Right now there is a renaissance in digital goods fulfillment options, with plenty of startups hoping to get the long-tail microtransaction stuff going in their favor. Some of them are oriented more towards music, while others are oriented more towards eBooks or other sorts of things. Here's a quick comparison of a few of them (Bandcamp, CDBaby, Gumroad, and Simple Goods) for those who might be interested in such a thing.
April 27, 2013
March 3, 2013
So, a few years ago I made some remixes of other peoples' youtube videos, as a sort of slice-of-life thing. Many of the videos were about peoples' difficulty with other people on the Internet, or their views of politics, and so on. I was just doing an artsy thing.
December 21, 2012
I have an Alesis ControlPad which was irritating the hell out of me for a number of reasons and I don't think I've actually used it in anything. I was looking into trying to extend its capabilities but I decided I'd rather just have a proper electric kit.
Unfortunately, none of the off-the-shelf electric kits really had the mix of characteristics I wanted. I like the Alesis drum heads, and the Roland cymbals, and the Yamaha kick pedal, and I wanted to just use my existing Korg Wavedrum for snare-esque purposes, and I didn't want a big, space-consuming rack since even the smallest rack I could find (for the Yamaha DTX) was way too big for the space I wanted to put it in. Plus, all the bundled kits came with sound generation modules which had really crappy sample sets that I wasn't going to use anyway, and I really just wanted a basic trigger→MIDI converter.
So, I ended up piecing my own system together. It ended up costing more than a midrange off-the-shelf bundle, but it was a lot less than a complete set of Roland v.drums and I got exactly what I wanted (and it's actually much more capable than an all-in-one solution).
August 19, 2012
So, this temporary housing is driving me nuts.
Unfortunately, my place back in SF won't be on the market until Thursday (thanks, realtor who told me things would move a lot faster than they actually are), and after that it'll take who knows how long for offers to come in, and after that it'll take who knows how long for it to close. Kerri (my realtor in Seattle) is telling me that it'll be at least a month after any offers come in before they can close, and those would come after the open house on the 26th, so that means I'm stuck here until at least September 26 (because I can't close on a property in Seattle until my property in San Francisco also closes). Or maybe it can be moved up with a bridge loan. I'm not sure if I can afford to pay essentially three mortgages (SF mortgage, Seattle mortgage, bridge loan) at once though. I'll ask the loan broker here what works, I suppose.
Anyway I'm pretty frustrated with my realtor back in San Francisco; he told me things would move at a certain rate, but then didn't keep me appraised of things that would potentially delay it until it was too late for me to do anything about it (for example, he decided more painting was necessary than we'd agreed to and that pushed things back a few days, and then the stager wanted to be paid up-front, which she didn't tell me even when I'd met her when I was moving out; I could have sent her a check as soon as she sent me the quote instead of having to do a wire transfer a few days after she said that she hadn't started yet because she hadn't been paid, and of course the stager made it really difficult for me to get her wire transfer details too because she is a total corn flake). Then when I moved like crazy to get things moving as fast as I could, he still dragged his feet at getting it going. I'm pretty disappointed in him.
At least I finally start work tomorrow so I'll have something to do other than being driven crazy by this terrible temporary housing or wishing I had the energy to work on the music app I want to work on. (Of course the basic idea behind the music app is well-explored, but it's the big-picture stuff that I really want to do! But I can't do the big-picture stuff without the basic part of it. And nobody seems to just have a componentized thing for the basic part. Not that the basic part would be that hard to implement, but I'm lazy.)
June 25, 2012
The schedule for Song Fight 2012 in Seattle is shaping up. Sockpuppet is currently scheduled to be going on Saturday, July 14 at 10:00 PM, and I'm also going to be in Naked Philosophy which is scheduled for 9:30. But the whole night (from 8 PM to 1 AM) should be fun, and that's the second night of two! Check out the show page for more details as they emerge. Also I'm going to be playing drums for a bunch of other people too, probably.
