Podcast 3: Money


In which Dubber and Steve talk about their newfound wealth, experiments with pricing and the economics and sociology of music (and other things) online.

Mentioned in this podcast:
Steve’s New Album: Believe in Peace
Dubber’s new book: Music in the Digital Age

Dubber’s blog post:
Why my book is free – and why it costs money

Steve’s blog post:
A little “Buy Music With Bandcamp” primer

The sizzle reel for Slingers.

Reprieve: Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.



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?


Demo on CD or mp3?

First of all, let’s dispense with the word “demo”. Stop using it. What you have made is a promo. These days, the word ‘demo’ has acquired connotations of “not as good as it would be if we had a decent budget and could play our instruments properly”.

Having sorted that one out – the format on which you should present your promo recordings is ‘both’ – and it’s entirely context dependent.

If you’re trying to get interest from a print publication, venue, record label or a radio station, then generally speaking, they’re still working very much in the realm of physical CDs. If you want attention from an mp3 blogger, potential manager, promoter (particularly one in another city), then you should certainly have ready some mp3s for them to access and download.

But as someone who gets sent an awful lot of promos, I have a few tips that might help you see it from the recipient’s perspective.


Can the internet help improve my playing?

Not everyone who reads this website is ready to record or release an album. I’m impressed by the number of emails I get from people who have stumbled across this site shortly after finding themselves in their first band. And not everyone plays everything as well as they’d like to be able to.

The best advice I could give is: log out of Facebook, switch off your computer, go and pick up your instrument and practice it for 8 hours or so. Do the same tomorrow. Repeat until fabulous.

But there are actually some things you can do on the internet that will help your playing – and even expand your musical horizons if you’re already pretty damn good.


Belfast on Friday

I’m going to be speaking at this event this week:

Music: It’s The Business
Friday 27th June 2008, 1pm – 3.30pm

Blackbox, 18 – 22 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LA

This seminar will cover the changing shape of the music industry and the ways in which independent artists and entrepreneurial music businesses can transform the ways in which they work through using new tools for collaboration, networking and organisation.

The emphasis will be on how creative professionals can make the most of the technologies available to customise their activities to their audiences and consumers.

Andrew Dubber, one of the UK’s acknowledged experts on the internet driven music economy, will present this seminar event in Belfast on Friday 27th June from 1pm until 3.30pm.

To book your place contact ross@nimusic.com


Incidentally, my domain is now transferred. It’s just a matter of plugging it in. I reckon by end of business today, New Music Strategies will be online again at its rightful home.