In the weeks leading up to the release of my debut full-length album, Heliotropism, I was seriously considering whether I should make it available as a free download in addition to selling it on iTunes and Amazon.

My gut told me not to. I had put a ton of work into this album (with still much left to be done at that point) and it just felt wrong to give it away for free. The album's worth to me was - well, it was priceless! How could I not charge at least $10 for it?? 

But my head had different ideas.

I mean it's not like this was the first time that I had encountered this pickle. I had previously asked and resolved these questions regarding my shows and guitar lessons. In these instances, my decision had been that I'd rather have people see me play or be taught than allow finances to become an obstacle. My recorded music was the last bastion of Capitalist aspiration. But why should my music follow a different model?

I worked through these questions with my friends and DIY-musician-cohorts Greg (of Among Giants) and Zach (of Lost Trail), with only about a week left before my album release. They reminded me that at this stage in my career, I just need to have as many people as humanly possible listening to my music. I couldn't let anything be a barrier, including money. 

They both recommended to me a website called bandcamp where I could host my music for people to download for free or donate whatever they could. I was still hesitant, but I figured it was inevitable that I'd decide this for my music - sooner or later. I succumbed and began throwing together my very own bandcamp page.

On September 15, I finally released Heliotropism on iTunes, Amazon, and youtube. Then on September 17, the anniversary of the Occupy movement, I made the album available to download for free on bandcamp. And over the course of "12 Days of Heliotropism" I also released the rest of my original albums.

Now you can download it all - my entire catalog of original music - for free! Or leave a tip :)


1) I haven't done much subway busking the past couple weeks, so I'm running short on funds. Which means, soon as I'm done with this post, I'm OFF TO THE A TRAIN!

2) I have a new album available on noisetrade, my venue for Virtual Busking. The album consists of the soundtrack from the Clown Of God show back in 2010. Download it NOW for FREE.. or leave a generous tip ;) You can find more info about the show at my personal blog page.

3) A friend of mine recently did a piece on "odd ways to earn money during college." (Many of which I tried both in college and after, haha) He asked me some questions about busking and quoted me in the article. Check it out!

My new album, Protest Songs (Are Dead), has been produced and the Zombie Music Tour has ended; but the Zombie Music Campaign presses on and needs your help! I have committed to donating $500 to each of five non-profit organizations that I have volunteered with and in whose work I strongly believe. I still hope to follow through on this commitment, to contribute to the great work these organizations are doing.

Between the money I've made on tour ($235), on NoiseTrade ($12), and on the facebook FundRazr page ($60), I have just over $300. That's still less than 10% of my goal and not enough to donate to even one of the organizations I've partnered with. Yet I'm confident that I will reach my goal and there's a great way that YOU can help make that happen!

For the next two weeks of this holiday season, my Christmas album A Light Has Dawned will be available to download on NoiseTrade. You can download the album for free, but if you make a $5 suggested donation on the NoiseTrade link, the proceeds will go directly to the Zombie Music Campaign! 

Please check it out and support this great cause. Happy holidays to all. Peace.

If you already have the album or if you can't or don't want to download it, here's another link where you can contribute to the

Firstly, I want to apologize for letting almost a whole month go by without posting anything here. I've been occupied down on Wall Street (pun intended) and have fallen behind on many of my creative projects, including writing. But rest assured: #occupywallstreet has had me thinking a LOT about the issues I bring to the fore on this blog and I will certainly be writing more extensively about these issues in the near future. Promise!

For now, I just want to let everyone know about the Zombie Music Campaign

As you may have seen in August, I released a new album called Protest Songs (Are Dead),  which is still available as a FREE download online.  The album is a collection of stories about poor and oppressed people, giving voice to the voiceless. 

So I'm holding a fund-raising campaign this month to produce CDs of the album and to support non-profit organizations that represent the subjects of my songs - homeless people, immigrants, victims of war/exploitation/abject poverty, etc. I have actually volunteered at ALL of the orgs involved, so I know they are reputable and honorable causes.

If you use facebook, you can RSVP to the event page and invite your friends by clicking here.. 

It would be an excellent FREEGAN way to help me out if you could post relevant links on your facebook wall, on your friends' walls, to your e-mail contacts, or to anyone who might be interested in the causes of new, independent, socially-conscious music and/or these NPOs working toward peace & justice.

And if you don't mind making a contribution more directly, you can do so by clicking here.

Thank you very much for your continued love and support!
Gio Andollo

I recently finished a new album, an EP called Protest Songs (Are Dead) which is available for free download on NoiseTrade, a great resource for independent musicians such as myself who are trying to expand their fan base and get their music "out there". I want people to have it free of charge. Remember I'm a freegan.

