Archive for the Music Industry Category

The Last Album?

Posted in Creativity, Digital Culture, Music Industry, Music Making with tags , on July 25, 2011 by deliriumdog

I think it was a couple albums ago that Radiohead announced they would no longer release albums. A couple albums ago I think I said the same thing. And yet here we are at it again, releasing music in a form that has supposedly outlived its usefulness. People can now very easily purchase songs willy-nilly and barely have the time and concentration span to listen to them, so why drop an hour of music out there all at once?

Lots of reasons. Many of them are technical. You gear up to create and record music and, while in that mode, it makes more sense to make a batch rather than a one-off. This made more sense in the big studio era, but even working in a home studio as I do, you have things configured a certain way when you’re really cranking out the music.

Then there’s the fact that musical distribution still strongly favors the album. There are many aspects to this, but I will save them for another post because I’d like to focus on the most important reason for albums to exist.

I have always loved albums and still believe in them as an art form. I grew up listening to music as sets of songs recorded and conceived together and sequenced in a (hopefully) thoughtful way. An album of songs creates a larger artwork that a single song alone cannot achieve. (Maybe that is the definition of a music album! My definition, anyway.)

Any album worth its salt is more than just a bunch of songs thrown together.  Good albums are rooms, houses, fields, clubs, rivers, or streams. Dank basements or sterile hotel rooms. These are places your sonic mind can inhabit, spend some time there, and return there when needed. The songs speak to each other, bounce off one another, and meld together in our minds. Good albums create a cloud of images, impressions, ideas and emotions that we carry in our memory. Our favorite albums are like close friends with which we sustain long-term relationships with all the ups and downs that go with them.

Songs are poems, albums are short stories or novellas. Having typically been recorded together over a focused period of time, an album of songs are the result of intense artistic obsession. Without that obsession, the album probably would have not been finished. We all try to act like it was an effortless process, but finishing a whole set of songs requires a sustained push through all the creative ups and downs that occur during any big project. For many musicians, an album is the largest kind of project they will ever take on. It’s a big mountain to climb, and it’s not for wimps.

I know there are a lot of people who just want to get that one song that they know and like and never think twice about it as a part of a larger work. But should we trust the future of the music industry to those people alone? Frankly, I’ve always thought of such people as strange. Ok, not strange (there are the vast majority as far as I can tell) but it is a mindset I simply cannot understand. Yes, I’ve often enjoyed listening to singles–but I am always, always curious about the artist’s larger body of work. Was that one great song a fluke, or are they frequently just as brilliant? Does the song define their style, or was it just a little digression or stylistic experiment? I must know these things when I hear a song I like.

Yes, I’m a musician and as one obsessed with music and sound from a very young age, am prone to thinking about music this way. But I also know a lot of non-musicians who have a similarly active relationship with their music collection. (And bless them because without them it would be just us musicians patting each other on the back.) It’s a given that real music fans look at their collection as a series of albums. How can you think of it any other way?

Having just finished an album that I’m finally releasing into the world, I sure hope it isn’t my last. And I hope that the art of the album is with us for a long time to come.

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Music Site Heat Map (2010)

Posted in Digital Culture, Music Industry on February 9, 2011 by deliriumdog

The big news is that Pandora dwarfs all the sites shown below, and that YouTube Music is a colossus that crushes all the others many times over. But the rest of the music sites still get tons of eyeballs (and ears, one assumes), so here’s a map of how they all fared in 2010. They are shown by their relative size with red indicating shrinkage and green indicating growth over the previous year. Keep in mind that Ping is not included here because it is built into iTunes and not a site.

I’m still rooting for CD Baby for all they do for artists (other sites are not always so artist friendly), and I’m sad to see that it got fewer hits (-4%). Still, it’s a distribution service as much as a destination site, so that may not be the total story of how well they are faring. Their revenue comes from a percentage of sales, and that counts music they sell through iTunes, Emusic, and others.

I discovered Soundcloud only recently, but I like how their interface focuses directly on the music. I used their player in my last post and will do so again.

Map courtesy of virtualmusic.tv

One thing that is clear is that I need to get my music into Playlist.com and Grooveshark. I’ve got the other biggies covered, so just two more and I can rest for couple minutes.

Ping…not just yet another music networking thingy on the interwebs.

Posted in Digital Culture, Music Industry on February 1, 2011 by deliriumdog

As soon as you feel all cozy and comfortable about your music being on enough sites for anyone to find it, yet another comes along. Each of the social music sites takes some care and feeding, so I’ve started to ignore new ones until I hear people say something like “you basically don’t exist unless you are on…”. So now adding to Facebook, MySpace, iLike, LastFM, Reverb NationPandora, and others I cannot recall in a single sitting, we have….Ping!

