Sunday, April 24, 2005

In Da News

This last week has been one of media contact for me.
First the HUMlab seminar on Podcasting with bicylemark on Wednesday.
Then interviews and articles with Vasterbottens-Kuriren (Saturday 23 April)
UCIT (Umeå Center for Interaction Technology) and finally an article which should come out in May's City magazine. All of these are of course in Swedish.
However I have made a rough translation of Mikael Hansson's article from UCIT, with notes and some name protect the idiotic:

File Sharing Gives a New Business Model
[with notes by Jim]

Although they live in Finland, Sweden, USA and Australia they can keep in contact with one another, share music and play music together even though they live in different cities. It is file sharing networks that makes this possible.

Jim Barrett is a doctoral student with the Institution for Modern Languages at Umeå University. A large part of his time is also spent in HUMlab, Umeå University’s centre for humanist and IT studies, where a transgressive and interdisciplinary group of researchers and students work. But Jim is also a musician with roots in New Folk Music or New Weird America. That is a group of artists who experiment with their music and mix it in a form of cross-culture.

NOTE: I would have used these definitions:

“All these artists are pursuing very personal music and making very human sounds.”
Michael Gibbons, who records as 500mg

“This musical direction is part of a destiny and we always consider ourselves lucky that we can do what we do. There is a much bigger picture behind what we do and it’s evident in what we do. It’s a bit more of a master plan or a divining rod than a direction. We're drawn to what we do by unseen forces.”
John Moloney of Sunburned Hand Of the Man

For many of these musicians the internet has become an important channel. Whether they live in Finland, Sweden, USA or Australia they can hold contact with each other and it is usual that they put music out as shared music files so that others can listen to what they have done. The internet is also a tool to bypass the record label’s distribution [monopoly] which they experience as controlled. Through file sharing they can inspire each other and share either finished or in progress music.

Make Music via the Internet:
The music collective which Jim Barrett belongs to is called Music Your Mind Will Love You. On the collective’s blog they are described as a loose network comprised of artists who through music and sound will free their senses: "We are a loose array of minds united by our art. Thru the manipulation of sound we strive to free the minds of all our brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom."

Although the collective is based in Australia and members live in different cities they produce music together.

“We make CD’s together despite us not being in the same place. I do a track with a voice here in Umeå- My friend in Australia can set down some guitar and another can do a drum track.

“Once you are connected you can spread culture much more”, says Jim Barrett.

Democratising in the Music World:
Many musicians and artists understand that the new technology has resulted in a process of democratisation. Before artists were dependant upon expensive recording studios, and a costly production processes in order to press a record. Physical distribution of the finished products was also difficult.

Today new powerful computers can take the place of each previous component with all the production being made much simpler and cheaper. Dependence upon the record company is not nearly so great. Technology also makes it possible a democratising whereby many more can have the possibility to release there music.

A New Business Model Grows:
But new technology also implies new business models and markets result. Jim Barrett states that he has travelled around Europe under a long period [ACTUALLY ABOUT 18 MONTHS] without have any significant amounts of money [NONE]. He played in the streets and collected what he needed by that way, and got to stay free with people he came into contact with [THANKS TO THEM ALL WHEREVER THEY MAY BE]. When the group Black Forest/Black Sea visited Europe and Sweden under 2004 they did it the same way.

“They sent out a question on the internet about who would help them during their tour around Europe”, says Jim Bla Bla, who was one of them who arranged the group to play in HUMlab in Umeå.

“The most important for them is the music. They want to have experiences, not money”, [AIN’T THAT RIGHT JEFFERY AND MIRIAM, WHO NEEDS THE STINKING MONEY....HERE COMES THE HIPPY BIT].

Criticism of the Materialistic Lifestyle:
But Jim Barrett also believes that it also has to do with a social philosophy.
- “There is among many a feeling that this society is not forever. We have to lower our standards in regard to our material lifestyles.”

“It has become so that we can begin to talk about a new currency”, suggests Jim Blim Blim. “That is not based upon money but belief, reputation and prestige.” You don’t buy people but rather they deal directly with you.

These next few paragraphs are about the great piratebyråns work…check it out but I ain’t going to translate it….

Help of the Little Record Label [YA YA FOXY DIGITALIS!!!!]
Another example of the business use of the new technology Jim Blutt Blutt spoke of. In December 2004 he travelled to Australia and met with his musical comrades. With that opportunity they also recorded a CD [ACTUALLY 2 CDs]. In order to spread the CD they made a contract with a small American Independent label [FOXY DIGITALIS] which will press up the first 100 copies of the CD. Therein the label has the right to sell the first 100 copies in order to cover their production costs. For Jim and the other musicians it is an opportunity to get help to spread their music. After that could Jim and the other musicians [MYMWLY] can take over the CD, burning copies as CDRs ourselves and continue to sell it.
Crashed the Hard Drive:
But the new technology can also have its problems [OHH THE PAIN..]. For Jim Boing Boing the problem came in the form of a hard drive collapse. It became apparent that it was six months since he had last done a back up of files. It resulted in the loss of a massive amount of files, and 6500 mp3s. Now he has promised himself to buy a DVD burner and back up religiously with copies of everything [BOUGHT THE DVD BURNER…WILL BURN ONLY WHAT I NEED…NOT GOING TO KEEP SO MUCH IN THE FUTURE…PRUNING IS THE SECRET TO GREAT FRUIT]

The interesting result of this was that he found out how important his files were also for others.

People had before contacted me to share files and exchange information on the bands. But now with the hard drive gone I am without my files and nobody is contacting me.

But Jim Boo Hoo tries to see it from a positive perspective:

“Now I have the chance to begin again from a fresh start.”

Check out the CD spoken of here released 10 May by Foxglove: 'Majik - In Mara's Glove'

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