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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Entries Tagged as 'Geek'

Marketing By Accident

October 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I’ve written a lot over the years about the power of curiosity – that most of my own best disoveries have just happened because I was interested in something and decided to investigate it without waiting for any kind external confirmation that that was ‘OK’ or ‘wise’.

So yesterday when a link from a friend landed me at xtranormal.com and I saw that there was a ‘create’ button, I set to work writing a comedy script for two people talking about a solo bass house concert.

Since then it’s had about a thousand views (pretty good going for overnight on a Sunday!), and I’m sure has quite a journey to go on yet… All because I saw a link, clicked it and played around.

Try it, sometimes it can really help 🙂

Anyway, here it is. “Solo Bass. It’s The Future.”

Feel free to share it around, or make your own videos. It’s pretty time consuming, but well worth it 🙂

[EDIT] it’s worth noting that the first place I shared this was Posterous. An awesome blogging platform, that I’ll write more about v. soon!

Tags: bass ideas · Geek · New Music Strategies

New London Gig: Singers Of Twitter II – Oct 6th!

September 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on New London Gig: Singers Of Twitter II – Oct 6th!

After the huge success of the last ‘Singers Of Twitter’ gig at Darbucka last month, we’ve got another one coming up! Yay!

We’ll be back at Darbucka, and this time, it’ll feature Ben Walker AKA @ihatemornings out of Twitter, as the musical sandwich filling in between the gluten-free bread slices of the ever-wonderful Lloyd Davis on first and lovely Lobelia and I on at the end! Hurrah! It’s on Tuesday Oct 6th, doors at 7pm, music from 7.30, at Darbucka World Music Bar, on St John’s Street in Clerkenwell, London. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · gig dates

Puppet Show in A Traffic Jam

September 4th, 2009 · Comments Off on Puppet Show in A Traffic Jam

This is one of those weird stories that often results from me spending more than about 2 minutes in Andrew Dubber’s company. I think we bring out the tangentialist in each other.

We were sat chatting by the canal in Birmingham, and a boat went past, with a couple of little kids on it, waving at everyone on the bank, and getting ever so delighted when anyone waved back. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies

Spotify – Are They The Bad Guys?

August 18th, 2009 · Comments Off on Spotify – Are They The Bad Guys?

[EDIT – this post is a couple of years out of date – for a more recent appraisal of where I stand with Spotify, see Why I’ve Taken My Music Off Spotify]

There’s been loads of discussion of late about what Spotify are up to – in connection with both their extraordinary growth, and the prospect of an iPhone app in the near future.

Much has been made of the fact that, as the calculations stand, no artists are going to make any sensible money out of it at all. They’ve done an insane deal with the major record labels, giving them an 11% share in the platform, as an incentive to sign up their catalogues. Clearly no-one here is really thinking about the artists on those labels making any money…

So does this mean that Spotify are bastards? (we already know the major record labels are all bastards – that doesn’t even need discussing 😉 ) – no, it means that they are a business – they had a plan for a service, no apparent pre-arranged funding model beyond trying to make it work – ad-funded music has been touted for a long time, no-one else had yet come up with either

  • a deal that was appealing enough to the companies or
  • a UI that was pleasant enough for users.

Spotify solved both of those. So what of the not getting paid thing.

Here’s the deal – the internet is not divided into clear-cut heroes and villains. Yes it would be great if there were app-developing caped crusaders coding til their fingers bleed to make the web a more profitable place for indie artists. And it would be great if we could all agree that Sony/News Corp/RIAA etc. were such monoliths of evil intention that everyone but the kind of acts that were happy to play Sun City in Apartheid-era South Africa would refuse to have anything to do with them.

But it’s not like that, and we’re pragamatists. Before we start making money, we need an audience. And to find an audience we need to get heard. And to be heard, our music needs to be out there where people are listening to it. So right now, we have the choice to make it available on Spotify/Myspace/Reverb Nation/iLike/Facebook etc for no meaningful financial compensation (ReverbNation currently owe me $22 as my part of their revenue sharing scheme! Yay!), or we stick with the old school route and

  • co-ordinate a combined radio and press campaign,
  • getting pluggers,
  • designers,
  • ad agents,
  • distributors
  • oh go on, throw in video directors as well

…and we’re back to being a hundred grand in debt before the records out.

