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March 22, 2010

The Smallfish Recordings Project

Filed under: Band News — ian @ 4:15 pm

The Smallfish Recordings Project audio mixing mastering recording service

So you’ve just recorded a great tune into Garageband (or whatever), put the cheap but effective Chinese condenser mic back in it’s box, moved a few faders, patched in a few very professional presets and hey presto! – something so good that you want the rest of the world to hear it. This is happening in bedrooms right now all over the world and is going to be the source of the vast majority of all music that consumers will be hearing (if not paying for) in the future.

It’s great. It renders obsolete almost the entire music industry with its monolithic structures, lumbering speed of response and enormous overheads. Almost!

SmallfishRecordings believes that amongst all of this upheaval, there is one aspect of music that will not change and that is – Quality.

Even the lowest of lo-fi productions has to meet basic sonic standards if it is to satisfy anyone other then the bloke that recorded it straight to cassette tape. And even the best digital creation needs to carry with it the fingerprints of analogue distortion if it is to be truly satisfying.

It’s very often the case that great musical ideas are stifled because the creative, intuitive skills of the artist don’t carry over into the more logical arena of the mixing or mastering process, and it’s here that SmallfishRecordings finds it’s niche.

The SmallfishRecordings Project is determinedly small, client focused and somewhat selective. Jon (Mr Smallfish himself) works on projects that he mostly discovers himself but increasingly, is taking in commercial projects to keep the wheels turning - and not falling off! Clients upload their material to the studio and can take advantage of a range of services including:
Mastering: You should try this even if it’s only once – you might be surprised what can be done to improve a straight stereo file with the right processing.
Mixing: Taking advantage of a combination of good ears, experience and some high-end processing solutions can really add depth, clarity, dynamics and a balanced soundstage to even the muddiest of mixes.
Improvement: Having access to a wide variety of sound sources and engineering tools, SmallfishRecordings can replace, re-enforce or add to the original content.

Jon has invested very carefully to make sure that while overheads are kept to the bare minimum, some of the best possible processing tools are in place including products from TC Electronic, URS, Izotope, IK Multimedia and others.

What all this adds up to is this… Commercial quality production within the reach of the dedicated amateur.

Why should you even consider asking someone else to mess around with your masterpieces?

We make decisions in life based on comparisons – your preferred brand of cheese will be based on years of trial and error. If you never hear an alternative translation of your music, you will never really know where it stands in terms of levels, tonality, dynamics, texture etc. Even if you send your mix out and it comes back worse, then you’re someway further down the track to understanding your own music.

SmallfishRecordings understands that the potential client base for the project are not likely to be seasoned professionals, so put a lot of effort into helping each one through the process, explaining what each change; fader move, EQ shift or compression treatment is there for so that the artist gains some new insight into these aspects, and can then improve their own skills used in the front end of the process. If you visit the SmallfishRecordings website and read through some of the examples, you’ll get the idea.

The SmallfishRecordings Label

Late in 2010, the first commercial release will take place on the SmallfishRecordings label. Jon has found that some of his clients are so exciting musically that all studio fees are waived in favour of an agreement to co-release the final product through this new experimental label.

Having asked the question "Why Label?" the only reasonable justification left is to provide a focal point for a specific collection of artistic creativity, so that people finding a resonance with it, know where to go to find it. There will be no advances, no big promotion budgets, but there will be the chance to become part of a very special community which can position each artist in the best possible place to move onto the next step – few risks, great fun and great music. Jon has a formula that goes like this:
(Little Cost X Let’s Have a Musical Adventure)/World Wide Audience = Why Not?

One of the important benefits of being a web-based service is that the organisation is growing a world-wide network of clients and partners, some of which will become the mutual "distributed distribution" framework for artists joining the project.

Not only do the masses now have the means of production, they also have the means of distribution.

