Category Archives: Remix Culture

Keeping Up With Buzzsonic

I was using Twitter Tools to gather my machine gun Twitter feed and post the days shouting into one neat post over here. Worked OK for a while, but after a WordPress update somewhere (I don’t know which one) things started getting a bit moody with the database and I found I was getting duplicate posts every day which was a real pain to edit out daily.

So, have been looking for an alternative that looked a little better too and am now trying out Twitter Blackbird Pie, which basically uses shortcodes to post selected tweets in a blog post like thus..

[blackbirdpie id=”188582647847600129″]

Actually looks much better than what I was doing here (let me know what you think OK).

[blackbirdpie id=”188575222360834048″]

Having said that, am looking into the new beta of Twitter Tools, so may well revert back or use a combination of both!

[blackbirdpie id=”188560953204420608″]

Other ways of keeping track of the resources I post via Twitter are at my Delicious account, which grabs all the URL’s I post (why they had to mess up Trunk.ly I don’t know), and another really cool tool I’ve been using is Twylah, which basically grabs your Tweets and arranges them in a neat categorised news display, excellent!

Off The Wall Music Marketing Tips And Ideas Pt.1

Old School Marketing

My experience of marketing my music was started back in the late 80s I guess when my idea of ‘marketing’ was spending time stuffing envelopes full of cassette demos and posting them off to indie radio shows in the UK, major record labels, venues and indie fanzines.

vinyl-lives

Out of a mail out of around fifty tapes (yes tapes!) we got three positive responses. One was a phone call from Steve Lamacq (now at BBC Radio 1) who was helping out at Radio London at the time on the Gary Crowley Demo Clash show. We were being played on air in London as part of the demo clash show, which we were winning too. The DJs would play four new bands, the listeners would phone in and vote for their favorite.

As a result of that airplay we had some major label interest and a London showcase gig. Nothing came of that band (the archive is on MySpace though) though it was fuel enough for me to pursue other musical ventures with some commercial success in the UK some time later.

hooked

I’d managed to blag my way into some free studio time at a small studio in London by doing some work as a label runner and promoter and as a result we’d secured a P&D deal with a distributor. An unknown artist presenting a new track on a pristine piece of 12 inch vinyl drew more attention than the old method of the cassette tape and it eventually lead to a deal with a Warner’s sub-label.

Welcome To The New School

Killer marketing tactics will only get you so far but if the music isn’t up to scratch all the effort and money in the world is ultimately going to lead to failure. Get the song right and the breakthrough will eventually take care of itself.

Having said that you can help yourself make some noise using the tools available online today. And being a bit clever about it to set yourself apart from the herd.

One of the things I did that helped re-launched my music was to offer up various parts (vocals, hook, Midi file) of two of my tracks for remix. Its nothing new nowadays, in fact its positively de-rigueur. You can offer parts of your tracks up for download on your own site and MySpace or even newer web communities like MixMatchMusic.

With DIY remix culture exploding and related software becoming more powerful and affordable, sonic manipulators are growing hungry for disassembled pop music, and the music industry is beginning to see the benefit of increased exposure through releasing remix stems directly to the public.

Release a limited edition vinyl single. Its going to cost you around $900 for 500 7 inch singles but the prestige that would add to your release would be invaluable. Since the rise of Napster and, later, iTunes, a market for single songs has been reborn, and one of the unintended benefactors has been the seven-inch. Even Sub Pop Records’ famous singles club has been reactivated.

you

Singles are also highly collectible. “The punk and indie-rock undergrounds have always been particularly fond of the seven-inch as a badge of fanhood, something doled out in limited quantities and often specific circumstances – on certain tour dates or on labels available only in a certain region.” (from the Toronto Star)

A DJing contact of mine came up with an excellent idea for sending out DJ mixes of his in an effort to get club bookings (if you haven’t released a 12 inch single that’s kicked up some dust!). Rather than do the usual task of sending out CDs he spent something like $200 on iPod Shuffle’s, put his mix on there and sent them out to promoters. It got an immediate reaction just for the original way he presented himself. He also happened to be a great DJ which helped too of course but the bookings he got back as a result paid for the outlay.

Makeamixa do some great looking cassette USB drives which would be great as limited edition albums or to do a cheaper version of the above DJ tactic.

