I'm a musician: when will the music industry wake up and smell the coffee?

Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music', says poll Interesting article in the Independent:


I'm a musician; I sell music; I have an album on itunes (it's here if you want to sample it FOR FREE). So I have a vested interest in making money from my music.

But I'm also a consumer - and I understand what today's consumer wants.

The music industry needs to wake up and shake up. It's been pushing back against an inevitable tide for the last 10 years and it won't succeed in continuing to do so. I remember conversations over a decade ago with musicians worried about digital distribution and at the time DRM (in several forms) was emerging, but not mainstream. This, I said to those musicians, was how they would protect their Intellectual Property.

How embarassing. Of course, in my defence, the market was developing and the iPod was yet to emerge and no-one really knew what the appetite for digital music would be. A mere decade on and I simply can't believe how we lived without it, in the world of physical media. How quaint. Today: Portability, Mobility, Ubiquity - almost a byword for the modern age. An age that is shaped by the teenagers of today, not us old fuddy-duddies clinging on to the good-old-days.

So, Let the future roll on. 20 years ago, as I recorded my compositions to audio cassette, bouncing down from one machine to another, I longed to be able to have had my music heard, and from my dark teenager's bedroom had no way to do so. Digital production and distribution, now affordable to the common man, changed all that and enabled me to release 10 or 15 years of back catalogue on an unsuspecting world.

10 years ago I longed for the day that the world of music was digital: portable, mobile, ubiquitous - and now it's here. It's amazing. We can't go back. Who WANTS to go back? On my coach trip from Durham University to the snowy Highlands I would fill my bag with 10 or so cassettes and a walkman. My entire luggage allowance on a choice of 10 albums for an 8 hour journey?! Almost pointless. Not to mention a battery life of only half the journey. It was almost more trouble than it was worth.

And that's the point. That the sharp consumer end of things. That's what drives our behaviour and desire as consumers - and having tasten the forbidden fruit, we will not give it up. The music industry needs to recognise this, then embrace it. They need to learn to make their money from a radically new music economy. They can no longer shape it, dictate it: WE will shape it, for we are the information democracy. If you hadn't noticed, information is power, and increasingly that power is in the hands of self-organising consumers. Content (in perception at least) is a commodity - Loyalty is not; we can love you today and wave bye-bye tomorrow.

So, in my opinion, the only way to thrive in this era is to be a part of it - live it and breathe it; to be compelling, original, ingenious, accessible and relevant - not just as an artist, but as a business operation. Dinosaurs don't cut it.

I love the world of digital distribution - take my music, download it, use it, abuse and once in a while bung me a few quid..


CNN says rock is dead?

CNN.com ran an article titled “What will save rock 'n' roll?” which included an interview with Steve Van Zandt and some others

The short version, in the article Steven, and others, claim people are not buying music and albums because “they suck” and bands don’t know how to rock.

Somehow, they feel, bands just don’t know how create music that inspires.

With all due respect, bullsh*t.  And shame on CNN for running a news story based on a few people’s uneducated opinions.

There is more music being created and recorded today then ever before in the history of humanity.  Although sheer volume of music creation does not make it good, the fact that more people are creating it certainly increases the odds. Hell, just having access to affordable gear and recording equipment (like your Mac) allows more music to come to life, both the terrible and the incredible.

What Steven and CNN don’t seem to know, or acknowledge, is that the real “music industry” is that thing over in the corner main-stream media is not reporting on and not aware of.

There are between 150 to 300 releases a day via TuneCore alone.  I have to suspect that Steven has heard perhaps less than a percent of a percent of them.  You want the opinion from the guy running TuneCore, now the largest distributor of bands, labels and music in the world, there is more great “rock”, “punk”, “dance”, “hip hop” “classical”, “funk”, “folk”, “country” etc etc than there has ever been before.  And this is why IT IS SELLING.

(follow the references link for the rest of this article)

Click here for TuneCore

How to get your music on iTunes

the digital age has made it possible to self-publish your own music on the route to rock-stardom. Here's how you can get your music on the apple iTunes store as well as all the main digital download stores such as Amazon, Napster and eMusic.

Without doubt the advent of MP3s and the digital download age has revolutionised music forever. It's now possible for anyone with a PC and the right software to create their own music and recordings and make them available to the world without the merest hint of a record contract or a large record producing organisation to both invest or constrain the artistic process.  

However, in the absence of a huge marketing budgets it is essential to get your music into all the major online record stores and all the online download stores in order to reach the widest audience possible.

In my opinion the best way to do this is through the tunecore service. For a ludicrously low annual fee in the region of $20 they will make your digital music album available to all the major music retailers across the globe, including iTunes, Amazon, Napster and many more. It's extremely easy to upload your music just once to tune core who will then distribute it on your behalf to all the stores you select. This is a process you can complete in one or two hours and within a matter of a few weeks your album and recordings will be available to buy and download to hundreds of millions of Internet users all over the world. Tune core takes all the hassle  out of hosting and distributing your files, as well as collecting and is shooting the royalties you earn.   On top of that they provided information and advice on how to be successful in the industry.. I cannot recommend them highly enough and I have my own music published through tunecore.

Click here for TuneCore

When Music-on-hold goes bad

The Avoid List

Born of Frustration - James

Hanging On The Telephone - Blondie

Heaven Knows I Am Miserable Know - The Smiths

Hold the Line - Toto

How Long - The Eagles

Hung Up - Madonna (“Time Goes By So Slowly”) 

It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Any More - Cliff Richard 

It's Yer Money I'm After Baby - The Wonder Stuff

No Rush - Josh Turner

Paper Planes - MIA (“All I want to do is ... and … and take your money”)

Patience - Take That

Relax Take It Easy - Mika

Ring Ring - De La Soul (“Hey you doing? Sorry you couldn’t get through. If you leave a name and a number … I’ll get back to you”)

Sam’s Town - The Killers ("Why do you waste my time? Is the answer to the question on your mind")

Say Something - James (“Say Something Say Something Anything Your Silence Is Deafening”) 

Shutt Uppa Ya Face - Joe Dolce

Still Waiting - Sum 41

Talk Dirty To Me - Poison

Things Can Only Get Better - DREAM

Under Pressure - Queen

We Have All The Time In The World - Louis Armstrong

You Don't Care About Us - Placebo

You Never Give Me Your Money - The Beatles

Utility Company no-no's

Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

Boom! Shake The Room - DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince

Every Light In The House Has Blown - Cledus T Judd

Firestarter - Prodigy

Greased Lightning (“It’s Electrifying”)

Hot And Cold - Katy Perry

Lights Out - Santigold

Relight My Fire - Take That

Short Circuit - Daft Punk

The Light - Proclaimers (“A Light Shines On That Helps You To Steer, Makes Everything Clear, Well It Might In Your World But It Doesn't In Mine, Ive Been Stumbling In The Dark For Years”) 

Une Annee Sans Lumiere - Arcade Fire

Suggestions for a Utility Company


Darling Leave The Lights On For Me - Belinda Carlisle

Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle) - Outhere Brothers (Energy!  Energy!  Energy!  Energy! ) Nb: Only Listen To The Clean Version!

Energy - Earth Wind And Fire

Light My Fire - The Doors

Our Friends Electric - Gary Newman

Power Of Love - Huey Lewis And The News

She's Electric - Oasis

Telephone Line - Electric Light Orchestra

The Power - Snap

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Whatever You Want, Whatever You Need - Status Quo

You Are Not Alone - The Eagles

You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone