stevelawson.net

Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



2008 in review – Blog posts for musicians, Pt 1

December 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Photo by Christian Payne AKA DocumentallyIt’s been an amazing year for me – a proper round-up of the year will be coming soon. But I thought that first I’d pull together some of the things I’ve blogged about this year. So this is part 1 of a compilation of links to my blog posts for musicians this year –

Back in May/June, I did a series of posts about Social Media for Musicians:

…ah, clearly i didn’t finish that last one… :)

Then in July, I did a series on my thoughts on bass teaching, and music teaching in general:

These had some really great comments off the back of them…

And here, in roughly chronological order, are my favourite posts from Jan – August:

There you go, that lot would make a pretty good e-book, if I ever get round to editing out the typos, and shortening some of my more overly-verbose entries :)

Next entry will cover Sept – Dec, and then the rest of what’s happened this year! If I don’t get to it til tomorrow, have a great new year, see you in ’09!

If you particularly like any of the posts, please share the links around, either via the ‘share this’ option below, or just by forwarding the URL to people who think might like to read them.

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies · site updates · tips for musicians

Subscribe to this blog via email…

July 1st, 2008 · Comments Off on Subscribe to this blog via email…

I know, it’s terribly old fashioned, and I’m always complaining about it, but the simple truth is, some people prefer to manage their info all in one place – their email inbox – and that’s fine by me. So here’s the place where you can subscribe to this blog via email, and have each post sent to you automatically. How cool is that?? Just fill in the form below, and each post I upload will be sent to you! Simple as…

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

(of course, it goes without saying that your email won’t be used for anything else, by me or anyone else.)

Tags: Geek · site updates

Creative blogging.

June 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I was recently invited to contribute to a blog on a site called Creative Choices – the focus of the site is resourcing and encouraging people either in or looking to transition to employment in the creative sector. So a few us social media monkeys have been co-opted to blog about creative things. It’s a fantastic remit, and I rather like the look of the site. I’m also in great company, as the other contributors include some of my favourite thinkers in the social media world – Christian Payne, Lloyd Davis and Mike Atherton, amongst others.

Anyway, it’s just gone live Here, and you can read my first post over there, entitled Employ Yourself. It’s one idea that I’ve used in the past to try and get round the feeling that I’m not up to the job of managing the non-bass-playing part of my career… You may find it useful, and there’s a question at the end you can answer in the comments, if you like :)

Tags: Geek · journalism

The great "Twitter-Buzz experiment"!

June 16th, 2008 · 5 Comments

OK, here’s the plan – I’m interested to see how much of a buzz a modest number of twitter-followers can create about a particular site/service/artist/whatever, so I’m running a competition, in which y’all get to come up with whatever ideas you like to send your twitter-readers back to my site, or to my videos on youtube, or music on last.fm. You could pick a fave song, video or blog-post and link to it, you could use it as an example of something, you could even just tell your twit-friends about the experiment (this isn’t a clandestine thing at all!) – it’s just to see how well twitter works for generating buzz…

The key to this is that a) the links are put on twitter, b) you use http://twurl.nl to shorten your url, and c) you tweet me the shortened url so I can retweet it and be able to follow the number of times its clicked as a result.

And yes, there will be prizes, which will include a few of my CDs, and some never-before-heard unreleased stuff, as well as previews of forthcoming albums (again, unavailable anywhere else) – a lot depends on just how effective the competition is – there’ll certainly be a top prize for the most amount of ‘buzz’ created, as measured in number of people clicking your link, which can be to a blog post, or some of the media, or the front page of my site, or whatever, and you can get other to re-tweet the same link, and it’ll count as yours…

If the results are interesting (and I’ll publish them all here), we’ll try the same with blogging about it, and then again with embedded widgets, with stumbleupon, and so on, and see if we can find which is the most effective form of ‘buzz creation’. And hopefully everyone will win – you’ll have some fun coming up with interesting ways to point people to what I do, I’ll get lots of new visitors to the site, a few people will get a load of great new music for nothing and we’ll all find out a little more about how this works. Oh, and whoever wins can write a guest-post here, outlining what they did… Does that sound like fun? Feel free to register your intention to join in in the comments below, then get tweeting.

