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Colin Wales [userpic]

Den 138 Chi-Den US Mail

March 3rd, 2011 (12:53 am)

Does anyone read LiveJournals anymore? I haven't logged in for a long time. My Friends page is practically barren, only one thing from this Group I subscribed to...

Anyway, I made a new Platzangst album, and here it is, even though none of my LJ friends will probably see this.

So yeah.

Colin Wales [userpic]

Come In, Fans, Do You Copy? Over.

December 5th, 2010 (01:25 pm)

Hold on a sec. According to those excerpts, Pirates have better selection, more content, less red tape, faster more efficient downloads, and provide this all for free.

So you buy a ticket for a cruise ship, and instead of being fun you are flogged twice daily and forced to scrub the decks the rest of the time.

Suddenly a "pirate" ship sails by, everyone on it is singing and dancing having a blast, you yell down
"Hey! What does a ticket cost for a ride on your ship?!" only to hear the reply of
"Ticket? whats that? Just hop on board!"



So you jump on board and join the party. You're having a great time, and then you ask someone, "Hey, where'd you all get this bitchin' boat? How can you afford it?"

And then a guy laughs, turns to you and says, "Aw, hell, we just all climbed on board and took it from the owners. Family of four. Slit their throats and threw 'em overboard. PARTY ON, DUDE!"

And you have a wonderful party, which was financed by others, against their will. And you don't care if they're still flogging some unfortunate captives below deck, no matter which ship you're on - just so long as YOU aren't getting flogged, who gives a crap?

Congratulations, you'll fit right in.


--"Anonymous Coward"

I have a better story. 

Jeff Fictional takes his guitar out one day, selects a reasonably busy sidewalk, and begins to play. He's put a can nearby with a sign asking for spare change. Many people just walk on by. They're not moved by the music. That's okay. 

Some, however, stay for a song or two. Some of these people drop a few coins in, some don't, before they decide to move on. Maybe that's okay, too. 

Others stick it out for the entire show. One guy hangs around capturing the performance on his cell phone's camera. As soon as the last note fades, he'll upload it to YouTube. Sadly for Jeff, the only notation he'll leave for the video will be "gittar dude XD" 

Now the show ends. Surely the ones still standing around really liked his music. He taps the jar and makes a genial grin at the audience. "Greedy," snorts one person, and stalks off. Another sort of shrugs. "Don't you have like... a thing I can buy, like a CD?" 

"Well, I tried putting one out," Jeff says, "but they cost a lot to make. If I made one, you think you could spare, oh, six bucks, maybe?"

"Man, you're not that good," and he walks away, too. 

Jeff remembers his past try at advertising revenue, when he wore a shirt with a company's logo and slogan printed on it in return for a modest fee. He wasn't sure it was enough to compensate for the "corporate hack!" shouts he got. Or the people who stood with backs to him to avoid looking at the shirt. 

But now there's one guy left, an animated, friendly-seeming fellow. "Awesome! Awesome! I am such a huge fan," he gushes.

 "Thanks," Jeff starts. "You think you could see your way to--"

 The guy holds up his little digital recorder. "This is goin' on my iPhone forever, dude. Gonna post it on my favorite music forum, everyone's gonna love it. I am so your biggest ever fan." 

"That's great, I mean it," Jeff says, "but seriously, I could use a few bucks for a hamburger and maybe a bus ride home..."

 "God, I'm givin' you all this great advertising and publicity, what else d'ya want? You really oughtta learn how to engage with your fans!"

 "...What fans?" Jeff murmurs, looking around.


This, if you believe some people, is the future of art and intellectual property in the age where everything can be copied and distributed on the Internet, without the owners' permission. This is not only the alarmists' worst fear, but the fondest desire of those who see the Internet as the quickest path to breaking corporations' stranglehold on popular media.

Content is no longer the point, you see. Time was, you'd buy a CD, and though you came home with some shiny metallic plastic and a few leaves of paper, what you were really buying was the sound encoded within. Paper costs drove only a part of comic prices - without the story carried on the paper, it wasn't worth anything to anyone.

