Ikea Benno as a synth and drum box stand

Ikea_Benno

We all know Ikea furniture can be hacked into useful recording studio stands, etc.. The Ikea Jerker desk is one example. I’ve seen countless bedroom studios (especially in Europe) using the Jerker. Here’s a link to check out a “how to hack a Jerker for the studio”: How to Build A Studio Desk For Music Production.

If you need to turn a corner of a modern living room into a mini studio you may want to check out the Ikea Benno television stand. It features three tiers long enough for 36 keys, drum machines, jars of patch cords and has a cable hiding mechanism in the back. Benno is $69.99.

For more info: ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30104478

Google Music Search


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV24RBmy-2I

I use Google services all day. I live in Gmail and Google Docs. We all know the dark music search sites. You know the ones with a simple input box and lots of spammy adverts (SkreemR, Seeqpod, Songza, Wuzam, beeMP3). Those search sites led you to a place to download the song. Although less illegal “feeling” than say Napster or Limewire they served the same function. Google announced it will be finally be incorporating a proper music search and audio player into it’s regular search page. Yes we all know how to record whatever streams through our computer but I still buy music. I buy it because it’s right and also because it’s way more convenient. Partners in this new Google plan include imeem, lala, MySpace, Pandora, Rhapsody, EMI, Sony Music, Universal and Warner. Of course that won’t give us search access to every song in the world ever created but it’s a start. We still have our dark sites and forums to troll if needed.

“Our new music search feature makes it easy to find music. Just search for an artist, album, song or even a few lyrics to get song previews from our partners.” – Google

Will Google’s new initiative change the music buying landscape? Is this any competition to iTunes?

For more info: www.google.com/landing/music/

Wire to the Ear has changed host providers.

Server Room

I am pleased to let know that this weekend I moved Wire to the Ear from shared hosting at iPower to a Managed VPS (Virtual Private Server) at Wiredtree. The move will most certainly improve downtime especially when the site gets hit with high traffic. The next step will be to install WP Super Cache and improve performance. Thanks for being patient if you visited the site and it was down.

photo credit: torkildr

Pro-Audio Retailers on Twitter

Pro-Audio Retailer on Twitter

I hate spam but I still want a good deal from time to time. I’ve created a few secret Twitter accounts where I follow topics I don’t want polluting my main Twitter account’s stream. One secret account is full of stores and affiliate link sites trying to sell stuff. Two examples are Woot (http://twitter.com/woot) and Amazon MP3 Deals (http://twitter.com/Amazonmp3). Today I realized the main U.S. music retailers all have Twitter accounts too. Sam Ash seems to be offering some interesting stuff via it’s Twitter site:

“Call 1-800-4SAMASH TODAY to receive a free set of Samson StudioDock 3i Studio Monitors with your purchase of over $299!!” – @samashdirect

I was hoping to find Analougehaven, NovaMusik, BigCityMusic or RobotSpeak but a quick search didn’t reveal any Twitter pages for them. If I am wrong let me know. Leave any other pro-audio shopping slash Twitter pages in the comments too please.

http://twitter.com/samashdirect
http://twitter.com/sweetwatersound
http://twitter.com/Guitarcenter

Battle of the bands Google style.

EBM Band Comparison

Ever wonder how popular a band or artist really is? Head over to http://google.com/insights/search/ and find out. Today I have three popularity wars set up (click to enlarge screenshots). First I go old school EBM (of course) and throw VNV Nation into the mix with Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Skinny Puppy. Surprisingly Nitzer Ebb looses big time. Next up on stage is MGMT vs Willie Nelson vs The Prodigy. The surprise to me here is that the Prodigy manages to stay on the chart at all. The final contest I go for some big bands: NIN vs Depeche Mode vs Kraftwerk. I knew DM would win but if you look carefully there were a few moments in time NIN over took them.

MGMT vs Willie Nelson vs The Prodigy

Depeche Mode vs NIN vs Kraftwerk

Of course popularity doesn’t always equal great tunes but this is a fun way to see who’s “the biggest”. Do you think any of these results are surprising?

Related post: Using Google Trends to compare sequencers.

Two million dollar Fischerspooner fiasco.