Remember:
1. Use http://twurl.nl to shorten the URL (web address – you paste the address into the right field on the site, and it gives you an alternate one, that’s easier for me to track)
2. link to my website, a blog post here, a last.fm track, youtube vid, my myspace or reverbnation page.
3. only link to it on twitter
4. direct message me on there with the URL so I can retweet it, and then track it via tweetburner.
5. sit back and watch the prizes roll in.

Tags: Geek · Music News · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Social Media Thoughts Pt 2 – The Playground Of The Curious.

May 16th, 2008 · Comments Off on Social Media Thoughts Pt 2 – The Playground Of The Curious.

I wrote off the idea of chasing a record deal before I even put out my first album. After a series of pretty uninspiring encounters with labels via artists I was working with in the 90s, and the simple fact that as far as I could see, no-one was making any money via a label playing solo bass, I decided before my first album that I’d do it all myself.

Back then, there was a lot of nebulous, unfocussed talk about how the internet was going to change everything, but so much of the traffic that musicians were getting back then was as a result of there being precious little about music online. As an example, I was the only bass teacher in Europe with a website for over a year when I first set my site up, and would get student enquiries from all over the continent, from bassists wanting to fly to england for lessons!

The bass-stuff on the web was pretty limited, and as I had a site, was teaching at a London music college, was involved with The Bottom Line (by far the biggest bass-related web-thing around in the 90s) I had a profile. So when I put up some real audio files (real audio!!) of my first solo gig, it got a surprising amount of traffic and interest. Not because it was the greatest thing ever (only some of it was 😉 ), but just because of the huge amount of novelty-driven, bass-related web traffic that was passing through my site. If I gave people something to do online for half an hour that felt vaguely worthwhile, then my site validated the time they were spending on this great new toy of theirs.

But the tools weren’t really in place to build a career online, just a reputation. However, it was a great environment in which to forge a model for dealing with promoting hard-to-pigeonhole music online – the model being one of curious play – whenever I came across something new, I jumped in and had a play. I chatted to the current users of a particular forum or chatroom, I posted music clips on MP3.com (where unbeknownst to me, Lobelia was racking up over a million plays!) and splashed around in the web-pool, looking for interesting things to happen…

So as social media evolved, my play-approach helped me – along with a whole load of other musicians disillusioned with ‘the mainstream’ – fairly unconsciously develop a way of engaging with my audience via conversation, interaction and availability, rather than broadcast, spam and rock-star seclusion. Again, web forums had been doing this for a while, and I had hosted a forum at talkbass.com in their ‘ask the pros’ section for ages, but Myspace, commentable blogs and self-hosted forums started to make that kind of conversation portable to our own branded space via the comments option.

I remember in the early days of MySpace hearing the rumours that some big name musicians were actually running their own myspace pages, and being nonplussed by everyone’s surprise. Why wouldn’t David Byrne or Robert Smith or Peter Hook or whoever want to communicate direct with their audience? The problem for them was that Myspace got so big that the interaction become meaningless when they received thousands of comments a day. The smart ones started blogging on Myspace, and eventually (years after the novelty value had passed) myspace started promoting celeb blogs… (even then, a lot of musicians kept writing their blogs in the third person, as though a PA was doing it for them, not getting how important it is for audiences these days to hear your story in your voice…) Blog comment threads became a great way for big name artists to ‘host’ the discussion about their thoughts and writing without having to answer individual queries and comments.

The big mistake that so many musicians make with Social Media is to see it as a stop-gap, as what you do ‘until you make it’, as the thing that bands do who can’t get ‘a proper deal’. The lure of becoming a millionaire rock star is still so inexplicably strong that it blinds most pop and rock musicians to the opportunity staring them in the face to bypass all that other BS altogether.

