Matthew Ebel live in concert

One of my favourite artists, Matthew Ebel, has a habit of performing in Second Life.  I can’t remember the whole story, but he records all of his music digitally and at some point discovered that his setup was ideally suited to streaming an online performance.  Well, now one of his recent concerts is available in a podcast.  It’s called the Virtual Thirst Concert, performed as part of a coke advertising campaign in Second Life.  There is no lead-in voiceover, no lead-out, no interruptions.  Just two hours of great music, and some banter with people you can’t hear (because they’re chatting in Second Life 😉

If you like what you hear, and don’t pick it up from the many many times it’s mentioned during the concert, you can download more of Matthew’s life stuff at Virtual Hot Wings.  It’s a collection of songs he’s performed in Second Life, including a few concerts.  Something like 7 hours of music, for US$20.  I’d buy it myself but they only take paypal and my issues with that are more than well documented 😦

There are plenty of cover songs in the concert, which would normally be illegal; the whole thing is podcasted thanks to the Financial Aid Podcast who recently acquired ASCAP/BMI licenses to play cover music.  The first episode of their Student Loan Radio editions using the license was hosted by CC Chapman – that is also a very cool show.  With 3 episodes of what they’re calling the “Covercast” out so far it looks like the licenses will get good use which I’m looking forward to.  Unfortunately there’s no radio-only subscription feed, I may have to create one using yahoo pipes or something.  I’m not interested in the main FA podcast but cover songs from podsafe artists are right up my alley.

My Little Radio CD is available

In case you hadn’t realised from the five or six times I’ve mentioned them, I’m a huge fan of My Little Radio.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on their music for about 18 months.  I first heard they were going to record an album in Feb 2006, then early this year there was news they’d finally released it – but no mention of where to buy it.  Turns out, I should’ve checked their myspace page more often because they announced such things over a month ago!

After digging up links for my previous post, I noticed an entry on My Little Radio’s myspace blog titled “Updates on the album“.  This made me very happy 😀

Unfortunately, out of the options currently available I can only access iTunes and eMusic (it doesn’t seem to be available on CDBaby yet).  That would’ve been good to know at the start of July – my eMusic quota doesn’t roll over again until the beginning of August, so I’m stuck waiting a week for it 😦

Oh well.  I’ll just have to keep myself occupied listening to Paramore (the album finished downloading btw, it rocks!) and listening to MLR tracks on the PMN.

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Podsafe music is coming, are you ready?

There’s been a lot of talk going around about the death of internet radio and the effect it’s going to have on the music industry.  Scoble half gets it – although he seems a bit concerned about what will happen to music if/when internet radio is shut down.  The main point that Scoble doesn’t get, and that I pointed out in his comments, is there are sources of music that have already routed around the new fees under the “free by prior arrangement” clause.  This is because people have been routing around the mainstream music industry for nearly 2 years now – the RIAA and their ilk have been singing their own death tune since napster, the second verse started with the birth of what is now known as “podsafe music”. They just didn’t, and don’t, realise it.

Now normally I would’ve left that as a small comment on Scoble’s blog and not given it much thought.  I’ve all but given up on convincing people that I’m as right about this as I was about podcasts[1].

Today though, I heard some interesting talk on the recent Fubar Friday DSC episode.  If you enjoy music I recommend taking an hour of your life and listen to what’s been happening in the podsafe industry as well as their upcoming plans.  Aside from some awesome music, you’ll hear Adam explaining that Podshow hasn’t been sitting back watching their Podsafe Music Network baby grow – they’ve been actively seeking out artists and labels who “get it”.  They’ve been doing this for a while, but with the Internet Radio changes there are some bigger independent labels who are looking for new ways to promote their music.

I’m probably not explaining it well enough, as usual.  If my past record is any indication, anyone reading this who isn’t already into podsafe music will just ignore what Adam’s saying and keep on listening to the same old stuff.  I don’t expect you to trust me on this, but I’ll see ya in a year or two when the world wakes up to the independant music revolution.

Artists are starting to realise that they don’t need a record contract.  You can have real and meaninful connections to fans while making as much, if not more money than you would on a label contract – by going independent and using internet marketing to it’s full potential.  I have been watching this happen for 2 years, and I’m as confident in this becoming a revolution as I was about podcasting and the Nintendo DS.  Will you be ready for the new music world when the big labels die?


[1] Oh great, now I’ve started using footnotes too hehe 😀
There are a few decent radio stations in Australia so very few people listened to me 3 years ago when I tried to tell them about this amazing new thing called podcasting.  I’ve told everyone I know that independent music is the future – very few mainstream artists can beat the podsafe music I’m hearing on podcasts and slowly but surely those that can are becoming podsafe too.  It’s already happening, but just like when podcasts first started it hasn’t yet cracked the mainstream audience.

