Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond

Entries Tagged as 'New Music Strategies'

How to Talk About Music on the Internet

August 1st, 2013 · 5 Comments

The ‘publishing revolution’ of the internets has been overwhelmingly positive. We know that, right?

However, there have been a few – perhaps unintended – consequences to all online words being given equal billing (at least potentially) and all public typed conversations being searchable. So let’s have a think about how we – as musicians – talk about music on the internet:

One of the hardest things for a musician to do online is work out two very distinct ways of describing music positively: [Read more →]

Tags: Musing on Music · New Music Strategies

“conversational hegemony”, or how lobbyists hijack the terms of engagement

June 19th, 2013 · Comments Off on “conversational hegemony”, or how lobbyists hijack the terms of engagement

It’s kind of in the job description, for Lobbyists to try and limit the parameters of any discussion to the ones that concern their particular paid interest. Lobbying is high-dollar stuff and getting into time-wasting concepts like ‘fairness’ and ‘seeing things as they really are’ are not what good lobbyists get paid for.

They get paid for ‘conversational hegemony’ – taking over the parameters of any discussion, so that even before they put their point across, the fencing around the subject is skewed in their favour. Thus recording industry lobbyists, like the BPI in the UK and the RIAA in the US, have successfully made so much of the discussion about ‘music’ – particularly at a policy/government level – about their particular set of economic concerns. Namely:

“how do we protect the virtual monopoly that we’ve had until now on defining ‘success’ for recording artists, controlling the avenues of manufacture, distribution,  promotion and publishing/licensing, and thus leave in place our usurious terms of engagement with the artists whose recordings we exploit for financial gain?” [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Brand New Music And How To Get It

June 14th, 2013 · Comments Off on Brand New Music And How To Get It

My internet bandwidth at home is taking quite a battering today, as I upload gig 3 to Bandcamp, in preparation for sending the download codes to all those who’ve bought the Dropbox/Bandcamp versions of the FingerPainting full set. At the same time, I’m putting some of the tunes from gigs 2 and 3 on Soundcloud, so you can hear what you’re missing 🙂

The album of gig 3 is called “Nie mój cyrk, Nie moje małpy” which is a spectacularly brilliant Polish phrase that means ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’. Here’s why: [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

Expanding Audio Orthodoxy – Recording, Mixing, Mastering

May 21st, 2013 · 6 Comments

As you know, I’m in the middle of mixing and mastering 11 hours of new music. It’s taking a long time, but the results are some of the best audio work I’ve ever done. So let’s have a chat about audio recording. 🙂

My thesis: The received wisdom of how and why things are done is, it seems to me, based on a resource equation that exists in a paid studio environment.

The factors are time, budget & complexity.

The assumption is that if a project is simple it’s because the budget is small and therefore time will be tight. Thus mixing from the multi-track to 2 track without getting too fixated on the final version maximises time in the studio, doing what studios do best. You make it sound as good as possible through the speakers there & don’t worry too much about continuity between tracks, consistent leveling etc. Those wouldn’t be a productive use of mix time. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Twitter Brain-dump About The New Music Economy

May 16th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.42.20Just had a rather extensive twitter-rant about art, commerce, indie, labels, work, commerce… that sort of stuff. Here are the tweets: [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

How To Apply A Discount Code In Bandcamp

May 5th, 2013 · Comments Off on How To Apply A Discount Code In Bandcamp

Today’s the last day for the ‘awesomenessftw‘ 10% discount code on orders for the new album…

Here’s how to apply it.

  • Click ‘buy now’ on whichever USB or CD package you’re wanting (if you just want the download, it’s ‘name your price’ so feel free to knock 10% off what you initially thought you’d like to pay, and type that in instead 😉 )
  • note the minimum price for the package you’ve chosen (indicated to the right of the ‘Name Your Price’ box).
  • Click on the invitation to add a discount code (circled in the pic below)

  • type, or cut ‘n’ paste ‘awesomenessftw’ into the box that appears and click ‘apply’ – type the code without the ‘ ‘ at either end. Keep all the letters lowercase.
  • You’ll then see that the price to the right of the box where you type in the amount you’re wanting to pay has changed – it’ll be 10% lower than it was. You can now type in that amount (or any other amount above that, though the discount code seems unnecessary in that case 😉 ) As you can see in the picture below:

So there you go!

