The Sound of the Crowd

As many of you will no doubt already know, making music can be an expensive business and in these times of austerity, cut backs and the general decline of the record industry, it has become ever harder to raise the money to produce a decent recording.

Yes, music can now be made on just about any PC, laptop, or phone using various apps and computer programs, but there is still no real substitute for a decent recording studio, a good mixing desk, a producer/engineer and then the mastering of a finished product.

All of that costs money, which is one thing usually in short supply, especially for unsigned acts, or those on the lower rungs of the musical ladder. But never fear, hope is at hand.

Crowdfunding is increasingly coming to the rescue and is helping many acts get their music recorded and released.

For the uninitiated this works by friends, family, fans, or anyone else for that matter, pledging money to a particular project, via a website. There is always a funding target to be met and a closing date for giving pledges. Pledgers are then given various levels of funding options, all of which usually come with their own ‘reward’.

Services such as Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/) and Pledge Music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/) are even being used now by local bands. For example, local rockers Hornet have used Pledge Music to help with the costs of recording their debut album and their upcoming EP.

Now two more local acts are turning to crowdfunding to raise funds for future projects.

First we have Edd Blakeley, who is probably best known for his work with The Tabs and his father, Garry Blakeley. But he is now turning his attention away from Folk and towards something more Classical/Orchestral, ‘The Rosetta Suite’.

As Edd explained to Pierless Music, “The Rosetta Suite will be a full length album of orchestral music inspired by the Rosetta comet mission success.

The resounding success of the Rosetta space mission and its emotional impact on the world was truly inspiring. So much so that I picked up my pen, and started writing some orchestral music.

Over the next 6 months, I’ll be finishing this orchestral album of between 30-50 minutes of music. Much of it is already written, and follows the story of the Rosetta mission, its characters, successes and setbacks; all of it painted in vivid orchestral colour.”

You can find out more and listen to the opening movement of the Suite here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1611410447/rosetta-an-orchestral-album

Pledging packages for ‘The Rosetta Suite’ run from just £2, right up to £1,000 which would give you a Producers credit on the finished album and much more besides.

Edd is looking to raise a total of £2,500 and the closing date for pledges is 9th, January 2015. He is nearly 50% there already!

This sounds like a great idea and a very interesting project too and if the opening movement is anything to go by, the full Suite will be well worth listening to.

The second funding campaign is from one of the more recent arrivals to the local musical community, Tom Williams.

Tom’s band, The Boat, are currently taking a break so Tom is intending to release a seven track mini album of more acoustic based songs written on his battered Martin guitar.

Tom explained some of the reasons behind this new project: “Two years ago, just as the band were starting to record Easy Fantastic, I bought a new guitar. At the time I had never bought such an expensive instrument before and it scared the spit out of me. It was a beautiful battered and bruised Martin acoustic from 1971, and as soon as I got it home songs started falling out of it.”

You can find out more and listen to demo’s on Tom’s Pledge Music page here:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tomwilliamsminialbum

Pledging packages run from £6, which will get you a digital download of the finshed album, right up to £200, which will give you the chance to write and produce a song with Tom himself. He’ll even bring his portable studio to your house to do so!

Tom has already raised 75% of his total and you still have 98 days left to pledge.

Crowdfunding is now being used by all sorts of different enterprises and it’s easy to see why. From a musical point of view one great aspect of all this is that fans of the various acts get to be involved with their favourite artists and help them release new music that might otherwise never see the light of day. It’s also one more way of reinforcing that personal bond between the artist and the fan, which can only be a good thing for all concerned.

Pierless Music wish both Edd and Tom all the best with their own projects and look forward to hearing the finished results.

Why not get involved yourself and help these two exciting new local music projects get off the ground?

Local Musicians Get Govt Money

Whatever you think about this, or any other Government, they do have the means to help various sections of society, if they so choose.

Well, the current Government have now invested £550,000 of our money to help promote some of the hottest new musical talent from the UK.

The Music Export Growth Scheme was set up to try and replicate the international success of such acts as Alt-J, Mumford and Sons, and Bastille, to name a few. The scheme is administered by UK Trade and Investment, and the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI).

