Nothing quite like opening your front door, wearing your dressing gown and slippers, to be met with disdain by a burly delivery man already four hours into his working day. Nice. Shortly after he’d finished looking me up and down with barely-disguised contempt, and informing me of eight boxes with my name on it, I was proudly standing in my hallway wondering where I could store 800 CDs.
I’ve already annoyed the staff and patrons in the local Post Office by shipping the dozen or so pre-orders, so they are now well on their way to their new homes! A big thanks is in order to everyone who pre-ordered — I hope you received your instant downloads trouble-free (you’ve got to love Bandcamp!).
As usual, I’ve also sent a bundle of Lemodies to CD Baby, to make the postal fees a little easier on the pocket for US fans. I’ve added them to my Amazon seller account too, so if you’d prefer to order through Amazon’s checkout you’re free to do that (though you’ll have to put up with a slightly higher price and no download). Speaking of Amazon, if anyone wouldn’t mind dropping a quick review there, I’d hugely appreciate it (for any of my releases, not just Lemodie).
Anyway, I’ve ceremoniously updated the html in my shop to mark this momentous occasion, and hereby declare Lemodie in stock and on sale.
Back in tangible form.
No doubt you’re all recovering from your festive excesses, possibly even suffering from some post-holiday blues. Well, some good news—Lemodie
CDs will soon be back on the shelf.
At long last, after being out of print for over two years, I’ve finally managed to scrape together enough cash to organise a re-press of my 2006 sophomore album. It’s being manufactured as I type by DMS, and shouldn’t be longer than two or three weeks away, fingers crossed.
In preparation of its arrival, I’m taking pre-orders via Bandcamp here, which also covers an instant download in a variety of formats (I’ve also thrown in the CD hidden track as a bonus).
Now, I’m under no illusions as to how the market has changed in the past three/four years, and so have set the price at £6 plus P&P, which seems to me like the sweet-spot for CDs sans middleman.
If you’ve been following Bandcamp’s Twitter/blog updates you’ll have probably noticed a rather major update: the ability to sell physical products alongside your downloads. Needless to say, I sorted out a bundle for my remaining Midsummer Nice Dream vinyl, pairing up the double vinyl and an instant download for the current sale price of £5. I’ll keep it at that price until next week, so if you were thinking about either purchasing it on FLAC or picking up the vinyl, now’s the time to act. Consequently, I’ll probably retire the Ochre shop in its current state, and divert traffic to Bandcamp for sales.
I’ve also sent some vinyl to CD Baby, enabling stateside fans to get a better deal on shipping than ordering from me, although at the current sale price it’s probably still cheaper to buy direct.
That is a legitimate term, isn’t it? Soft-release? Well the album’s out in the sense that it can be exchanged for hard-cash from the likes of Amazon mp3 and Bleep. If you’ve already swung by Bleep you’ve probably noticed that they now keep their lossless catalogue in wav format, rather than FLAC. While this might mean downloads are a little longer (less of a problem these days I guess), it’ll also mean greater player compatibility without having to decode anything, which is handy (always a step ahead of the pack, those crafty Bleeplings). Shame lossless still carries a premium over mp3, but I’m sure that’ll fall by the wayside eventually.
Anyway, for the CDs, we’re now looking at next Monday, unless you pre-ordered from Benbecula, in which case you’ll have it this week, I think. As ever, you can stream the whole thing on my music page, or Last.fm.
Here’s a quick review of 5 online services and tools I’ve made use of and felt most helpful to me as an independent online musician, during the past year or so:
As if you hadn’t already noticed, my site’s based on the excellent open source blog/CMS platform, WordPress, which continues to impress me with every update. It runs on PHP with a MySQL database, which allows me, as a non-programmer, to get a fairly complex site up and running without having to know much about the actual programming-side of things. Yet, it’s flexible enough that if you want to change the look of your site, you can do so without much more than a rudimentary knowledge of CSS—simply tweak your theme however you see fit, blissfully ignorant of the more complex inner workings going on behind the curtain. Even if you can’t be fussed editing your own theme, there are plenty of ready-made themes available to download and activate, from within the WP admin area itself.
Another great aspect to WordPress is its extensibility—there exists a veritable plethora of handy plugins written by charitable geeks, provided for free, affording your site some very handy bolt-on features. As with the themes, you can browse and install plugins from within the admin area—no tedious download/install needed.
I’ve decided to take advantage of one of Bandcamp’s latest feature additions, and have generated a few download codes for A Midsummer Nice Dream.
