Pieces: Where’s the CD version?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in And All Is As It Should Be, Distant Activity, General, Icarus, Lightfields, Music, Pieces, Site

After my last posting about the audiophile master, it might seem a little strange to some that I’m not releasing any kind of physical version of Pieces. Surely, if there’s a version of the complete work that’s catered towards people who want to listen in a dedicated listening environment, it would make sense to put out some kind of physical release?

A fond memory
A fond memory

First up, I know there are plenty of people out there who prefer physical media over digital releases. I totally get that, especially in the case of vinyl – doubly so given that vinyl masters often offer the best way to listen to an album in an environment designed for listening. However, as I pointed out in my last post, this point in particular has nothing to do with the release medium whatsoever. I’m not a vinyl aficionado, but I still buy a lot of CDs. There’s something about the first listen ritual and checking out the artwork and any liner notes (if there are any).

Having said that, if I can’t get my hands on a CD copy of an album I particularly want, I have no qualms with downloading a digital copy… and that’s something I’ve found myself doing more and more recently. Strangely though, more than a few CD releases are comparable in price to their digital download counterparts (especially when you factor in additional costs for lossless versions – a practice I’m not particularly keen on), so for the marginal extra expense in cases like that I’m much more likely to go for a CD if possible. From a completely vain point of view, I also like to keep my music on a shelf so people can see what I’m into. To me, having that kind of thing on display is much more aesthetically pleasing than a bunch of files on my computer.

In short, I’m neither for nor against physical media at this point. Like I said, I’m not a vinyl aficionado, but if everyone were to suddenly stop selling CDs tomorrow and instead offered lossless digital versions of all of their music at a reasonable price instead, I don’t think I’d lose a whole lot of sleep.

None of this really explains why I’m not releasing a physical version of Pieces though and, predictably enough, it all comes down to numbers. Well, two sets of numbers, at least.

Firstly, I only had a pretty small run of CDs of both Distant Activity and Lightfields made in the first place. Icarus and And All Is As It Should Be were completely out of my control as both were distributed exclusively by Distinctive Records & Lost Language Recordings. I still have a few Distant Activity discs kicking about, and I have more than a few Lightfields discs still. The sales of downloads vs. CDs in the case of these two albums is incredibly one-sided in the favour of downloads, outside of pre-orders. I don’t have a huge amount of marketing clout (read: I have no marketing clout), and I have never been under any illusion that my music is going to suddenly become a cross-over best-seller. That’s not why I write music and put out albums, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be in a position where I’m able to write music and make noise for a living without being entirely dependent on album sales. CD sales have declined massively for me over the past three years or so, and now it’s at the point where I feel like getting a CD run put together would be a complete financial waste of my time. Unless there’s a sudden run on physical versions of my existing releases, I don’t see myself putting out another CD release again. Anybody who is able to read this article is probably more than likely to have a sufficient internet connection to be able to download my music. The important thing for me is to put out my music at a comparable standard of quality to a CD release wherever possible, which is why – when possible – I’ll always try to make my music available in lossless formats as well as lossy formats. The financial incentive is gone, and I’m no longer as bothered by the need to have a physical release as I once was. Been there, done that.

Secondly, there are three versions of Pieces. Which version would I even put out? I could put out a physical version of the main album itself, which would be kind of pointless as you can download it for free. I could put out a physical version of the extended edition, but then what about the audiophile version? I could include that as an extra disc, but then it’d be at a lower quality than the actual downloadable release version (the downloadable version is released as 48khz/24-bit files). And even then, why would you want an extra disc with the exact same music on it? I don’t think I’ve ever bought a double-album that featured the exact same music on both discs – I’ve bought a couple of albums with instrumental versions available on a separate disc (which is something I took on board with the digital releases of instrumental versions of Distant Activity & Lightfields, and is a trend I plan on continuing with future vocal works), but never with the exact same material on both discs. I’m sure that such a thing exists, and if anyone has come across a good example of such a release then let me know!

From the point of view of my own vanity, I’d love to keep putting out physical releases. I still remember holding my first Distant Activity CD, and holding something that I’d put so much work into in my own hands. But I’ve got to be realistic, and – especially with Pieces – I don’t think it’s the right call.

That’s my take on things. Maybe in the future I’ll think about putting out a vinyl release of my next album or whatever I do, but honestly I just don’t see it being either financially viable or practically relevant any more. If I started taking my solo music live, I’d think about it (but that’s a topic for another time). As it is, though, I’d much rather put that effort into writing music, and releasing it in a variety of formats and versions to suit the actual listening experience. There are things I can experiment with in the world of digital distribution that would be much more costly to try out with physical media, and that seems like it should take a much higher priority over my own brief personal satisfaction.

Production album and web-site update

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Licensing, Music, Site

So, last month I set myself a goal of completing 20 tracks for my heavy production album, and managed to surprise myself by getting it all done to a standard that I’m incredibly happy with. It’s currently in search of a home, but I’ve had some great feedback so far so hopefully it’ll be leaving the homestead soon enough and finding it’s own path. Aww.