Today the Music Export Growth Scheme announced grants of between £5,000 to £50,000 to 14 different UK acts, all aiming to take their music to a worldwide audience.

It’s a pretty diverse list of acts, as can be seen here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/taxpayer-funds-acid-punk-and-thrash-metal-as-trade-minister-picks-new-music-stars-for-grants-9307434.html

One of the great things about this list is that it contains two bands that have current members who live and are based in Hastings.

The first are Savage Messiah, who’s guitarist Joff Bailey has played in local bands for several years, before joining the London based band. They are in the process of releasing their second album ‘The Fateful Dark’. They have been awarded money for ‘European Tour Support and Promotion / Marketing’.

The second band to receive money are Skinny Lister, a folk/rock band, two of whose members are now based in Hastings. Skinny Lister have toured the USA several times and are due to return there again very shortly. Their most recent album ‘Forge and Flagon’ was released in 2012 and very good it is too. They have been awarded money for ‘USA and Japan Tour Support’.

Well done to both bands for getting through the selection process and being picked to help represent the UK music scene across the world. We wish them well.

On another level it helps showcase the great musical talent that we have in the Hastings area and that we are attracting to the town, because of the wonderful local music scene.

Hopefully this will help to inspire and encourage many more local musicians to attempt to follow in their footsteps.

Con£ribute

We were told about a brand new idea recently, an idea that may well help bands get paid for gigs, instead of them having to play for nothing, or even ‘Pay to Play’.

The idea is called ‘Con£ribute’ and is the brainchild of local promoter John Knowles. John explains his ideas below and we at Pierless Music would like to know what you think about them. We think this has the potential to be a great idea, but what do you think?

Incidentally, the first local Con£ribute gig is being held at The Roomz, St Leonards on Sunday, 27th April and features ‘Dead Belgian’, playing the songs of Jacques Brel.

CON£RIBUTE:

Imagine the scene, the gig has been great, everyone loved the band and encores have been played, the bar looks at the takings and gives up the 10% it promised to the band and low and behold it’s a staggering £30… which as the band has come down from Liverpool via a gig in London, is something of a slap in the face. So doing my promoter bit, I go round and shake the bucket and watch as people drop in silver coins, no notes and then a handful of copper coins… Really! That’s it? Copper coins for a band you’ve just made do an encore, whilst you hug your pint of ‘nadgers old peculiar’.

It won’t be the first or last time that despite having paid for the posters and offering bed and board and food to the band, that I’ll also be chipping in with my own cash to make the offering a little less embarrassing and it won’t be the last time that I take out the copper coins so at least the band doesn’t see the shameful offering, but it shouldn’t be like this, should it.

Why is it when we go to a gig, in this, one of the most musical towns in the UK, do we expect to pay the band nothing, or as good as, why are the musicians who have entertained you for the night worth less than the price of a pint. Why don’t we / you Con£ribute.

Many venues do of course pay the bands and whilst those of us on both sides would like the fee’s to be better, we respect that it’s a tough environment for publicans and compromise is the middle man. But for many venues, paying a decent amount for a band, an amount we know would be fair, is just not a working possibility. For many bands and promoters we’d rather be out there playing than doing what we love than not. But there has to be a better way, a fairer way, a way in which the band gets more than a pint and a derisory hand full of coins.

Con£ribute is an idea, a simple way to signal that the gig you are at needs your support. It says this venue loves live music and supports bands, but can’t give them more than 10% from the till, it says, if you like the music you heard then Con£ribute.

Con£ribute is not a get out for venues to pay nothing, it’s a support for hard working bands and musicians and a help to venues and promoters who are genuinely trying to do their best by the musicians. So when you see the sign in the window CON£RIBUTE, it means when the bucket comes round put in the price of a pint £2.50 / £3.00, it doesn’t mean pull out a handful of copper coins.

CON£RIBUTE is an idea and we welcome your views; is it workable, do you think it’s fair, as a punter would you honestly put in a fair amount or would you be tempted to just shrug your shoulders, lets start a small revolution, pay the piper the price of a pint?