June 23, 2012
A few years ago, Kimmo Lemetti (author/artist of Gone with the Blastwave) did a Dwarf Fortress animation and needed someone to do sound for it. So I did sound for it. He finally got around to posting it recently:
It is my understanding that if you are into Dwarf Fortress this animation is hilarious.
June 4, 2012
So, quite some time ago, I did a remix of a YouTube user's video (warning: NSFW language). Recently it was flagged as a copyright infringement. Not from the original user whose video was remixed, but from "AdRev for Rights Holder." Their claim is that it makes unlicensed use of "Mark Allan Dunn-Flashpoint Drum," which I have never heard of before.
The actual remix is composed solely of the audio track of the original YouTube video, loops I made, and stock loops from the Apple Logic Studio royalty-free collection. If Mark Allan Dunn-Flashpoint Drum is part of that, it is only because it was in the Logic Studio collection. The only drum loop actually being used is the "2-Step Flux Beat 02" loop from Logic, and I suspect that is what they are claiming to be "Flashpoint Drum." Of course, I cannot actually find any evidence online for what "Flashpoint Drum" might actually be, so I cna't verify this.
The "respond to dispute" page gave no option for "this video does not contain the disputed content." The closest match to the situation was, "I have a license for the content." So, I selected that option, and stated that the only drum loop in the project was taken from the Apple Logic Studio royalty-free loops collection. This dispute was, of course, rejected.
Does anyone have any idea what the hell "Flashpoint Drum" is, who this "Mark Allan Dunn" guy is, and why "AdRev for Rights Holder" is making predatory copyright claims against videos that don't include that actual content? I can't find any information about "Mark Allan Dunn" online, or anything about "Flashpoint Drum," and I can't help but think that this is a case of some overeager law firm claiming copyright over other peoples' work and then issuing predatory copyright claims against things that legally use that third-party work.
Anyone have any advice? For now my video is still up, but I have no idea if that will remain the case, and of course Google is treating everything like a black hole and gives me absolutely no further opportunity to dispute the claim or talk to someone who might have any idea of what's going on.
Apparently it looks like AdRev for Rights Holder means that the person who has raised the erroneous copyright claim can in fact make money off of my remix, so even though I had no plans to monetize it myself, it means that other people can, and that's just not fair. If anyone should get any money off of it, it should be skoalrebel (the guy in the video) and not someone who just happened to have a drum loop that sounded similar enough to the one I used!
Looks like this is also a pretty common problem, because of the way that YouTube does its copyright fingerprinting, apparently. There are other threads about it on Google's forums, without any responses from Google, of course.
As always the small, independent content creators are getting shafted by the big media conglomerates who have bent the world to their will.
April 30, 2012
For the first time in a while, I decided to buy an album off the iTunes Music Store (since it was the only place it was available). Actually purchasing it required:
- Logging into iTunes
- Accepting updated terms and conditions
- Logging into iTunes again
- Enabling a bunch of wish-it-were-two-factor authentication questions (with the usual problems the pre-set questions always have, and no way to set custom questions)
- Logging into iTunes again
- Being notified of the download on every iOS device in my house simultaneously (some of which I didn't realize were even turned on)
- Being asked if I wanted to turn on automatic downloads of purchases (why yes I WOULD like to actually download this music I just paid for!)
- Finally, logging into iTunes again
At that point it finally downloaded the album.
December 31, 2011
December 24, 2011
I have a song in this week's Song Fight, entered as "Sockpuppet" (as usual). As always, listen to all the songs and vote for the ones you like. Song Fight also now requires voting for at least two songs to encourage people to not flood votes for their friends, which is a policy by which I can abide.
Anyway this is one of my better songs, I think.
July 22, 2011
Nice to know you guys are on top of things, and are registered Apple developers so that you can receive pre-release GM builds of upcoming operating systems so you aren't blind-sided by major operating system upgrades that people have known about a year in advance. Oh, wait.