Anyone who buys a copy of the album on vinyl will receive a download code along with the album, so they may download a high-quality digital version of the release for their iPod, car, PC etc., at no extra cost. The codes are, as far as I can tell, good for one single download only, so choose your format wisely! mp3, flac, aac and ogg are all present and accounted for.
I haven’t yet decided how to present the codes — I could use stickers on the shrink-wrap, but risk buyers throwing this away with the packaging, or I could put paper slips in with the vinyl, and risk them being ignored at the bottom of the envelope. Could email them, but that’s more work for me and could still be ignored. Hmm. Any preferences?
EDIT: Limited-time demo removed.
I’ve just uploaded a new track demo, following a tentative test-airing on the kind and gentle folks at em411. It’s a little different to my usual output, actually containing intelligible vocals, and due to my vocal delivery probably has a slight eighties tinge to it. (That makes it hip, right? Or am I 18 months late to that luminous yellow and pink party?) So far I’ve been called a Bowie-esque crooner with hint of David Sylvian, Gary Numan ’09, and somewhat damningly, Flock of Seagulls.
Dissenters rest assured, I don’t plan to abandon instrumental electronica any time soon, but I will say that this was a lot of fun to record. I kind of want to put out a 7″ with a couple of synthpoppier tracks on it.
If you haven’t seen/heard my remix of Jay Bharadia, you can listen to/download it from SoundCloud, as well as the other remixes from Lone, Airliner ’67 and Implosion Quintet.
I’m actually on SoundCloud, and although currently mainly using it as a means of receiving mastering files, I’ll be uploading demos and sketches now and then, so if you’d like to ‘follow’ me to be notified of track uploads, please visit my page. SoundCloud is a very nifty service, totally optimised for listening and commenting to music—you can comment on particular sections of tracks using the natty timeline while listening. As far as I know there are also the obligatory widgets for posting/sharing tunes too.
The server can occasionally strain under the weight of users, as it’s getting rather popular, but it seems pretty responsive these days, ironing out its initial teething problems.
Meanwhile, back at Ochre HQ, the new album is back from mastering, coutesy of panicStudios. Sounding warm and punchy after being fed through some ridiculously expensive analogue gear, waiting patiently for a release schedule to slot into. I’ll be able to spill some more beans once I’ve got a definite plan to unveil.
Midsummer Nice Dream CDs and vinyl continue to shift nicely, but there are still a few copies left if you fancy one. If you’d rather have a download version, it’s slowly making its way through the usual download stores like iTunes and Napster etc. At the moment it’s currently selling for a ridiculously cheap $1.69 at Amie Street (for 320kbps mp3, no less), though given the dynamic pricing used there it’ll probably creep up slowly as people grab it. Also on Bandcamp for a flat $6, in just about every digital format available ever.
I think that’s the current news round-up sorted.
I’ve been uploading much of my music to Bandcamp, to see how well it works, as it offers a few very handy features for precisely zero money (for the time being anyway).
Firstly, the lossless uploads are automatically converted to a veritable plethora of download formats, such as three grades of mp3 (including two VBR), two grades of AAC, Ogg, FLAC and Apple Lossless.
Secondly, it gives me some useful stats as to what’s been listened to, what’s been skipped, and where people have come from to listen. There’s also plenty of widget-sharing options, as expected on today’s internets, enabling you to plaster my tunes all over the superhighweb.
Looks like you can also sell downloads there as well, offering either fixed price or donation options for the tracks, but I’ve yet to explore this option. Might give this a go once I get some more releases up there.
Well, it was a fun experiment for the past six months, setting up a download store for my unreleased music. But following the removal of a few tunes for an upcoming release, I’ve decided I’d rather have more people listen to my music than have a little extra pocket money, so I’ve reverted to giving everything away for free (still in 320kbps mp3 and FLAC formats).
For those curious about the kind of money I was making with the store, here are some stats: Since launch, 56 generous souls purchased music from the store, with 120 items sold in total, earning me about £299 (minus the monthly E-Junkie service plan fee and PayPal charges). Not a bad run for a musical nobody such as myself.
Hopefully the disclosure of my sales information doesn’t come off sounding either like a complaint or a boast—just keeping you all in the loop. Thanks very much to everyone who stumped-up for the downloads; the warm fuzzy feeling you must have felt supporting independent music will have hopefully made up for the slight annoyance of seeing it all freely available again.
In an altogether non-unrelated subject, this little read and the subsequent discussion may provide some entertainment. As a die-hard cynic I couldn’t help but revel in its unrelenting, though thoroughly entertaining, pessimism. Certainly brought up a few smiles reading it, that’s for sure.
Well, I’ll limp on, musically, trying my damnedest to get this album finished before 2010…