Since Valentines Day is fast approaching (and it is getting likely that any new physical cards we send out via post will not make it in time), I just wanted to let you know about the special promo that HI54LOFI RECORDS will be running for the next few days:
*SPECIAL OFFER: From now until the end of the 14th, if someone buys our Valentines Day compilation for £1, not only do they get an immediate download of the compilation, but I will send a digital Valentines Day card + a FREE download of the compilation to the person of their choice (via email). If they spend £2, I will send to 3 people. If they pay £3, I will send to 6 people. £4 and I will send to 10 people. £5 and I will send to 15 people… and if someone spends over £5 I’ll see how many they want to send out.
Don’t miss out on this great way to not only make someone else’s Valentines Day better, but yours too (as you also get the compilation). So it is kind of like having your cake and eating it too, while also giving other people your cake and then them getting to eat it too.
Head over to HI54LOFI RECORDS Bandcamp page and start the love spreading process now.
The above player is just a sample of the 15 tracks that make up HI54LOFI RECORDS special Valentines Day compilation. You can get / hear the full thing over on Bandcamp, or keep reading as to why this compilation is ‘special’…
“When I think of Valentines Day, my fondest memories of it are when I was a young chap, and didn’t really think about things like ‘love’. They were innocent times, and you’d give everyone in your class (even the ugly / stikny ones) a cute little card that asked them to be something neither of you were willing to commit to. It was easier to throw around words like ‘be mine forever’ back when forever meant, at tops, about a month. The older we got, the more complex things got. You either were forever alone or stressing out about another last minute stab at being romantic enough to make it through another year. And the cards stopped coming (except from Grandma).
This year, we hope we can help you recapture some of those warm and fuzzy feeling that Valentines Day once brought. So we’ve put together a digital box of 15 musical chocolates for you to not only gorge on yourself, but send it to everyone in your class (even the ugly / stinky ones), via a special Valentines Day Card. And here’s how it works:
This compilation is a ‘pay what you want’ download, with the minimum purchase set at £3. When you purchase the compilation, you will receive an immediate download in whatever format you desire AND… we will also send a physical Valentines Day card to the person of your choice (to anywhere in the world). And this is no regular Valentines Day card, it comes with a FREE download of the entire album.
So, for just £3, you get a copy of this lovely 15 track compilation for yourself AND the person of your choice gets it as well, along with a special Valentines Day card. It’s the perfect way to say “I love / like / miss / think of / want / etc you”.
But there is more… we have made the compilation ‘pay what you want’ so that you have the option of sending out more than 1 Valentines Day card / FREE album download. If you pay £5, we will send out 2 Valentines Day cards to the people of your choice. For every £1 over the £5 mark, we will send 1 Valentines Day card on your behalf. So, if you pay £8: you get an immediate download of the album AND we will send a Valentines Day card / FREE download to 5 people.
So send one to your lover. Or send one to your friend. Or to your secretary. Or your mother. Or your whoever you think is special enough to get a little sugar this Valentines. Swing by our Bandcamp page and start the love spreading process right now.”
#1 - Que Entire Albums for Uploading on Bandcamp
If you have ever made your music available through Bandcamp (if you haven’t, you should), you are well aware of the very slow and painful uploading process. Perhaps I am really feeling it today as, ever since we moved to England, our internet has been a lot slower than what we were used to in Canada. But if my memory serves me correctly, even back then it was painfully slow. So I guess the reason I am really feeling it today is because I am uploading a 15 track compilation that is being released tomorrow. And it is crawling at an overweight and elderly snails pace… and it’s kind of delaying some other important things I need to do (but can’t until the album is up on Bandcamp).
The reason it goes so slow is that you have to upload WAV files, which are really big. You have to upload WAV files because Bandcamp provides consumers with the choice of downloading your music in the file format of your choise (at a high quality). This is a good thing. I just wish it was possible for me to que all the tracks I need to upload in one step and then go away (or go to sleep) and come back when they are done. Instead, you can only have two tracks uploading at one time, which means every 20-60 minutes you need to check on things and see if you can start uploading the next ones.