What is it about pro audio vendors that makes them think it's okay to hold off on updating their software for major changes to their customers' platforms?
It's not just you guys, of course. Native Instruments and MOTU are even worse. At least you guys continue to support your products more than two months after they come out. But still.
I mean, sure, I could just hold off on updating my OS until the driver gets updated, except that this doesn't help me with the new Mac I just bought for my studio, because I'd been waiting to upgrade until Lion came out because Apple was withholding hardware upgrades until that happened. I'm not going to have any way to NOT run Lion on it. I guess I'm just going to have to use a cheap USB audio interface in the mean time.
I understand there being some brokenness and some beta-quality nature to various things when the OS actually comes out, but for a professional-audio hardware company to not be willing to get a single ADC developer license so that they can be prepared and be ready with SOME sort of driver upgrade when the OS itself is in beta - much less after it's actually been released to retail - is just ridiculous.
Apple is VERY GOOD to developers when it comes to keeping them ready for major OS changes. You guys really dropped the ball, and now I'm going to think twice about buying another PreSonus product in the future.
June 24, 2011
5. PARENTS: Reproducing asexually is a load of work. It is also very difficult to introduce beneficial mutations into a population if every offspring only inherits from a single genetic line. Unless you have a perfectly-set genome and a nutrient-rich stable environment, it's probably a good idea to reproduce sexually. Ideally with a mate you can trust. Someone with a matching genome. Someone who has also shown great survival traits. Someone who is willing to partake in a genetic exchange with you in which one of your gametes becomes fertilized by the others'. If your partner isn't willing to provide EVERY chromosome - e.g. bilateral symmetry, further reproductive ability, the ability to take in nutrients and excrete waste products - for you, chances are the organism in control of your future lineage (yes, survival is based on the ability to procreate further) may not have the best intentions for you or your species. Remember, everyone is looking to carve out an ecological niche and propagate their genes, too. Know who handles your genitalia, how they're handled (stimulated, bitten off after copulation, etc.), and how this partner plans to share the child-raising duties.
4. PARASITIC ATTACHMENT: What does this mean? The organism you're about to pair with is going to attach themselves to your body and make use of your own biological processes. Usually, this means there will be some up-front stimulation effect, but in the long run you're going to be doing extra work to sustain two lifeforms while only the attached one will benefit. Eat an apple. Parasite gets a cut. Eat a fermented soybean. Parasite gets a cut. Feeling heroic and want to burrow in a river bank. The parasite lives right there with you. Essentially, you do the work, parasite gets the benefits. That's the price you pay for an initial surge of dopamine. Even your excretory system is used to spread their eggs. Literally. Understand the tradeoffs and how your food intake is shared. A parasitic attachment only makes sense if there is a symbiotic relationship (e.g.the production of an enzyme which allows you to digest wood pulp or complex sugars) without having an ongoing drain on the resources you would otherwise be able to process through normal digestive mechanisms.
3. SURVIVAL INSTINCT: Normally, I'd put survival instinct before food intake, but since survival instinct is often less important due to herd strength or more advanced societal evolution, survival instinct falls just shy of food intake in order of importance. But survival instinct = your ability to survive. OK, think of survival instinct this way: You have a chance to become directly subservient to your hive queen and be responsible for protecting the safety of the colony. 92.3% Guaranteed. But you must attach your...uh, weapon directly to your entrails, and harming any interloper will mean certain death. There's no way you'd sacrifice your survival ability for a bit of pollen. Right? That's survival instinct. Don't compromise it. Ever. Why? Let's say you do compromise your survival instinct, 'cause those things that looked like berries tasted REALLY GOOD, or your tendril extended over an unfortunately placed barb, etc. You have ONE eye stalk that gets invaded by a foreign entity and a bird (it's possible!) thinks your eye is a tasty worm. The bird eats your eye and spreads the contained eggs aerially, 12 million infestations in 1 year. Everyone's getting infected by it. Awesome! Guess how much personal benefit you get from it? Zip! True, you may've regrown your infected eye stalk a few times and had it eaten by more birds, but the entity that infected your eye stalk gets the lion's share of the procreation. They get to continue in their large ecological niche throughout the rainforest, while no female will mate with you because of your missing eye stalk. Own your eye stalk. After eating (great) detritus, it's all you really have.
