Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a Rename album?

Real Music for Real People

Rename is doing a sort of subscription album. They’re not the first, not by a long shot, but they are the first in the synthpop scene to do this.

Some positive observations –
1. Most synthpop releases sell less than 500 copies. With this they sell to about 115 die hard fans, the ones who would have picked up the CD anyway, but get a premium for it. Instead of about $5 a sale they get about $55 a CD sold. Not bad.
2. And they get to make the album, press it, all at not cost to them. And key is there is no upfront cost, no credit card interest to pay etc.
3. It certainly has generated some buzz (i.e. – uhm, this blog!)

Some not so positive observations –
1. My impression is, and tell me if I am wrong, is that they are going to get $250 from Joe Smith and then record a song called “Joe Smith.” Not a song dedicated to Joe Smith (like others doing this scheme have done), but the actual song will be about Joe Smith. Pretty cool if you are Joe Smith, everyone else? Not so much.
2. In my mind music is about art, in the broadest way possible. Especially at this level where you don’t make real money. Art means different things to different people, but having someone pay you money and then say – write a song about this one thing – that’s uh, not art, it’s commerce, it’s Britney Spears territory. Now I know that patronage is an age old way to get art made, and often the patron would direct the artist to paint or sculpt something directly, but this feels different.
3. Ok, but, you can say, the band is still making music their way, it’s not like they are going to do a country song if Joe Smith likes country. True, but this leads me to my third point – by catering soooo much to fans are they going to Trekkie themselves (yes I just made that up, © 2009 me)? That is, will they appeal only to the people who already like them and not try to expand at all? Where is the incentive to chase new fans (however hopeless that is these days)? They made their money up front – Frankly they will come out of this (if it sells) just slightly ahead- why bother pimping the album when there is no reason (beyond fame, etc.!)

In short. I think it’s a trap. This particular idea. I will say that I have been watching these ideas (particularly the Jill Souble one) and have an idea to try it with Spray. Say $30 gets you the 3 Cd limited set, a T shirt and all of the digital singles that will come off the album…

I like something like this better because it does not tie the artist down at all yet it still gives the fans the feel of being on the inside.

Still, when all is said and done I wish Rename the bets of luck.

Children of a Laser GodSpray
"Queen Of Summer" (mp3)
from "Children of a Laser God"
(Ninthwave Media)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Create Your Own Disneyland

Bob Lefsetz is a crazy old crumugeon who writes a rambling email newsletter about the music business. The really frustrating thing? He is almost always right. Not just obvious right, but often very insightful, the kind of right that instead of just saying "amen!" you say - hmmmm, that's an interestig idea that I should think about more....

Today he was writing about Disocbiscuit fest (Campbiscuit) - huh? Some jam band I never heard of (my encylclopedic knowledge of Jam bands begins and ends with Dave Matthews - who used to play on the college where I grew up during party weekends - had to keep the W&L boys happy).

Anyway - Bob said something, and I am paraphrasing here - "Create Your Own Disneyland." Disco Busicuit have had a summer fest for 8 years now and he pointed out that they were doing this for their fans, not to get Miller Lite on board.

Now, no, I am not going to go out and start a Ninthwave Fest. ADD tried that and is probably still paying it off. And no, I am not going to resurrect SynthCon (ugh! that was a clusterfvck from the get go). But I like the idea of catering to fans.

This is what A Different Drum has done. People bitch and moan about ADD and how cheesey their releases can be, how out of fashion. Well, ok, maybe, but here they are around 11 years later still releasing new music. Why? Because ADD caters to the fans, treats them like friends not just customers.

I am of two minds about that - one- I think it is a great idea. Bob is right (Todd is right) you need to make the people who pay you happy, not the look-e-lou hipster kids who want free downloads. True dat. But, and this is a big butt! I think you run the risk of playing to a smaller and smaller core of fans. How do you avoid that reality? Journey used to play to sold out Arenas now they play to state fairs. Not a bad gig, but each year their fans fall off (or die off). I know - I used to go see Steely Dan year after year, I was such a huge fan. When they came back in the 90s I went for the first three summers, so grateful to be able to see them live! But then, well, after awhile I stopped going. Going to Great Woods is not cheap nor easy, and I realized that Becker and Fagen were going to just tour each summer until no one showed up or one of them dropped dead. The thrill was gone.

ADD is like this - after a while I just oculdn't keep up, did not want to. Too many releases that sounded similar. I wanted to move on. I am talking to three bands right now about releasing their music on Ninthwave. One is a fairly standard electrodance act but it has an industrial edge, no vocals. The second is a straight on club/circuit boy dance act, disco for the aughts. The last is a caberet act- yeah, caberet Simon Cowell, the real deal. Why? Because I like the music, why not? Its not like I am signing death metal bands (although if the right one came along)...

Anyway, the point is of this rambling post- I want to create a Disneyland - not sure how, but I am going to think about it this summer.