Other Music Marketing Tipsters

Digital distributor Tunecore have these tips to help you promote your release once you get it placed on iTunes and other major distributors. They’re also doing video distribution nowadays too. They also have a bunch of free PDF marketing guides.

Andrew Dubber’s New Music Strategies give some useful insight with How Can I Sell My Music Online? “There are variations on this theme, but essentially it boils down to this very simple question: now that there’s this internet thing, where’s the money and how do I get at it? What’s the best way to sell music online?”

Tom Robinson explains the answer to the questions, Should I Put My Future Hit On MySpace? and Does Your Music Have Value? on his excellent blog.”The more seriously artists treats their own work the more seriously other people will take it. A series of full commercial releases gives you a better chance of airplay at radio. It also gives you a discography.”

Max Lowe writes, 7 Tips To Writing A Crowd Drawing MySpace Blog, “You must write frequently and often for more than one reason. First, the search engines will pick up your blog quicker and more often if you post every day or two. Second, your readers will return more often if they know there is going to be new content every day.

And I couldn’t write this without mentioning something from CDBaby founder Derek Sivers, in particular his much quoted (worth another mention here), Derek Sivers 7 Rules Of Marketing. “Stop thinking of it as Marketing and start thinking of it as creative ways to be considerate. Think of things from the other person’s point of view”.

We’ll have part two later this week. Ideas and suggestions please leave comments!

Related Links

Steve Lamacq (Lamacq Central) MySpace
Tunecore Music Survival Guides (Tunecore.com)
Tips For Playing SXSW (Tom Robinson, MySpace blog)
How To Send CDs To Radio (TomRobinson.com)
BBC-One Music How To..Fat Guides (BBC Radio 1)
30+ Essential Music Industry Resources And Links (Buzzsonic.com)
Should I Put My Future Hit On MySpace? (TomRobinson.com)
XFM Uploaded (XFM Radio)
Radiohead Remix (RadioheadRemix.com)
Remix Culture Is Exploding (Evolving Music)
The Mash Up Revolution (Salon.com)
Record Label Resource (RecordLabelResource.com)
How To Get Your Music Distributed On iTunes (And Keep Most Of The Money) (Buzzsonic.com)
Vinyl 45s Make A Come Back (TheStar.com)
Facebook Music Marketing Tactics (NotEvilMusic.com)

Coldplay Meet Jay-Z In Mixtape Mash-up

Wikipedia describes mash-ups (or bastard pop) as a song created out of pieces of two or more songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the music track of another. One cultural commentator went a little deeper explaining, “It is merely the latest incarnation of a widely shared, deeply embedded cultural habit of cultural recombination across time and space.” Got that?

Someone else once said “all plagiarism is necessary its takes the wrong idea and replaces it with the right one”. With that in mind I find that mash-ups have actually been educational for me by taking two artists I’d never listen to alone, twisting them into something new and actually getting me to seek out original works of both artists.

vivalahovamickboogieterryur

After writing  about the Green Day album ‘American Edit’ here (who’s whole career was launched by plagiarizing Stiff Little Fingers) and hearing ‘Give Me Novacaine’ in the blender with Queens ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (as ‘Novacaine Rhapsody’) it forced me to re-evaluate both artists. I’ve also mentioned a variety of mash-up projects here including Primal Scream, War Of The Worlds, The Beatles, Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. Not all great, but always interesting.

Latest album mash-up to pop up on the radar (admittedly its been around a few weeks now) is ‘Viva La Hova’ which takes some of the better known Coldplay moments and heaps Jay-Z over the top. Over the top sounds a little raw as these things are actually woven together with intricate precision  by  Brooklyn based mixtape crew Mick Boogie & Terry Urban.

Its very good too with big Coldplay hits like the Scientist, Clocks, In My Place, Trouble and Fix You all getting twisted and reborn into hip-hop epics and not sounding out of place either. Jetcomx blog writer Jim Fields illustrates things a little better.

” Late one night, I was at a small party, doing DJ duty and selecting songs on my iPod. I searched for a while, scrolled to a song, then clicked “play.” Chris Martin, of Coldplay, began to croon out his slow ballad, “Fix You.”

Initially, the crowd was not happy with this choice. “When you feel so tired that you can’t sleep,” Chris sang, slowly. “Stuck in reverse!” he whispered. Suddenly, the word “reverse” began repeating, and a bass beat started thumping. People at the party started tapping their feet. The beat built up, people started dancing, and by the time Jay-Z (aka Jazzy, Sean Carter, Jiggaman, Hova, The Roc, etc.) began rapping, the party was bumping. Such is the brilliance of Viva La Hova.”