That Spotify isn’t paying us is a pain in the arse. Yes, the guy that started it is probably going to get rich. But right now, I’m not losing anything through it. The people listening to me on Spotify are almost all doing so cos I sent them the link. They are people I’d previously sent last.fm or Myspace links to but Spotify is easier, it’s familiar, it’s where they are listening right now. And my music needs to be where their ears are.

So I’m glad it’s not costing me anything. When something better comes along, I’ll happily jump ship. Til then, I’ll keep hassling CDBaby to get my other 3 solo albums onto there,  joining Not Dancing For Chicken and the Calamateur Vs Steve Lawson album which are already there.

What is more interesting is what mechanisms are going to be developed for turning Spotify into a music discovery platform. It does have an API, so other people can build things on top of it… What would you like to see possible with Spotify’s music library?

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies

My Weird Life, or ‘How I Ended Up Fixing a Bus For the Civil Service’

July 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on My Weird Life, or ‘How I Ended Up Fixing a Bus For the Civil Service’

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed over the last week or two that the ratio of ‘music’ to ‘non-music’ tweets has tipped hugely in favour of ‘non…’.

Thanks to my involvement in the Amplified project, I’ve been to a range of different events, talking about social media, capturing conversations around those events and writing it up afterwards. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · Random Catchup

What Makes Your Music Interesting?

May 28th, 2009 · 21 Comments

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been SO busy with geek-things, that I’ve had little time for picking up a bass and making noises. It feels like a bit of a shame to have lost the momentum I picked up whilst posting my series of new video experiments to vimeo, but it also feels like a good break, time to think.

The 3 ‘live blogging’ events I’ve done have all been very different, but have all contained lessons for the discerning social-media-monkey-muso. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Live Blog III – Political Innovation Camp, Belfast (picamp)

May 26th, 2009 · 8 Comments

So today I’m in Belfast, at an Amplified event called PICamp – Political Innovation Camp. It’s an ‘unconference‘ style event, with the added Amp-twist of us hopefully taking the great stuff that comes up here and sharing it beyond the walls of the discussion, and running a session or two that invites you to contribute. There’s a big presence here for the political blog/forum, www.sluggerotoole.com

It’s fascinating being here, as the political landscape is slowly shifting with the proliferation of social media tools and the ensuing sense of increased engagement with the political process. The newsmaker events that Reuters have been running of late have been getting increasingly deep into the potential and possibilities of social media tools for connecting the electorate with the people who supposedly work for us. So today will hopefully be a great chance to think about, discuss and discover some new ways that emerging technologies can further the cause of transparency and accountability in government. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek

Live Blog II – Media140

May 20th, 2009 · 7 Comments

[2:40] So, last minute decision, I’m at Media140; “London’s First Microblogging Event”. You can watch the livestream here.

Pat Kane up first – he’s theplayethic on twitter, a journo, thinker, lovely man and the singer in Hue And Cry.

[2:47] Pat: “I’m trying to show how quotidian the practice of journalism becomes in this new media space.[Read more →]

Tags: Geek

London Songwriting Week seminar with Andrew Dubber and Tom Robinson

May 18th, 2009 · 12 Comments

I’m going to be live blogging this today – here’s a link to the page about it

[12:41] It’s going to be a group seminar/workshop on collaboration in a digital age, but the sounds of things. Just had a chat with Tom and Andrew about the whole thing. Let’s see how it goes.

[12:51] Just tried to grab the feed of the Twitter search for #freshnet and embed it here, but feedburner won’t let me! How nuts is that? Anyway, if you want to follow other twitterings from today, head over to the #freshnet search. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

A Week in Academia pt 2 – Innovative Media For A Digital Economy

April 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on A Week in Academia pt 2 – Innovative Media For A Digital Economy

picture of an old school photographer on More LondonSo part II of my academic week wasn’t even planned at the beginning of the week. After my panel contribution at Wealth Of Networks II, I was having a conversation with Marina Jirotka of Oxford Univerisity, who said they had another conference on Thursday entitled ‘Innovative Media For the Digital Economy‘ and wished she’d known about me earlier so I could’ve been involved… so I did what any conference loving solo bassist would do – moved my teaching around, and cleared space in my diary to be there!
[Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies