Jamstar Acoustics

Jamstar AcousticsJamstar Acoustics is a new ‘virtual guitar teacher’ available as a web app or via Samsung Apps.

According to the friendly press guys: “Jamstar’s unique technology allows the app to listen to you as you play on your own guitar, giving you real time feedback and correcting you, bringing a whole new approach to learning to play the guitar, making it much easier and way more fun.”

The app itself is clearly laid out and easy to interpret, which is one of the most important facets any tutorial tool can have.

Jamstar Acoustic Lesson

The app is simple to use and looks like it could also be a lot of fun!

It’s great to see the opportunity to learn the guitar being afforded to people who might not be able to afford a one on one weekly tutor.

The democratisation of information facilitated by the Internet means that sharing knowledge and expertise, around any subject, can be done easily and relatively cheaply. If this means you get to learn a new skill, all the better.

If you like the sound of what you’ve heard so far, check out the introductory video below.

Top 10 Music Blogs of 2011

What are the top ten music blogs of 2011, I hear you ask?

Well, I’ve had a think about all of those that I’ve read regularly and listened music from avidly and whittled down to a little list that I hope you find time to investigate further!

Aquarium Drunkard – everything you need to know about music you’ve never heard of. Awesome.
yvynyl – simply, pick the best stuff, share. Great.
Abeano – award winning music blog, it wins awards for a reason…
Pinglewood – primarily video based, highly under rated
Off Modern – great collection of new music, intelligently picked
Gorilla vs. Bear – consistently finds new music, and it looks good too
Bear Eats Beats – into Indie & hip hop? This is the blog for you
Twenty Four Bit – amazing taste in music, a must read
Pigeons And Planes – need an introduction to a bunch of music you’ve never heard of? Pigeons And Planes does that job, spectacularly well.
Robot Pigeon – somehow the RP guys find bizarrely wonderful tracks from the most obscure of places, you’ll never leave

So, tell me, what music blogs have you discovered this year?

Spotify Royalties: Some Real Statistics

Spotify this week has once again been the focus of artists’ ire, as more than 200 labels chose to withdraw music from the service.

A post on Digital Music News revelaed research from NPD Group and NARM that claimed:

“access has been deemed ‘most detrimental’ to monetization across nearly all demographic categories”

What is lacking is a transparency from music streaming services that will allow people to decide fro themselves.

So, in a (small) attempt to make the money you receive for a ‘stream’ of one of your tracks a little less hidden, here’s a very basic breakdown from some first hand experience.

I signed up with Routenote, a digital music distribution service, a couple of years ago. It has been in the last few months that I’ve used Routenote to it’s potential, managing to get some of my old band’s tracks on Spotify (you can listen here if you like!).


*click the image to see a bigger version

In August we had 61 plays and earned $0.35016
In September we had 52 plays and earned $0.30396

So for just over 100 plays, we earned ourselves two-thirds of a dollar.

Now that might not seem like much to you, but that 100 plays as 100 more than we would have had otherwise.

To put it another way, the 100 plays is the equivalent of us selling 20 CDs at £3 each that are then only listened to once, straight from the disc.

That would net us £60 profit (our overheads from making the CD were covered years ago), a lot more than half a dollar.

It would seem to make NO SENSE to an outside figure who is interested only in the money at hand.

Why would you spend months creating something, only for its potential value to be made obsolete by uploading it to the Internet and making it publicly available for free?? ARE YOU NUTS?

Perhaps.

The presence on Spotify helps, in my mind, to establish your footprint digitally. If you don’t get on the platform, someone else will, and they make take your potential audience with them.

It makes sharing your music with others easier too. Back in the day, you’d carry 100’s of CDs to gigs, that nobody would buy; now they can listen to you on Spotify and you save your back.

You might end up on a playlist of similar artists, stumbled across randomly by a Spotify user who happened to like your tracks.

Like many elements of our digital lives, there is an element of luck involved, if you are to succeed.

Think of ‘viral’ videos for example. The brands and people involved were lucky that they caught a wave of cultural phenomenon that their content played so well into.

Similarly, that job you got through Twitter? You wouldn’t have it if you’d made a cup of tea and watched the TV instead of checking your stream.

That half dollar may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it is half a dollar that has meant the band’s music has been listened to 100 times more than it would have otherwise been.

It has yet to lead to a sale or download, that much is true. But, if it does, that simple 5 minute process of uploading some tracks will have been made worthwhile.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Review

Noel Gallagher returns with his debut release, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, out on Sour Mash on October 17th.

The Chief has taken two years out since the end of Oasis and has put his time to good use, recording two albums; this, and the to-be-released next year follow up with Amorphous Androgynous.

It is rare that I’ll write a music review on Seldom Seen Kid these days, so please forgive my blatent self indulgence, just this once…

This could be the most important album that Noel has recorded since What’s The Story Morning Glory, not for himself, his past or even his future: it’s important for music to know that Noel Gallagher is still the standard by which all UK rock and roll should be measured.

There have been doubts, prompted by the more recent Oasis output, that Noel is, and was, a one-trick pony.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying birds will put to rest any claims that he had run out of gas.

The album is a 10 track exploration of Noel’s musical landscape.

There are songs, such as Stop The Clocks, which are more than ten years old that he recently admitted in an interview, didn’t fit with the constrains brought about by being in Oasis.

Stop The Clocks has been worth the wait, from the scratchy bootlegs that have lurked on the Internet, to this final full production, we’ve clamoured for it. It does not disappoint.

There are songs that show the mature Noel Gallagher that the media commentators choose to continue to ignore, but there are also instances where his playfulness shines through: this record is what every Noel Gallagher fan hoped it would be, and more.