Synthetic Dance MusicThe Electroluvs
"Blonde" (mp3)
from "Synthetic Dance Music"
(Ninthwave Media)

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Ever have one o fthose... weeks? Well I posted up the new Empire State Human single for Melancholic Afro - only to find out I had put up the wrong edits and the remixer names had been dropped from the titles. Ugh. So I am pulling the whole thing and starting over. Sorry.
Meanwhile the new version of "Butterfly" that I popped up from has taken off like a jet rocket (or jet butterfly, lol).
Also late last week I added "Summer Party" to radio - the band's fan base hit 100 members today and has really taken off at Jango.
Today I added "Canadian Girls" by Spacemarch to Jango, to see what happens with a lesser known band etc.
A few weeks ago I popped up "Intergalatic Life" by Cotton & Gin and they easily made the 50 "like" votes for general rotation. Only a dozen fans though. :-)
Arron from Eight To Infinity told me that Intergalatic Life sounded like an early 80s song from NASA. Wow, that is random huh?
Judge for yourself :-)
Intergalactic LifeCotton & Gin
"Intergalactic Life" (mp3)
from "Intergalactic Life"
(Ninthwave Media)

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Moving the Needle #3

Last night the IODA digital sales report showed the second sale of the Garland Cult's Glitterazzi Album in two days. The band has been getting mad press for it's great cover of a Boy George tune that has been posted for free on a Boy George Fan site -

I think it is getting people to go check out the Garland Cult stuff. I have to say that, like a lot of stuff ninthwave puts out, TGC frustrates me to no end. It is really good dance music, done with some originality and creativity (not just slapped out ther elike so much dance music) and yet getting people to check it out has been difficult. I think the average synthpop fan at A Dfifferent Drum is turned off by how dance friendly the music is and the average dance music fan probably thinks the music is too pop oriented.


A lot of people have been complaining (since oh, 1999?) about free music on the internet. I am one of them (proud to say that Ninthwave is now listed on the Chilling Effect website as a company that is "chilling the freedom of speech" onthe net. Ha!)

But I think that free music done right can really help people discover music. I know I have discovered dozens of bands, most of whom I bought stuff from, since I discovered Hypem this spring. And I think Jango is moving stuff. It's a long slow battle, but hey, I got plenty of time, that's free right?

The Garland Cult's press release :
The Garland Cult in exclusive association with 100% Boy, announce the May 6th official release on FREE download of a special cover version of Jesus Loves You's "Generations of Love" title 'return of G.O'D mix'. Backed with an original electro-pop instrumental called "Glory, Glory" (positive vibes mix) ... this is a totally free feel good release, which is totally dedicated to George and we hope his upcoming release from jail.

The download zip file (containing artwork by Stuey at 100% Boy) is available from this link below -

Please click and grab and pass on the link to anyone who may be interested ... spread the positive vibes and some good feelings!!

Check out the video by Frankie Shane at -
Kind regards,
Aidan & Lar
The Garland Cult

GlitterazziThe Garland Cult
"Talking With Aliens" (mp3)
from "Glitterazzi"
(Ninthwave Media)

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kissy Sell Out, 4 new Ninthwave Singles, stuff

Firs thing- some free music for your week – Kissy Sell Out are from Essex UK and while they are, um, a bit odd, they will grow on you. They sound like as if Squeeze produced an Orange Juice comeback… You can get a free song from them that is one of the best singles I have heard this year “Apple Jelly.” It is kind of insane how much good stuff is out there right now.

Scour the web for these gems too:
I Go I Go I Go 3:12 Wave Machines - Sounds kind of Sparks in a hyper kind of way.

When Love Takes Over /feat. Kelly Rowland 3:09 David Guetta - This should be the rave up dance anthem of the summer instead of whatever the latest crap Beyonce is shoving our way…..BTW- coolly “samples” Coldplay, um, I mean Cat Stevens…

Hold The Line (Coin Operated Boy Remix) 4:54 Major Lazer – No idea who this is, but it is a kind of cool electro/drumsnbass/ragga kind of mash.

Kid On My Shoulders 4:34 White Rabbits – I have been hearing abit about them as of late. Nice rock tune, not very electronic per se, but any song that loops a piano as its central musical portion is fine by me.

empire_of_the_sun_we_are_the_people_modernaire_remix - Best remix of this song I have heard yet.

I posted up four new Ninthwave releases- they should start to hit the digital services soon:
Empire State Human – Melancholic Afro Remixes – 5 new mixes of this great track.
The Garland Cult – All Good Things- I have been meaning to get this out for ages…
Leonard T – Robot After All – great song of his forthcoming Ninthwave debut. “Butterfly 09” new track, they cover themselves 

When I get these up on the Ninthwave site I will let you know.

We have big plans ahead for Spray – stay tuned, but it involves a CD release of Children of a Laser God along with 2 additional CDs of remixes and rare tracks. Well, actually I guess that is about all I know about the release. So um,stay tuned for other things.

Some more free music for your weekend – from the new The Garland Cult release:

All Good Things - RemixesThe Garland Cult
"All Good Things" (mp3)
from "All Good Things - Remixes"
(Ninthwave Media)

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