The bit they’ve got lost in is the feeling that broadcast is where its at, is the measure of success, rather than grasping that all but the most refined of broadcast media have an incredibly low recognition ratio for stuff that’s played in the people listening. The simple fact is that I’ve sold WAY more CDs to the coupla hundred people who’ve seen me play in, say, Petersfield in Hampshire, than I have to the hundreds of thousands who’ve heard me on The Late Junction on Radio 3 – a show that’s been playing my music pretty regularly over the last however many years.

What Social Media allows artists to do is have the kind of in-depth conversations that previously could only happen at live events, with their audience in their own homes. If I post here on the blog, the people who are interested in what I do can read it and understand what I do in a way they’re never going to get from the lovely Verity and Fiona giving it a 15 second intro at midnight on the radio. And with so much music the story around the music is what gives it context, and provides and entry point for the audience, an understanding of where the artist sees their music. painters, photographers and sculptors have been contextualising their work within narratives for years, but for any music that is assumed to be in some way ‘pop’ music, it’s tough to get people to do the digging. Social media allows us to place the conversation about what we do right alongside the art itself, inviting responses, questions and discussion.

The future for musicians is in the artist/audience conversation and interaction that social media facilitates. And this is a concept that is now spilling over into business and PR and Marketing and even politics… but that’s Pt III. :)

Tags: Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

A new review…. of And Nothing But The Bass..??

May 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on A new review…. of And Nothing But The Bass..??

It’s amazing what you can find looking at your web-stats – I was browsing through mine, seeing who had linked back to this site, and found a review just posted on a blog in January of this year, of And Nothing But The Bass (my first album, for those of you a little late to the party).

A little browsing round the blog in question – jamscience.blogspot.com – showed that it was a review that the writer, Ian Peel, had written for Record Collector magazine!

So those of you that have the CD of And Nothing But The Bass – whether you paid for it, or picked up a free copy at the Social Media Cafe on Friday – have a genuine collectors item in your possession! :)

Anyway, you can click here to read the full review. The choice quote from it, that will be appearing on a poster near you soon, is “one of the most gifted solo bass players on the planet” which is always a useful thing to have for a press release. :)

If you want to listen to And Nothing But The Bass
, you can do so at last.fm, or you can buy the download version with the extra tracks mentioned in the review, from the online shop here, or from Amazon, or from Cdbaby

Tags: Music News · music reviews

Twitter-peoples: welcome to my e-world, dive right in!

May 7th, 2008 · 12 Comments

Image cut from Steve Lawson's Twitter page, illustrating this page about twitterOK, so you arrived here via my twitter page, and want to know more?

Short version – I’m a musician, music teacher/lecturer, 1/5th of New Music Strategies, writer and social media tinkerer. I blog about my music life, specifically the various things that are now possible for musicians thanks to the joys of ‘tinternet. I’m also a consultant/thinker about Social media in a wider context, particularly as it relates to creatives. I co-run a social media event help organisation called Amplified.

Your best places to start finding out what I do are my blog (set aside a while, there’s a lot of it!), and the music pages. It’s worth having a listen, honest, cos all this other nonsense is related to the music – that’s the centre of the wheel, the hub around which all the other stuffs rotates.

After that, you might want to find me elsehwere: Facebook, Last.fm, YouTube and some other places.

You’re also welcome to check out the gigs page in case I’m out and about.

Oh, and if I followed you first, the chances I found you were recommended to me, or retweeted by someone. It may also have been that I found you via something you tweeted about music… Whichever, it’s just that your feed looked interesting, so I’m checking it out – feel free to follow back or not! If you do follow me, and I tweet too much, I shan’t be in the slightest bit offended if you unfollow. My own sister did :)

If you followed me in the hope that I’d follow back and I haven’t, it’ll be because of two things – firstly, I don’t get notifications of new followers – there were too many, and it was taking up loads of time. I do go and have a look about once a week to delete all the spam and wrongness, so then I follow people I know.

