Monday, January 30, 2023

Pay To Play: Paying To Perform Your Music

Paying To Perform Your Music: This was just a scam of venues to make money from hopeful bands, but it is more than that in the recent online years.

The only way anyone (as in normal music consumers, not other musicians) will play your music is if it is on SPOTIFY or APPLE MUSIC and such streaming services. You can only get your music on such streaming services if you are on a Record Label or you use Distrokid.  

I have my music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.  

Both great streaming services but Bandcamp even lets people buy your tracks and albums.  By buy, I mean they can pay with actual money! Even paying $0, free, if you set the price to that like I do.

Thing is, I think only other musicians are on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, not "normal music consumers".

So Spotify etc. Streaming Services are the way to find a normal audience, it seems.  Not that 99.99% (but I am guessing, just know that it is a really small number) of musicians can make any money out of those platforms.  

Which brings me back to Distrokid.  To use it you are most likely an independent musician who wants his tracks to be heard. You pay them $20 a year, charged to a credit card, and they put your music on all the streaming platforms.   Where it will be discovered and the fame and glory will follow. Well, there is a very slim change of that.  Stop paying Distrokid and your music is pulled.

You may be able to use it to get followers who will then buy your music on Bandcamp. Maybe. 

But I am lead to believe that music doesn't sell any more. Selling guitars, pedals or adverts on your YouTube channel does.

So is Distrokid, for most of its targeted audience, just a variation of Pay to Play?

For myself, I think it would be.

 We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Monday, January 23, 2023

Pumpkin Smashing: Time Capsules, Beato, Memories, Skill and a Feeling

Watched the Rick Beato with Justin 

and Billy Corgan interviews 

yesterday and during them they brought up my own thoughts and memories.

First being, that at 64, I feel a lot of the music I got to notice in my life was so controlled by what limited window "the prevailing local music media" exposed me too. The incredibly myopic AM radio of my younger childhood, then the brands of the FM stations in later years and even the Australian TV show COUNTDOWN years that focused on the local talent.  The rush of schooling, career and family also really limited the time and drive to see what was happening in the music world for long periods.  

And now, I really don't care what the pop hits are at all. But am aware of KPOP, BTS and others, as that music seems to be everywhere.  Daughter is a big KPOP fan.  My reactions are similar to Rick Beato's when he does a top 10 countdown. Most of it doesn't seem relevant to me anymore.  But unlike Rick, that it has guitar on it or not doesn't matter to me.

The 15 years in Shizuoka Japan 1987~2001, just as the Internet was starting, limited exposure in different ways.   I heard Enya from a TV COMMERCIAL, and as they always had the artist at the bottom of the screen, you could then go find it in a CD store.  But there was almost no Radio that introduced music in those years. And HIT STUDIO DELUXE on TV mostly supported the JPOP boy and girl groups, but I still learnt of CASIOPEA or KOME KOME CLUB. 

So I really don't know THE SMASHING PUMPKINs music.  Know the name and probably heard something on the Australian radio driving in the car sometime.  To hear Billy talk about how DEEP PURPLE & BOSTON was so significant to him made think "hey, just like me, but how come I really haven't been exposed to their music?".    But I can say the same about Metallica. I have no memory of hearing ENTER SANDMAN till 2005 or so and it was probably on the CLASSIC ALBUMS TV series.  

ENTER SANDMAN is a beacon in my own music.  What influenced this track I recorded and uploaded 12 years ago:

And like in Billy's interview with Beato I mention above, it isn't as if I am playing Metallica here, but the feeling they gave me, filtered thru my own limited skill and music making ability came out this way.

In the last week have been chatting on Twitter with 2 other Japan based music making guitarist friends and they both stated they plan to practice more guitar this year.  The 3 of us regularly post short bits of music we have made that Sunday.  An example of one of my own:

Posting original music I can hear means so much to me. It shows where they are at. Their influences and direction. Posting pics of guitars doesn't mean a thing to me. Playing cover tunes is of no interest to me, even if learning stuff to apply to your own music is an important thing. To me it always just seems to be ROCK STAR COSPLAY. 

But do I want to practice guitar more?  No. Not really. I want to make more interesting music, more interesting musical "things", but don't want to repeat what I have already done, and that doesn't necessarily mean practicing more. 

The practice I need to do this year is written Japanese. The practice I want to do is just plain old drawing pencil on paper.  Music means much to me, but so does drawing, and music plays in my own head when I draw.  Musically, learning something new, or being inspired by some other musical construction or approach is more what I need than practicing the guitar.  

