livestreaming the show

Can’t make it to the release concert this Sunday at Conflikt? They have quite reasonable single-day event passes, by the way – not sure I’ve mentioned that. But! If you can’t, they’re livestreaming a lot of the convention on fansupported.tv, and if it’s at all like last year, it’ll mostly be main stage events. Which includes us.

So, yeah! Give it a peek, eh? We should start at 2pm Eastern on Sunday. There will be other concerts too so you can watch them as well. ^_^

google/youtube and the old labels

The old record label system isn’t stupid. It’s surviving only on artificial scarcity at this point, but it isn’t stupid. Never forget that.

They’ve been working with Google/YouTube over their new music streaming service. It’s a big change, and there’s a lot going on – and it was negotiated with the Big Four labels on their terms. That’s never good. ZoĆ« Keating‘s post is going around, and is well worth reading. SJ Tucker – in our release show on Sunday – is looking for ideas. Hell, so am I.

But for now, what you need to know is that Google is telling indie musicians that they have one of two options:

  1. Take their new deal, which includes things like “ads always on every video,” “YouTube is a required point of first release” (not exclusive first release, but no more crowdfunding rewards going out first), “complete catalogue required,” “five year contract,” and so on, or
  2. Have your channel blocked and all your music deleted from the service.

Now, there is a caveat here: this refers to artists who participate in the ContentID programme, which gets them a share of royalties for uses of their music, as is more or less required by law. If you want to forfeit that money, then you can continue to be Some Random Youtuber, but at that point you’re just handing YouTube all that money that’s owed to you, and none of the infrastructure that’s built up around YouTube music will work for you. That’s not really a bonus.

For the record, even with all those downsides, that’s how I’m currently set up. I have been thinking of changing that, however. But to do that, I have to deal with this new ring of hell, and it’s a pretty good strike against crowdfunding and indie/self-funded artists. And against anyone who wants control over their how their work is released and to whom.

One thing I’m seeing is a lot of people commenting with variations on, “Fuck ‘em! They aren’t worth your time!” Except that the last numbers I saw had YouTube at about 70% of online music plays. That data is a few years old now, but Pandora was already huge, and even with that, it was still All About YouTube.

I’m sure that number has moved around a bit. Soundcloud wasn’t as big then, for example. But I don’t imagine it’s an overwhelming shift – and there are all these newer music streaming and DJ systems which use YouTube as their infrastructure, to balance it. It’s why Google are pushing this new system: to make money off of all of that.

So yes, you absolutely can ignore 70% of the online market or whatever it is. But that’s a serious decision, and not even a little bit the “no-brainer” that people seem to think. It’s just not.

Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. There’s a suggested hack floating around in comment sections – starting a little company that is separate to but controlled by the artist, having that company sign up for the service, and only leasing some of your work to that company, and then that company leases all of its music to YouTube. It’s clever. It might be legally viable. It’s certainly an extra layer of expense, trouble, and time, and having to do that kind of hack is certainly yet another barrier to entry to new musicians.

Which is, of course, exactly what the labels want.
 
 


This is Part Ten of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

hey guess what I finally realised

I finally realised: books are merch. And while Anna’s books are mostly ebooks, Faerie Blood and Bone Walker both have print editions, and they’re hard to find and mostly have to be ordered directly from her. And she can’t take credit cards and stuff like that.

But I can take credit cards and PayPal and all that, through Bandcamp. And Bandcamp lets you sell merchandise, as long as it’s related to your music. Which these are. So now BOOKS ARE OFFICIALLY MERCH, and Faerie Blood and Bone Walker finally have places you can actually buy the paper copies.

Yay, fixed! I like it when longstanding problems finally get sorted out. ^_^

really, really, really last call

Anna posted photos of her contributor’s copy of the CD today. The first contributor copies are going out and this really is your last chance to get a pre-order of Bone Walker, the CD – at this point it’s really closer to just an “order” – and have a chance at owning the test disc, too. :D

Long show rehearsal today. Very productive. We have a mini-rehearsal on Thursday and then one at the event and then it’s showtime on Sunday at 2pm! Come see us on Sunday! It doesn’t conflict with the Superbowl, you can do both!

Hey, it’s a Bone Walker review!

Hey, it’s a Bone Walker review! Spoiler: they like it. :D

The Dark Side of the Glass: Bone Walker CD Review

Our guest band is off the hook, honestly.