Apparently the whole thing has already been given the thumbs up by Jay-Z himself. The rapper had an official co-lab with Coldplay late last year when he  dropped in for a guest verse on the Viva La Vida single “Lost!”, retitled “Lost+” and appears on the ‘Prospekts March’ EP.

Download The Album Here, here and here .

Related Links

Viva La Hova (IllRoots.com)
Mixtape Mondays: Jay-Z vs Coldplay:Viva La Hova (Jetcomx.com)

The David Lynch Mash Up Album

An often overlooked aspect of David Lynch’s movie-making excellence is his choice of music and sound. Late last year saw the release of ‘Mashed In Plastic: The David Lynch Mash-up Album’ a collection of re-interpretations of some of the more memorable audio moments lifted from David Lynch movie soundtracks.

Mashed In Plastic gathers together a veritable who’s who of  mashup creators like Colatron,  Wax Audio, Phil RetroSpector, The Who Boys, ToToM, Voicedude, RIAA, G3RSt, Neiltomo and The Reborn Identity amongst others.

 
The Mashed in Plastic trailer features the music of Angelo Badalamenti, David Bowie and Rammstein, plus the man himself, David Lynch.

Its a varied and adventurous collection spanning eighteen tracks and David Lynch himself opens up the collection on Colatron’s ‘The Voice of Love Is Crying’ with a few words of his own. “Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.”

The track molds together Rebekah Del Rio’s haunting “Llorando” ( a Spanish language version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’) from Mulholland Drive, bits of Angelo Badalamenti, Chopin and Burial.

Wax Audio somehow manage to make the Beatles ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and Badalamenti’s theme from Blue Velvet sound made for each other on ‘Blue Rigby’ and Phil Retrospector twists the Beatles into another unlikely duet, this time with Julee Cruise with ‘In My Twin Life’.

David Lynch Mashup

Overall, as befits most anything Lynch does (although this a totally unsanctioned release of course) the whole album is a real oddity given the source material.  The remixers have added some quirks and pop twists of their own too with some unexpected sound collabs, just like the best mashers always do. So expect to hear bits of the Jackson 5, Kylie Minogue, Garbage, Leona Lewis, Smashing Pumpkins and Roni Size in amongst all the weirdness.

Mashed In Plastic Tracklisting, Download, Video

Related Links

David Lynch (IMDB.com)  (Wikipedia) (DavidLynch.com)
Artsy David Lynch Page

Musical Mash Up Of The Moment

Was Googling around catching up on the latest DJ mash-ups/bastard pop mutations, which I have written about on here quite a few times, when I stumbled across this older musical mash-up from DJ Party Ben. I’ve been a big fan of Ben’s Frankenstein pop mutations for a while now and somehow I missed this one which he actually did a few years ago now.

Its a mash-up of  the Eric B and Rakim classic, ‘Paid In Full’ and the White Stripes, ‘My Doorbell’. More importantly he uses ‘Coldcut’s Seven Minutes of Madness Mix’ of ‘Paid In Full’ which first appeared in the UK on 4th & Broadway 12 inch vinyl over twenty years ago. I remember Eric B dismissing the remix at the time but it continues to be as timeless as ever and for me is up there as one of the best remixes of all time.

In the spirit of Double Dee and Steinski, Coldcut breathe new life into Eric B’s already genius work, adding a story line and surreal imagery over one of the most subtly infectious bass lines in hip-hop history.

And that all encompassing Eric B bass line was pilfered from Dennis Edwards ‘Don’t Look Any Further’. Coincidentally  Snoop Dog appears in the frat house movie classic, ‘Old School’ doing a live version of ‘Paid In Full’.

Back to the point of the original Google search. I was looking for the brilliant DJ Schmolli (Kooks vs. Beasties) mash-up, ‘Sabotaging the Kooks’ a  raucous slice of genuine pop genius and one that actually got national airplay on BBC Radio One’s morning show. You can find the free track download here.

