Bandcamp and SoundCloud screencasts.

Bandcamp Screencast from Ethan Diamond on Vimeo.

Last week I mentioned to a friend that 1pixelout must have released a new audio player because I’ve been seeing huge versions of it around different sites. The 1pixelout audio player is the one you sometimes see on this site. Well it turns out these new players are coming from a new service called Bandcamp. Just watch the video above as it tells the story better than me typing it out. It’s clean, free, pretty and let’s you sell your music. I love it.

SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

SoundCloud the Berlin based startup has enjoyed a great beta ramp up and launch. They have attracted a nice group of industry insiders and electronic musician to their site. The SoundCloud audio player which allows your to make comments along the waveform of your song is just plain awesome. However trouble may be brewing in die Hauptstadt (capital city) because they just released their pricing plan and it’s a doozy. They continue to offer a free service but the forums, tweets and blogs seem to think they are gouging.

You know what? I want a combination of these two services. Give me a way to sell my music in many formats. Give me a great audio player with comments along the timeline and a waveform view. I want a dropbox. I want widgets. It should be free with ads or $25 a year advert free. They can have a few percent of my music sales too. I’d like to be able embed all my music on my own site as a mini store and have complete control over the CSS.


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Amazon’s new MP3 Clips Widget is pretty nice.

I was pleased when took on iTunes in the MP3 selling space. The more competition the better. I am a member of Amazon’s affiliate program. When I suggest a product on Amazon I can add a little snippet of code to the end of the url and if someone purchases the item I get a small cut. You can add your own affiliate code to your own band’s music for sale on Amazon too. This way you make money from the sale of the MP3 and a small bit extra for creating the sale on Amazon. Amazon also gives you a cut of anything else someone buys on their site during the visit that started with the special url. So if someone comes to Amazon to buy your MP3 but then buys a television you make a nice commission.

The great thing about the Amazon affiliate program is that you not only make commissions on the item that you link to from your blog but any item that your referred reader might buy after clicking your link. –

Last week Amazon released a new MP3 Clips Widget. You don’t have to be an affiliate member to create and use them. You can choose any song or album or combination of either to be displayed. If you are an affiliate member it will attach you code to any sale generated by the Widget. The Widget’s come in a few web friendly sizes. Interestingly, your MP3 Clips widget can also be set to automatically display the latest MP3 tracks you purchase on Amazon. Here is a Widget I created for my newest album:

If you hit the play button you can see the cool translucent interface that pops up over the album cover image. The buy links take your directly to Amazon and include my affiliate code. I hope iTunes releases something similar. As of now their affiliate program which is run by Linkshare only lets you attach an affiliate code to an iMix or pre-determined popular albums.

If you want to feature just one song try the mini player. Here is one set with a white background:

Techspansion releases AudialHub for Mac. Yay!

Here’s a scenario I run into all the time. I have a new release ready for my record label. I need to make 30 second previews of each song. I make the shorter clips in Ableton Live. Live doesn’t not export as MP3. I drag the rendered previews into iTunes, convert then drag the MP3s out. Lastly, I need to select all the previews in iTunes, click delete, send to trash and then empty the trash. Thats really stupid so I was thrilled to see one of my favorite companies release an audio converter for Mac.

I know there are some other audio converters but Techspansion makes one of the hottest Mac Apps called Visual Hub. Visual Hub is a video converter that is the de facto standard. Its ultra fast and works on any video type. I also like that Visual Hub uses Sparkle and so does AudialHub. What’s the Sparkle? When a new version of an application is ready from a developer you get a notification the next time you launch the app and with one click it updates itself. This is an important feature for programs that do conversions because the developer can update and add new files types often. So heres some details for AudialHub:

  • Conversion from dozens of audio types to popular formats like AAC, MP3, WMA, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless, 3G (cell phones), Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and even Audio and MP3 CDs!
  • Audio tracks inside video files can also be converted!
  • Common tags (Artist, Album, etc) are automatically passed when applicable.
  • Up to 16 hours of audio can be converted to a single MP3 CD.
  • Easy-to-use Trim capabilities to narrow down short segments of audio.
  • Quick Preview capability to check out compression quality and Trim settings before a full conversion.
  • Dynamic file queue, allowing mid-conversion changes or additions, Pause/Resume, and an “always ready” Assembly Line Mode!
  • Run multiple simultaneous conversions in separate queues with separate settings.
  • Growl notifications, Dock progress indicator, and AppleScripting automation support!
  • Normalization, audio track selection, multiple decoder options, and direct access to add custom low-level command-line settings!
  • Detailed Users Guide and Help Center.

There is another bit of excellent news here in that AudialHub uses the Lame encoder for MP3s. Certain digital download stores like Trackitdown (big for dance music in the UK) only accept MP3’s encoded using Lame. Itunes does not use the Lame encoder. In fact, audio previews will play back at the wrong speed if you do not use Lame.

AudialHub is $19. If you already own VisualHub you get it for $15

What if music should be free?

Money - photo

It’s hard to be writing in any publication concerning audio and not comment about this week’s events. Radiohead shocked the industry by announcing it’s new album In Rainbows was available to download for any price you think it’s worth (including free). They also let us know they are no longer bound contractually by EMI. They broke another convention by not giving radio stations a single to hype before the album release.

Besides paying (if you so choose) for the digital download super fans can purchase a box set for £40 that contains a CD, 2x 12″ vinyl and a bonus CD with some photos and artwork. Interestingly, the reports: “And Radiohead plans to release “In Rainbows” as an old-fashioned CD no later than January, though it has not determined if it will return to a major label to do so.”.

It seems like Radiohead has made a smart move and covered all their bases. They look like heroes for dropping EMI and giving their music away for free. They also did it first and such are receiving lots of attention. They have a plan to make some money and even a fall back to the traditional CD on a major label if things don’t work out.

Trent Reznor, Jamiroquai and Oasis all said they have similar plans. Somewhat related Madonna turned down an offer from Warner Music Group to go with concert promoter Live Nation Inc.

But wait a minute. Deep breath. What does this really mean? At first I was actually angry. I thought “Great, a bunch of rich people are giving away what I need to sell to make a Continue reading What if music should be free?

The MP3 store for your own website.

1-2-3 Music Store

About a year ago I was looking for a way to sell MP3’s directly from my record label’s website. I had two requirements. First, I didn’t want to pay a percent of each sale to anyone. Second, I wanted the process to be automatic. For example, someone comes to the website, clicks “shop”, fills his cart with MP3s, pays, and then without me doing anything the download links are sent by email.

Surprisingly, there were not many options. Building my own store in Paypal was over my head. I could get close to what I wanted but I ran into issues. Every time I tried to get support help from the Paypal developer forums I was spammed by people trying to sell me their finished stores (none of which were elegant). There is Payloadz which starts out as free but if you sell more than $100 worth of music in 30 days you need to upgrade your account to a pay version. I sold more than $200 in the first week so it’s a good thing I didn’t go with them. Snocap gives you a flash store you can put anywhere on the web and its the only store that will attach to your MySpace page music player. However Continue reading The MP3 store for your own website.