Monday, October 30, 2023

Free Art & Music Webpages & The Google Unsearch

For the longest time our Art And Technology website was for the serious business of showcasing our illustration work, and it did okay at that, with the understanding of Google search changes and failings over the years.  I do that freelance work, for hire.   

We later put up our car related comics page  which related to our freelance work, but wasn't itself selling anything.

In the last couple of years after "semi-retiring", we put up the  Our Original Comic Books page and this year, the In The Asteroid Belt: Our Rock Opera and the Megacurve - Adrian Bruce Music  pages.  

These aren't about me selling anything at all, and in fact are more about the stuff I give away.

They are also visited far less than the samples of previous paid work I have done.  Most people visit our website as they are after some business logo or design , or need to repair a turntable, or do something with midi merging, as I have articles on a few technical subjects I give away info on too.

Our website pages that get the visits have generally been around a long time, and I have made sure the indexed url for them never changes.   I saw moving back to Australia in 2001 how unfindable a new website was.  Getting establish, and having credible links and be in the indexes took years.

I have found recently added pages are almost unfindable, the way the google search algorithm works now.  But, they can be found in Bing and DuckDuckgo! Web search engines and forum posts are the indexes to a website now. The majority don't go to a website and just look around after they found what they originally went there for. They come from somewhere else looking for something in particular.  The SEO gaming by millions of crap website probably doesn't help the Google situation, but in reality, they care far more about advertising and top search results are no mostly sponsored pages. 

I get so much SPAM email about site re-writing and SEO optimization. I am not hard to find!

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Future Of Bandcamp?

The big, not war, news the last few days has been Bandcamp has been sold again to a company that charges artists and labels for its services, and 50% of staff were sacked in the process.

There is no information on the real future of Bandcamp, and what features it has that will change, if any, but I would guess to use the service in the near future, you would need to sign up to an Artist Plan with the new owners Songtradr 

Have to say I have no interest in that, and if it comes to pass will just delete my Bandcamp account and rely on my SoundCloud artist page, and my own self hosted Megacurve - Adrian Bruce Music page on our Art And Technology website, which looks like this today:

But I did like the features of Bandcamp better then the free SoundCloud account I have used for many years. Mostly being able to replace a track with a newer version after the track has been released. But the reality is, I never got the plays on Bandcamp that I had with SoundCloud.  Just played by a few friends.  I don't have or collect "fans" on social media, never even tried getting a following!  For the longest time I just used my music as the soundtrack to my 3 minute YouTube Illustration showcase videos, pretty much slideshows with a soundtrack. My illustrations are what people have been interested in.

To give some perspective on both sites, these are the play stats for my tracks on both platforms. They  have to be read with the understanding that I stopped putting new tracks on SoundCloud near the end of 2017, and then put them exclusively on Bandcamp instead. 

I have never really promoted my music on any of these platforms. I make it for myself.  I have links on my website and a link to a track if I used the music in one of my YouTube Videos. I promote my illustration work, a more serious endeavor for me, and what all my YouTube videos were for.

Bandcamp for me never got anywhere near the plays of SoundCloud. Strangely so.  Bandcamp had an Editorial Team that all lost their jobs in the sale of the site. These people were the Gatekeepers there, and from my point of view, should have never been there at all Like the bad old days when a couple of DJs and AR men decided what you learnt about and heard on the radio. Can't say I engaged with what they promoted at all.  Expect the previous owners felt that way too. 

I was professionally involved in developing musical instruments and music production systems, but my own music has always been a hobby. Nice if someone gets to hear it though.  I have all my Bandcamp tracks set to "pay what you want, including 0", so I have never sold a track on Bandcamp. 

So I don't know the future of Bandcamp, but with the news of staff cuts, I put a few new tracks on my SoundCloud account, and refreshed it a bit. 

If Bandcamp becomes a payed service it will probably impact a lot of people, but not me. I can always give them away from my own website, (or maybe Gumroad or Soundclick ), maybe have a Donate If you like via a PayPal button.  If Songtradr doesn't change anything, we will keep things as they are, but probably focus back onto SoundCloud again, for as I showed above, Bandcamp really hasn't helped get stuff played.

But in recent years, the most plays of my music has been heard is as the soundtrack of YouTube shorts, the most popular of those being me doing a time lapse drawing of a silly monster. 

Have read often that Hip-Hop is the king of the genres in recent years, and that isn't what I do, so not being popular doing old guy music makes sense. Here is some of what we do:

Megacurve#1 6 Track Snippets and Artwork in 59 seconds 

Megacurve#2 Another 6 Track Snippets and Artwork in 59 seconds 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Being a Professional, Amateur & Hobbyist

When I was a kid, drawing and making things, mostly out of paper or balsa wood, was what I did for fun. When I got to High School I fell in love with recorded album music. Then audio electronics became a passion and a very serious hobby. 

Turned that into a career. I was an engineer, a Professional. Earnt my living doing it. I developed products, managed projects at times, and solved problems.  

But it started from wanting to play my records on a HiFi sound system as an unpaid hobby. 

Listening to music is still a hobby.  (Strange, no one has tried to monetize ... oh, yes, they do by writing record reviews...)

