Over the past three months I’ve been experiencing Chinese Democracy syndrome. Chinese Democracy was the Guns and Roses album that took them a decade to release. They wrote, erased, rewrote, sweated, talked and stressed instead of just letting it out. The truth is I have recorded almost 30 songs for my next album called Joyless Pleasure. I’ve worked harder and I’ve been more inspired while making these songs than ever in my life. Certainly it will be my best effort and about half I consider gems. Yet I still sit wanting to make one more song. One more that will be the one that will take it all over the top. I don’t have any advice in this post. I’m only sharing this strange experience. I am going to let go. I have my last song in Ableton. Maybe I just don’t want to go take the album photos!
“In the music industry, a release is usually a term referring to the creative output from an artist available for sale or distribution.” – Wikipedia
Some are calling this chart the death of the music industry. Maybe we are just returning to global sales figures that make more sense. After all, we all know the major labels were raping our wallets with Compact Disc prices right? If these figures dip below 5 Billion then we can have a death march.
“It makes me laugh!!! Copyright may have constitutional protection, but at the end of the day, the Internet is kicking the music industries monopolistic ass.” – JoeJoe
Last night I attended the WordPress NYC Meetup Group at NYU Poly. The theme of the evening was ecommerce. I wanted to see if there was a good solution if you wanted to skip iTunes, Beatport and Amazon. There were three presentations covering the popular WordPress solutions: WP-eCommerce, Shopp and Ecwid. A representative for each product showed off what the products could do. Next, the WordPress Meetup Group broke into three parts everyone following whatever product they liked best into a separate room.
WP-eCommerce and Shopp were similar but I thought Shopp was cleaner and the develeper really knew his stuff so I followed him into the Shopp room. Ecwid was the only product with a monthly subsciption and it was based and hosted your files in Russia. I actually won a rafle for a free year of Ecwid but I still skipped past it. I’m sure it could be a great product but the entire idea of my night out was to find a free or pay once self contained solution.
Years ago I ran an online store script off my own website called the Easybe shop. Shopp is far simplier and more powerful to use. You can sell digital goods quite easily. Download links expire and are encoded so your source url is never revealed. You can send out coupon codes. You can sell physical goods. You can sell digital and physical goods within the same product using variables (such as a CD or MP3 download). You store lives on your Wordpres site within a link but there are sidebar widgets or shortcodes to put any product or product category into any WordPress post (nice!). There are options to host your files on your own server or if you’re a huge site you can use Amazon S3. There are language plug-ins and much more. The price seems very reasonable to me at $55. The only time you pay more is when there are full version point upgrades.
Because Shopp is a full store not specifically an mp3 store it doesn’t have a built in audio player but you can use SoundCloud embeds or a Wordpres plug-in like Audioplayer for your sample clips. I really liked what I saw and I’m going to set up a sample shop here on this site over the weekend. I still think you should have your stuff available for sale on iTunes, Amazon and Beatport. However, why not have a one click away store where no one get a cut of your action?
“Shopp seamlessly integrates into your WordPress website from administration to your online store’s shopping experience. It looks and works like it was meant to be part of WordPress all along. And Shopp plays well with other plugins by adhering to the WordPress plugin development guidelines.” – shopplugin.net
The incredible music info archive site Discogs now has an optimized version for iOS and Android devices. I’ve used the site thousands of times. Often I go there to get info I can’t remember about my own releases! Here’s the page for some of my music on Discogs: discogs.com/artist/Horrorist
“To access Discogs mobile, simply navigate to www.discogs.com using your preferred mobile browser. By default, you’ll see the mobile version of Discogs with an option to switch to the full site if desired.” – discogs.com
The nhow is a hotel in the center of Berlin on the Spree river. Why would I be posting information about a hotel on Wire to the Ear? Well this hotel has two recording studios in it available to guests. Not only that Gibson guitars are available to use through room service. Most musicians need really cheap rooms and Berlin is one of the cities where you can find nice hotel rooms for less than a hundred euros. The nhow hotel is going for 174 euro per night so if you stay get your studio time in to make it worth it. I like this idea and there should be hotels for any type of person no? Video game hotels, cat people hotels, etc… Let’s hope this nhow hotel has sound proof rooms, locks on the minibars and paid their insurance bills if they are inviting rock stars to stay with them.