Everything is starting to come together for the CD Release Show at Conflikt; we have a big bloody lot of musicians to try to pull this thing off live, which is a good thing, because we’ll need ‘em! The performance lineup:

The sharper-eyed amongst you may note that we have all of Tricky Pixie in our band for this show. And that none of them are playing their usual roles, except for Alec, who is throwing in the same fiddle work he did on the album. I think this is hilarious and I hope you can come see it. It’s Sunday at Conflikt. (They have a show the weekend after us, and you should go see it, too.)

Also, I just finished the first draft of the print edition of Bone Walker, the novel. I’ve already found a couple of things to fix, but it’s close. STAY ON TARGET

will you look at this amazing thing Klop found

Teenage Engineering have produced a lot of really clever and nicely engineered synth devices over the last few years, so check out this pocket-sized sequencer they’re just releasing. (Klopfenpop found it, so h/t to him.) There are actually three models – a drum sequencer, a bass synth sequencer, and a melody unit, and they’re seriously like $60 each.


sixty dollars

Plus they look kind of awesome and adorable. They have passthrough so you can sync them so they’re actually useful together. I’m not convinced of the apparently-limited tempo settings so that’s a minus, but watch the video, this guy is making pretty awesome sounds just by button mashing.

button mashing makes legitimacy now

The only thing that would be better is if they came in kit form. These are begging for kit form. I would be even more all over that if they did.

omg number 80

holy hell, check out what’s up to number 80 on the weekly Alternative chart on Bandcamp.


Yeah, that’s right. Bone Walker.

I know it’s not a huge pond but it is the pond we are in and it is a chart we are on and with a nontrival number, and we’re still in pre-orders mode. \o/

Talking of, if you prefer AmazonMP3 to Bandcamp for some reason, Bone Walker is up for pre-orders on Amazon now, too.

i’m just like “what?” at number 80. we entered the weekly chart yesterday at 129. today we’re number 80. at least as I type this. I guess I need a @wilw flail gif or something now because that’s what it feels like. :D

apparently I am semi-invisible to MRIs

I would normally not mention real-life things like going in for an MRI (may’ve done something to my shoulder, doesn’t bother me much, they want to look to be sure), but discovering that I am kind of invisible to MRIs is just weird.

It took them like 12 tries to get any kind of image, pulling me in and out of that stupid thing over and over again, and I’m not even ramping up that number. It was more than 12 times, I’m sure. They were trying with three different attachments hooked up like four different ways and ended up needing to focus the thing on a water bottle for a while before it could find my shoulder at all. They rebooted the entire MRI system like three times and all the images were completely blank until they tried that water bottle thing.

tereshkova2001 suggested on Twitter that I cut down on the deuterated water. I say cytotoxicity be damned, how the hell else am I going to keep this muscle density? Exercise? Hah!

Also I am apparently the first person to ask for CBC3 on the keep-you-distracted-from-the-scary-clanging-noises headset. I do not think this is related, but I cannot be sure.

And the sedative they gave me (liquid form valium) to keep me from blasting the machine to pieces? I do not like sedatives. This is not an exception. This is not a paranoid-and-hallucinating non-exception, but it is still not an exception.

I guess really Monday was mostly a write-off. At least I practiced a bit for the show, between bouts of trying really hard not to fall asleep.

apparently everything is an art project

Someday I won’t turn everything I do into some sort of art project. However, today is not that day.

These are the liner notes for Bone Walker. See? Special paper, custom cutting, typesetting – everything is a blinkin’ art project. XD

We’ve decided to go ahead and included the “(Original Soundtrack)” like CD Baby suggested. This means we’re in the very end of pre-order for the CD, so if you want a chance at the test disc as a bonus, pre-order right now. We only have one test disc, and this is your only chance of getting it. ^_^

Talking of CD Baby, we’ve sent in approval for general distribution. The album won’t go live on iTunes, et al, for a bit still – it takes a while for things to fall through all the systems. But we should be generally live by the end of the month. Anna’s also finishing up the technical release of Bone Walker, the novel; it’s up for pre-order on Amazon, with other links to follow. You can also talk about it on Goodreads, if you’re one of the lucky pre-order/pre-release people.

And, as always, if you’ve seen any commentary on Bone Walker, the soundtrack? Throw us a link. We really want to hear what people have to say. Thanks!

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THE NEW ALBUM