Work Continues on KilkennyMusic.com

KilkennyMusic.com

Work continues on KilkennyMusic.com. Having resurrected the site at the end of January after about 18 months of relative inactivity, this weekend replaced the straight up blog style design used to get things back on track with a more interactive magazine style for the homepage. The Mashable-inspired MashMenu is a handy plugin to use for navigation as well.

With the content side of things returning, it was back to catching gigs on camera at the weekend with KRB, Riain, Evan Prendergast and Feibhar Baldwin-Wall all on stage at Billy Byrne’s. Photos first, then video.

Similarly, from March, the plan is to return to podcasting.

Funnily enough, it was around March time each year over the past 4-5 years that the interest in podcasting for me swells up. First with the Playlist Mix, then with trying Indie Switch for a month or two, followed up by last years testing of the waters with the Stereo Mixtape, the format for which will likely be borrowed for the latest round of KilkennyMusic.com podcasts.

The on-air experience gained having presented for KCLR for the past two years should hopefully lend itself both to the lead podcast and similarly with the return of the One Take Sessions as an on-air offering.

Let’s see how it goes…

Collusion & The Great Hunt

I’ve mentioned at some venture before that (or at least I’m pretty sure I have) that I’m delighted to be surrounded by and work with a bunch of very creative individuals in Kilkenny. Two of those individuals and some more friends got together recently under the banner of Thankless Films to great the two shorts below.

Both were filmed and directed by Dave Minogue with whom I’ve shared the stage with once or twice over the last ten years and both were also scored by Alan Dawson who I’ve been working with through Kilkenny Music over the last four years and have collaborated with on many a musical project. If you’re interested in having your film work scored, I’m sure he’ll only be too happy to speak to you. The results, are below.

Disclaimer: Be advised, some content in the videos may offend. Questions and comments to Thankless Films on YouTube.

Collusion

La Grande Chasse De L’aÌ‚ne Amende

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]

Host Your Own Mix Tape

Opentape on PlaylistMix.com

Muxtape was great. Then it got shut down. Now it’s on the way back.

You could upload any mp3s you wanted, get Muxtape to host a mix tape for you, pass the link around, provide download access to the MP3s etc.

While Muxtape is set to make a return and allow the hosting of playlists again, there is an opensource alternative in the form of Opentape. It’s been around for a while but it was only last night I got to roll out a self-hosted version for the Playlist Mix.

It is opensource so it will be as flexible as you decide to make it as this custom design shows.

The idea is simple – upload it to a folder on your server (you need to be running PHP5+), set an admin password and start uploading your tracks. There doesn’t seem to be any way at present to make multiple mix tapes from one install though there’s nothing to stop you rolling out the script into multiple folders. You can then upload tracks through the browser interface or ftp them into your songs folder and away you go.

I’ll be using it to run a mix tape of the acts featured each month on the podcast. It’s light, it’s easy to use (though there are some style errors in IE6) and it’s free to download.

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.

iTunes To Go DRM Free?

DRM sign, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.JPG
Creative Commons License photo credit: gruntzooki

It looks like iTunes is possibly going (completely) DRM-free? Great news for music lovers but whether or not it actually materialises is another thing. There are plenty of alternatives in the marketplace for DRM-free music downloads but according to this BBC article, it looks like Apple (who already sell DRM-free tracks from the EMI label) are about to sign off on a deal with the rest of the big four including Sony, Warner and Universal which would see all DRM copyright restrictions lifted from the iTunes store.

It might also bring about a change in pricing on the iTunes store – more for recent tracks, less for older tracks, but Apple’s pricing is a whole other kettle of fish.

We all knew it was going to come around eventually, right?

Update: TUAW has the details on price changes for 2009.

The Business Of Beauty, Gaming And Music

The Business of Beauty, Gaming and Music

The UCD Quinn School of Business are running three evening talks from next week looking at the business of beauty, gaming and music, giving transitition year, fifth year and leaving cert students “a real insight” into viable career options in the three industries.

These are more than just a talk. They are real business people sharing their vast experience in today’s exciting world of business and the possibilities that can arise from a degree in business.

The Business of Beauty talk will be given by L’Oreal’s Eoghan O’Sullvan and Sarah Keating next Tuesday at UCD from 6:30pm to 10pm.

With a focus on specific ventures, Eoghan and Sarah will highlight the commercial, marketing, finance, supply chain management and human resource aspects to their business while you enjoy funky canapés, mocktails and goody bags on offer at the event

The Business of Gaming talk will run on Thursday October 9th with XBOX Ireland’s Orla Sheridan and Microsoft Game Studio’s Michel Buch Andersen taking to the floor to provide an insight to the current gaming marketplace, “retail distribution channels, profitability models” and more, something being pushed (by the looks of things) towards those studying business, economics or accounting.

However, the one that got my attention is the Business of Music talk being given by Universal’s Freddie Middleton (Marketing Director) and Gill Dooley (Digital Campaign Manager), the talk taking place on Thursday October 23rd. The Business of Music should offer an insight to the role of a record company in the music industry, from a traditional background through to digital media distribution. You think they’ll get a debate going on where record companies are going and how they’ll continue in 5, 10, 20 years?

Students going to the talks also have a chance to win a shadow-day at either Universal Music, L’Oreal or Xbox Ireland. Why weren’t they doing this kind of thing when I was in transition year? Were these events even open to third-level students in recent years?

If you are a second-level student with an interesting in any of the above, then head along. I know I would be anyway if the door was open to me.

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.