I liked the music, and wanted to buy the album, “Union Black,” which has been out for about a year. I clicked the iTunes link in the video, and it took me to the UK iTunes Store. I couldn’t buy the album from there, and the album doesn’t exist in the USA store. Same issue with Amazon MP3—not allowed to buy it in my region. The album was for sale on Amazon’s UK store or a few other European retailers, if I was willing to pay about $25-$30 after shipping (which I’m not).
When will artists learn that it is imperative that they make their music available in every region in the world? Okay, so Skindred’s UK label has no US distribution. And apparently hasn’t been able to get any for a year. In that case, the band should make the album available over their own website, a bandcamp site, something. I went to Skindred’s site, wallet in hand, ready to pay them for their music. But they wouldn’t take my money.
I expect the major labels to be obsessed with regional restrictions and have draconian contracts that would tie a band’s hands. But a group on an indie label should reserve the right to distribute themselves in territories their labels don’t cover. I’m guessing that Skindred wants to have a label in the USA but their just losing all the sales that they could get from Americans who liked their previous records or who just discover them. The days in which not releasing in a territory built anticipation are over; now it just drives potential purchasers to The Torrentz and other means of free, regionless distribution. And it’s indie bands that need every single sale the most.
Well are you? Because if you are, we’ve got the song for you! It’s been a while since I’ve shared this, and it’s a song we’re extremely proud of. I loved writing it—so cathartic! And the Ember Members loved making it come alive. So get sick of it!
This is one of those music techie posts that if you’re not actively involved in recording music, you can probably go ahead and skip. But recording guitar amps in small spaces can be a challenge, if you don’t have the opportunity to turn up the volume a little and stick a nice microphone in front of a speaker cabinet. So I decided to do some tests of an alternate recording method. I’ll discuss what I did and share some audio files after the cut.
The Beastie Boys and MCA (Adam Yauch) formed part of my early musical vocabulary. I was in high school when they first hit, soaking up all the influences that I could, and they seemed to walk the line between the new sounds of hip hop and punk and rock. They had a sound all their own and Adam’s voice, and sometimes his bass guitar, were an important part of that.
The Beastie Boys are irreplaceable. Adam is irreplaceable. And way, way to young to be felled by cancer. For all you and the Boys influenced me and gave to me—to all of us—thank you. We can’t, we won’t, and we don’t stop.
How do independent bands without major label budgets fund their recording, manufacture, promotion, and touring? Nobody’s quite cracked the code, but there’s lots of ideas—and one of them is Kickstarter: here for example is Amanda Palmer (a personal favorite) who no longer has her major label footing the bill for production, manufacture, distribution, and promotion of her just completed album.
But does it work? Well, in Palmer’s case, she’s already raised over $160,000 which is nearing what the video above says would have been her major label budget. So obviously, in her case, it works extremely well.
Will it work for all musical acts? You know, I think it just might, as long as an artist is smart about scaling their request and offerings to the size of their audience. If you look at the number of funders, Amanda Palmer has “only” got around 3300 backers at the moment (by the time you read this, I’m sure it will be higher). That’s great! But that’s also not an unattainable number of fans. Of course, she also has people donating up to $1000 (although very few). I’ll bet that any band that builds up a local following of 200-500 people, with affordable levels of pledging from maybe $1 to $25, could easily raise $5000 to manufacture CDs, merchandise, do some paid promotion, etc. Perhaps a more popular band with 500-1000 fans with pledge levels maybe up to $50 for a CD/ticket package could even fund an album, promotion, and small club tour.
As a fan of Amanda Palmer (and her previous band, Dresden Dolls) I was happy to pledge for the album (and if you’ve listened to the video, you can hear some of the songs). But as a musician myself, I’m excited about the possibility of funding future releases and shows via Kickstarter. I thought of doing that for The Misery EP but it had been so long since our first release Grasping At Straws that I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest at all. Now that we’re “back on the map” perhaps that’s what I’ll do for the next one.