[Ed.] This post was written especially for the Band Promotion Blog by Jonathan Huxtable of The Smallfish Recordings Project. Thanks Jo and good luck - BTW I like your website.

March 2, 2010

Dating Agency For Lonely Hearts Club Band?

Filed under: Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 11:53 am

Band Directory

Band Directory
Sebastian Gibbs of Band Directory contacted me regarding a link - I wonder if that’s a reciprocal link? Anyway, Band Directory is one of those sites like Unsigned Band Promotion and London Gigs, that needs your support if you want to benefit from it - sort of in it to win it - Give tham a try.

If you read this blog regularly you will know that I feel strongly about indie bands promoting themselves locally i.e., Gigdoggy’s Gigs List was high in my esteem (sadly the beta version came to nothing) because it promoted collaborative networking, Band Directory could be seen in a similar light. Their aim is to, “match lots of suitable local bands to venues” and it’s basically Free unless you want Premium Promotion.

I must say, Band Directory does sound a little like Band Direction (a social network for musicians, venue owners and producers)! However, I’m not going to worry about that because Band Directory is UK based and up-and-running, Band Direction hasn’t gone live (may never go live) and is USA based. Lemonrock is worth a mention and more than a gander.

February 21, 2010

The Slips New Website

Filed under: website promotion, Band News — ian @ 11:37 pm

The Slips New Website

The SlipsAfter slating the Slips’ website in "The Slips - Electro Band London" about a year ago, I thought they deserved a big WELL DONE for creating such a positive and attractive site.

The only thing I liked on The Slips’s old website, was the way they collected a fan’s email so they could download free remixes - very few bands did it so well as The Slips. The new website however is very entertaining. The Slips’ website is pulsating, gloriously bouncy and super-hot. I’m Loving The Slips New Website.

<strange>They’ve changed their website address too, from theslips.net to theslipsmusic.com</strange> Which is a little odd, but I’m sure they have their reasons.

The Slips released a 7" single Girls At The Back Up in the States as part of LA based IAMSOUND’s Singles Club, reaching No. 6 on The Hype Machine on the day of the release - awesome BUY it NOW - Click Here - $6.99 uses PayPal or you can BUY NOW From iTunes - MP3s or 7" vinyl including DRM-free MP3s.
The Slips have also released their first ever mix tape: Vol 1 Download Mix Tape Vol 1 FREE

The Slips - 7inch vinyl, A: Girls at the Back Up, B: Cadillac Crash - $6.99 The Slips - First Ever Mix Tape: Vol 1 Download FREE

January 25, 2010

Swanzai - Website Design For Indie Bands

Filed under: Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 11:01 pm

Swanzai Design | quality graphic and web site design for bandsI was contacted by Michael Swando of Swanzai - he wants a link, I wonder if he’ll link back? I doubt it! I get the impression he’s on the up - he has done some very good posters. This is what he has to say about himself:

Swanzai.net is a small graphic design firm based in Chicago, IL, specializing in creating high-end show posters, websites, flyers, and merchandise for bands and musicians. We’ve got over 8 years experience and dozens of stunning posters and websites already created for bands in Detroit, Chicago, and Phoenix. On top of this, we’ve adjusted our pricing down to nearly self-defeatingly low rates, and pulled out all the stops to bring in every unsigned band who needs the step-up quality design can give you.

Hanging out, working, and living with numerous musicians and bands over the past 4-5 years especially has opened our eyes to the symbiotic relationship between visual artists and bands. Oftentimes a band can be identified by a unique visual style that accompanies their music in the forms of Album Art, Merchandise, Show Posters and now Websites, and similarly - the work that designers do could scarcely be possible without the legacy of musicians sharing their music for inspiration.

Swanzai understands this. We also understand the budget unsigned artists can be under, and the priority of getting your music out there so the world can hear. We believe our prices are about as low as can be justified, and we’re working to include more relevant discounted package deals. Not every band has the pull to afford a different show poster for every show, so we make it easy to buy a discounted set of different posters that are reusable - just write in the info for each show and keep your promos fresh while still stretching your buck.

Apart from being, in our opinion, pretty good-looking, Swanzai.net’s Web Products can help out the unsigned band in several ways. Starting at $150 for your basic landing site to $600 for a fully-automatic multimedia music-selling machine, each of our websites are 100% custom-made and never from a template. Integrating your web site into a Content Management System (starting at $300) not only gives every bandmate the ability to update your site from anywhere from a familiar (think Blogger / Facebook) interface, but allows us to easily incorporate advanced features such as selling your music, swag, & mp3s online, incorporating a blog, videos, and social media, and more.

Swanzai is a fresh, young update to the online band design scene. With fresh, unique, high-end work and the lowest prices around, we’re primed to become the go-to source for budget show posters and web sites for the Unsigned + Indie Band Scene. Rock on.

As I said I like Michael’s work, I was taken by the Amen Cowboy poster. One thing that did strike me as very odd though, Amen Cowboy who have got a MySpace, haven’t got a website!! Stranger and stranger, they haven’t even bought their Domain Name. www.amencowboy.com is still up for grabs - I like the name Amen Cowboy… I think I might do me some rustling.

December 15, 2009

I Need Your Support Too

Filed under: General Musings, Band News — ian @ 9:20 pm

Donate now to help children affected by the earthquake in Haiti

As per usual at this time of the year, I’d like to explain that Unsigned Band Promotion is Not a business and is Not seeking to make profits from bands using this website. I help musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own and I do it for FREE. There are some costs, and I try to cover these costs by users donations and by promoting affiliate links!

You can show your support to Unsigned Band Promotion by making a small donation, I am not asking for much, as little as £1 or $2 would be greatly appreciated.
Donations are fast, free and secure when made with PayPal.


In 2010 I shall be continuing to support:
Naomi House a purpose-built children’s hospice that provides a homely environment for children with life-limiting conditions that means that they will not live to become adults.
UNICEF the United Nations Children’s Fund, which is a global champion for children’s rights, they make a lasting difference by working with communities and influencing governments.

PLEASE Make a Donation to Naomi House - I’m not an affiliate and do not receive any commission from this link.
PLEASE Make a Donation to UNICEF & Help Children by Buying Cards & Gifts Today - I am an affiliate and do receive a v.small commission from this link.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS
from
Ian

September 13, 2009

Get A Gig In London Next Week

Filed under: Band News — ian @ 8:14 pm

Amy, just like so many young bands, you are putting so much effort into promoting yourselves to the world through social networking that you are forgetting to promote your band locally. Who are the people who are going to turn up and see you play live? Often it’s the same bunch, a small circle of hardcore fans, friends and family - The Locals!

You are in a Camden based band, promote yourselves in London. Get a map, find your favourite London venue (the venue you like and play most), draw a circle around it with a radius of about 25 miles (about 40 kilometres) and start targeting the people that are part of your scene and lifestyle — I find it odd that a new band who is working within an area of about 1963 square miles, and a population of say 5 million, has time to worry about expanding out to the rest of the world.

Amy, I’ve found a resource for you: London Gigs. London Gigs is a website that aims to give you all the information on gigs happening in London, plus, they’ve got a big list of venues. And like all websites of this nature, I’m sure they need your input too - London Gigs would be a good place to advertise your next gig, so send them all your gig details.

July 9, 2009

They’re With The Band

Filed under: Band News — ian @ 11:01 am

withtheband - creative design agency for musicians and record labelsEven though I don’t do website design (I do website promotion), I am very interested in it because it effects what I do and how I do it. So when Emma Lawton, founder of withtheband, contacted me requesting a link, I was intrigued. I liked the name withtheband! So I asked for some blurb and here it is:
“withtheband is a new creative design agency specifically for musicians and record labels. We realize that bands and songwriters often don’t have the time or skills to put together a good website or produce attractive promotional materials. So, we’ve set up a company offering professional design, photography, video, and writing services at prices that won’t break the bank.”

It’s a pitty Emma sent me the same bit of blurb that is on her website, and everywhere else for that matter - I advise bands to distribute several different versions of their blurb, so readers don’t get their arses bored off!

<sarcastic>I love withtheband’s strap line which is, “We draw. We shoot. You rock.” a clever play on words, typical of a brilliant and artistic copywriter who wants to exploit the fun of gun culture.</sarcastic>

withtheband is obviously just starting out and I’m sure they’re aiming to please, so if you’re in need of: a website, business cards, flyers, graphic design-work, posters, merchandise, CD artwork, a music video, photography, a MySpace layout, writing services, email newsletter design… give them a shout, they are sincere, flexible, negotiable and tallented - let me know how you got on.

Ciao 4 niao,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
~ helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own ~
http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/

June 2, 2009

Unsigned Bands At Ben Sherman

Filed under: Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 2:35 pm

Unsigned Bands at Ben SermanI took my son into Ben Sherman, Reading, last Friday to buy a T-shirt, while I was there I saw and picked up a card that announced, “Are you an unsigned band or talent?” and this is what it goes on to say:

In February 2009 Ben Sherman re-launched it’s website. It’s bold, it’s beautiful and in the spirit of all things mod, we’ll continue to support the best British bands out there.

Put the scales of justice back into balance, and make your music heard.

Each month our Big British Sound page will shed the limelight on an unsigned talent. Your signature track will play automatically as our browsers click their way around the site, and we’ll even dedicate an entire page to you; band bio, gallery, media player with tree of your best, videos, links to your MySpace… the lot. Think of us as your musical pied pipers.

To expose yourselves (in the best kind of way) to thousands of new groupies, send an email to: unsigned@BenSherman.co.uk, along with a link to your MySpace, or simply attach three of your favourite tracks.

If you make the grade, we’ll be in touch.

Nice one Ben Sherman

March 8, 2009

Some Bands Can Be Such Hypocrites

Filed under: Copyright Issue, Band News — ian @ 11:48 pm

Wednesday Night Coincidence[NEW EDITED VERSION]
I have just received a most gracious and heartfelt email from Wednesday Night Coincidence which fully explains their faux pas, I am humbled. Of course like most bands WNC are “just a group of friends having a good time” and that is reflected in their brilliantly performed music.

Wednesday Night Coincidence have just launched their new and updated website “08:03:2009″ choosing our Website Template as a framework - thanx :)

My gripe is with bands (unlike Wednesday Night Coincidence) who hypocritically fight to protect their own work while stealing other peoples’.

I find it very funny, over the years I’ve worked with many artists from all disciplines (photographers, painters, sculptors, musicians, writers… often incredibly famous and All highly principled) and the one thing they worry about is copyright - people copying their work. …The music and film industries are almost obsessed with the problem because it costs them so much money, yet, if one looks around some of them are at it too, copying other people’s work and claiming it for themselves.

Unsigned Band Promotion’s Band Website Template is offered free under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, which means: it’s yours to use and fuck around with freely and as much as you like, but Please Keep Our Link IN. Our Website Template is fully supported, if you have any problems with it just ask - it won’t cost you!

Out for kicks,
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
~ helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own ~
http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/

February 17, 2009

Collaborative Networking Improves Gigs

Filed under: Band News — ian @ 8:56 pm

Gigdoggy - Gigs ListIt was a cold and windy autumnal night in 2006 when I came across mycampusguide.com. MyCampusGuide.com was a database of upcoming shows and events that college students could use to find out what was happening on their campus or promote the said shows and events themselves. I say Was, because it is now defunct! But what I liked about MyCampusGuide.com and why I took note of the discovery was the way they used the Google Maps API, plus, it was the first time I’d consciously seen it in action!

At the time I thought the Google Maps API would be a great way for bands to promote their gigs, but, I couldn’t think of an elegant way to do it myself. I am often asked if I can get gigs for bands (because of the name Unsigned Band Promotion) and I always say NO because I’m a website promoter, but the thought of the Google Maps API reappears in the back of my mind each time I’m asked. Then there are websites like the Gig Guide who do the job much better than I ever could. So I didn’t ever go down the gigs road.

So, I take my dog out for a long walk on a cold and windy night down the path of band promotion and to my amazement, about two and a half years later I discover Gigdoggy’s Gigs List. And I know, this is what I’ve been looking for. And I know it’s going to be successful because Gigdoggy is where you can network and collaborate with other local bands.

“Local! On the Internet!” I hear you say, well Gigdoggy is all about organizing, sharing and promoting gigs with other bands and “local” is normally where bands can get the most positive and productive results - that’s what I say anyway. Of course it doesn’t have to be local, if your band is going on tour and you need contacts in another town, collaborating with other bands is the perfect way to go.

“Sharing your gigs with other bands makes it easier to plan and promote your events, and provides you with a network of bands to play with in the future” says Gigdoggy.

www.gigdoggy.com is a work in progress - beta launch Feb. ‘09 - all bands are welcome to request an invite - and any invited bands can send invites to any other bands of their choice. Read more: The www.gigdoggy.com beta launch and gigbloggy for up-to-date news.

Rob from Gigdoggy was kind enough to answer a few of my questions …is this my first interview?

UBP: What is the advantage of using Gigdoggy over a sites like craigslist, myspace etc., since there’s a lot more bands reading those sites?

Rob: “Craigslist is great for making announcements, but it’s not equipped to help bands do much more than that. MySpace and other band social networks are powerful tools to get your music heard and get the word out that you band exists as they primarily concentrate on ‘band profiles’. Gigdoggy.com does not compete with those websites since it focuses on ‘gig profiles’ and on the management of gig activities. Bands can see Gigdoggy as a supplement to their usual social networks: if they have created a gig opportunity, they can post the link to that gig’s profile on any other website where they interact with other bands.”

UBP: You mention “tools”, in what sense is Gigdoggy a tool for bands?

Rob: “Gigdoggy enables bands to take care of all their gig’s details in one single gig profile (like how the promotion for the gig is going to play out as well as delegating promotional tasks for the event, organizing couch-surfing issues, determining compensation, fan draw, ride-sharing, gear-sharing etc.) instead of having to send emails or spending time on the phone. They can freely use our platform as a tool to manage their gigs.”

UBP: I can’t see ‘Reading’, it’s all Canada, why doesn’t my town appear in the list?

Rob: “We have been getting this question a lot since we launched :-) The towns and cities that appear are the ones where there are gigs. Since we just launched last week, and are growing the website organically, we are basically promoting the site where there is activity - for now in Quebec and Ontario. Gigdoggy.com being a collaboration platform, any band can put its city on the map by creating a gig opportunity there. Inviting other bands to their ‘Network’ and letting them know that there is a gig opportunity in their area will get the ball rolling for that city.”

UBP: I noticed that bands can’t just post their availability for playing gigs, and why do they have to create actual gigs?

Rob: “We think there is more value for everyone if the content of the platform is ‘actual‘ gig opportunities with concrete information, as opposed to more vague ‘requests‘. There will always be more ‘demand‘ for gigs than there is ‘supply‘ - which makes each gig opportunity that is shared on gigdoggy more valuable to everyone.”

Thanks Rob, Gigdoggy really is the dog’s bollocks, this is going to be big…

EDIT 13:07:09 - Oh no it’s not, seems that it has gone and become Fanteraction™ - which allows bands to share their bios, setlists, song lyrics and other content with fans before, during and after their gigs through iphones and blackberries.

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