Well, when you can get the content for free - and not only free of personal cost, but nominally free of physical space as well - who wouldn't prefer that?

As it turns out, many creators. If they're not being paid for the content they create, how can they make a living? And the answer comes rolling in: any way except for selling content. A webcomic artist can afford to let their comic be seen for free because they aren't selling the comic - the content is just a lure, bait to get the audience to pay for other crap.

Some ask for donations. Some sell advertising space. Some have related merchandise, like t-shirts. But the idea of a webcomic creator actually getting paid directly in exchange for making their webcomic seems almost laughable these days. And this is for people who voluntarily offer their work free on the Web - how much more at a disadvantage are those whose work is spread without permission?

 Anecdote: Steve Lieber has his comic book posted for free on 4chan.org - not by him - but once he posts on the message board himself and talks to the forum, without getting angry or defensive, sales on the book spike.   

 Many see this as a sign of the new digital economy. Some see this as a vindication of those who engage in illegal filesharing. Only time will tell if this is a fluke, or something that can actually sustain an artist in the long run.

 Anecdote: Colleen Doran, in response to those celebrating this apparent sign that copyright violation is both good and morally correct, speaks out against that attitude, citing her own comic and its lackluster performance as evidence that the illegal sharing of her own work hasn't really helped her out much.

 In response, some - like Tim Geigner of Techdirt - criticize her for the scorn she shows and then proceed to heap their own scorn all over her for daring to be miffed that people are taking her comic without permission or compensation.

Reading the comments section of that last link is... well... embarrassing.

Let me talk about me for a while.

I have long felt that copyright, used badly, is a barrier to creativity. One of my favorite bands, Negativland, was nearly sued out of existence for sampling - ironically, it was a case they could probably have won if the sheer corporate weight of Island Records' legal department hadn't spooked Negativland's label - but that's a long story.  This and other incidents have shown the stifling power of copyright in the hands of big business.

In addition, corporate interests have been lobbying for longer and longer extensions of the copyright law. What once took twenty-eight years to enter the Public Domain now lasts for the life of the creator plus seventy years, or 120 years for corporate entities. You'd think that ought to be enough - but it's likely that as more classic works reach the end of their copyright term, wealthy organizations will desperately attempt to extend copyright even further, to wring every last dollar out of their oldest treasures.

I have grown up in the era of the mixtape, where copyright infringement, though still illegal, was often done on a personal, one-to-one basis. You shared things with those you thought might appreciate them. So it's not like I have been copyright's most staunchest, unflinching ally - far from it. I've even (shh don't tell) engaged in some illegal copying of my own from time to time, in the impersonal, not-just-your-friends-but-THE-ENTIRE-BIOSPHERE online world as well, both giving and receiving.

Still, when I do engage in some form of copyright violation, I acknowledge (to myself, at least), that it IS copyright violation, and that I am actually breaking the law. I don't pretend to myself that I'm doing it for the greater good of society or fighting the RIAA. I don't make-believe that it benefits the creators in any way if I download or upload their material for free.

Reading the Techdirt comments makes me cringe, nearly makes me regret my anti-copyright stances. Because the sense of entitlement that flops off the screen, creeping and gelatinous, is repulsive, and made even more repulsive when I recognize ideas I hold being perverted and twisted into a justification for freeloading.

There seems to be a moral stance developing where some people assume that since you can get something for free, you should get something for free. A disconnect has formed between enjoying content and then rewarding the one who made the content. Part of this can be laid at the feet of the corporations who have bought up great swaths of media - it's easier to act with less ethics when your victim is a soulless business entity. But as the reaction to Ms. Doran shows, people often have no problem stiffing the independent creator as well.

 Here's a couple quotes from Mr. Geigner:

Hold on, let me get this straight. You offered it for free, the "pirate" sites offered it for free... and you STILL lost traffic to those sites? Methinks perhaps that if you, the creator of the comic, can't differentiate yourself from filesharing sites that offer fans no connection with you, no insight into the work, no expertise in the offering, and no personal involvement with the creator, then that is YOUR problem, not the "pirates."

