating, it’s process, and where I can come share your joy and musical exploration.
    It’s a wonderful thing to be in your position where there is interest in your works.
    Let people in no matter where they are. They may miss a show in their area if you make them search it out and make it their chore to stay on top of things. People need reminders and the email list is the best for that. Come to them and share where they have asked you to share.
    I’ll just end with this. My mother (80yrs old) doesn’t call her kids. None of us. She loves us but doesn’t call. She feels that if someone wants to talk to her they’ll seek her out and call her. Guess what. We hardly ever talk. Do I love her and want to hear from her? Of course! Does she love me and want to hear from me? Of course! But we’ve been conditioned to do otherwise because it was the way she taught me. “If you want to talk to me you can come to me because I won’t call and bother you, otherwise.”
    I wish she would reach out sometimes because it can’t always be me who does it. And it’s nice to know someone wants to connect with you, especially when you’re single and live alone.
    Got to go call my mom, now. It’s been over a month and I know the phone won’t be ringing on my end. <3

  11. Debbie Alves

    The first time I heard your music, when Nouveau Flamenco was first released, it felt as if someone had composed the theme music for my soul. In the years — the decades since — it’s been a constant. Falling in love, being alone. Exploring the world, building things that last, forming friendships. Saying goodbye, losing lovers, bathing in the joys of some perfect but transient experience. Mastering sourdough bread-making. Hosting friends over long feasts of homemade mole. Somehow your music captures in sound each sensation, every experience. It was there with the love of my life, and it comforted me when he was gone. It warmed me when I was critically ill, and made me smile and dance around my flat on rainy days.

    Despite the fact that I am a writer, I too despise having to market myself and my work. I loathe having to produce things like newsletters. So I completely understand your pitching yours. But I’ll miss your newsletters. They were a bit like a letter from an old friend. The kind written on a piece of paper and mailed with postage stamps from somewhere far away, that take time to reach you.

    I’ve asked to follow you on Twitter. I have this blog on my RSS feed. I’m awaiting delivery of another CD, hopefully today. Hopefully I’ll be able to see you in concert in DC again before too long. In the meantime, Fernweh is a lovely postcard.

  12. Jim

    Thank you for sharing your gift of music and talent, your work has been at times the soundtrack to my life. Hope to see you back in Minneapolis someday!

  13. Douglas DuPree

    Truly enjoy your music!
    Email is the way to go. It keeps one connected!
    Through true years, my wife and I have made many trips across Texas to see you in Dallas and Austin. All because you reached out with informative emails!
    Receiving an email from you among all the business emails is a treat!
    I’m not a Social Media person, too busy for such.
    Also: I, like so many others, prefer CDs over flash drives and downloading. I have an extensive OL CD collection and have played them many enjoyable hours for my students.
    Suggestion: Maybe you can start a new email list.


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