Jonesin’ for my Podsafe Music

We’re trying a new idea at work this week to help keep our customer support at the high quality level we are so proud of while avoiding the turnover that inevitably comes from putting really smart people on your support team.  Starting today, we are introducing a support rotation schedule that will have one of our developers on the support team at all times, and we rotate at the end of every release.  As well as avoiding support burnout, this will hopefully make sure we actually stick to the short release cycles we have planned.

I’ve known this was coming for a while, and I’ve been preparing.  My 3.5 years in support + development for our ActiveX product before switching to full-time dev on the Java Product taught me all too well that to survive, I need about 4-6hrs a day of music to listen to depending on the load.

As a result, I haven’t listened to much (if any) of my podsafe music podcasts in 3 weeks.  They’ve been sitting on my iPod, staring at me every time I search for something to listen to.  Staving off the cravings has been difficult, to the point where last week I actually stopped the podcast I was listening to and started playing regular music from my iPod – something I’ve never had to resort to at work since I discovered podcasting.  But it was all worth it, my “music podcasts” playlist is now close to 18hrs 😀

With an emphasis on pair programming for big bugfixes I’m going to say I’ll only need 4hrs/day during my time in support, and accounting for new material produced as I’m catching up this stash should last me at least 2-3 weeks.  By that time there will be new episodes of my trance podcasts to see me through and if for some reason I manage to catch up completely there is a list of music podcasts longer than my arm to choose from.

And yes, this is supposed to sound like an addiction.  If you’ve read my previous posts on the topic, that shouldn’t come as a surprise 😛

The needle moved

There has been a huge amount of discussion about the results of the Bum Rush The Charts initiative.  Some people didn’t want to participate, others think we failed… but at the end of the day a goal of #1 on iTunes was a pipe dream, it was really about getting attention and showing the world that we have more power than they give us credit for.

The Bum Rush results are in, and that’s some seriously impressive numbers.  The podcasting audience continues to grow and I have no doubt that the next time something like this is attempted it will have an even bigger impact.

For more on the discussion, listen to Daily Source Code episodes starting from the 23rd of March.  There are many other places where it was discussed, but this is the only one I’m subscribed to 😉

Mark March 22nd on your calendar

I meant to post this on the weekend, so unfortunately you won’t have much time after reading this.  March 22nd is the day I’m asking you to buy a song on iTunes for a worthwhile cause.

Bum Rush The Charts is an initiative to show the recording industry that we’re taking back control of our music.  Word is spreading via Podcasts, Blogs, MySpace, etc that we’re going to get an independent artist, a band who was dropped from their recording contract, to #1 on iTunes.  50% of all revenue the band receives will go to college scholarships, and if you use the link below the Apple’s 5% affiliate fee will be donated too.

The song is called Mine Again by Black Lab from their most recent CD release (link is NSFW, the album cover has a topless female figure drawn on it).  If the name sounds familiar, it’s because they are one of the bands I raved about in my eMusic post.  They’ve become very popular on podcasts, because they’re a damn good band.

It doesn’t matter what country you are in – the idea is to get the song, the band, and the bum rush as much exposure as possible.  Even if you don’t like the music, this is about the message.

Please click here on Thursday and buy the song.  I’m going to be buying the entire album on eMusic, but I don’t mind having 2 copies of this track.

eMusic are good, depending what you want – and getting better

After hearing about eMusic on Coverville back in September, I thought I’d give it a shot and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The service has a monthly fee, but it’s not your average subscription service – you get to download each purchase as a DRM-free MP3. At the end of my trial period, I’d downloaded one full CD and a few of other tracks from a second CD so I paid for the basic subscription in order to get the rest. This sequence continues every month, so now I have 100+ songs downloaded and I can still see a few more I want 😀

The subscription is cheap. If you use this Coverville link you get 25 free downloads to start with, and after that it’s US$10, $15 or $20 a month for 30/60/75 downloads respectively, 20% discount if you sign up for a year. I must apologise for not posting this earlier – 4 weeks ago ago they announced that their monthly download limits for each plan were dropping – it used to be 40/65/90 and the yearly discount was 25%. Luckily existing customers aren’t affected, so I still get 40 for $10 😉

I thought about posting at the time, but I didn’t even find time to use my 40 downloads in November so that should give you some idea of how busy I’ve been 😦

I’ve had a lot of fun with this and found some nice surprises. I’ve not only made a dent in songs that I wanted from podsafe artists, I’ve found a few mainstream albums that I wouldn’t have picked up normally except they’re so damn cheap on here!

Here’s my collection, in order of purchase with eMusic links and a little explanation.

