PLATFORMS

Saw this on Twitter recently, from Adam Bartlett of Gilead Media (copying and pasting because I don’t trust Twitter embeds will be around forever):

It’s so wild to watch the entire indie label world go from being based around forums and newsletters, to social media, and now on to…what? There isn’t a single platform I can think of that isn’t a complete shit hole right now.

Am I shaking my fist at a cloud right now? Maybe, I guess. But things were definitely cooler before the ALGORITHMS took over and I think that’s probably an indisputable fact.

via Twitter

Adam ain’t wrong.

Back in the early 2000s bands had websites and email list.

Along came MySpace, and lots of folks jumped there, and it became the #1 music site in 2006.

In the same year, Twitter launched. I think Facebook opened up to everyone, too. Bands and labels eventually moved the bulk of their “getting the word out” operations to these sites.

So over a decade of neglecting email lists and websites, as social media sites have revealed who they really serve (investors, advertisers, their boards, Elon Musk), and we’re left with a bunch of “followers” and “engagement,” which is about as useful as “thoughts” and “prayers.”

Email still works, regardless of the few people who leave comments saying “my inbox is a wreck, I miss so much stuff.”

These are the same people who follow 3000 accounts on social media platforms, and are probably among the 70% of the people who don’t see your social media posts anyways.

Start an email list, send to an email list.

“Yeah, but my fans don’t use email.”

Bullshit.

They use emails to sign up for social media accounts. They get receipts emailed to them for concert tickets and vinyl orders.

What’t the alternative? Are we just going to start making more video content for whatever Instagram is becoming? And TikTok?

A majority of bands and labels can’t even figure out how to use Twitter which has been around for over 15 years, but you’re telling me they’re gonna “figure out” the new breed of social media platforms?

Make music videos.
Post your songs.
Release your vinyl.

But for fucks sake put it on your website, email you fans, and go drink some coffee. Use the countless hours of banging your head against the wall over social media algorithms and go write a good song, or strike up a partnership that will go a lot further than a $20 “boosted” fucking post.

I AM SAD NOW

One of the things I told a friend was that I knew Taylor Hawkins more for his smile than his drumming. Now, of course, he was a fantastic drummer. But I ever video I saw of him, or photo, he was beaming. That smile was always there. It looks so whole and pure, grateful and affirming.

God dammit, it’s horrible to see him gone from this earth so soon. Just 50 years old.

THAT’S NOT OUTSHINED

If I know anything, it’s the intro to ‘Outshined’ by Soundgarden.

I was out running errands recently, and was in the mood for some 90s grunge, and of course went back to ‘Badmotorfinger.’ I asked Siri to play ‘Outshined’ via my Apple Music subscription, and for some reason it played the studio outtake version from the Super Deluxe Edition that came out whenever.

Fuck that.

That got me to dig into an external hard drive and look up the album of my ripped music, and there it was – an MP3 rip of the album I owned in the 90s, and that was the version I needed to hear.

That got me thinking – maybe I should get back to getting my old, ripped MP3s out and listening to music that way. I downloaded Swinsian and kicked the tires a bit.

That was fun for about 20 minutes, but then tracks were missing. Albums were split up because of different words being capitalized. Art work was gone.

Then I remembered what I love doing around 4 or 5pm – not being on my computer.

I’m on my computer most of the day everyday for work, and I don’t want to spend more time in the evening fixing fucking album spellings or artwork mismatches.

That got me looking at CD players again, and I found this amazing beauty; the Yamaha MCR-040, though I’ve seen it named the CRX-040, too.

It’s from 2010 or so, and I love it, and I need to get one, I think.

Via Gadget Guy

I’ve been feeling like I need to own more physical media, and I don’t really want to do vinyl, so I think re-building my CD collection is what I need to do.

ENJOYING THIS LIVE STREAMING THING

Unfortunately the only way to put a video of mine on this site is to upload it to YouTube, which seems silly, since this audio file actually expires in less than 24 hours, but just posting about it on social media ain’t the answer!

So if you read this blog – I make up these tones and sounds in real time, and stream them on Blast Radio, live to the world. To listen to you need to download the Blast Radio app, but I promise it’s pretty nice. Get it here.

On tonight’s broadcast I had four listeners, which is more than I had a week ago when I started doing this. So I’m just putting this here as a small piece of history. Not really aiming for the stars with this, after all, but I enjoy making these, so if you like them, tune in. Listen here while it’s still live.

Yes, I have downloaded archived copies of each stream, and will be putting them on Bandcamp in a bit. Stay tuned.

I’m going to do a live stream this Friday, January 14th at 9pm ET on both Blast Radio (audio only) and Mix Cloud which will have a video element – bookmark this page here.

My latest mix (#20) was live streamed last Friday. Click below to listen..

I’ve watched a lot of people get into the live streaming thing, mostly on Twitch, or Instagram Live, neither of which I enjoy. Right now Blast Radio and Mixcloud do the job, but my ultimate set up would be something I control, on my own domain name, on my own website.

But that’s a project for another evening.