I got this compilation ready for Bandcamp in the early hours of last night / this morning and all I can think about today is how nice it would have been to have qued all the tracks right before I went to bed at 5 in the morning, and have woken up to them all being uploaded. Instead I went to bed at 5 in the morning and set my alarm for just a few hours of sleep, so that I would have enough time to upload tracks 2 at a time today and still have enough time to send some press emails out before tomorrow’s release. But, for now, I guess I can only place this wish out into the universe and hope it is granted.
This post is a part of a new blog series called ‘HI54LOFI RECORDS WISH LIST’. I don’t know how frequently I will post in this series. I guess it will be whenever I am doing something and I have thoughts like ‘I wish this was like this’.
A little while ago on HI54LOFI RECORDS, I wrote a post entitled "Why u no Bandcamp?", where I posed the question “Why u no Bandcamp?”. I had become curious as to why so many bands —of the mid to high level of ‘made it or making it’ range — were not using Bandcamp. It was something I especially noticed when putting together a blog post about my favourite non-HI54LOFI RECORDS releases of 2011 (which also brought out some other observations), but it was also something I’ve been noticing since I first discovered the awesomeness that is Bandcamp. I thought I would revisit the question, as I recently ran into another reason. And running into that reason got me thinking about the topic again, which made me think of another reason I had overlooked.
But before I jump into those reasons, let me just re-state a statement that I have stated many times: I really love what Bandcamp does and I think the people behind it are some of the good guys. I think all bands should use Bandcamp and I really hope that one day soon, not only will more bands be using Bandcamp, but listeners and music lovers will start using it more (and become as comfortable with purchasing on Bandcamp as they are with letting Apple hold onto their credit cards).
Now, two more reasons why some bands are probably not using Bandcamp:
#1 - It is possible to steal from Bandcamp, and you don’t even need to be a tech savvy ninja (because tech savvy ninjas have built something for all those opposite of tech savvy ninjas of the world). Being familiar with the idea that the internet is a new version of the wild west, I had never doubted that this was possible. I just never put much thought into how that reality applies to music on my / our / your Bandcamp page. It wasn’t something I stressed about. But I was going through Bandcamps FAQ page in search of an answer to an unrelated query and I came across this section:
One of my fans showed me a totally easy way that someone could STEAL my music off of Bandcamp using RealPlayer 14.1 beta 3, or RipTheWeb.com, or by going into Temporary Internet Files and renaming blah blah blah. What are you doing about this grave problem?
Nothing. Since streams on Bandcamp are full-length, rather than 30-second snippets, it’s correct that someone could use one of the above methods to access the underlying 128k mp3. And sure, we could throw some technical hurdles in their way, but if they hit one of those hurdles, it’s not like they’d slap their forehead and open their wallet. Instead, they’d just move on to some other site where those restrictions aren’t in place, and you’ll have squandered the chance to make your own site the premier destination for those seemingly cheap, but enthusiastic, word-spreading, and potentially later money-spending fans. In other words, the few people employing the above methods are better thought of as an opportunity, not a lost sale. If you’re still skeptical, Andrew Dubber’s post on the topic of music piracy is a must-read.
So I was intrigued to see how easy it would be to steal music off of Bandcamp. And it was pretty easy. Googling the topic led me to a Youtube page (although that process seemed a bit too involved) and one of the comments on that Youtube page led me to a site that allows you to just paste in the url of a Bandcamp page and download that track. I thought about not sharing the links, but really, it is the internet, and if you really want to steal music you’ll always find a way (it just took me one google search). It should be noted that this site (or any site or technique like it) does not just apply to stealing music from a Bandcamp page. They can be used on Soundcloud, or Youtube, or Myspace or etc. You can even find videos on how to take music off of Spotify. Basically, if you put something of yours on the internet, someone can probably get it if they want to.
Does any of this deter me from using Bandcamp? Of course not. I’ve basically just experienced something I already knew was possible. And like a lot of small labels and DIY artists (i.e. the major percentage of people who love and use Bandcamp) the idea of someone stealing our music doesn’t scare us as much as it does the bands of the mid to high level of ‘made it or making it range’ (and more importantly, the people who represent them). What scares us is the old way of doing things. The thoguht of a middle man making a dime for doing nothing but holding a key to a door that shouldn’t even be there is a lot more scary to us then the idea of someone liking your music enough to want to steal it. True, some people steal music because they’re stealers and that’s what they do. They steal things and maybe even use that stolen item for more than their own personal use. But some people ‘steal music’ because they are a little too skint (which is something I think a lot of us smaller guys can relate to quite well). Or maybe they are not quite sold on being a true fan of yours, and them stealing your music is the first step in their conversion. Whatever the case may be, don’t develop a pirate hernia.