I know that also doesn't mean learning strange time signatures and the counting in Indian Rhythm as Mattias IA Eklundh expounds. I have experimented in that direction and it isn't what I am looking for. 

And then I come to ponder what I spent the last few months doing myself.  From October 2022 till early January 2023, making what I call a ROCK Opera.  Animation and instrumental music in episodes of about 3 minutes. The music isn't all guitar. Synthesizers play a bigger part in later episodes and just have a different feeling and correspond to some of my own musical memories and things that inspire me.  And none of it is traditional album or pop music. 

I made an album of the video soundtracks as a single track:

Almost no one else will play this track, but when I hear it takes me back to what I was feeling when I made it.  It is a TIME CAPSULE for my future self.  Uploading this stuff is all like that for me. 

Billy Corgan says exactly that when Rick plays him some of his music.  He can see himself sitting singing into a SM57 and the emotions come back to him of the stuff that happened around that.

I think I need to listen to the tracks Rick gets him to comment on, like JELLYBELLY. Never heard them before. They may contain a hint of what I am looking to go next.  

I really feel like I have been on some kind of journey of exploration the last 3 years, without leaving the house. Not about moving back to Japan at all, but working in my studio and rediscovering things that inspire me.

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Sunday, January 8, 2023

In The Asteroid Belt: Part 5 Making Of


Uploaded this 3:16 video Jan 3 2023.  

It had started with wanting to make a model for a scene inspired by a John Harris painting depicting a massive spacecraft.

It was finished after a few weeks of being inspired by early Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream music and wanting to put in lots of sounds and textures inspired by them.   And not forget the guitar either. Love heavy riff based guitar stuff.

A few of the scenes in my animations come about like that. Something to "pay homage" to something inspiring, or an excuse to have something to add sound/music inspired by someone's music I'm into at the time. 

The KORG MS-20 mini received a lot of use in this making those old analog noises.  Swoops, bleeps and bloops.  A versatile device, but there are also a lot of tricks, as things don't operate as you may expect.  Turning down something may give the effect of increasing what you are after.  

I thought this Part 5 could make a side story, and not directly continue on from the end of Part 4, and wanted to do something a little bit different.  The music for example in this is the BINAURAL MIX FOR HEADPHONES and not the stereo of the previous parts.  Used dear VR Music for the 3D panner and I think it works really well.  May be how I mix the future parts. 

The end scene in this actually has a background rendered in 3D Animation Master '99, and isn't all photographed models and painted images.  The robot model moving around that red passageway is just a 2D animated photo.  Rendering the 3D made me remember how much I hate waiting for frames to render.  Using obsolete software wouldn't have helped with the speed, but did with the modelling and animating as I knew this software very well in the late 90s.  Modern renderers can do a trivial image map with shadows in real-time now, rather than the 4 minutes a frame  (for 219 frames) I had to endure doing this.  

Have looked at Blender multiple times over the last 5 years but have yet to do anything worthwhile with its modeler. Just get stiff shoulders even thinking about how long I would need to spend bent over the mouse and keyboard to get fluent with modelling, texturing, lighting, camera movement and rendering with it. Doesn't mean I will not eventually get the drive to do it. Just not at the moment.

The textures used all come from the new model. Manipulating panel images in Photoshops made the interior ship wall for example. Only made the rear end part, but the top and bottom surface have some interesting detail. All that is needed, for the time being at least. 

The main thing about this video for me though is the Jean Michel Jarre /Tangerine Dream music I was inspired by while making it.  Sequencers and strange noises.  Really love that. It isn't that I copy that stuff while making my own music. Just something of the feeling I get from it goes into my own.

The video is composed of a few scenes, and the music is too. The whole soundtrack is only a bit over 3 minutes long, and each musical section is only up to 16 bars long, but it goes thru the same kind of changes an old school Tangerine Dream album side or one side of Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene does in 30minutes. This is currently a very interesting thing for me to work with.  Much more so than a 3minute pop song. Can't say I am doing music to support the visuals (through emotional clues to support or contrast with what as being seen)  like you would as a "soundtrack" composer, but I don't have to.   

But as few actually watch/listen to these videos it isn't as if there is any audience to satisfy,  I  do whatever I feel like at the time.  😀

I have put all the music from the 5 parts, so far, as a soundtrack album on Bandcamp, as one 16minute piece of music. Free download

A pretty dramatic change going from part1 to part5.  I don't have any problem with that, and relates to what I was think and feeling at the time I did it. Kind of like  coded diary entries.

So will there be a PART 6?  Probably. Not something I feel like starting today though.     

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology