Revisiting KilkennyMusic.com

Mugger Dave, Performing at KilkennyMusic.com's One Take Sessions a few years ago
Mugger Dave, Performing at KilkennyMusic.com’s One Take Sessions a few years agokilke

I’ve got unfinished business with kilkennymusic.com. As an online resource, it was borne out of a passion for music and local music in particular. Kicking things off in 2005, I built the platform to share and promote activities of bands on the ground in Kilkenny. In a pre-Facebook era it was the go-to place for music information, videos, gigs, photos, MP3s and had a bustling forum with membership in four figures.

Expanding from a one man operation to a four man operation, we produced countless videos, podcasts, picked up award nominations, funding, ran countless weekend shows, toured with bands, booked venues, spent way too much on printing, pints and petrol money but had huge craic along the way.

For me, the foot came off the pedal in 2011/12 as the gigs began to slow down and there wasn’t any activity at all in 2013. Local music listings and writings shifted out to the Kilkenny Events Guide, which I kicked off in 2011 and still continues today with new content partners on board for 2014 to help with the workload.

In the time since things slowed down, I’ve started in radio, reconnecting with acts we had put on the stage and reconnecting with things on the ground in terms of music. Plus, after a break that mirrors that of the One Take Sessions, I’m back playing music myself and expect to be gigging somewhat this year.

I’ve felt over the past two years or so that I could be doing the site much more the justice that it deserves, that unfinished business feeling eating away at me. So, I’m dusting things off, rebuilding from the ground up, clean slate and going for broke in 2014.

Here’s to it paying off and returning to its somewhat former glory.

Visit KilkennyMusic.com, find KilkennyMusic.com on Facebook or follow @kilkennymusic on Twitter.

The Midnight Union Band: If You’d Stay

Appearing online yesterday, here’s the latest music video from Kilkenny’s The Midnight Union Band for their track, If You’d Stay.

Shot by Darragh Byrne in Set Theatre, Kilkenny. The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming debut EP Behind The Truth which lands on 13 September.

2manydjs Tickets Up For Grabs

If you’re not a reader of KilkennyMusic.com you might have missed a ticket giveaway there.

Heineken Green Spheres comes to Kilkenny this weekend bringing with it Delorentos, Alex Metric (both Friday), Jape (Saturday) and 2manydjs on Sunday night.

While the first three gigs have tickets available first come first served, we’ve got two pairs of tickets for 2manydjs to give away for the Sunday night.

All you have to do is answer a simple question on the blog and we’ll draw the winners on Wednesday at midday.

Get in while you can…

Note: posted via WordPress for Android.

Win A Copy Of The Lions Mane ‘Strands’ By Commenting

<a href="http://music.iamthelionsmane.com/album/strands" onclick="__gaTracker('send', 'event', 'outbound-article', 'http://music.iamthelionsmane.com/album/strands', 'DNA 1 by The Lions Mane');">DNA 1 by The Lions Mane</a>

The Lions Mane, one of Kilkenny’s rising progressive rock acts, released their debut album ‘Strands‘ online last Friday. The 12-track album is available to buy here for just €10. If you like what you hear in the preview above you might also like to hear that I’ve got two copies of the album, digitally, to give away.

To win, all you’ve got to do is leave a comment here tell me you want a copy of the album.

Simple as that.

Competition closes 4pm on Friday and winners will be announced shortly afterwards and sent their copies of the album (at 320kb MP3).

Gerry Adams On Music (and his iPod)

KCLR96FM are a great bunch. They’ve had me on the air countless times over the last three years to promote everything from Kilkenny Music to the Blog Awards, PodCamp to Devious Theatre and beyond. I’ve had guest slots on shows on the station (used to do a regular gadget slot with them) and more recently was on air with Sue Nunn talking up the evolution of the mouse. So when I heard that Sue was going to have Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams as a guest on her show yesterday I thought I’d ask him a question – or have them ask a question for me.

I missed the majority of the show due to this week’s PodCamp Podcast and was amazed to hear him still on the air about 11:50am, having gone live just after the news at 11.

Anyway – the question was posed to him “from Carlow Music and KilkennyMusic.com was simple and completely (one would hope), non-political. “What’s your favourite band”.

In his own words, here’s Gerry Adams talking up his favourite band, music and his new iPod, the clip provided to me by KCLR96FM. You can listen to On The Record with Sue Nunn Monday to Friday from 10am to 12pm, streaming live via KCLR96FM.com.

[audio:http://www.kenmc.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/kclr_gerryadams_music.mp3]

A New Music Conference for the New Music Economy – This Weekend

I made a note to myself that for 2009 (not a resolution now) I would get on the road more – get to Dublin more, grab a coffee in the Absolute Hotel in Limerick at some stage, and hit more events and evenings. One event I’m sorry to be missing though (it’s a five hour drive up and I’m swamped for the weekend) is UnConvention, taking place in Belfast today and tomorrow.

What is UnConvention?

Unconvention is an unconference aimed at the grass roots of the music industry – bringing together musicians and industry professionals for conversation, inspiration and collaboration.

or as About.com have it listed…

“a music industry convention that really isn’t like a music industry convention at all. The event is aimed at the independent music industry. Entrance fees are in keeping with indie music budgets (free!) and the discussions all surround making it in music outside of the mainstream machine. At night, indie musicians get to show off their chops on local stages”

Bands, labels, entrepreneurs, music industry insiders and outsiders – it’s an event that I should really be at and I know I should be at so I’m happy to be following the activity for the weekend here on Twitter and here at UnConventionBelfast.com.

The Official Blurb

The 2-day conference has attracted strong interest from all over the UK and Ireland; organisations who have signed up for involvement include BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Ulster, Music Managers Forum, Island Records, Sony Music Publishing, NIMIC, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Birmingham University, Fat Northerner Records, Smalltown America Records, Richter Collective and First Music Contact, among many others. Radio 1’s Huw Stephens was one of the first to sign up to the event, and had this to say: “I’m looking forward to finding out more about the scene in Belfast, which seems to be thriving at the moment. Rory McConnell’s Radio 1 show features so many quality artists from Northern Ireland so to get to Belfast and meet the bands and managers is an exciting prospect. In the music world, doing it yourself is essential at the moment, and so I’m looking forward to seeing what will be discussed.”

Friday night’s showcase line-up includes Ed Zealous, A Plastic Rose, Colenso Parade and Strait Laces on the live stage, and Vertigo Smith, Escape Act, Junior Johnson, Cat Molojian, Seven Summits and The Monts; spanning a highly diverse range of styles and genres.

From a music industry perspective, the potential of UnConvention to boost the industry locally and further afield was recognised by key sponsor, Belfast City Council. Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of BCC’s Development Committee comments “Belfast City Council is committed to helping support the development of the creative industries in our city which, if nurtured and supported in the right way, have the ability to make Belfast truly competitive on the global stage. UnConvention provides an exciting opportunity to showcase Belfast’s eclectic music scene and musicians and provide useful networking and business development opportunities for those working in this sector.”

Attendees can that Rich Dale, Tracy Dempsey, Nick Fitzsimons, Jennie McCullough and Andy McMillan for organising the event.

Her Beautiful Ideas

I’m not one to usually post music videos on this blog though as I’m flagging the above video for KilkennyMusic.com I thought I’d share it here as well given the sheer work, effort (50-odd hours of production) and stop-go animation enjoyment that’s gone into ‘Her Beautiful Ideas’ by The Guggenheim Grotto.

The track, ‘Her Beautiful Ideas’ features on ‘Happy The Man’, the lads’ second album. I say “lads” as we’ve had them to Kilkenny for maybe six or seven shows over the last three years and no doubt we’ll have them down again. The video itself was produced, edited and directed by Aaron Copeland and Johnny Fitzsimons.

Check them out here.

Bandcamp Launched & It Looks Interesting


Bandcamp Screencast from Ethan Diamond on Vimeo.

Cheers to Will Knott for the nudge on this one but it looks like BandCamp.mu has gotten underway and could provide a nice outlet for bands looking to distribute music online and further enhance their fan base.

On the front of things from watching the screencast (above) it all seems pretty straightforward – add you profile, add your tracks, add some cover art and away you go. Grant API access to your PayPal account and you can start selling tracks direct from Bandcamp on a very Radiohead-esque “name your price” basis.

I’ve signed up to give the service a try and see what it does for my own music (something I keep meaning to publish online and get away from the older demos clouding the MySpace) and those of other bands we have involved with KilkennyMusic.com.

In their own words about what they do…

We’re not yet another site wanting to host your tracks alongside the trailer for High School Musical 4: I’m Pregnant. Instead, we power a site that’s truly yours, and hang out in the background handling all the technical issues you dread (and several you’ve probably never even considered). We keep your music streaming and downloading quickly and reliably, whether it’s 3am on a Sunday, or the hour your new record drops and Pitchfork gives it a scathingly positive review. We make your tracks available in every format under the sun, so the audiophilic nerderati can have their FLAC and eat mp3 v2. We adorn your songs with all the right metadata, so they sail into iTunes with artwork, album, band and track names intact. We mutter the various incantations necessary to keep your site top-ranked in Google, so when your fans search for your hits, they find your music long before they find bonkersforlyrics.com or iMyFace. We give your fans easy ways to share your music with their friends, and we give you gorgeous tools that reveal exactly how your music is spreading, so you can fan the fire.

The signup process (for me) has been delayed as I don’t have AIFF or WAV dumps of the music. Unlike MySpace, Bebo, NumberOneMusic etc where MP3s are the in thing, Bandcamp looks for the highest quality (loss-less) audio file you’ve got available and they’ll take care of the conversions to a variety of MP3 formats (192k and above), FLAC etc. The user or fan of your music can then decided how high a quality track they want to take, what format they want it delivered in and how much they’re willing to pay for it.

The stats behind Bandcamp let you see where the visitors are coming from, who’s linking to and using your music online, what are your most popular tracks, how have they been played (complete, partial, skipped), everything you’ve wanted to know about who’s been listening to your tunes.

Once I sort out a WAV dump of some of the session files I have gathering dust here I’ll give it a full run through, but for now, it looks rather promising indeed.

Update:Andy Baio (Waxy.org) has an interview with Ethan here.

MySpace, Record Labels Team Up For MySpace Music

The much rumoured and often spoken about ‘MySpace Music’ service has come to light, as I read this morning that MySpace have officially announced their new ‘MySpace Music’ service, a partnership between News Corporation and “three out of the four top record labels”.

The service is looking to become a one-stop shop for everything music; DRM free downloads and music sales, ticket sales for gigs and tours, band merchandise, ringtones – everything and anything goes.

It is a good move for the record industry and a great play for MySpace whose existing music service is used by millions of bands worldwide (I’m even in there) as a platform for showcasing music, listing gigs and connecting with fans.

Couple with that the ability to sell your tracks, merchandise and tickets directly through MySpace and you really have a powerful promotional tool for aspiring and established artists.

That said, with the deal seemingly focusing around the participation of three major record labels (EMI were holding out as of Friday), I would hope the the tools established by the service would be available to the smaller bands and those unaffiliated with record labels.

While the record labels look for ways to dig into online sales and catch up with the rest of the world, independent artists have been steaming ahead, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need a record label in order to release music. I’ve worked with enough bands over the last few years to see first hand you don’t need a record label to succeed and gone are the days of needing millions of dollars, pounds or Euro in order to record, launch and promote a single, EP or album.

Thomas Hesse, the President of Global Digital Business at Sony BMG Music Entertainment said in Thursday’s article on CNET that they are simply “aligning our efforts to reach fans through every conceivable platform”.

I haven’t seen any indication of what percentage of the market they’re trying to grab, likely away from Apple’s iTunes service, but here’s to hoping they don’t forget about the independent artists and make their new resources available for everyone.

Blogging For (Creative) Beginners

I’ll be giving a half day beginner blogging course in Kilkenny in May under the ArtLinks banner. With details being finalised just before the weekend and rolling out with the new ArtLinks business courses being promoted for the summer, I’ll have to say I’m looking forward to giving the course and working with more creative types in Kilkenny.

That said, the course will be promoted to creative practitioners working within Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow and should attract a good blend of visual artists, musicians, writers and the likes. This will be the second course I’ve been involved in putting together for ArtLinks, having facilitated a “Getting Ahead In The Music Industry” day (my 90 minute talk focusing on effective use of the web for musicians) in Wicklow last November.

For musicians who are new to blogging and don’t want to wait until May for a chat, have a gander of Kyra Reed’s recent blog post for TuneCore on Why Every Artist Needs A Blog.

It is also nice to see that the Kilkenny Arts Office have also started the ball blogging about their Artist In Residence programme at the gallery at 72 John Street.