Con£tribute is an idea from Fetch, a local company specialising in live events:
Contact them via: theneverplayed@gmail.com
http://theneverplayed.wix.com/fetch-productions

So, what do you think? Please let us know.

Going Into The Studio?

We came across these two videos recently and thought we’d share them with you.

If you are in a band, or even if you’re a solo act and you’re going into the recording studio any time soon, they are well worth watching.

They may well save you a lot of time, effort and money.

Warning: Both videos contain very strong language!

Another word of warning. He’s not very complimentary about bass players. So, if you’re a bass player, you might want to cover your ears at certain points.

Part 1:

Here’s Part 2:

Now, go and make that record.

Blog Post – Selling Your Music Online.

Phil Little has written another very informative and interesting blog post for Pierless Music, this time all about selling your music online.

It’s one of those topics that has raised its head for most original bands and musicians over the past few years. But, as with anything like this, it can be a bit of a minefield out there with many different companies offering you their services. So, which is the best one to go with?

Hopefully, Phil will give you at least some of the answers in his post.

Find it here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/phil-little/selling-your-music-online/

The Richest Songs In The World

Recently we featured a blog post, written for Pierless Music by Phil Little, called ‘Copyright Issues For Musicians’. You can find it here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/phil-little/copyright-issues-for-musicians/

In that post Phil talks about, amongst other things, songwriting and the royalties that can be earned by the writers of songs.

Well, over the Christmas period BBC4, where else, broadcast a programme all about the richest songs in the world. In the programme they counted down the Top 10 biggest earning songs of all time. You can watch that programme here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pjrt5/The_Richest_Songs_in_the_World/

The programme is well worth watching for a number of reasons. Partly to see if you can guess what those Top 10 songs are and i guarantee that at least some of the lower ranked songs will surprise you. I guessed the top two correctly, but was way out with many of the others.

But, also because they explain the copyright process for the writers and musicians involved as they go along. They also talk about the legal side of songwriting and how things can go wrong.

So, all in all, it’s a show worth seeking out, especially if you’re a songwriter yourself.

Just remember to write a decent Christmas song and you’ll be ok, probably.

Hornet Need Your Help

Local Hastings hard rockers, Hornet, have announced details for their long awaited, as yet untitled, debut album which is set for release in June 2013.

And they want you to be a part of the process.

Hornet are set to record with young, up and coming producer Phil Kinman at his studio in London. Mastering engineer of Iron Maiden’s ‘From Fear To Eternity’, Ade Emsley, is set to master the album.

Hornet are trying a brand new approach to help fund the recording of their debut album. It’s called Pledge Music and it’s a new hands-on, direct-to-fan, fund raising platform.

Many bands and artists are now taking advantage of this new idea, including Ginger Wildheart, The Rasmus and The Libertines to name but a few.

Pledge Music follows the same principle as ‘Kickstarter’, a fund raising platform for start up businesses and other projects which you may have seen featured in the media recently.

Fans can ‘pledge’ for an advance copy of the album which will be pre-released through Pledge Music in April 2013, with 10% of any money raised above the target figure going to Macmillan Cancer Support. A very worthy cause.

There are several different levels and amounts that fans can ‘pledge’, all of which come with their own reward package.
Prices start at just £8, which will get you a free download of the completed album and regular updates from the band. The maximum ‘pledge’ is for £3,000, which will buy you an original Hornet ‘Master’ CD.
Other rewards include a private show by the band, a European tour package and even a bonfire and camping party!

Pledge Music isn’t only available to fans in the UK either. You can get involved wherever you are in the world, so anyone can help Hornet make their own mark on rock history.

You can find out more information and ‘pledge’ here::

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/hornetdebutalbum

The band have even made a short video to accompany their fund raising campaign:

Ideas like Pledge Music and Kickstarter are a great way for bands and artists to help fund an album. Especially those who are just starting out and trying to get their foot into the music business door. It’s also a good way for fans of a band to get involved themselves and to feel more personally involved with the whole record making process.

So, if you’re a fan of Hornet, why not make a pledge yourself and be a part of the buzz around the band.

You can also find Hornet at: www.hornetrock.com