SoundCloud and rights

So Soundcloud have updated their subscription model: 

We’re happy to announce the latest way to experience SoundCloud – offline and ad free for just £5.99/month. Listen to all the amazing tracks you can only find on SoundCloud anywhere, anytime with our new SoundCloud Go subscription.

They’re charging the listeners and they’re charging the creators. Where is my royalty cheque SoundCloud? You provide the listening stats for each of the 81 songs under my account so it shouldn’t be too tricky for you to figure out.

Oh, it’s invite only? That’s just peachy.

And while you’re at it, how about figuring out how to tell the difference between a paid content creator account and a free listener account, and using that info to avoid spamming people who pay already pay you with demands for more money just to listen?

Local vs Streamed

I commented on a survey last week about streaming vs locally stored music. My answer (150gb of music, of which about 70% can’t readily be streamed and definitely not from one provider i.e. no chance of set-and-forget) seemed to annoy people. The replies I’ve been getting have mostly been frustrating to understand and they really do highlight the vast differences in people’s relationships with both music and emerging technologies.

You could use Google Play Music as a backup.

I could, but I already have backups because the nature of this collection means it is not readily replaceable. Not having looked into GPM’s specific provision, I can’t say if their storage is like-for-like or reprocessed like SoundCloud, and as a free service, their T&C, provision and availability can change at any time.

Having it stored on your phone is fine and all, but if it’s on GPM you can play it from everywhere.

Define “everywhere”! On the contrary, if I am somewhere without internet or a connected device of some kind, I’ll still have my phone and its contents.

What if you upgrade to a phone or player without SD slots?

If SD cards become obsolete on near-flagship models, it will be because internal storage provision has matched or exceeded the capacity/cost benefits.

If the cost of phone bills and connectivity is an issue, why not upload to GPM and cache over wi-fi of you need to listen on the go or something?

Uploading my local files to a 3rd party then selecting a subset of those files to a cache on my phone seems about 3x more complicated and about ¼ as reliable as simply connecting a USB cable and copying a folder from my computer to my phone. It’s still easier and faster to suffer the unspeakable hassle of swapping the SD card to & from the phone.

And this underlines another part of my relationship with music for listening: my music collection is curated in that it contains only things I’ve listened to and decided are worth keeping. Sometimes I want to listen to a specific thing, sitting down to listen to an album is a very specific experience, but my usual use-case is random access. For me the greatest aspect of digital music is the ability to effortlessly shuffle-play an entire collection and that requires constant access to that entire collection through an interface that can provide that functionality.

Once setup, Google play and services a like cut down the amount of “effort” you need to manage your library.

Well for a start, why are you discounting the effort involved in the set-up process? And what effort is involved in managing a local file library that isn’t involved in managing that same library online?

GPM would allow you to download those songs on any of your devices, or stream from a computer via the web interface. Plus it would allow you to re-download them if you need to reset your phone or get a new phone.

Through a lot of the comments there is a curious thread of insistence that all devices should do all things. People seem happy to carry a phone and laptop and a charger or two and possibly even an tablet, so why does it seem so alien to use one single device for music when not at your main device?

And seriously, why the fuck would you delete your own files? Are you an idiot?

My personal favourite: “Not available to stream? What kind of music is that?”

Ever tried grinding your teeth and laughing out loud at the same time? I wanted to make a crayon drawing for the guy who made this comment and post it entitled “With the greatest of respect…” or “No harm ’til ye, but…”.
So I made this:

Mission Accomplished

Each week for the last year I have written, recorded and released a new piece of music.
And some of them I have found to be excellent, some to be entertaining but throwaway, and some to be failed experiments worth revisiting with more time.
One of my favourite pieces from the entire project is this, sung by my good friend Martin Byrne.

And here is the playlist of the entire year of tunes:

New Musicks

It’s been a while since I did much to publicise my work, but I’m here today to remedy that.
In the last nine weeks I’ve released nine more pieces of work, some of which I’ve pushed off into the world with those little shivers I only get when what I’ve created seems somehow more than the sum of its parts.

These are my current favourites:

And here is a playlist for the Great Song A Week For A Year Playlist so far:

Portents and Auspices

Rob Brezsny has this to say, directly to me:

A bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc wine from 1947 sold for $304,000. Three bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 went for $233,000 apiece. The mystique about aged wine provokes crazy behavior like that. But here’s a more mundane fact: Most wine deteriorates with age, and should be sold within a few years of being bottled. I’m thinking about these things as I meditate on your long-term future, Sagittarius. My guess is that your current labor of love will reach full maturity in the next 18 to 20 months. This will be a time to bring all your concentration and ingenuity to bear on making it as good as it can be. By September of 2017, you will have ripened it as much as it can be ripened.

And frankly, I like this. That I’ve finally begun writing music again seems to frame the above rather neatly.

This is the Great Void

I decided to play around with a couple of synths, a bit of MIDI, a handmade BEW pedal and see what happened. This is the result.
In the process I taught myself a couple of new things about recording too.
I got to the end of the lyrics and realised I really ought to have rewritten the first verse but time was not on my side. So have at thee.
Guest vocals by Becca Allen.

Advice in the form of a horoscope

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): If you were embarking on a 100-mile
hike, would you wear new boots that you purchased the day before your
trip? Of course not. They wouldn’t be broken in. They’d be so stiff and
unyielding that your feet would soon be in agony. Instead, you would
anchor your trek with supple footwear that had already adjusted to the
idiosyncrasies of your gait and anatomy. Apply a similar principle as you
prepare to launch a different long-term exploit. Make yourself as
comfortable as possible.