Sunday, January 29, 2006

... And music.

(Note: this is the spiritual continuation of the Creative Commons post. If you're not interested in that stuff, scroll down to the bottom for my "Untitled piano demo", or just click that link there. Yes, that one.)

To quickly recap: since CC won't be saving musicians from starving, what will?
Answer: money. Well, that was easy enough.

But to get money they need people to pay for their stuff, fans. And to get fans you need exposure.

I can not stress the following point enough: I do not have any answers for this, only thoughts that are still in their infancy.

So how can the 'intarweb' help with the exposure for an artist? Well, a webpage is a good start. A webpage with band info and of course contact/ordering info for those who want a physical CD. What else? Music samples perhaps? You can't make new fans without them hearing your music. This is where I'm a bit torn; specifically which license you should use to distribute it, which I went through before. But whichever you choose, you can find hosting for your audio in various places. But still no money coming in...

Let me divert a bit from the primary subject at hand. Think about the stuff you see on the internet, the memes, the stuff that gets circulated via e-mail, blogs and social networking and becomes huge overnight; think the numa-numa guy, the cow falling when trying to mate. How often is the meme just an audio clip? People's attention span isn't really long enough for just a music clip to start circulating; they're listening, but they're not hearing. The sense that humans primary use with computers is the visual one. So if you'd have an eye-catching, memorable video clip to go with the song... Enter music videos.

In a recent article in the daily newspaper Vasabladet, a director/produced-type-of-guy condemned those who share music videos via peer-to-peer. Said that since they're so expensive to make and everything, people should respect that and not share them. You'd almost think that he doesn't want people to see them. In Japan, a music video is known as a "PV", standing for Promotional Video. A music video to me is primarily a way of keeping the audience's interest for the length of the song. A music video doesn't have to cost that much to make really. I mean, they made Star Wreck 6 on a pretty tight budget, and that's better than many Hollywood-productions I've seen! And if it's silly/stupid/weird enough to get people talking about it, then it doesn't even have to be good. And with video editing software like iMovie easily available, you don't have to break the bank. (Except for the recording equipment, hopefully you can rent that.)

Now let's say that you've made your song and have the video to it made. What next? Put it where people can see it. Face it, you've got practically no chance of it getting on MTV, anyway. Youtube and Google Video are both services that store videos that users upload. There they are converted into a format which most browsers can play, making it easy to be seen. Now it's up to self-promotion and hoping that people will find it interesting. Tip your friends about it, if you're active on forums, make a post asking for feedback or something for it.

Though still nothing rolling in.

It is said by some that live shows are the real future for musicians, but it's not often that you find a good fanbase in your own neighbourhood. Especially if you promote yourself via the web, in which case you might find yourself with your fans halfway around the world. No way will the travel that far just to see some no-names playing live. But with the internet, you can have the next best thing: a live video, accessible to people around the world. Now imagine a payment system for that... Something a bit like the payment system for Google Video. Now most people should see where I'm going.

So now you have your audience, if they're willing to sit through your video and getting interested in the music itself, on Google Video it's just one click away to see what other videos are available from the user. And there then are the recorded live sessions, available for 1$/€ (or something, I'm not good with economics). And if people like it, they can then get it on higher quality media, like DVD or VCD/DivX CD. A mix of free and paid-for content sitting next to each-other, in a multi-tiered media assault. I don't know what that last thing was, but it sounded good.

And with that, I would like to make my own small contribution to the sea of noise. Listen to my "Untitled piano demo" if you want (it's only 2 minutes). If you have any name suggestions, fire away. Sorry everyone for the length of this post.


Jonas said...

“…The sense that humans primary use with computers is the visual one. …”

That was fuckin’ profound man! Tv is the same way. Maybe that is why people sense that we live in a society obsessed with appearance; because we “see” rather than “hear” (look at the contents).

“…Though still nothing rolling in.…”
I do believe it is spelled “Dough”

Sho Fukamachi said...

I know you're probably not looking for unsolicited "advice" but you should turn off the autopan for the next piano solo. Without something solid to anchor one's sense of stereo, it's distracting.

Agreed, by the way, that no-one is likely to trial mp3s from random bands. There's been mp3 sharing sites available for years now, and although one or two bands have fought there way through a universe of rubbish to become popular through them, they're very much the minority. Music, or something like music, is just too easy to make, and the gatekeeper role of the records companies seems to be, for now, irreplaceable.

BTW many bands make most if not all of their money from touring & merchandise these days.

Jacke said...

I don't mind unsolicited advice as long as it's delivered nicely. Thanks for the pointers, I dont' really know much about audio engineering stuff myself.