“Located directly on the banks of the river Spree, the Nhow Berlin bills itself as the only hotel in Europe offering two professional music studios. A dedicated music manager is on staff, as is a team drawing heavily from local music colleges. Regular live events and concerts take place in the hotel’s event spaces and terraces, while first-rate DJs are on hand in the bar. The music studios are operated in collaboration with Lautstark Music GmbH/René Rennefeld, which also manage the legendary Berlin Hansa recording studios. The Nhow’s 304 rooms, meanwhile, are kitted out with iPod connections and more than 30 TV and 100 music radio stations integrated in a state-of-the-art entertainment system. Wireless Internet and more than 5,000 videos-on-demand are available in every room; Gibson guitars are even available through room service.” – springwise.com
Be warned the service I am mentioning today may not be legit. Would you pay to have your SoundCloud tracks played more? Cloud Promotion says it will get you a set number of “Plays” for money. It seems the service is based in Europe because their prices are listed in Euros and the English text is well messed up (fancy detective work I know). Some examples: 1000 Plays for 25 Euro or 5000 Plays for 75 Euro. The site looks very much like the SoundCloud site. Is it officially affiliated with them somehow? Does it matter who listens to your songs? I know I would like a target audience not just 1000 random people. Lastly, would 1000 Plays = 25 actual song sales?
I tried to find some mention of Cloud Promotion in the SoundCloud forums but I couldn’t figure out a way to search there. If I am missing an obvious way to search the forums someone please let me know.
“With cloud Promotion You Can Have A couple bunch of Traffic to your mix or track And Make Easy The Audience of Your Dream” – cloud-promotion.com
By a very long mile Jean-Michel Basquiat is the visual artist closest to my heart. Growing up a native New Yorker in the 70s and 80s his paintings and illustrations mean more to me personally than anything I’ve ever seen. If you don’t know who he is you seriously owe it to yourself to watch the documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. Next, go right now and do an Google image search on his name to view some of his amazing work. Being a music based blog I thought I would share an album cover he did for Rammellzee and K-Rob. If anyone asks you which rap album is the most rare or which one would bring the most money at auction now you know.
“”Beat Bop” is a hip hop single by American rappers Rammellzee and K-Rob, originally released in 1983 by record label Tartown. Initially distributed merely as a test pressing, it is notable for being the theme of hip hop culture documentary film Style Wars and having a cover designed by famed New York graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The result of a disagreement between Rammellzee and Basquiat, the track has been cited as having an influence on artists such as Beastie Boys and many modern experimental hip hop artists due to its chaotic, abstract sound, and, due to the rarity of its original pressing, has been called the Holy Grail of rap records.” – Wikipedia
Derek Sivers is the man who created CD Baby. He posted an interesting article on his blog on some of what went on behind the scenes as Steve Jobs created iTunes. It shows another case of music industry battle. I think we are lucky that Tunecore was able to strike and promote a good way to get Independent music into the iTunes music store. I know there are other ways in but imagine if underground artists were locked out.
“I decided to refund everybody’s $40, with my deepest apologies. With 5000 musicians signed up, that meant I was refunding $200,000. Since we couldn’t promise anything, I couldn’t charge money in good conscience.” – sivers.org
A few music related blogs have posted the video above. Basically it states what most musicians know or are in the process of finding out: It’s very hard to make a living in the music business. I still make a percent of my total income from music but it’s largely from live performances and legacy hit records. That said, I would never stop making music because I love it and what it does for me other than buy me material goods. I also suspect that although the industry is in an all time lull profits will rise for those dedicated and talented.
“Topspin CEO Ian Rogers, captured at New Noise Santa Barbara, notes that only 25-30,000 musicians are actually making a living through their music.” – sonicstate.com
“J Sider, our CEO, is going to demo how to set up and optimize a BandPage. He’ll start from scratch and give you the inside scoop on all the new features so you can get the most out of your BandPage.” – RootMusic