Related Links

White Stripes ‘My Doorbell’ YouTube.com

Eric B and Rakim ‘Paid In Full’ YouTube.com

The Best Music Biz Book You’ve Never Heard Of

Sometimes when I’m looking around for inspiration for a post I’ll start researching one then wander off into a completely new subject matter all together. I began the weekend writing a piece on physical music distribution tips and ended up stumbling onto the KLF (again) via a 2007 link on Metafilter.

The Manual

* “Be ready to ride the big dipper of the mixed metaphor. Be ready to dip your hands in the lucky bag of life, gather the storm clouds of fantasy and anoint your own genius. ”

That reminded me of when I first discovered the book ‘The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way)‘ . It was the early 90s (though the book originally appeared in 1988) and I’d been stumbling around as lead singer of the Fruit Eating Bears (not the 70s punk band of the same name) travelling from one disastrous gig to the next for a while and it was getting boring.

* “All bands end in tantrums, tears and bitter acrimony. So if in a band, quit. Get out. Now. That said, it can be very helpful to have a partner, someone who you an bounce ideas off and vice versa. Any more than two of you and actions develop and you may as well be in politics.”

I’d happened across ‘the Manual’ at the local library (pre-Google!) and was fascinated by the straightforward and easy to understand instructions on how to have a hit record. I quit the band after one more drunken gig and fled to London from South Yorkshire and decided to pursue a ‘career’ in dance music.

The appeal of getting involved with dance music was mainly due to the fact that you didn’t have to learn to play an instrument first, and you could steal all the best ideas using samples from other records. Brilliant.

* “If you are already a musician stop playing your instrument. Even better, sell the junk. It will become clearer later on but just take our word for it for the time being. Sitting around tinkering with the Portastudio or musical gear (either ancient or modern) just complicates and distracts you from the main objective.”

Every other book on the music industry then and probably every one since has made getting involved in the music industry sound about as exciting as a lifetime career as an accountant in a sewing factory and as complex as studying to be a brain surgeon.

It took me about two years (compared to the books suggested three months) but by 1995 I’d had that illusive hit record in the UK top 40 pop charts with a record that had the vocals stolen from an acapella from the b-side of an Italian single and the disco hook from an old disco record (naturally). This blatant disregard for sample clearance protocol lost me 40% of the publishing but looking at it philosophically, 60% of something was always better than 100% of nothing.

Better still, the hit record and a follow up had both been released by 80s pop factory PWL, the hit machine given the thumbs up by the authors Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty in the book.

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” — Hunter S. Thompson  (#source correction)

Surprisingly the book hasn’t lost much of its appeal since it first appeared twenty years ago. If you’re American lots of the 80s cultural references will be lost on you (that’s what Wikipedia’s for right) but a lot of the instruction is still relevant today and with the advent since of social media, 90s Napster/P2P and downloads counting towards sales charts (none of which were around in 1988) its probably even more easier.

Other successful acts have since used the long since out of print book as a ‘blueprint’. Edelweiss, the Pipettes and most recently successful UK ‘nu-rave’ act the Klaxons have confessed to having also used the book as an ‘influence’.

* “It’s obvious that in a very short space of time the Japanese will have delivered the technology and then brought the price of it down so that you can do the whole thing at home. Then you will be able to sod off all that crap about going into studios.” (Bill Drummond/Jimmy Cauty-1988)

* Quoted from ‘the Manual’ .

Seeing as the book is out of print (and listed at £65 on Amazon) there’s a txt download of the whole book here, or if you prefer a PDF download here. And at Scribd.

Gnarls Barkley Get Mashed

Its been a while since we featured any posts on musical mash-ups here. Since the last mention (the excellent Green Day mash) the word mash up has taken on a slightly different meaning. Now the term is more likely associated with the latest Google Maps Api mash up rather than the latest frankenstein pop remix flying out of some digital DJ’s laptop studio.

Gnarls Barkley gets mashed by NY DJs Sound Advice

Latest renegade remixers to join the fray are the Brooklyn based DJ duo Sound Advice who have ironically (see DJ Dangermouse) chosen to weld the music from the ubiquitous Gnarls Barkley album ‘St Elsewhere’ to the vocals from deceased rapper Biggie Smalls biggest hits.
The result is Gnarls Biggie a hit and miss collection of eleven tracks (all available as MP3’s naturally). ‘Smilie Faces Hypnotize’, ‘Gimme The Online Loot’ and ‘The Last Nasty Boy’ are worth more than one spin but the simple A vs. B formula is not nearly as inspired as the more elaborate examples of the ‘art’ like DJ Dangermouse’s (half of Gnarls Barkley) groundbreaking Beatles vs Jay Z mash up the ‘Grey Album’ or the aformentioned Green Day (or Dean Gray) remix project.

