Which music related social networks do you use?

I’m curious if you keep and maintain public profiles for your music on social networks other than MySpace. Last.fm? Imeem? Bebo, Fairlitzer? What about Pandora or The Hype Machine? Do you upload your full songs so services can stream them without compensation? Is it worth the promotion to you?

I bring it up because yesterday I got pretty frustrated using the new Last.fm. Once accepted as a label you get access to a part of the site called the Music Manager. You can upload and manage your tracks there. After I uploaded a new release I added in the album cover. The album art showed up in the Music Manager. However, it never show up in the general public area on Last.fm. I tried about 10 times, re-uploading the same album cover. Eventually I hit the help forums. Sure enough this is a known problem. How could image uploading be broken for more than two weeks? How could they not disable the uploader or put a note on the page so I didn’t waste forty minutes on this crap?

Another other thing I really don’t like about Last.fm is that you don’t have any comment control on your own artist pages. People can log on and rail you and it’s there forever. They could at least implement a comment voting system so nasty comments get greyed out using Ajax or something.

What finally ended my session yesterday on Last.fm was the events section. I wanted to add in a few upcoming live shows I have. I head to: last.fm/music/The+Horrorist/+events because that’s where the shows for The Horrorist are listed. I search for a button that says “Add Event”. Nothing! Nada! After twenty minutes of searching I find the only place to add a new event is if I go to last.fm/events. How frustrating.

Maintaining a your image and uploading fresh content on every site is impossible. Which sites deserve attention? I will always keep my own website on my own server but clearly the hearts, minds and ears are in lots of places. Do you simply cover the sites which have the most users? No matter how lame they are?

If you go to Alexa.com you can enter in the a few sites and see a comparison of how many users each site has over a time period (thanks Vergel for the tip). You maybe surprised that for example Imeem has so many users. MySpace still trumps them all by far though.

As more sites start to pay royalties for streaming and incorparate there own download stores the lines between iTunes, Beatport, Amazon and the social network sites will become blurred.

Is your head starting to hurt too?

Stamba remix with Creative Commons samples.

The next release on my record label is by French DJ and producer Stamba. I am remixing one of the songs called Deviation. All the tracks on the release are what you would call darkwave, ebm, techno. Don’t you love all these sub-genres? Take a listen:

I recreated his original song in Ableton Live, keeping his vocals but using all my own sounds. Some of the gear and plug-ins used include a Jomox Mbase-01, Vermona DRM1 MKIII, Audiorealism Bassline, Korg Legacy, PSP Nitro, Fabfilter Volcano 2, assorted TC Powercore dynamics and Sugar Bytes Effectrix.

We have released the remix samples under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. If you want to grab the samples for your own fun head to the discography page for this release at Things to Come Records:

The full release will be available on August 4, 2008.

How do you clean your recording studio?

When I was starting college I worked at The Gap in Greenwich, Connecticut. For those who don’t know The Gap is a nation (world) wide clothing store and Greenwich is one of the richest towns in the United States. The president of the entire company lived in Greenwich and would come into our store. He would show up without any warning which meant our store had to be spotless at all times. My manager would actually make me take sticky tape, get on my hands and knees and use it to pull lint and dirt out of the carpet in the dressing rooms! I also spent countless hours cleaning the glass, steel racks and folding giant walls of jeans.

I guess the intense retail store boot camp has stuck with me because I like to keep my studio ultra clean. I’m on a permanent war with those dust bunnies that collect near electric wires. For the floors, windows and furniture I use the usual chemical infused products with stupid names. However, for the equipment and screens I only use warm water and a soft cloth. This seems to be the conventional wisdom for what’s best. I used to buy canned air but I realized it’s not worth the price. I don’t smoke so I can make my own dam wind.

One product I love is Goo Gone which nicely gets rid of any sticker residue. Hmm what else? Oh yeah if some jerk tags your mailbox or metal door with a Sharpie nail polish remover gets it right off!

What do you use? Do you have any tips?

photo credits: CraftyGoat and kerim

Great video discussion about Fair Use on Seesmic.

Michael C. Donaldson an entertainment lawyer based in LA takes questions from Seesmic members about fair use, copyright, satire and parodies. Have you ever wondered if you play copyrighted music behind you while you chat in a video and then post that video on YouTube if your breaking the law? Or is that considered fair use? What if you take a photo which has a Creative Commons license attached to it that states you can not use the photo for commercial purpose and post it to your blog that has Google AdSense on it? Is that ok? Well all those answers and much more is in this superb Q&A session.

One thing to note… you have to use the Right Arrow in the video player comments section and scroll to the right most video. Watch from left to right this way you see the Q&A in sequence. Mr. Donaldson is the one with the answers. He’s in the screengrab to the right… look for him. Highly recommended viewing!

For even more info check out this PDF Mr. Donaldson co-wrote called “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video”: click here

For those of you getting this post in a RSS reader the video is here: http://seesmic.com/v/tyvYB2Sy44

The price of a guilty conscience.

Have you ever bought a piece of gear or software you really didn’t need? Of course you did. Did you ever feel bad after you bought it? Did you ever feel bad before you even hit the buy now button? You knew you didn’t need it but you still went ahead. I’m guilty as charged and I know you are too.

As musicians we should be the most frugal group no? After all ASCAP isn’t much of a union in the way the Screen Actors Guild is right? We are left to fend for ourselves. No 401k plans, medical insurance or even social security. We have do put it all away by ourselves.

“My arms do things oblivious to my wishes and my orders. Buy. Buy. Buy more now!” – Soft Cell, Persuasion.

Large companies feed us adverts pandering to our wish to make great songs. However, it’s almost never the gear that’s going to make that happen. Piano lessons maybe but a new audio interface or filter plug-in… no. If you want to see gear lust in extreme effect look to the forums at Gearslutz. Threads go on miles long with people chatting about stuff they can never afford. I swear I feel dirty reading about which $1200 pre-amp sounds the best (Great River by the way!).

In truth it feels great to give in and be dirty; to purchase something I don’t really need. To open the cardboard box, remove the shiny inner plastic bags and smell new plastic and silicone. You can almost see drool in my Vermona DRM1 unboxing video. Should I be hard on myself? As an American I was raised to be a consumer. Is it my fault I have these feelings?

I’ve done well in the music business but the price of life has increased by a third in just the past 48 months. No one is paying me a third more. It’s time to put down the credit card right? Yet if I had the new Oscitron my new song could be a hit and then…

photo credit: Keegan Jones

White Noise fun with The Covert Operators.

Ableton Live – Uses for White Noise from Andreas Wetterberg on Vimeo.

Andreas Wetterberg from The Covert Operators is always sharing wicked Ableton Live tricks. In the video above he shows you how to mangle white noise into something useful.

White noise is both annoying and useful. Here’s why. – Andreas Wetterberg

Watch how he maps the keyboard to the Note Value on the Ableton Resonator plug-in. Good one! Later he tosses together White Noise, Auto Filter, Compressor, Phaser and Autopan into a stew and comes out with some nice scratch effects.

By the way if your looking for a place to grab some white noise don’t forget my post, “Simply Noise. A website with a single purpose.“.

Be sure to check out all of The Covert Operators stuff: www.covops.org

D16 announce Fazortan.

Get ready phasor freaks because D16 has announced thier new plug-in Fazortan. It’s the second release in thier “Silver Line” follow the wicked Devastor.

Have you ever wondered where does that unique magical breeze so audible in most of Jean Michael Jarre’s tunes come from. Suprisingly the backbone here isn’t the synth itself but the effect unit coupled with the synthesizer, saying more precisely – analog phaser of which our Fazortan seems to be a fine equivalent. Thanks to the analog modelling technique we were able to implement allpass filters comprising characteristics identical to its analog counterpart based on Operational Transconductance Amplifiers. – www.d16.pl

Fazortan is available for pre-order. 29€. PC/VST, Mac VST/AU. Audio samples are online: click here

Remembering hardware patch numbers is easy.

Here’s an obvious but useful tip that will work in any DAW. What if have an external hardware device that does not allow Program Change control? How will you remember what preset you were using for a specific song? Easy: Name the clip or channel the patch number.

I’ve been using this method with my new Jomox Mbase 01. As you see above the clip is named r31. One thrilling things about the Mbase 01 is how the massive kicks really pump any sidechains. Lately I will have more than just one channel being sidechained. When this is the case you can’t freeze or render the kick without after re-sidechaining everything to the new rendered kick. This is why I just keep the Jomox “live”.

Scratch. A documentary about scratching.

Another great music documentary has popped up on my favorite place I find my daily “TV” viewing aka Best Free Documentaries. This movie called “Scratch” chases down the origins of Hip Hop’s background sound.

Grand Wizard Theodore (the “Thomas Edison of the movement”) recalls the day, way back in 1975, when his grandmother told him to turn down the music he was making in front of his Bronx River Houses apartment. In order to hear her, he put his hand on the turntable, holding the record in place. As he moved his hand, slightly, a new sound rose up. And so, he smiles, scratching was born. – Best Free Documentaries

An interesting side note is that this video is one hour long and it’s on YouTube. They have started rolling out this feature for some film makers. Believe it or not my favorite Scratch track of all time is Reckless from Ice-T… seriously check it out: click here. Oh yeah and while your listening to it listen for the TB-303’s!

Have you put any Scratching into your own productions? Have you tried any of the various Scratch plug-ins?