Fischerspooner

Let me start this post by stating I really like the band Fischerspooner. Their album titled “#1” (iTunes link) was not only brilliant but it arrived on the scene at the exact right time. The lyrics were smart and the production was wicked creative. All that said it was clear to everyone I knew that this was going to be a one album band. I know they have released other material but the concensus of my friends was, “Once they live in the hyped zone a bit they won’t be able to do anything else all that worthwhile music wise.”. You know how it goes right? The followup album is always the most difficult to write. Add drugs and sex into the deal (the other ingredients to Rock n Roll) who has time to sit in the studio?

“Do you know them? They were a gay performance band from New York and they were the hottest thing of the time and a bidding war erupted around them, which was taken to ridiculous levels by an East Coast Jewish American lawyer…” – James Palumbo

What amazes me is that Ministry of Sound’s cofounder James Palumbo was so blind. Apparently they decided to plunk down 2 million to get the exclusive on Fischerspooner. My friend, UK music journalist Jonty Skrufff (skrufff.com) has a juicy interview with Palumbo well worth reading just for the laugh. Check it out: click here

Is that quote above by James a bit offensive? My favorite FS song? Their Wire cover of The 15th: iTunes

photo credit: José Goulão

BandCentral is a CRM for musicians.

BandCentral

BandCentral-Files

There is a new web service aimed at Band management called BandCentral. It’s an online collaboration hub where a group can manage a calendar, files, gigs, promotion, a message board, social media status updates, finances and a to do list. It’s a British service so they keep using the word “mate” and the price is in pounds: £4.99 a month (about $7 USD).

I like the fact they are launching with a business model. We are going to see web services costing money now for sure. I would like to make sure this company is going to be around a while before I put all my time, money and energy into it though. Keep in mind most bands don’t even make $7 a year!

“In a nutshell, BandCentral is an online band manager with all the tools you and your band mates need to manage your band. BandCentral gives you your very own online ‘Band HUB’, which enables you to manage everything associated with a hard working band (gigs, promotion, files and finances etc..) all in one instantly accessible place.” – bandcentral.com


BandCentral Introduction
from Band Central on Vimeo.

My initial impression is this is kind of like Basecamp or Salesforce for bands. I also puked in my mouth a little because it’s all a bit too sterile for musicians you know? I mean should real rock stars be using a Customer Relationship Manager?

For more info: www.bandcentral.com

via Mashable

Do you allow 30 second previews or full song play?

preview

Here’s a choice I am running into that I need help making a decision for. When you post your commercial, for sale music online do you allow the full song to stream or only allow a 30 second preview? The large online music retailers such as iTunes and Amazon only allow 30 second previews. Do they know something about buying behavior? Does allowing just a short clip tantalize a listener so he wants to hear the rest of the song and clicks buy? Could it be iTunes and Amazon believe people will “rip” or record a full song stream even if just 128k quality?

Some websites like Last.fm give you the choice. I had my music set for 30 sec play and I received the following comment:

“30 second clips? can we get anymore of a rip off thats like showing half of the picture you painted, but if you want to hear the rest youll have to buy it if people like you enough, they will buy your music stop being such a rip off” – mnmcandiez

After a little thought I switched my settings to full song play. Is that the right decision? I think everyone knows it’s easy to record any sound your computer makes. I also know my publisher Strengholt music group doesn’t approve. There are some sites such as Bandcamp who rely on people buying music in order for them to survive yet they only allow full streaming songs.

So what do you do? What are the pros and cons here?

[poll id=”4″]

photo credit: mag3737

Used music gear shopping with Craigsphone.

Craigsphone

As musicians we all spend time checking out music tech blogs, participating in pro-audio forums and listening to tunes on various social music sites. We can all justify the time we spend on such sites as learning (and it really is!). I’ve found a new time waster: Craigsphone (iTunes link). I know the iPhone app has been around for a while. I know you could do the same searching over at Craigslist. However, I had not searched for local synths for sale on my iPhone until today. There’s something to be said for laying in the backyard on a chaise lounge chair and finger flicking through used goodies with knobs. There’s some great stuff you can find such as “3 Non-Working ADATS”.

Ever find a killer deal on Craigslist?