2. FOOD INTAKE: Eat the fucking food! Don't ignore food. Don't gloss over entire sources of nutrition to get to the "Highly fermented sucrose" cache. Yeah, you want to know if you'll have enough food to construct a nice nest, but understand that food is scarce for a reason. And it's not for your benefit. Look to see what others of your species are eating; don't assume you know whether something is edible or not. Also, get an immune system. One you can trust. This is your biome and you don't want Cordyceps Bassiana - the brain-invading fungus you saw infect those beetles over there - inducing you to climb up to the top of a tree, only to leave your head swollen with spore sacs shortly before it explodes and spreads itself everywhere. The food chain is complicated. Species are protectionist, usually in favor of the species providing their own intake (i.e., silk worms -> tea leaves). For every species that says "We got fucked!", "Oxygen-producing phytoplankton made the waters unsurvivable outside of oceanic vents!", "Fuck those anglerfish... I was promised a tasty snack!", or "That cuckoo bird engaged in brood parasitism!", I wonder if they learned to gather their own food properly. Food scarcity and niche encroach create planet-shattering havoc. Always know where you eat before offering your nutrition to a competing genus. Always.
1. REPRODUCTION: OK, if survival instinct = your ability to live, what is reproduction then? Everything else. Without reproduction - you know, the kind that allows your offspring to continue your positive traits - you got nothing. You can't cell divide forever. Egg sacs for a creature without a penis won't ever get filled (though maybe there's a reproduction idea, but it'd only work for certain species of lizards and insects who reproduce via parthenogenesis via lesbian stimulation). A female won't accept your sperm without a delivery mechanism. Really, focus (like a spherical lensed eye, like a mammal, like an avian) on reproduction. Yeah, I know. You're excited, you want to stimulate yourself orally, get a dopamine response, ejaculate, make burrows, eat slime molds every night... the works! But if your reproductive ability isn't good (mom's sexual proclivity doesn't count), then forget it. I'm not talking about "long-term hibernating" your reproduction cycle. We all know the seventeen-year cicada story. But without solid reproduction, confidence (not attitude!) in your abilities at mating, and the physical stamina to back it all up, well, what's the point in going through with points 5, 4, 3, 2? Because you want to? Seriously, go get an RNA retrovirus instead. There's nothing wrong with being a pond goldfish or a colony of diatoms that clump together. 99.9% of biodiversity is made this way. But want it out in the public as a successful documented species then make sure the reproduction rates are better than a cryptozoology study.
June 13, 2011
For the last several days I've been back in NYC for the first time in six years, for Song Fight Live. The show went pretty well; there were some logistical problems and some equipment issues and of course things didn't go as amazingly as most people ever expect them to, but there isn't really anything new there. It was fun and a good time, when maintaining an appropriate perspective on what it was we were actually doing (PROTIP: we are not actually rock stars).
The main thing I was worried about is that much of our time would be spent treading old ground that represents about a year's worth of really bad memories for me, and I did everything I could to ignore the fact that I was physically in a place where mentally I was very bad off. Trying to ignore the familiar sight of the L train and Union Square and the like, in particular, made me feel twinges of ickiness (even obsessively pre-planning transit before flying here made me feel twinges of deep pit-of-the-stomach sickness), and I very purposefully let Mike (a fellow songfighter from Seattle with whom I was sharing a room and most of my time) lead the way everywhere, and basically played willfully ignorant about how to get around.