I don't "do" electronics any more.  Not as a hobby. Only if I need to, like changing the battery in a Kindle.

I do vector illustrations freelance.  Paid part time Professional work. It evolved from my first hobby though, well the drawing part.  

I make music, cartoons, comics and music videos as a hobby now.  2020~2022 during the pandemic was probably the most active with hobbies I have ever been. I treat these hobbies as  I do making plastic or resin model kits. 

Or sculpted something or painted a watercolor. Doing something for the fun of it.  The reality is more that if I aren't creating something every so often, I get depressed and down about wasting my time (i.e. my life time left) and not doing something constructive.

It is nice if someone listens to, reads or watches something I make though, so I always publish it to the Internet and retain the copyright. I don't need payment. Even if I am serious about my hobby works.

I have released my music on Bandcamp under the Megacurve banner.   Like this track:

But I haven't registered and gotten ISRC codes , joined PPL, MCPS or PRS, or set myself up as a record publishing company so that my track plays can be tracked and I could collect royalties, like a "professional"  would. Same for me then not paying DistroKid $22.99 a year to put my music on Spotify and Apple music

All that stuff costs money. Of course it has cost money to buy my music gear and make the music I do, but that is okay, as it is a Hobby. I only ever bought music gear with the money I made from my Illustration Freelancing, never from my Engineering work. It was a principal for me. The studio is a wonderful toy. I think of myself these days as a musical cartoonist/prosumer, and don't identify as a musician or guitarist. I don't collect guitars or want to play live on stage. Musically you could say my stuff is unsophisticated.

For the millions of music makers that do pay those fees to release their songs on the streaming platforms, 95%+ don't make enough in royalties to cover the fees anyway. And with Spotify now deciding that "small artists" now aren't going to get any payout for any streams that get anyway, they will not get anything, unless they can sell CDs or tracks on Bandcamp or whatever.  A new type of Vanity Publishing, or Pay To Be Played? But I guess it means they are Professional musicians.  It helps self esteem. 

I have all my Bandcamp releases set to $0, "pay what you want, including nothing", to download them.   

My comics are also free to download from our website.  Nice if someone looks at them, but it was the creating them that was my need. I print them out 2 pages to an A4 sheet and put them in these cool 40 page A5 files.  I revisit them every so often.  

You can do something to a "professional" standard as a "hobby". Don't they call that an "amateur "? 

It all depends on how you see yourself, and what you need to fill your life with "what makes you happy or content."

For me, that doesn't include trying to make money off my music or comics.  They are akin to diary entries for me about things I felt at the time I made them. 

So this blog was vaguely about being a Professional, Amateur & Hobbyist. All at the same time around different fields. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Sunday, October 8, 2023

When Radio controlled the buying of Music


Growing up, the AM radio was the only way to hear music and know what to buy, if you were into that. In Sydney 2SM was the only station for that, and the above is a TOP40 chart from 1971.

I realize now, much of what became hits was only because of PAYOLA from record companies to have something continuously played. There were DJs that also played what they liked though...

FM Stereo didn't start in Sydney Australia till 1975, my second last year of Senior High School, the same year color TV was introduced. I had a part time job collecting shopping trolleys Friday afternoons and had joined a mail order record club.

In Australia, Countdown started in 1974, and the first time there was a country wide gatekeeper declaring what was hot to the 14 year old girls in their demographic. It did help Australian music. Must say Australian Pub Rock also got a little support. Even ROSE TATTOO got promotion. 

I remember clearly listening to the massive hit MISEX track SPACE INVADERS, and the DJ getting sick of it and taking it off midway with a scratching sound.  He had probably played it every 5th track in his shift and couldn't take it anymore in 1979. 

About that time is when music videos became a massive music marketing thing too. It was still all the hits, with a few hits from Album Bands.

Music was important to me and the way you dressed and the length of your hair showed your allegiances. 

The record companies pretty much controlled what you heard and knew about.  Meant a band could be huge, as the population interested in music was force feed it.

In 2023 now, it has completely changed. There isn't that controlling force and the Internet has completely fragmented things.  Still gatekeepers, but there are many of them, with smaller audiences. 

It is also now so easy to hear any music anytime you want with Spotify or YouTube. It isn't all as special as it once was. 
When I had to buy an expensive album, I played the album side completely through, and played the album many times. I studied it and the album artwork.  

It was a different world then. 

Saturday, October 7, 2023


 For some reason YouTube showed me an interview with actor comedian Adrian Edmondson a week ago

I only know of him from his hippy character in THE YOUNG ONES. A comedy I didn't watch and didn't find funny that my much younger sister found hilarious. He wrote an Autobiography and the interview was about that.

As a child he spent a decade in boarding school. What I found interesting, and struck a chord with me, was that when he finally left there, he didn't see those school "friends" for some 15+ years. One of those "friends", when finally leaving was asked by his father, "Do you want to say goodbye to your friends?", and he said "No".  They were all like that.

His school "friends" where actually "situationships".  Alliances formed to help survive a difficult time, even 10 years at a boarding school together.

I feel I knew most "friends" from school, university or the companies I have worked at were just acquaintances,  but this new word "situationships" sums them up better.

Had 2 or 3 friends over the years, real friends, but everyone else is a situationship.