It shows Noel heading in a less restricted direction, free to wander where he chooses, from the edge of acid house in AKA… What A life, to pomp and circumstance stadium rock on opener Everybody’s On The Run.

In Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks, Noel breaks into full Lennon/McCartney mode with brass and the most wonderfully crafted Beatles-borrowed melody – it’s a track that would sit quite neatly in the middle of Sgt. Pepper.

What’s so encouraging about the record is it’s diversity, each song leaves it’s own unique stamp on the LP and could be a single – there are no tracks that are filler here, each has their part to play.

From the brilliant, and long awaited (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine, to the Force of Nature-esque (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach, each song is indicative of a man who’s been biding his time with a collection of songs that he’s been waiting to share with the world for years.

It’s a record that is full of hope and quietly placed optimism; it’s a fresh and re-invigorated Noel Gallagher that greets us here, a man who’s now on his own and presenting us with access to potential greatness once more.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds may just be the wake up call the British music industry needs: it’s a genuine record that is full of genuine vigour and an authenticity that is missing in rock and roll.

Going solo may not be what Noel Gallagher wanted, but it’s given him an opportunity to stretch his musicality and the result is a truly wonderful album that could, just maybe, take Noel to a level that will re-instate him alongside the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

Noel, it’s good to have you back.

Track List

Everybody’s On The Run
Dream On
If I Had A Gun…
The Death Of You And Me
(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
AKA… What A Life!
Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks
AKA… Broken Arrow
(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
Stop The Clocks

To get you going, here’s Alone On The Rope, a track that will not be appearing on the record, but is tipped to get a future standalone release:

Justin Timberlake Buys Myspace With Specific Media

Justin Timberlake has teamed up with Californian digital agency Specific Media to purchase music social network Myspace for $35m, just 6% of the $580m News Corp paid for the service in 2004.

This morning, Music Week confirmed the story and quoted Timberlake as saying:

[He] wanted to take an active role in the development of the site as a place “where fans can go to interact with their favourite entertainers”

Specific Media’s chief exec Tim Vanderhook said of the purchase:

“Myspace is a recognized leader that has pioneered the social media space. The company has transformed the ways in which audiences discover, consume and engage with content online”

The acquisition will also see a reduction in staff, according to outgoing CEO Mike Jones:

“In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our workforce. I will assist Specific with the transition over the next two months before departing my role as Myspace CEO.”

This appears to be a vanity purchase, with little obvious direction indicated for the future of the platform. The once golden child of the social media revolution is now a lumbering overweight player in the music sharing scene, surpassed by hundreds of new alternatives.

As an artist, when it comes to sharing music there are other options for attracting and engaging with your audience, Myspace just doesn’t cut it any more.

What JT and his cohorts will do with Myspace remains to be seen, but I cannot help but think this may be the final nail in the already lead heavy coffin of the once pioneering and career making platform.

Flaming Lips iPhone Symphony

The Flaming Lips have used their iPhones to create a symphonic sound-based cacophony of genius proportions.

Wired says:

Released on Valentine’s Day, the audio tracks that make up “Two Blobs Fucking” are spread across a dozen different YouTube videos. Each of the 220-second clips must be played in sync to create the complete tune

See the how to do it video here:

As usual, The Flaming ips have tried to give their fans a unique experience, innovating with sound, aurality and, importantly, humour. It’s their constant desire to do something different that makes me excited to see what they come up with next.

A Couple of Recent Guest Posts

I’ve been lucky enough to write for Zath, a technology blog, and Two Footed Tackle on the plight of Leyton Orient over the past few weeks, so I just wanted to share both posts with you!

Leyton Orient’s Olympic Stadium worries are about more than just football

Mflow Review (Update) – New HTML5 Interface & Recommendation Credit System

Guest posts are always a good challenge, so I must extend my thanks to Simon and Gary for letting me contribute!

Major Labels Step Into The 21st Century

Last week it was announced that major record labels Sony and Universal, along with a bunch of indies, would permit the instant purchase of a single as soon as it had airplay, a method call On air/On sale.

On air/On sale is the result of piracy, changing consumer habits and a realisation that the industry needs to begin challenging and meeting both in a constructive and innovative manner.

A Sony survey revealed that 41.9% of music purchasers find it ‘quite annoying’ when they try to find a song they’ve heard on the radio, only to realise it isn’t available. *data from Music Week

A recent report called ‘Into The Future’ by the Future Business Research Group has revealed that 11% of the music buying population can be classed as ‘music obsessives’ who switch between licensed and unlicensed distribution services, but make up 31% of the total spend on music. *data from Music Week

It is this group that have been the catalyst for such change to occur.

It means that the artist will now be able to explore different marketing creatives to engage with their fans, fans get the music they want, when they want it and it may even encourage more people to purchase music, rather than downloading it illegally.

The next big challenge will be to finalise a distribution model that works for everybody, a task that could be a lot harder than it initially sounds given the vast array of deals already in existence.

For decades the model of ‘play the song on the radio for a month to build interest, then release it’ has dominated the music industry’s approach, treating fans as eager little mice waiting for their next meal. No longer.

20 New Music Blogs You Should’ve Heard Of

Music blogs are everywhere, here’s 20 I recommend you check out!

My Chemical Toilet
We Are Hunted
The Blue Walrus
The Pop Cop
Sweeping The Nation
The Daily Growl
A New Band A Day
Another Form of Relief
Fucking Dance
God Is In The TV Zine
Winston’s Zen
Illegal Tender
Muso’s Guide
I Really Love Music
Faded Glamour
Buzzin Music
Highway Five
There Goes The Fear
And Everyone’s A DJ
Shattered Satellite

Where do you go to get your music?