Still, I've received a number of comments from people who actually want to support my music and refuse to download it for free. I get it, we're not all freegan. And you want to support me.  

That's really awesome! 

But I'd still prefer that you guys download my music from noisetrade rather than from iTunes. Here's why:
  1. Noisetrade is awesome and deserves your support!
  2. For every 99 cent purchase you make on iTunes, the artist only gets (at best) 70. If you're going to spend $5 on my album, I'll get all  the money if you leave it as a tip on NoiseTrade! On iTunes I'd only get 3.70 (or something like that.. too tired for math).

Seriously. Try noisetrade.. neither of us will be disappointed!

The album is a cross-section of my oeuvre for the past 1.5 years (now also on iTunes!) and tackles some heavy topics. Be sure to wear your thinking cap!

Despite the ironic title, this album would likely be regarded "protest music" by most people, since it touches on a number of contemporary hot-button issues such as homelessness, immigration, consumerism, exploitation, war, violence, poverty. But it should be noted that the songs don't protest anything. They're not about issues or politics. There really is no social comment (excepting Protest Song and Pax Americana, but what we find there is still not quite protestant in nature). Instead, the songs on this album tell stories about people - a homeless man, an immigrant, sweatshop workers, civilian casualties.

As a songwriter I consider this my primary aim, to tell stories: fiction, non-, and perhaps mostly the space in-between. The songs on this album tell such stories - mostly tragic - of the poor, oppressed, and marginalized, the people and stories that are all-too-often overlooked.
So I consider it among my primary roles as an artist to hold a mirror up to society, revealing some of its faults, some of the places that we are failing to bring hope, peace, and justice to all, especially in times of such great economic hardship.

But holding up a mirror often leads to awkward situations. It's like pointing out when a person has a piece of something stuck in his or her teeth. Nobody likes having an ugly piece of something in his or her teeth, and they hate having it pointed out. It's embarrassing. But it's for this same reason that we are often thankful that a friend will point it out to us. We need to be made aware of the problem so that we can address it.

I've made a similar point about dishes: everybody wants a revolution; nobody wants to do the dishes. They just pile up higher and higher and we refuse to take care of it because "they're not all my dishes!" We fail to realize - or perhaps in our stubbornness refuse to recognize - that it doesn't matter whose dishes they are. What really matters is that there's a sink full of dirty dishes, they're piling over onto the counter and stove top. They are everywhere, they belong to everyone, and sooner or later, somebody's got to deal with them.I believe this is also true of addressing real social maladies. We all want a revolution - or the romantic idea of it - but we don't want to engage in the difficult and sacrificial actions that reconcile us to each other, those things which are truly revolutionary. We are often too lazy, ambivalent, stubborn, or sometimes downright ignorant of the real problems. So we never address them and we don't make any progress.

My new album is a picture of the sink of our society, flowing over with dirty dishes. It's a mirror showing us the broccoli stuck in our teeth. 

In Protest Song I invite my listeners to "boldly look the devil in the face and bring hope, peace, and love where there is violence and hate." In other words, we need to take a long hard look at the sink, put on our gloves, and get to scrubbing! We need to grab a tooth pick or brush and take that itty bitty bit of broccoli to town… except that it's more like we have a whole head of broccoli stuck in our teeth, some really monstrous problems to deal with! Weneed to be the changes in the world we want to see.

These songs are very important to me because they represent a time of great growth as a writer and artist. In the course of the past year and a half I've really discovered what I am called to as an artist. I've discovered that I have a special kind of perspective on the world, that I can see the world in a way that most people can't (or won't) and I've learned how to reflect this world to people in a more constructive way. This has been a difficult learning process. I've engaged many tough conversations with close friends, relatives, fans and supporters that have critiqued my new work and my overall approach in addressing the issues tackled in my songs, especially those on this album. I maintain that there's nothing wrong with pointing out the dirty sink or the piece of broccoli. But I've realized that simply pointing out the bad things in society doesn't get us too far. 

Hopefully it opens peoples' eyes to injustice and increases their capacity for compassion… but does it give them a vision for a different kind of reality? does it inspire them to positive action? are people galvanized and mobilized for the greater good? 

This is where I can really make an impact as an artist in this society; this is what I hope to work toward: to inspire and unite people under an alternative vision for the world and its future, a vision of peace, hope, and justice for all; then to empower them to move forward in solidarity.

This is what I hope to do. This is why Protest Songs Are Dead. I do hope you enjoy the album, always wearing your thinking cap, and beginning to dream up what such an alternative vision might look like! 

Looking forward to dreaming with you and as always wishing you