  • Rodrigo y Gabriela – Self Titled and a live album. If you haven’t heard this pair, you are seriously missing out – the music they can produce with nothing but two guitars is insane.
    (edit: my apologies, it seems they’ve been removed from eMusic. Such a shame!)
  • Danko Jones – Sleep is the Enemy. These guys are next up on my list of artists to feature, DAMN this is a good solid rock album. “First Date” is the song they conquered the podosphere with, it and many others are on the Podsafe Music Network.
  • Supersuckers (NSFW album title). I only wanted 2 tracks that have been popular on the PMN, #1 and 6 from that link. The rest of the album is a bit meh.
  • The Shakes – Liberty Jones (single track from the EP). Fantastic, fantastic song that I’ve featured and is (quite rightly) immensely popular on podcasts. You can see my review on eMusic, and the iTunes review mentions
    podcasts too 😛
  • Beau Hall – Unh!. “Super Hot Lady Cop” has been played on many many podcasts along with “Oh Face”, and will be on my featured artist list sometime in the future. Full tracks on the PMN.
  • Coldplay – Brothers and Sisters. Coldplay’s debut 3-track EP that I didn’t know existed, it’s interesting to hear where it all started.
  • Lamb – What Sound and Between Darkness and Wonder. I’ve loved Lamb for a very long time, never got around to buying their third album and couldn’t help but pick up their fourth at the same time.
  • The White Stripes – Elephant. Fairly self explanatory popular mainstream artist, I’ll probably pick up one of their other albums next month too.
  • Black Lab – See the Sun. Simply an amazing album, the title track along with “Ecstasy” are the popular ones on the PMN.

 

My only problem with this service is at 25-33c a song they can’t be giving much to the artists. For this reason the only independant music I’m buying is stuff that I wouldn’t buy normally (because I’m not totally sure if I will like it), as well as singles and CDs that I can’t order easily online.

It’s a damn good deal if you can find songs you want, and you can cancel at any time (even during the free trial). I highly recommend heading over and checking it out – even if you only sign up for the free trial to give Brian (Coverville host) a $6 kickback 😉

Now this is what I call new marketing

Last week a new marketing company (literally, that’s their tagline) called Crayon launched. Their launch party was in second life, the sort of activity which is growing in popularity but that’s more riding a new trend than defining one. No, the real story is in the details.

Take one company manifesto, and one awesome podsafe artist (who I gain more and more respect for every time I hear what he’s up to), and you end up with a song. Go ahead, flick through the manifesto and then listen to it. Interesting, yes?

I heard the advance play of the song before I heard about any of this, and mentioned it a couple of posts back thinking it was a great song but as usual, I hadn’t listened closely to the lyrics. Listening to it the second time, I was floored by how well he came up with a theme song for the company while still producing a song that stands on its own.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when, on the latest Accident Hash, CC explained why this new Matthew Ebel track was so special to him and how even he was surprised at the result. Shameless plug – he then followed it up with some of my favourite tracks and no talking at all, so there’s another reason to listen to it.

If this is the sort of new idea that Crayon can come up with, they’re going to blow everybody else out of the water. I’m looking forward to it 😀

Beatles mixed with The Clash

That’s the description CC Chapman used to describe The Shakes when he played their track “Liberty Jones” on the most recent Accident Hash. I don’t know the Beatles catalogue back to front but even I can hear their influence in this track.

One of the cool things I didn’t know is that they put this track on the PMN before doing any other promotion. Podsafe music is slowly evolving into the promotional tool that it deserves to be, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to listen to along the way.

I’ve heard it a few times since they released it a little over a month ago, and it gets stuck in my head every time. Their CD is on my list, and hopefully it’ll end up on yours too.

One of the Sexiest voices in Podcasting

I think I’m going to blog about specific artists regularly, I’ve already got a few in mind (and a new category too!). But a few days ago I got a surprise comment on my old entry about podsafe artists, so I’m going to make her my next feature.

Anji Bee is the lead vocalist for the Lovespirals, who have a relaxing, smooth, downtempo sound that took a while to grow on me but I’m totally hooked. They do have a page on the PMN but only one of the tracks from their 2005 album Free & Easy is available; it is however a very good example of their style and they have other tracks up as well. If you want more, there are 2-minute samples on the CDBaby page for the album – in particular tracks 1 and 4 are worth checking out.

There is a Lovespirals podcast that I haven’t listened to, but I’m a very faithful subscriber to Anji’s Chillcast (and you can see where I got the post tagline from ;)). The Chillcast is a perfect way to relax, just find somewhere comfortable and enjoy a smooth laid back selection of music in between Anji purring in your ear for half an hour.

I regularly use it to help me doze off after a long day, speaking of which I’ve had one of those so I’m going to go do that right now 😉

 

EDIT: To get the chillcast feed you need to visit the archives. I really hope podshow fix that soon.

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