PBS animated a portion of a 1986 interview with Joni Mitchell.  It's pretty cool how it's done.  I really brings the dialogue to life.

There are some hopeful signs for musicians in Bandcamp's 2016 report.  Digital album downloads up 20%, CD sales up 14%, vinyl sales up 48%.  IN ONE YEAR!  All this while the music industry overall is seeing a decline in everything but streaming.

Not only that, but they increased their staff in one year by 43%.  Now that's growth!

LANDR, the artificial intelligence mastering site, published a list of 10 free VST plugins for drums.

I had a lot of fun going through them and listening to the demo tracks or   videos.  It's amazing what high quality stuff you can get out there for free these days.  Personally, I don't think it's good thing that so much is free.  Yes, it seems good for me and other musicians in the short term, but I think it means that in the long run more musicians aren't going to be making any money.

 

My new album, "Isolated Incidents," will be released early in January, hopefully around the 7th.  It is very different from "Billion Dollar Pill."  It is instrumental, free-form improvisations on an Animoog synthesizer app.  The tracks start and one place and end at another, often paying little attention to typical musical conventions like time signature and key signature.  They are inspired by all the things that happen every day in nature that have their own rhythm and melody.  Traditional musical forms that are noted and require a musician to play the piece in a very specific way are authoritarian by design.  The tracks on "Isolated Incidents" are only intended to be played once and never repeated in the exact same way again.

There are some similarities with the work of John Cage, Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins, though Hopkins and Eno are generally more structured.

Here is a picture of the cover.

So check back after January 7th and give it a listen.

I know have physical CDs of my album Billion Dollar Pill.  You can order them from CDbaby.com and Bandcamp.  Currently both sites have a way to buy them for $5.  I hope I don't have to do that for too long.

My songs are in another Spotify playlist.  They're all songs about death.  There are some really good ones by artists like Sufjan Stevens, Eminem, The Rolling Stones, Death Cab for Cutie, The Doors, Eric Clapton and many others. (The list will probably change over time but these names are from the current list.)

A couple of my songs have been added to a Spotify playlist.  It's a good playlist. Why not have a listen and follow it?

Seattle's own excellent public radio station, KEXP, has a very informative article by John Richards called Working Towards Radid AirPlay  which offers many suggestions about how indie musicians can get their music played on the radio.  I have one issue with it, however, and that has to do how to get your album to a station in order for them to consider playing it.

He does advocate sending a hard copy of your album, even if you have sent a stream. 

Media formats are constantly evolving. I get music files and streams on a daily basis. It works the same way as records for me. For instance, I recently got the new M83 single sent to me and it hasn’t been on the radio yet. Did I go right to the file and listen? Hell yes — I know M83 is a great band. Was I rewarded by doing this? Hell yes — it sounded great. Now imagine all the other emails I’m getting as well, which are a lot. That’s the nature of the job but you have to remember that. What most stations have is a “MD”, which isn’t a doctor of airplay but a “Music Director”. If you’re a small band, new band, whatever, it’s going to be hard to get their attention. Send it but make sure you let the MD know why they should listen to you and if possible, send a hard copy as well. With a DJ you should do the same. The worse they can do is ignore you. We still have plenty of stations that use CD players.

CDs can be very expensive in small runs.  Then there's the time and the postage to get it into the mail.  Worst of all, since most of songs being sent in will never be chosen to be played on air, it's a total waste of plastic.  My preference would be to send digital FLAC or WAV files, or a physical CD if the station requests it after listening to all or part of the album in a digital stream.

It's great that we live at a time when it's so easy, cheap and environmentally friendly to get your music to a station. 

I went to the open mic at the Slippery Pig Brewery in Poulsbo, WA on Tuesday night.  It has been over two months since I last performed live.

The last few times I was there, very few musicians showed up and the crowd was small.  Tuesday was a welcome surprise because the roster was full and there were some excellent players.

It was the first time that I've ever played keyboard at an open mic.  I usually play guitar.  It sounded very good through the sound system, but on my final song, Your Face, which uses one of the canned rhythm tracks the bass was too loud and it sounded really distorted.  The people at the front table also said it was too loud.  But they must have heard the song because they said they loved it.  Always good to hear that!

 

I discovered a problem with the blog on my Hostbaby website.  If I copy a quote from an article that I'm blogging about, I can't post it into my Hostbaby blog.  I called their tech support about this and the only suggestion the rep had was to paste into an intermediate application like Notepad and then try copying and pasting from there.  It didn't work.

I've never had this problem before.  I've been using Chrome as my browser.  So I tried Firefox.  It wouldn't paste either and gave me a message that it was a security problem so copying and pasting had been turned off.  It said I could enable those features again by changing my preferences, but it would make the browser less secure.  So maybe it's a security issue in Chrome as well.

Finally, I tried using Safari on my iPad and I had no problem copying from an article and pasting it into his blog.  So I guess that will be workaround from now on.

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