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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



How Best To Describe Variable Pricing For Music?

October 24th, 2011 · 19 Comments

Words matter. The way we describe things are a huge part of how people think of them, even if those descriptions aren’t definitive or in any way concretely imposing on the thing we’re describing.

An example is the language around variable pricing for digital music. The most widely used variant is ‘pay what you want’ and its acronym PWYW. For some reason that grates. It feels dismissive. It feels off-hand. I’m not sure why.

Bandcampmy digital music sales platform of choice – uses the more neutral ‘name your price’. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Happy Birthday To Me – Help Yourself To Some Music

December 29th, 2010 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday To Me – Help Yourself To Some Music

2010 has been a bumper year for me, musically. Not only have I – as my top 20 shows – found more brand new music that I love than I know what to do with, it’s been an unexpectedly busy and productive year of music-making.

The ‘unexpected’ part is because it was also my first full year as a dad – 2010 is definitely the year of the Flapjack. At the start of the year, he was barely a month old and we had no idea what we’d be able to carry on doing as musicians and how much would have to go by the way-side. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

“Slow Food” With Trip Wamsley AKA Making Music With Awesome Musicians.

August 24th, 2010 · 10 Comments

Here it is!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be all-too-familiar with ‘it’ – the first of two duo albums with Trip Wamsley. I blogged about them here, and at the time thought they’d both be EPs. Well, I’m not sure about Trip’s release, but this one has grown into a full album – all 42 glorious minutes of it. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · site updates

Rock And Roll Is Dead… And My Novel Is Finished

December 3rd, 2009 · 5 Comments

As you’ll remember if you’re an even semi-regular visitor to this site, in November I took part in Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. I started it, expecting that I probably wouldn’t finish it, due to the impending baby. But baby arrived and I still managed to finish it! Fifty thousand words that I’m actually rather proud of. It’s called ‘Rock And Roll Is Dead’, and it’s about a band who go on a journey.

Big, big thanks to the people who were reading it as we went along – you’ll see some of their tweets in the book from when they replied to the characters on there. Your encouragement and willingness to talk made-up nonsense to imaginary people was invaluable in shaping the direction of the book and providing the motivation to keep writing. Nuff respect. [Read more →]

Tags: Geek · New Music Strategies · Random Catchup

SoundCloud – Audio Online, Your Way.

October 13th, 2009 · 6 Comments

So, Part II is about Soundcloud:

Soundcloud is SUCH a great compliment to BandCamp. While BandCamp is all about the curated artifact of music, Soundcloud is all about malleable audio – there’s no restriction on file-size, or resolution, so you can put MP3s up, podcasts, entire gigs as a single embeddable file…

It works great as a sketchbook, and again, you can control whether the stuff is streamable, downloadable or whatever else… There’s also a nice social side to SoundCloud, with the usual 2.0 follower/followee relationship, as well as the option to have ‘private’ files, for sharing music amongst collaborators before making it public. Very useful. It’s got a host of other fantastic features, which you can check out here, and to see it in action, here’s the EP that Michael Manring and I made available a few weeks ago, exclusively via SoundCloud:

Steve Lawson and Michael Manring live at Don Quixotes by solobasssteve

The pairing of Bandcamp and Soundcloud is a pretty much unbeatable combo for distributing audio files online. And Bandcamp gives you to option to charge for them as well.

What is as yet un-mapped is the actual relationship between how we value music, and how artists can price their work relating to that value. Donations, like the pay what you want option in Bandcamp, work really well – we the audience get the chance to be generous if we want, and people with no money can still get the music (and if they want to ‘pay’ something, can just share it around – after all, that’s ultimately what it’s all about!) but it still the case that you either pay before you listen (in which case the donation is a guess) OR the listener has to come back and make a donation after (which requires a level of commitment to the ideal that few of us are capable of…)

One of the projects I’m working on is a platform that seeks to work out that value and allow listeners to pay based on it, and I’ll write more about that very soon…

Tags: New Music Strategies · tips for musicians