On a totally related note, I finally got around to updating my production music portfolio on this very site. For those who had previously looked at the production music section, you are probably aware that it was a bit of a disappointment – a little bit of spiel and a couple of logos. It’s looking far more impressive these days and I think you’ll like what you see (and hear!). I’ve also uploaded a selection of production music to Soundcloud which you can check out at your leisure – in fact, here’s a handy music player if you fancy doing just that.

It’s a pretty eclectic selection of genres, ranging from some really chilled downtempo music right through to some incredibly raucous, ballsy rock. I’d love to know what you think of it if you get a chance!

Bit of a re-shuffling, I see…

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Distant Activity, From Out Of Nowhere, General, Licensing, Lightfields, Music, Site

Hello! If you’ve visited this site recently then you might have noticed that I’ve had a bit of a re-shuffle – I like to keep things mysterious and hidden like that.

Actually, the reasoning behind moving everything about is a bit more logical than that, but just to let you know where everything’s living these days and what’s changed…

  1. The Bandcamp player widgets have been replaced by some sexier Soundcloud alternatives. Not that I had anything against the Bandcamp player, but the Soundcloud player just looks SO MUCH BETTER. Functionally they both operate in the same way, only now you can leave me timed comments/dirty messages on all of my uploaded music as you listen to it. Which is always fun.
  2. My solo/artistic works (i.e. singles, albums, EPs) can now be found via the handy drop-down “solo works” menu at the top of the page. You’ll be able to check out previously released material (sometimes in full) via the included players on each respective page. There’s also a handy front-page if you simply click on the “solo works” button.
  3. My production music/licensing information can now be found via the “production music” button at the top of the page. Production music is music that has been written for a specific purpose (film/TV/adverts and the like) and should not be confused with my solo/artistic work – not that I consider my production music to be lacking in artistry (far from it, in fact!), just that they are both written with very different audiences and uses in mind. As such, I figured that they could do with separating out so as to avoid future confusion. The production music page is still very much a work-in-progress, but will feature a more complete portfolio in the near future. In the mean time, if you’re interested in licensing any of my music for commercial purposes then this is the place to start.
  4. All Civil Protection/band-related shenanigans can be found via the “Civil Protection” button at the top of the page. Again, my work with Civil Protection is targeted at a very different audience than my solo or production material, and decided to provide it with it’s own space. You can also find out more about Civil Protection at the band’s official page.

As I’ve stated, the reason for a lot of these changes is to prevent future confusion. I can’t be dealing with using a different musician name for each song I release (hence why I tend to just release everything under my real name), and this is my attempt to keep everything vaguely organised without having to resort to using fifty different musician names for different types of music.

Feel free to say hello over at Soundcloud as well!

Technical anomalies?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Distinctive, General, Music, Site

Turns out I’ve been having some issues with getting this site to send me notification e-mails and e-mails sent using the contact form on the site – unfortunately it’s been like that for about a month now, so if you’ve attempted to contact me through the site in the past month then I’d like to apologise for not getting back to you. I’d hate anyone to think that I’m intentionally ignoring them as that’s absolutely not the case – in the meantime, if you’d like to get in touch then you can still do so via my Facebook page, or drop me a line via Twitter.

On a more positive note, I recently headed down to London to discuss album #3 and another project with John at Distinctive Records and I’m excited to see how things go on that front. I’m still messing around with ideas and am in a sound design/planning stage at the moment, though I have a few song ideas that I’ve been fleshing out as well. I’ve just finished up another Reason-based patch design project as well so I should have some news regarding that in the not too distant future as well.

I’ll be sure to update this post when I hear anything new about the lack of notifications issue – I’ll just make more of an effort to check the site, so don’t be afraid to leave comments if you want to… I’m sure I’ll pick them up eventually.

You might have noticed a few changes.

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in General, Site

Hello there.

You might have noticed that I’ve gone and made some… “changes”… to the site. Why would I do such a thing, and what was wrong with the old site? Well… you might be pleased to know that this wasn’t done on a whim, and that there are more than a few good reasons for my deciding to switch to a more blog-esque site.

  1. Updating the old Flash site was a massive pain. Not only do I not have ready access to Flash since finishing university, but having to fire it up just to stick a new post on the site was massively inconvenient.
  2. Flash is not compatible with more than a few devices these days. Rather than exclude those users and continue using a Flash-based site, I decided to switch to this alternative. Yes, I am fully aware that the embedded Bandcamp players here use Flash – unfortunately, I really like the Bandcamp widgets and, until they release an HTML5 alternative, there’s not a huge amount I can do about that.
  3. The one-sidedness of my old site is something I had grown tired of. I want to hear from anyone who visits this site, and this allows everyone to get involved. Plus, because it’s a lot easier to update, I’ll be checking back a lot more often.
  4. I’ve got a new album coming up (no doubt I’ll be mentioning this a lot in the near future) so I figured now would be a great time to change things up a bit.

I’m sure I’ll be tinkering with the site some more as time goes by, but I’d love to know what you think. Anything missing that you’d like to see? Let me know!