If you haven’t already checked out that Andrew Dubber post, perhaps now would be a good time to do so. It really hits a lot of nails on the head and says things better than me going on more about it. But in a nutshell, someone stealing music your music is rarely the same as you losing a sale.
I do not run a major label. My brain hasn’t been wired to worry endlessly about a possible lost dollar, but I know some people do. So I can definitely see this as a major reason why there is a lack of major names using Bandcamp.
#2 - A lot of big names are using Topspin. And as the Bob Lefsetz post ‘Bandcamp vs Topspin' from last year makes obvious in post title alone, if you're using one service you're probably not using the other. Now, I have never used Topspin, but it was something that I definitely checked out. I don't doubt for a second that what they do, they do good. They even offer more / different services than Bandcamp. But everything about them — and not just the cost of using their services — screams “little guys need not apply”. As the unamed emailer in the Lefsetz post explained, “Bandcamp is great technology. Topspin is great marketing. So Topspin is winning.” (to be fair, there is great technology behind Topspin as well). I don't have any strong negative opinions about Topspin, as my investigation in using them for HI54LOFI RECORDS stopped at the pricing page, but I will say that the image in my head of who the people behind Bandcamp are is not the same image I have when picturing the people behind Topspin (i.e. in my head, Bandcamp = created on a laptop, Topspin = created in a boardroom). Perhaps I listened to Bill Hicks too much and my brain has been warped in a way that is not financially viable, but it just feels that Topspin is run by and made for ‘the bigger boys’. They seem more ‘industry insider’ than Bandcamp. And probably because of that, Topspin seems to have bedded more of the bigger names.
So, there you have it. Two more reasons on why big name bands might not be using Bandcamp. When added to the previous three, that makes five (although one reason is just an all of the above). Hopefully nobody has confused these “Why u no Bandcamp?” posts as me listing points as to why people shouldn’t be using Bandcamp, because that is not what is happening here. I’ve just been wrapping my brain, trying to figure out why there are any bands out there not using Bandcamp, because that made no sense to me. So I just tried to walk in the shoes of those people not using Bandcamp, and now that I have, I am going to put my slippers back on cause my feet hurt.
I’ll be train-ing and plane-ing all day today. Destination Barcelona, where I’ll be hanging out with this lot for a week, making and practicing sweet music in preparation for our little European tour. Excited, nervous and excited.
Hope to see some of you there (check out the Facebook event for more details). I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for posting until the tour is done, but I’ve tried to queue up a few just in case.
Now that I am living in the UK, I am planning on doing a lot more HI54LOFI RECORDS things. For example, we have a small european tour coming up this autumn. Plus other things and more. Because of that, I am going to try and make an even more defined split between what is HI54LOFI and what is HI54LOFI RECORDS.
I know the obvious thing would be to not have both things contain the word HI54LOFI, but I really like that word. I also think it describes how I feel about a lot of things in life. For example, just the other day I spent 45p on The Daily Express—which is an absolutely shit example of a ‘newspaper’—because inside there was a coupon for a free 3£ sandwich. That is totally hi54lofi. Plus changing names would involve changing a lot of things, which would probably make things even more confusing and be a bit annoying (at least annoying for me).
So HI54LOFI (i.e. sans the RECORDS) will focus on all of my personal interests and likes away from the record label (as the record label is enough of a personal interest and a like of mine to be its own separate thing). Which won’t really change too much about this blog (or the @hi54lofi twitter handle, or 8tracks or Mixcloud pages) as that is kind of what I’ve been doing already, the main difference will be that I will post less things about HI54LOFI RECORDS artists on here and instead post those things on the HI54LOFI RECORDS blog (and start using the @hi54lofirecords twitter handle more).
So… if you are still with me and if you like this HI54LOFI tumblr and the things that get posted here, it would be really swell if you could follow @hi54lofi on Twitter and 'like' HI54LOFI on Facebook.
And if you also like HI54LOFI RECORDS and the group of artists involved with it so far, it would be equally swell if you would follow @hi54lofirecords on Twitter and 'like' HI54LOFI RECORDS on Facebook.