Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cast Your Vote

Update: I have posted a new version of the solo piano clip because we felt the two could be compared more fairly if they were showing the exact same songs on each clip. So please re-listen if you already stopped by earlier and listened to the old clip.

I am in need of your valued opinion.

We are in the final weeks of producing my Mother and I's upcoming Lullaby Album. And...well, to make a long story short, our simple-quick-economical album has turned into a full fledged top-notch expensive production.

We have composed and arranged 13 absolutely beautiful lullabies. Along the way, we started orchestrating the album little by little...and now, we have several artists on board who have contributed their talents to the album both in vocals, orchestration, and production. A few of the songs on the album have some very stunning orchestration by Emmy award winning composer Jace Vek, there are also some unique instruments such as the Uillean pipe, penny whistle, to name a few...We also have a talented vocalist, Jillian Goldin, on board who is a Grand prize winner on Ourstage.com for her music. And our engineer on the album is Grammy Award nominated producer Paul Speer.

So like I said...the project sort of got magnified. In a very good way, but...here's where I need your honest opinion:

The idea has been presented lately, within the last week actually, that while the orchestration is stunning, there might be many who would enjoy this album in its simplist form - just solo piano. That was sort of the idea from the get-go before it turned into a full production.

For the last couple of days we have been talking about producing two different versions of the album - one orchestrated version, and one solo piano version. Both in their own seperate jewel case. We have talked about "What if we do a double-cd set?" or "Let's do one jewel case and one jacket case". But now, like I said, we are considering doing two full jewel cases (one for each version). The reason for this is because if we did a dual-case, we would have to charge more for the album and it might deter some away who might otherwise boughten the album and only because it was more pricey.

My question is: If you personally were going to purchase this album, would you:

a) Buy the orchestrated version
b) Buy the solo piano version
c) Buy both (for a discounted price)


d) I would rather have a double-cd album (2 discs in one jewel case).

That last option is new, and I can't add it to the poll since the poll has already been started.

Also, if the album did, say, come in a double-pack ONLY (2 cds in 1 jewel case) for $19.99, would that steer you away from purchasing it because of the cost? Whereas if we manufactured them seperately, you would at least then have the choice of buying only one (or both at a discount)?

To do this new idea of the two seperate jewel cases, it basically doubles our production cost and so we really would love to get some feedback on which versions would be the most appealing to our audiences before we ahead with this. I wanted to pose the question here, because you guys (our family and friends) are the opinions that matter to us. I really mean that.

Also, just to give a few more reasons for this whole 2 Cd thing, is because the intent of the album is to be something you can stick in the cd player in your children's rooms and play to lull them off to sleep. But the songs are written in a way that both adults and children will love to listen. However....we think maybe the orchestrated version might be more applealing to adults, but the solo version might be better for putting babies to sleep (because it is more toned down and simple).

I put two clips below - one orchestrated the other solo piano, so you can listen. I am also going to put a poll over on the sidebar so you can cast your vote, but please leave me comments as well because I want to hear what your opinions are as well besides just casting a vote.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to give me your opinion. I really really appreciate it.

- J

Audio Clip #1 - Orchestrated Version Sampler
This sampler has 5 (or 6? I can't remember) of the orchestrated songs. Remember, pretty much all the songs are orchestrated so in all there are 13. But for the sampler I only included a short few examples. (sorry the ending gets cut off because of the length and blogger only allows certain time on videos)

Audio Clip #2 - Solo Piano Sampler below

Because we felt it would help the music be judged more fairly,I have uploaded a new version of the solo piano clip. This version has the exact same songs as the orchestrated version so you can compare better. Please take a listen. Go back and forth if you need to. We really value your thoughts.

Thank you!

P.S. The songs on the samplers are:

All the Pretty Horses

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

I Am a Child of God

Dream Weaver

Brahms Lullaby


Roemhildt Family Fun said...

Hi Jenni.

Wow, it sounds like you've got some amazing choices on your hands. I personally would prefer to only buy the solo piano version, but that's because i enjoy per piano music. Of course I would want to buy your CD but to buy both CDs for 19.99 I might not get it right away. $20,00 is a lot of money to spend on CDs when like you said "I could purchase them cheaper on itunes.

Do what you can and I'll support you.

Amanda said...

Hi--I'm usually more of a "occasionally stop by and see what's happening" on this blog person. But, I'm definitely intrigued by this lullaby album. Since it is a lullaby album, I would certainly be more interested in the solo piano version. My thoughts were the same as what you expressed about the differences between the versions. I know absolutely nothing about producing a CD and what goes into it. But, would it be possible to have one version only available on iTunes? For example, if you release it as solo piano, you could put a blurb in the jacket for those interested in the "grown-up" versions of the song that directs them to iTunes. Like I said, I don't know if that's possible--but it was just a thought I had.