Far as I can tell, there is one thing that sets Ping apart from the other music sites–that it’s not really a site so much as a new function built into iTunes.  And iTunes just happens to be the biggest music seller out there, backed by Apple and all, so I figured it would be smart to get my stuff in there.

It’s actually not perfectly straightforward for an artist to set up shop in Ping. Initially, it was “invitation only” and then they only took submissions from labels. Thanks to CD Baby, I was able to fall under the latter category, and got DD’s Ping profile up with minimal hassle on my part. From what I understand, there is an army of folks manually inputting information into the Apple mothership as we speak, and eventually every act will be in there. So I don’t have much license to feel smug about this, but at least I’m in Ping a few days (or perhaps minutes) before some of my contemporaries.

Is anyone out there actively using Ping and can advocate for it’s special pingy goodness?

My Favorite Sites for Musicians

Posted in Music, Music Industry on January 28, 2011 by deliriumdog

Earlier I mentioned that I was trying to read more music sites (and less news). Here’s my list of sites I’ve started going to to help push my music forward. They are in no particular order. I plan to revise and repost this list as I find myself gravitating toward certain ones, adding new ones, and moving away from others.

Any suggestions? Drop them in the comments, please!

Digital Music News
A no-frills feed of all the major music stories everyone will probably be blogging about.

Create Digital Music
Keeps me up what folks are doing with new music technology. Goes beyond filling me with gearlust by providing me with expert commentary about why I should or should not be having such lust.

Derek Sivers
Founder of CD Baby (which I use and heartily approve) gives insider tips and inspiration for indie artists.

The DIY Musician Blog
CD Baby’s blog for musicians, choc full of great ideas. They’ve got a great podcast as well.

Bobby Owsinski’s Big Picture Production Blog
A music industry veteran discusses the craft of recording.  Provides some amazing isolated tracks from classic recordings and analyzes them.

Music 3.0
One gestalt about the current state of the music industry today (and by today, I mean the past few hours).

MTT – Music Think Tank
I’m quickly growing fond of this group blog that always gives me just the little morsel of thought or shot int the arm I was hoping for. Covers a variety of music industry topics in a news-artists-can-use kind of way.

hypebot
A popular news feed covering the latest music industry news.

Pro Sound Web
Nice and geeky, but readable articles for pro sound professionals.

Berklee Music Blogs
A great roster of music professionals contribute items about all aspects of the music industry.

David Byrne’s Journal
One of the few musicians I can stand to read.

Tony Levin
The bass legend has been blogging nearly forever, and is by all accounts a super-nice guy.

The Savvy Musician BlogBlog companion to the book of the same name and yet another useful perspective.

About.com’s advice for Musicians and Bands
If you need to start back at the beginning, as we all do sometimes, this site is full of how-to’s that assume little prior knowledge.

Blogs | Why Music Matters
It’s all hopeless, nothing I’m doing matters…Oh wait! Yes it does! And this site’s mission is to show you why.

An Ableton Live Tutorial Blog
Been using Live more lately and often need a little shove when I get stuck.

Danski’s Logic Pro Blog
Logic Studio is my main recording/composition tool and I can always learn more.  I sure wish this was a bigger daily site, but for now it will have to do.

Design*Sponge
Not about music so much, but I need to feed my mind with some visual form & function as well and this long-running daily provides such nourishment.

First Post: So what is Delirium Dog all about, anyway?

Posted in Creativity, Delirium Blog, Delirium Dog, Glenn Ricci, Music, Music Industry on January 21, 2011 by deliriumdog

For the last couple years, I’ve been content with having Delirium Dog remain shrouded in mystery. As the guy behind the music, I was comfortable hiding in the shadows–just a silhouette walking through a tunnel of swirling light, perhaps in some far-off galaxy. It’s about the music, man! Who cares about the person making it? I’m not Lady Gaga and I don’t design my own clothes.

Could be title "Birth of DD"

But I’ve come to realize (after telling it a few times) that the story of how DD came to be may be interesting to a number of people. And the story of where it is going may be more interesting still. It’s a story about wrestling your own creative energies, facing your fears, discovering new things (constantly), staying curious, staying crazy, and keeping calm. It’s about music and sound and video, for sure, but it’s also about culture, friendship, psychology, emotions, and all the big choices about how we live our lives. That’s starting to sound heavy, but don’t worry. I’ll be taking it all on one blog post at a time.

So whether or not you’re a fan of my music, or this style of music (whatever you may call it), I hope there will be something here for you. Welcome and thanks sincerely for stopping by–your attention is always appreciated.

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