Last night, though, I ended up getting, shall we say, sufficiently intoxicated, and ended up getting separated from Mike, having gone with a different group that was going to do some further bar-hopping, but certain members of that group had much better judgement than myself and said I should probably head back to the hotel rather than drink more. (I fortunately had enough sense to realize that I was probably on the verge of feeling like I was going to die if I didn't get some water and lie down very soon. Even if it meant less time hanging out with certain friends who will remain nameless.)
So, of course, the way back to the hotel was very familiar: the L to Union Square, then the 6 up to my hotel in Midtown. It had aspects of trips I'd done many times before, and normally the majority of that would have been in order to go to work (L to 5th Ave, F/V to 25th St - or just walk, if no train was there). I also used to take a bit of extra time to myself to just walk to Union Square after work to clear my head further, so that particular station is also quite familiar to me.
But it might have just been the alcohol but I just plain didn't care. The whole journey was simple and easy and came completely naturally, and it was actually comforting in a way to be alone in the middle of a crowd of strangers. I got to thinking about my relationship with NYC and so on. I came to the realization that I'd gone to NYC to begin with because I needed to launch my career and I was just so desperate that I was willing to take anything, and the reason I put up with the hell I was in was simply because I had no self-worth to speak of. But now I know better, and while I still wouldn't want to live in NYC, I no longer hate it, because it's where I finally started to learn to appreciate myself.
June 5, 2011
For those in or near NYC and wanting to see me perform live or otherwise see the various Song Fight shenanigans, here is the current schedule of events. Hopefully there will be a real website soon although it seems that we seem to get less good at organization every year.
April 4, 2011
While waiting for CreateSpace to validate my art assets, someone on Song Fight mentioned Mixonic, which I hadn't looked into for a few years, since the last time I checked they were better than CafePress but still pretty terrible, pricing- and feature-wise. Their current prices are pretty good, and beat all the other short-run manufacturers I'm aware of.
However, I have so far had nothing but problems with them, and I will not be using them or recommending their services.
March 31, 2011
March 24, 2011
I am one click away from submitting my final master of Love and Monsters to CreateSpace for replication. I'm not at the point where I'm sure whether it's ready or not. On the one hand it sounds great but on the other hand every little defect makes me think I should spend even more time polishing it even though I'm not sure that would help at this point. I just know that as soon as I get it replicated, people will finally start to tell me "oh hey well this bit could have been better" and then I'll just be all >.> so
I've been asking this on LJ for the last week or so but now I'm asking here. Please please please listen and tell me if there's something that I should fix before it goes out.
March 17, 2011
A few years ago I did the music, sound effects, and some of the voice acting on a little animation called "Pirate Scum" by my friend Patrick. For those in or near San Francisco, it's going to be showing at the Peaches Christ Film Festival on April 15, 2011, and Patrick, Mo (main voice talent, best known as the voice of Erin Esurance) and I will (probably) all be there too.
March 14, 2011
So, my musical mission has for quite some time been to make music in as many genres as I can, with as little repetition as possible. Today I realized that this isn't anything new, and in fact it's probably been well-established by my biggest musical inspiration ever — The Beatles. As I have been listening to their self-titled album (the so-called "white album") for the first time in years I can't help but realize that they actually have a much wider stylistic and acoustic dynamic range than anything I'm struggling with on Love and Monsters. Back in the days before the loudness wars they just went ahead and let every song be equalized completely differently. So maybe I'll only focus on fixing the last few vocal pitch problems before considering it "done" (at least done enough for submission to Createspace and BandCamp, anyway).
March 7, 2011
I'm working on another album, and I'm getting close enough that it's time to start looking at CD manufacturing options.
My primary sales channel will (hopefully) just be my BandCamp page, but some weirdos still want to buy physical CDs. As with last time, the only real options are Discmakers, OasisCD, and CreateSpace.