Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music of the future (and music of the past)

Introduction

The song that features this line, Music by John Miles, was written 10 years before I was born. It is therefore quite old. Some songs will never lose their power, but the way music is being sold and distributed will change.

Buying and owning music

First of all there’s the question who owns the music and who has to pay for it. Since the rise of illegal downloading people started to believe that music is supposed to be free. Back in the days people would copy cassette tapes too, obviously. But downloading makes it even easier to grab some new tunes before going on the road. An interesting film on this subject is RIP! A Remix Manifesto.

This documentary deals with issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers. The film is made by Brett Gaylor. The films central figure is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs. But is Girl Talk a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy? Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig, Brazil’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow are also along for the ride.

This discussion always fascinates me. I believe people should pay for music. It is a product they buy and own. You can only own something when you buy it or when it’s given to you, not when you steal it. Since digital music is easier to distribute than a CD, prices should be much lower though. Some artists believe that sharing their music for free will encourage fans to come to their concerts. That’s very plausible, but the artist then decided for himself that the music will be free of charge, not the consumers.

Entrepreneurs are now trying to find new ways to distribute music. One of the new methods is a subscription based model. You get access to a huge database of music by paying a fixed price every month. You can listen to all the songs in that library as many times you want, but cannot download them. A well known example is Spotify. With this model people still don’t own songs, as soon as you end your subscription all your favourite songs are gone. I won’t say that this model will not succeed. It might be sufficient for some people to just stream there music and not own it. Personally I wouldn’t like it though.

Who needs a record company nowadays?

Another interesting issue is managing investments in music. There still are big record companies that believe that they exactly know which artist will be successful amongst the audience and only contract those artists. I believe there are other ways.

Wouldn’t it be more logical to let music lover decide what they like? It sounds logical, but it’s not the way it works yet for every artist. But luckily there’s SellaBand. This website gives artists the opportunity to raise money amongst fans, so-called ‘believers’. These believers invest a small amount of money, e.g. $10. When you sell 1.000 shares like this, you have $10.000, to record, distribute and market your music. When the musician starts making profit from record sales, believers will receive a small percentage of that money. They also receive the music the artist made with that money, either as a physical CD or digital download.

At first the site was being used by small bands only. A few weeks ago rap formation Public Enemy joined SelaBand and raised over $70.000 since then. Dutch artist Hind joined last November and raised €40.000 (+/- $50.000) in 12 days. These sites really give the power back to the people. If fans like an artists’ music and their willing to invest in the artists career and music, there now is an easy opportunity.

Conclusion

I personally believe music should be paid for. The problem is that most people don’t share that opinion, because they are used to getting it for free. I don’t believe that one day people all of a sudden start paying, but record companies will have to find other ways to sell their music, for instance through subscriptions.

That is, obviously, if there will be record companies around then. When the audience grabs the power to decide which artist has talent and is worth your money and investment, record companies might be in trouble.

Video: All Time Low – Weightless

All Time Low is a pop punk band from Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. The video clip for their latest single Weightless, from the album Nothing Personal, is pretty awesome. The song isn’t exactly my taste, but I came across it on MTV this morning.

In this particular video the thoughts of the people in the room pop up right beside them. The graphic design is very well done. It reminds me of the way tv shows like Heroes and Fringe use text inside scenes, not on top of them.

The Magic of Sampling Music

Recently I came across an interesting video by a singer/songwriter called David Ford. He released a new video for his song “Go To Hell”, in which he showcased an interesting way of making music. He played the song by sampling a few chords of every instrument. Pay attention to the beginning, he starts the song off with a water boiler (no really!). Watch the video here:

In my head I immediately started going through my own music collection and thought of a few other artists who use this method of playing music with samples. Most of them do it only when they perform live and it sounds amazing. Suggestions to this list are obviously much appreciated.

How JamLegend could rock the world of music gaming.

jamlegendFirst there were Guitar Hero and Rock Band, two music games for almost every game console available. It was mostly a matter of time before these kind of games would make their way to the PC and Mac. It’s here now, but in an almost geeky way: with the use of a keyboard.

The game is called JamLegend and the best part is: it’s free to play and open for musicians. With the philosophies of both Jeff Jarvis in mind, this sounds like the music platform of the future. He believes that companies should make a platform for their users and then just back off. Make it work and let them have it, he says. By giving more power to the people, you’ll get more and more trust from the people. That sounds interesting, but in what way can bands and JamLegend benefit from the developed platform and what extensions can be made? Continue reading

Smashing Pumpkins to release new music for free

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has stated on the band’s website they’ll be releasing new music soon. Not a few songs, but 11 EP’s of 4 songs each, making a total of 44 new songs. This truckload of new material will be given away for free by the band one song at a time. The title of the work will be Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.

The story of the album is based on ‘The Fool’s Journey’, as signified in the progress of the Tarot. It is my intention to approach this by breaking down the journey of our life here into four phases as made by these different characters; the Child, the Fool, the Skeptic, and the Mystic.

The music of ‘Teargarden by Kaleidyscope‘ harkens back to the original psychedelic roots of The Smashing Pumpkins: atmospheric, melodic, heavy, and pretty.

Myself I am not a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan. But I like the road their taking in terms of releasing music. In the spirit of, amongst others, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead they’re trying to find new ways to put their music out there.

Via Smashing Pumpkins