Buying the whole set at this stage helps us to pay for the time it’s going to take to mix and master all the recordings and then to press the CDs and load up all the USB Sticks. It also means that you can get immediate access to the dropbox folder with the daily updates in it (there are three tracks from the 2nd gig of the set in there now), and/or each gig sent to you via a Bandcamp download code every time they’re finished being mixed.

How To Upgrade Your Purchase:

PLEASE NOTE – if you’ve already bought the download on it’s own and want to upgrade to either the CD or one of the ‘get the whole set’ versions, please just email me and we’ll sort that out. The full amount you’ve already paid will be credited against the upgrade. No problem.


Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

Is This Unique? Every Note We’ve Ever Played Will Be Released

April 6th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Here’s a list of facts about Daniel Berkman and I:

  • We met at the sound-check to our first gig together.
  • The idea to play only improvised duo music came about while setting up for that gig.
  • We’ve now done 10 shows together, resulting in somewhere around 11-12 hours of music (I think).
  • We’ve never played together NOT in front of an audience. Never “jammed”, never even properly sound-checked together.
  • Every note we’ve ever played together is recorded – multi-track proper hi-res recording of every gig we’ve done.
  • It will all be released soon. Every minute of it.

I’ve no idea if this is something that has ever happened before. I’ve certainly never come across a band that were able to commercially release every note they’d ever played together. These aren’t ‘board tapes’ that serial bootleggers are dumping on This properly mixed, mastered and released. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

How To Send Bandcamp D/L codes via Mailchimp…

April 1st, 2013 · 1 Comment

Here’s a thing I’ve been mentally wrestling with for a few days – I really want to be able to do a Bandcamp download code for each member of my mailing list, which is hosted with Mailchimp. I looked through the documentation for the site, but couldn’t immediately see how to do it.

So I did what I always do when I need a problem solved. I asked Twitter.

And my clever friend Lee told me how to make a custom field in the list database.


He tweeted:


So I did that, but there’s no import option for a single field… I then noticed that there is the option to ‘auto-update‘ your current list when importing data – which means I can export the list from Mailchimp to Excel, generate the codes in Bandcamp, add them to the newly created column in excel, then reimport the list to Mailchimp using the auto-update function.

Then just add the short-code merge tag for the code in your actual email template. Hey presto, unique Bandcamp code for every list member…

It’s worth noting that this is only advisable if you either have

a) massively higher than average open rates on your mailing list or
b) shedloads of spare download codes that you haven’t used with bandcamp.

I’m in the latter camp, so can afford to give them away and see what happens…

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies

The Glorious Dilemma – How To Release A Huge Amount Of Music?

March 29th, 2013 · 2 Comments

It’s been a long time since the traditional recording release cycle of ‘make a CD, do 3 months of promo, release the album, sell enough to recoup, tour off the back of it, take some time off, do it all again 12-18 months later’ made much sense to me. I’ve been making too much music for that kind of approach for a few years now… So I’m trying to work out what the best way forward is. Let me fill you in…

Here’s the glorious dilemma Daniel Berkman and I find ourselves in right now – we have 8 shows recorded from our January tour, as well as one still-unreleased show from the previous January (and of course the gig that became Accidentally (On Purpose) ) which is all worthy of release. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

Rock And Roll Is Dead Gets A Proper Release!

March 22nd, 2013 · Comments Off on Rock And Roll Is Dead Gets A Proper Release!

So, only about three years late, I’ve finally put my novel, Rock And Roll Is Dead, up for proper download. You can get it by clicking here:

Previously it was a free PDF and an ePub version that a friend put together for me. Now, via Leanpub, I’ve done it properly, and you can get it in PDF/EPUB/MOBI versions, for Kindle, iBooks and everything else.

So what’s the story? It’s about a band, playing pub gigs, who decide to get out of the rut they’re in. And it’s quite a journey.

It ends up being a bit of a fictional music manifesto. Like condensing all the New Music Strategies blog stuff here into a book and adding loads of swearing (they get quite angry at various times through the book…)

Here’s a lil’ promo video about the book:

Tags: New Music Strategies · site updates