Also, I want to thank you for posting about the things you do around Seattle. We moved to the area just after Christmas and reading your blog has given me ideas of places to go and things to explore in our new surroundings. Thanks!

Jenny said...

I would buy the 19.99 version of the album. I actually prefer solo piano music to orchestrated, not just for lullabys. But I would definitely love to have both versions of th album.

Jenny said...

Oh and I have to tell you I'm so excited about your upcoming album that I dreamt about it last night. I had a dream that I was telling another musician that you were my friend and I was so excited about your album, but didn't know exactly when it was coming out.

Lori-ann said...

Hmm... What an interesting idea.

There's something absolutely stunning to the solo piano album, but the orchestral version is more intriguing, at least for me. I know my boys would probably like the orchestral version better, but the demographics you're trying to market this towards would probably gravitate more towards the solo piano. Does that make sense?

Listening back and forth, my vote is for the solo piano. It seems to be more of what you were wanting from the first place and feels and sounds more like a lullaby album. Yeah, I like the solo piano better, actually. That IS a good idea to maybe have one as a digital only. I don't think I would be interested in buying both, but I will because it's you and I want to support you. ;) But if it was just some random album I stumbled across, I doubt I would buy both.

McClains said...

I would have to say that I would buy the solo piano over the orchestrated one. Very stunning and simple...LOVE IT!

Carolyn said...

Hmmmm, it surprises me that as of right now, more people are inclined to just solo piano. I think the orchestrated version is so much warmer and much more interesting. But then, I'm one of the composers, so I gueess that I have a rather slanted point of view.

Daniel L.Thomas said...

Maybe it's just me but I can't listen to the "solo piano" sampler.

Even without hearing it..if the intent is let the music play for a small child falling asleep (me too) I would prefer just the piano. However, I do say that without having heard it.

As for the cost...what is the cost to buy if it is just one CD? If it is $13-$15 for just the one...for sure you should throw the second one in there for an additional couple bucks. I think two identical albums orchastrated is a phenominal marketing idea. (Put the one in that fits your mood...or even your child's mood). My economist mind says it all depends on the marginal cost to buy the second CD but if I had to personally choose I'd select the "solo piano". Hope that helps!

Steve and Ileana said...


I liked them both so that's what I voted!

Steve said...


I like them both. I love pure piano, and yet I find myself yearning for orchestra music all the time. I know option d) was added later, but if it had been available on the poll I would have voted for it.

Btw, the album samples are wonderful!

The Moskal Family said...

I like the solo piano the best. It just sounds like something I could listen to all day long and reflect. Also for little ones I think one instrument will capture attention(or lull to sleep) the best.

laura said...

I love the piano version best! Sounds great.

Mama Dew said...

Personally, I just LOVE solo piano albums!

Dora Lebo said...

My sister, not knowing either of you said she prefers the ochestral version. I too like it for the fullness of the sound. Personally, I will buy both and probably a few extras for my grandbabies! Love your work! Dora

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I have listened to both options a few times and can honestly say that I would buy the solo piano version in a heartbeat. I adore it. It is putting me to sleep right now! :)

The orchestrated version is nice, but I probably would not buy both.

Can't wait until this dream becomes a reality for you.


Jenni said...

I just wanted to jump on here and say really quick how we appreciate all of the feedback so far. Please keep them coming. All of your thoughts are really helping us, and we've already decided on a few things and still await more opinions.

We are kind of leaning towards doing a double-cd set (2 discs in one jewel case) but finding a way to sell it for a reasonable price. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenni: I don't think I'm in your customer demographic, but thought I'd throw in my 2 cents anyway. I like the rich, full orchestral version, but if I were a young mom hoping to lull my babe to sleep, I'd buy the piano version. Good luck with it!

TheBlakeFamily said...

I love them both! If you can do both for a good price I would buy both, although i think the piano only is better for the actual purpose of being a lullaby album. For me spending $20 insted of $10 would not stop me from purchasing the CD, but then I read your blog, so I want it regardless, if I were a random stranger I would probaly still buy it at $20 because I would hope it worked! I would probably listen to it while pregnant too, in the hope that it would help once the baby arrives!
I so cant wait to purchase it!

Lori-ann said...

Well now you had to go and change the samples. Well bust my buffers. Now I have more listening to do.

My response is going to go everywhere. Are you ready?

I was actually thinking this morning, that for me - this is a personal response here - I don't think I would like to listen to a whole album of just piano music, but that's personal preference. BUT.. with that said.. I'm going to go through and listen from one clip to the other, comparing song for song, not just the whole sampler vs. whole sampler, if that makes any sense. My response yesterday was taking into consideration what you wanted the album to be and the whole purpose of it.

So here is my list from one song to the other, what one I would actually prefer more. If you make both albums versions available as downloads with the ability of purchasing individual tracks, I'll probably make my own mix of solo piano and orchestral. ;)

All the Pretty Horses - piano
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - piano
I am a Child of God - piano
Dream Weaver - piano by far on this one. That celtic sounding flute actually grates on me for some reason
Brahms Lullaby - piano

Hmmm.. now isn't that interesting! I chose the piano over the orchestral! Sometimes simplicity is better - there's just something stunning about the solo piano clips. It's more relaxing and I don't have to think about it when listening. Yesterday you had one clip on the solo piano sampler (it's not there now) that I feel would be totally ruined and buried with orchestral backings. It was SO beautiful!!!

Man, I'm going off on a tangent.

So I guess my vote is still 100% solo piano. Honestly, I would probably not buy the double cd set for $20 - I have a hard time justifying buying an album for $10 off of itunes. It has to be one that I REALLY, REALLY love. And as a recording artist, I'm finding that less and less people are buying music in this economy too. Sucks, but it's true. More things for you guys to take into consideration.

Jenni said...

Lori-ann, thanks for taking the time to do that. Comparing it song for song is actually the correct way to do it, but I couldn't fit all that into one sampler.

I think because when you post a video on a blog, blogger (or photobucket) compresses the file so much it loses a lot of its audio quality. That is probably why the flute stuck out to you. But on the actual cd where it is in full stereo, with bass/treble and at 24 bit...I guarantee that the sound quality would be more cinematic and wouldn't have as much high-end. These audio clips tend to minus out the low end.

Thanks for your thoughts though. We REALLY appreciate them, and the time you took to do this.

Jenni said...

Oh, not to mention the music on these clips is only an mp3 instead of wav files. That is like comparing the quality of a VHS to a DVD. lol

Daniel L.Thomas said...

Well I put it to the test last night. At 2:15 in the morning when my mind was spinning I wanted to see which would relax me the most. (Not that I'm a baby but I'm the closest it comes and still has the ability to talk.) It was by far the piano solo. I actually fell asleep to the sampler (3 minutes...you can work magic).

For me however it is an economic issue and what the extra cost is to have the second CD. I wouldn't pay the same price for each to have both but if there were a discount option it would be considered. Could you have three buy options? CD 1...CD2...and CDs 1&2.
I was just curious...what does Preston think?

Kate said...

Hey Jenni :) So...my 2 cents is this... I haven't actually bought a CD in a LONG time...I buy off itunes- but since I know you and I want to support you I'd buy this in a heartbeat! I love both and would buy both if you did 2 disc set, but my favorite is the orchestrated version. It's just BEAUTIFUL! I don't know if that was helpful at all...I can tell you that both AJ and I could fall asleep to that- and thats a compliment! :) haha

Grace said...


So, Dan and I listened to both versions- and they are both amazing. They sound great!!! Honestly, it is a hard choice, but I think we like the orchestrated one a little better. However, some of the solo piano are just classic and AMAZING!! You are great!

Thanks for asking our opinion, but we honestly love both!

The High Family said...

Hey Jenni (and Jenni's Mom) ~

So I finally found some quality quiet time to test these samples out. But before I give my opinion, I wanted to say YAY for the awesome response you've gotten so far. I knew asking the public their honest opinions would be a great help.

Now, I listened to the clips several times (and the ones on Myspace) and I have to say...I actually like them both. I will have to agree with the majority that the Solo Piano is the best option for helping babies fall asleep though. The orchestrated version is absolutely beautiful and I can see our family keeping that one in the car for long car trips...I think it would be a great way to keep the kiddies relaxed!

I guess my vote is for both...and if you can get the double CD (which is a brillant idea btw...I don't think anyone else has this on the market?!) at a reasonable price, I think it will sell. I personally don't care if it were $19.99 though...I'd buy it either way. :)

Hope this helps! Much luck and I hope the end is near! You two need a vacation after this hard work.

~ Bobbi :)

Vern Eastley said...

I hope you release both versions. To paraphrase from the movie Cars, "I'm like, your biggest fan!" and I'll buy whatever you produce.

For what it's worth I prefer the digital option over CD's.

Thank you for working so incredibly hard on this project. I'm excited to listen when it's all done.

Lisita said...

Hi Jenni - What a fun sneak peak at what you've been working. I expected to like the piano version best but after listening like the orchestra version best. When I own the album (yes I would buy it with both) I'll enjoy having both versions! How exciting!!