Lies Like These

I’m in Manchester at a music industry conference called Un-Convention. It’s one of those events where you know quite a few of the people involved, and the ones you don’t, you get to know quite quickly.

After the last band played last night, a bunch of us went across to the pizzeria / chip shop across the road for a bite to eat. My Belfast cousin Tracy, and Brad from Bolton band Merchandise were talking about Brad’s album and how that was coming along.

‘Nearly done – just have some mastering to do. Finished a video for the first single, but we’re not going to do any more. Don’t have the budget for it.’

‘Let’s make one right now,’ I said.

So, armed with my digital camera (a still camera, actually, but with a video setting) and with the song on Brad’s ipod, we just did a one-take shot. No rehearsal. Not even any discussion about what the two of them would do.

The only real shame was that it’s hard to see what Tracy wrote on the base of the pizza box at the end of the video. It reads ‘You suck.’

An hour later, I went to bed while this was uploading to Vimeo.

Music video budget? We don’t need no music video budget…

Find Merchandise on iTunes.

Amateur nonsense

This is not an ad. Well, yes – obviously it’s an ad, but Microsoft have not paid me to place this here. I bring you this just to spark a discussion about the endgame of music performance and production in the digital age.

Because although this is absolutely excruciating (I struggled to make it right through the video) – and it might just be the FrontPage of music making (and you have no idea how much I detest FrontPage) – there’s certainly something to be said about the idea of Garageband or Logic in every home. Isn’t there?

This is not a discussion about Apple versus Microsoft (unless that’s what you’d like it to be). It’s a discussion about the place of music professionalism in the face of technologically-enabled amateurism. If it’s cheap and easy for everyone to make music, then what?


What's a Netlabel?


There seem to be three main approaches that independent artists take to the idea of record labels these days.

The first is that record labels are the best way to get your music out to the public. The internet is all well and good, and we are in favour of it, but people in record labels know what they are doing, they understand marketing, they have things like connections, promotion strategies, radio pluggers, PR, graphic design, branding, distribution, chart registration, barcodes, licensing, finance, and deals on pressing all sorted out. We’re going with them. 20% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

The second is that we live in a post-label world. We are all about DIY. There may be artists signed to record labels and that’s fine for them, I suppose… but this is a brave new era and we’re going to self-release. We’re not unsigned – we’re independent. We have all of the tools at our disposal to record, release, distribute, promote and make money from our music on our own terms, beholden to nobody, keeping all of the intellectual property and making all of the profits ourselves. We’ll do it on a tight budget, but we’ll do it because we are empowered to do so.

The third can be broadly categorised thus: We’re going to release through a Netlabel. As soon as we can figure out what a Netlabel is, that’s what we’re going to do.


Radar Music Videos

Radar Music Video

Radar Music Videos is a clearing house to connect artists with video makers. There’s a recommendation system and a showcase of prior work. Filmmakers can pitch for commissions, and artists can lay out their budgets and briefs, and solicit proposals.

A good way to get music videos made? Will anything good come of it? Is this the future of independent music video production? Your thoughts please…


Mix Match Music

With over 2500 guitar, bass, keys, drum and other music stems and works-in-progress added to its catalog since it debuted in mid-September, MixMatchMusic is a place for music professionals to collaborate, share stems and make music with other musicians from around the world.

Participation in the MixMatchMusic community and use of its MixMaker audio sequencer are free to musicians and casual fans alike. Fees are incurred when stems, works in progress or finished songs are downloaded for sale or other use.

What do you think? Any good? Is the sequencer anything more than a toy? Is there enough variety? What’s the quality like? All in all, how would you rate the site?

How can I get a music video?

rock video

One of the best ways to promote your music is through the use of video. While not all of us have the massive budgets sometimes at play in the world of MTV, not of all of us are happy with the results of a handheld camera in the rehearsal room either.

And there’s something inherently viral about a great, clever, funny or surprising music video. How many times were you sent The JCB Song, Here It Goes Again, Pork and Beans, or I’m Lame?

So in order to get something up on YouTube or Vimeo – something that can then be embedded on the band’s webpage, Facebook or MySpace profile – something that looks really professional but doesn’t cost more than a house… where do you turn?