Tuesday, 31 March 2009

What is Spotify?

Its been over a week since my last post, I've been reading lots of blogs and listening to some great music and learning songs for my up coming debut with Big W,which I'm looking forward to very much.
Anyway my point. Thanks to my eldest son Jamie, I've been reintroduced to a music site called Spotify. I don't know how long its been around, quite a while I would think because I'd registered as a user at some point in the past, but never downloaded it.

Quite simply its brilliant, it allows you to search for an artist or band and then stream their music immediately from the interface (no buffering involved and the songs aren't using up valuable space on your harddrive). Amazingly its free with the occasional advert, by my reckoning about every 20 minutes. There's also options for day and monthly passes for relatively small fees which allows you to stream ad free. Its all legal and artists are compensated for the use of their work

I would agree that this will probably be the way forward. Okay at the moment you need a PC to stream the music, but with the increases in technology (3G wireless and 4G coming) you will soon be able to stream music anywhere. If thats the case why would you want to own or even pay for a CD, when you can already hear it on the net. Everybody's album sales are in decline, even top artist like U2 can consider their album sales a flop for their latest release. Also why do you need to make an album anymore, songs can be released individually, instead of the same old format. Its more important to let people listen to your music and engage in what you do, hopefully then they will come and see you play live and buy your merchandise.

Music is now free and the new dilemma we face as independent artists is - how are we going to get people to listen to our music, because thats the way we'll be paid in the future, not by selling our CD's but by how many streams we have over the internet. I would rather have people listen to my music than not and if thats the case I will let it be streamed for free.

The good news is - our destiny is our own hands, its up to us how we address the problems we face, there are no constraints imposed by record companies and I can create what I want..

Some of my creations are at chrispicton.bandcamp.com/ with new ones coming soon.
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Saturday, 21 March 2009

Bandcamp - Great site for Musicians

I'll keep this one brief, as I wanted to share with everyone a great site for all the muscians and bands out there I came across.
Its called Bandcamp its FREE and it allows you to create your own page and upload your songs in a lossless format, such as a WAV file and then it converts them for you, to a whole load of different formats such as mp3 etc.
I don't want to get too technical because the site is really simple to use. What it means is the tracks you listen to are as they were intended to be heard, but can be downloaded in whatever format the listener wants. It takes a little longer to upload your music, but well worth it I think you'll agree.
There are different pricing options, so you can give away for your music for free, set your own price or let the listener pay what he wants. Its also really easy to share your music on blogs and facebook etc.
And the best bit, no adverts all over the place, your site is your own, unlike myspace etc.
Anyway that's enough from me, head over there and check out the video that explains it much better than I can and maybe check out some of the songs I wrote while in Quecia....

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"Live" is bigger than Record sales

It's now official…the demise of physical music sales, as artists aren't making as much as they used to
According to the Performing Rights Society (PRS), the value of the 'live music scene' has officially overtaken record sales for the first time in the UK.
"We have all the data on live music at the PRS because we license all the live performances that go around the country, so we're actually able to put a number on how much live music is worth," the PRS's chief economist Will Page told BBC 6 Music.
"We now have a situation where live has officially taken over recorded."
How much? The 'number' in question was £904 million (including VAT and booking fees).
It's not all doom and gloom, there is good news for the music fan, if Bands have to tour, we get more gigs to go and see.
Happy Days...
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Saturday, 14 March 2009

New Dream Theater Album

Dream Theater's new album "Black Clouds and Silver Linings" will be released on the 22nd of June and I for one look forward to owning it. The band have a world tour planned to promote the release, which includes 3 UK dates before they take on the North American leg of their Progressive Nation tour.

Roadrunner the band's label will release the album as a standard version CD, on vinyl LP and a three-disc Special Edition CD (the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs).

A video for "A Rite Of Passage" should appear at the end of this month.
"Black Clouds & Silver Linings" track list is:

1 A Nightmare to Remember, 2. A Rite of Passage, 3. Wither, 4. The Shattered Fortress, 5. The Best of Times, 6. The Count of Tuscany.

Dream Theater Gigs in the UK are:
June 12th – Academy, Leeds
June 13th – Guildhall, Southampton
June 14th – Download Festival, Donington Park
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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

New Prog Mag and Other News

Great news for all Progressive Rock fans here in the UK. A new magazine from the Classic Rock camp entitled “Classic Rock Presents Prog”, hits the shops on the 25th of March. The whole genre will be covered from Mega bands from the past such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP and Yes, to modern greats like Dream Theater, Rush and Marillion.

Up and coming bands will also be brought to the fore and I am more than pleased for The Reasoning who will feature in the first issue and will be on the cover mount CD as well, congratulations guys.

Other News, the original Asia are to headline the Sunday at the Cambridge Rock Festival which takes place on the weekend of the 6th-9th of Aug at Haggis Farm Polo Club, Cambridge Road, Barton, Cambridge, CB3 7AT. Other names confirmed are Barclay James Harvest, Focus, Mostly Autumn, Touchstone, Dead Like Harry, Breathing Space, Quireboys and others. Quecia my old band should have been playing on the same bill, so I am a little disappointed to say the least that I won’t be rubbing shoulders with John Wetton, Carl Palmer, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes – such is life!! For more info and tickets head over to the website.


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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Break The Rules

I was quite surprised to read about the band “No Doubt” and their plan to give away all their back catalogue with each of their “top-tier” concert tickets sold. This includes 7 albums and all their singles. 80 tracks in total. Not only do you get a great seat at the gig, but all their music to download as well. With the top price on the US tour being just over $40 that’s incredible value for money.
This just goes to show the value of recorded music is falling all the time and shifting towards the Live Music event. I can see the studio album becoming the promotional tool for the concert as opposed to bands going out on tour to promote their new CD.
It is a great incentive for the fans to go and see Live Music and I can see this idea being adopted across the board by many bands. Musicians need to reinvent themselves and think “outside the box” and there’s no doubt that No Doubt have done this. Sorry about that I couldn’t help myself.
On a serious note there will always be musicians and musicians will survive, because the simple fact is, they love what they do. If they can learn to adapt and break the rules imposed by others in the past, namely record companies, they will find a way and continue to earn a living in this shifting music market.
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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Dream Theater at Download Festival

There's a fantastic line-up this year at The Download Festival. Probably my favorite band over the last few years DREAM THEATER have been added to the Sunday. The whole weekend consists of bands such as WHITESNAKE, FAITH NO MORE, SLIPKNOT, DEF LEPPARD, ZZ TOP and many more and takes place on Fri 12th of June till Sun 14th of June.
I was seriously considering going to Download just to see DREAM THEATER, but they have just added 2 more UK dates which are:
Fri 12th June - Leeds 02 Academy
Sat 13th June - Southampton Guildhall
If you've never seen DREAM THEATER I would seriously urge you to check them out, particularly if you are a musician. They are THE most talented bunch of individuals I have ever seen in the same band, ever. Since my son Jamie is at Leeds College of Art & Design it looks like he'll be having his old man to stay for the Friday night. Not told him yet, but Happy Days. Hope to see you there.
Other News
U2 will announce their world tour dates next week.
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