The guys have already got themselves banned from MySpace (though another ‘fan page’ has already sprung up). The cease and desist is in the post.

Related Reading

Gnarls Barkley Mashed Up with B.I.G (Spin.com)
Green Day Mash Up Leads to Cease and Desist Order, Grey Tuesday Style Protest (MTV News)
Grey Album Poducer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It (MTV News)
Gnarls Barkley (Wikipedia)
Sound Advice Blog (Blogspot)
Party Ben (PartyBen.com)
Mark Vidler (GoHomeProductions)
Grey Tuesday:A Quick Overview of the Legal Terrain (EFF.org)
Grey Tuesday-Free the Grey Album (GreyTuesday.org)

Green Day Mash-Up Gets Cease and Desist

The brilliant Green Day mash-up album we mentioned a few days ago has already had the plugged pulled by Warner Bros music officials apparently.

You can follow the subject at mashers hang out Get Your Bootleg On. Naturally the old download link is now dead but there’s a growing groundswell of support for the project just as there was for the famed (and similarily outlawed) DJ Dangermouse mashup, ‘The Grey Album’. You can, as of this minute grab the album here and read up further on the planned music activism set for December 13th.

Elsewhere this week we’ve stumbled across a Madonna mash-up project (‘the Immaculate Concoction’), one from Radiohead and a 50 Cent/Queen ‘co-lab’. Of course the artists themselves are blissfully unaware of all the DiY remix activity going on.

Related Links

Dean Grey Tuesday (Alt.fm)
RIAA Targets Mash-Ups (BoingBoing.com)
Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash up of Music and Politics (FirstTuesday.org)
Raiding The 20th Century, the History of the Cut-up (Musicalbear.com)
The Grey Album by DJ Dangermouse (BannedMusic.org)

Green Day Get Mashed (Again)

We’re big fans of well done mash-ups here at Buzzsonic and one of the better done bootleg DJ mash-ups (or, unofficial remix/bastard pop to give it two of its many names) in the last eighteen months has easily been San Francisco DJ Party Bens ‘remodel’ of Green Days ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ (as Boulevard of Broken Songs) which seemlessly mixes up Green Day and Oasis and throws in a bit of Travis for good measure. There’s even a companion video mashup of the audio mashup here.

Now Australian mashers Team 9 have taken on the whole of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ album with great effect.

‘American Edit’ grabs the album, shakes out all the crap bits and sprinkles the whole project liberally with cheeky samples from the likes of Johnny Cash, Queen, the KLF and Ashanti, amongst plenty more. Wholely applauded at the ‘bootleg barometer’ GYBO.
Stand out track for us is ‘Novacaine Rhapsody’ a brilliant mixup of ‘Give Me Novacaine’ and Queens ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, pure brilliance. Grab the album while you can here.

Get Your Mash On….

Get Your Bootleg On (GYBO)
NWA As Remixed Illegal Art (Buzzsonic)
Primal Scream Get The Mash-up Treatment (Buzzsonic)
Beatmixed (Beatmixed.com)

Google RSS News Scraper Appears

News search experts have long been wishing for Google News search results to be dished out as RSS feeds. For a company usually renown for its forward thinking innovation Google have been slow to usher in any serious useage of RSS feeds, mainly because the search power house has been actively supporting the rival syndication format Atom.
ScrappyGoo offers unofficial RSS feeds from Google News
No sooner said than done. ScrappyGoo is an unofficial app that lets you search Google News and generates a unique RSS feed of the results. By default, each feed has sixteen entries and uses standard boolean operators.

ScrappyGoo uses Gnews2RSS, an open source, experimental PHP script developed by British programmer Julian Bond . He’s already run fowl of Google when he was hit with a cease-and-desist order last year.

And then there was two. Just as I was finishing this post another Google RSS news generator came to my attention. The GNewsfeed from Justin Pfister also offers geo targetted results.

Thanks to John Batelle’s Searchblog

Related Links

Google Moves to Block RSS Scraping [Internet News April 2004]
Google News RSS/RDF Feed Generator [XML Mania] now blocked
Google Mulls RSS Support [CNet News]