The number of people I’m already following (2000-and-change as I write this) is already functionally too high, so I’m only adding people that REALLY interest me. If I’m not following you, it doesn’t, of course, mean that you can’t reply to things, or ‘@’ me for specific things – that’s all cool, and if we get a conversation happening, it may well be that I end up following you. But please don’t be offended if I don’t. It’s honestly nothing personal, I assure you :) x

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New site, new blog home, new shop…

May 7th, 2008 · 5 Comments

As you’ll have seen by now (unless you’re reading this in an RSS reader), there’ve been a lot of changes round here – the design of stevelawson.net has now shifted into wordpress, the shop is still zencart, but has been given a facelift and most significantly, the blog is now hosted here too, integrated into the rest of the site.

The task of getting everything to forward to the right place was pretty huge – given how highly this blog indexes in google, it was vital that all those link redirected properly to this one, and I had SO much help from my herd of sure-footed trusty geeks: James Stewart, Rev. Gareth, Mike Arthur and The Captain. Gentleman and scholars to a man. I now fully understand why properly trained geeks get paid so much money – they can save you so much money. James did a couple of things this afternoon that quite literally saved me 3-4 complete days of editing URLs and stuff…

The tags from the old site still haven’t copied across, and a lot of the little pages that are littered around the old design still need to be imported and linked to (old gig reviews etc), but we’re getting there, slowly.

I hope you like the new design. Feel free to try out the new shop – if anything does go a bit weird, just email me, and we’ll sort it out – there’s no way you’re going to lose money on the deal, cos it’s actually me who runs it, so if there’s a problem, I can just FTP you the files for the download or pop a CD in an envelope, no worries :)

Enjoy…

Tags: Geek · site updates

photos!

May 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Here are lots of photos of me (or of gigs I was playing on!) from Flickr.com:

click here to view the slideshow in full screen.

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Steve Lawson :: Solo Bassist

May 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Steve Lawson :: Solo Bassist

Listen now:
New duo album with Pete Fraser – Intersect:

HELLO! I’m Steve. I’m play bass (and live electronics) both solo and in a lot of collaborative settings. I’m also a music teacher/lecturer, a journalist and am doing a PhD about audiences for improv. Here’s where you’ll find a lot of music, my blog (there’s over 15 years of it to read back through 😉 ) and info about gigs, my musical history and what else I’ve got going on.

If you’re already familiar with the music, please consider having a look at the Bandcamp subscription offer – making this kind of music means that there’s no sustainable model for music making to be built on Spotify or Apple Music – the scale of audience needed is just not compatible with making instrumental music with a bass, and releasing as much of it as I do. So I developed the subscription as a mutually beneficial way of getting all this amazing music out to you, and making it possible for me to keep recording and releasing it. No-one’s getting rich off this, but I’m still doing it three years in, and the subscriber community is growing every month. Come and join us!

While you’re here, come and say hi! Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or send me an email! I’d love to hear from you.

 

Latest video, with drum legend Andy Edwards:

 

Read the cover story from Bass Guitar Magazine‘s October 2015 issue!

Latest Solo Videos:
Vertigo (from Referendum)
Don’t Leave (from Referendum)
Party Like We’re Still Here (from Referendum)
Requiem For Industry (from Referendum)
Five Stages (from The Surrender Of Time)
Her Kindness (from The Surrender Of Time)

 

A BRAND NEW WAY To Never Miss A Thing:

 

  • Get everything I release in a year for just £20
  • Get 30 albums, including all 18 of my solo albums, for FREE
  • Free eBook – Steve On Sound – all about effects pedals and looping!
  • Access to the subscriber community – exclusive videos, album previews, discounts on gig tickets…
  • Be part of the glorious sustainable future of independent music. YOU can make it happen!
  • Read more about it here

 

 

Some lovely quotes:

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Are you new round here? Want an overview? Here’s ‘Steve In A Nutshell‘.

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