CREATED FOR MYSELF

Found this quote from an artist today while sourcing tracks for an upcoming Goodnight, Metal Friend mix:

“These tracks were originally created as a source of inspiration for both myself and meditative purposes.”

Ran Kirlian

For myself. And meditative purposes.

As I recklessly pay for hosting and domain names and set up a newsletter for Goodnight, Metal Friend, I think that’s the biggest part.

I love my new site (see it here). It makes my eyes light up, seeing all the mixes I’ve produced over nearly two years.

The newsletter on Substack will be partly meditative, too. A log of the journey, seeing where all this goes.

Putting this out into the world doesn’t feel like obligation, like a regimented “content creation” schedule that I must adhere to. The easiest “posting schedule” or whatever is simply sharing what you make every now and again.

A lot of people won’t get it. Some people might. In the end, it’s for me.

GOODNIGHT, METAL FRIEND #18

In a world of high energy everything – Twitch streams, podcasts, DJ sets – I seek low energy vibes. Give me chill. Give me late night coffee. Give me walks at night.

Making these dark ambient sleepy time mixes are very calming and soothing for me.

Tracks used:

https://proxhus.bandcamp.com/track/bones-pt-2

https://jamesparrott.bandcamp.com/album/drone-92?from=hp

https://ghunzul.bandcamp.com/track/white-emptiness

https://edgeofoctober.bandcamp.com/track/repression

https://winterblood78.bandcamp.com/track/heilige-linien

https://sutekhproductions.bandcamp.com/track/scapegoat-merge-with-space

GOING LIVE WITH HUNTERTHEN

Sunday evening HUNTERTHEN live mixing. Listen live on Blast then it’ll be available for 24 hours. After that it’s gone.

On Blast Radio, artists get their own radio station to broadcast what they want, when they want. From talking to tracking, album debuts to venue performances, daily request radio to live production sessions, rehearsals to reviews. Listen to the artists you love share what they love.

Blast

I started making these as mixes, and called them Goodnight, Metal Friend.

I would search for hours on Bandcamp, sourcing the sound and vibe I wanted. Now I’m finally figuring out how to make my own as HUNTERTHEN.

Dark ambient? Drone? Atmospheric gloom? I don’t know.

Something mechanical. Robotic.

It’s like you’re in sleeping bunk on a futuristic space train. I dig it. And been nerding out to it since the pandemic started. Weird hobby, I know.

Going to try to stream live to Blast in the evenings, when the days are winding down. Install the app, maybe, and find me on there as hunterthen. The app will notify you when I’m live.

I tried doing the same on Twitch, but holy shit, Twitch is a beast. So much going on, especially for something as low key and chill as this.

DOCUMENT AND ARCHIVE YOUR WORK ON YOUR WEBSITE

When your band or your art gets that TV mini series like The Beatles: Get Back, will you have any archival video footage from the studio? From writing your songs? Talking about the inspiration of your lyrics, of the pedals you use, of the shows you’ve played?

Or will all that footage and text and audio be lost to a social media platform that you don’t own?

I’ve covered and worked a handful of albums over the years, from my music blog days in 2001 to now working with indie music publicists and labels, and I’m still blown away at how little reverence there is for the archival process for so many acts.

Sure, there’s concert photos on Twitter, and maybe some 200 word captions on an Instagram post, but there was a lot we uploaded to MySpace, too.

What about all the features you gave to media outlets that don’t even exist anymore?

Spinner.com, 2010
Spinner.com, 2021

Just a decade later a handful of outlets don’t exist anymore, and no one really remembers the video interview you did (maybe it’s on YouTube), or the print review in a magazine, or all the photos from your tour in 2003.

They’re… pretty much gone.

And even if they’re out there in Google images or YouTube, they ain’t on your site.

Looking for a sign to document more of your work, your magic, your art? This is it.

GIVE YOUR ART SOME LEGS

I see this so often – a podcast shares an interview they did on socials, maybe with an audio clip. Once, maybe twice. Then a week later, its as if it never happened.

Same with bands posting songs and videos, or artists sharing a new work.

A week later, it all falls off the face of the earth. “Old news,” more or less.

And it hurts my weary soul.

Transcribe some bits of that podcast episode, and post that on your website (it’s 2021, and not everyone listens to podcasts).

There are people on YouTube “reacting” to music videos and wracking up 10s of thousands of views – YOU CAN FUCKING DO THAT.

You’re the band. You’re the artist, or the director, or the sound person – it’s not “reacting,” it’s “this is the work I did, and I’m going to talk about it a little bit.”

Sure, we’d all love our magical art to just “stand on its own,” but you’re competing with a tidal wave of magical art every HOUR.

The answer isn’t post more, but post interesting things around your art.

Star Wars ain’t just movies. They have TV shows now. Comics. Books. Toys. If they just stopped with movies, they’d miss out.

Your podcast can be a quote image (which you can make using Canva).
It can be a blog post (transcriptions are cheap, and you just need a few key parts).
Your music video can have a behind the scenes breakdown. A commentary video. Its own podcast episode!

The magic doesn’t stop when you hit post. Keep it moving.