Oh, and that last part, about there being no connection between fans and creators? That's YOUR job, not the fans'. You have to make that connection. We're not mindless moths, fluttering about the heat of your light, desperate to slam our bodies against the fixture. You connect with us, since you're doing the selling, not the other way around....

I think we need to clarify something, here.

Like the word "fan". An enthusiastic devotee. Short for "fanatic".

Too many people are using the word "fans" as another word for "the general public audience".

Elvis had fans. The Beatles had fans. Michael Jackson had fans. They had people who would lose their minds and physically endanger themselves to attend concerts and get closer to their objects of worship. By contrast, someone who gets offended that Colleen Doran would like to be paid for making a comic is not by any stretch of the imagination even approaching the neighborhood of "being a fan". Someone who takes her work and widely redistributes it without compensating her for that use might be a fan of something, but it's hard to say how they're HER fan.

Geigner says fans aren't "mindless moths", ignoring past history when that's exactly how you could describe real fans. The supposed "fans" he implies with his screed are watered-down, weak, the last faint trace of sweetness in the straw when you're pulling on the final meltwater dregs at the bottom of your Big Gulp.

But let's say they aren't fans of some specific creator, but of comics themselves. Still the level of devotion seems kind of flaccid, or at the very least badly informed, if the "fans" are willing to freeload off of the work of the artists making the very comics that drive the "fandom". If Colleen Doran loses traffic to a pirate comics site, is that really her fault for not tap-dancing furiously enough to attract and flatter the "fans", or is it that the fans aren't actually fans at all, or don't know how to be fans, or somehow lack the strength of character to think that maybe if they actually like something, it would be better for them to support the artist directly instead of browsing some pirate site?

What sort of fandom demands so much from creators without being willing to meet them halfway, or in fact, to even so much as click a link or type a URL? Whatever Colleen Doran's failings may be as an Internet entrepreneur, how much more the failings of the fans who let their own apathy and greed prevent them from supporting things they say they supposedly like?

Even the alternative methods of payment adopted by webcomic creators often get defeated: Advertising is blocked by browser plug-ins, donation links can easily be ignored, and even t-shirts can be bootlegged, just do a Google search for "Hot Topic" and "copyright infringement" sometime. This is a "fandom"?

Geigner links to another Techdirt article that goes on about "value added content" as the method by which companies compete when everyone has slashed their prices to the margins of profitability. That's fine as far as it goes, but the problem with that little dismissal of a creator's concerns is that while large companies selling multiple units often can easily fold in extra content for minimal cost, for any creator who operates on an individual basis, this "extra value" usually comes with some stiff additional cost, whether that's in actual dollars or the consumption of the creator's time and energy.

Another of Geigner's Techdirt links (and it's nice how these links are simply accepted as gospel truth) expresses the sentiment that being worried about what ought to be is pointless, since this is how the Internet is. Granted, business models have arisen to fit in with the way the Internet is, out of necessity. I'm sure plenty of creators would prefer to limit distribution of their work so as to keep those who read it limited to those who pay for it, and only operate differently because they have to.

But what kind of twisted sentiment is it to not be concerned with how things ought to be? You know, an army is marching across its neighbor's borders somewhere, but hey, that's how the world is, forget how things should be. Racial profiling, just the way things are. Give up on the issue of global warming, because it's here, get used to it. Powerful corporations lobbying to extend copyright, well, that's the system we've got, so why bother trying to make it better? The patent absurdity of this kind of sentiment suggests an avoidance of personal responsibility over any real endorsement of new business models. We may be entering an age of completely amoral attitudes regarding creators and their works, and creators may well be forced to deal with things on those terms, becoming glorified buskers trying to beg spare change out of indifferent "fans". But that in itself can't make it right, and should not prevent anyone from calling bad behavior exactly what it is.


[Links originally learned about via Journalista!, including this one, which I rather like.] 

Colin Wales [userpic]

The Danger of Stats

August 24th, 2010 (02:22 am)

You probably aren't reading this LiveJournal of mine if you aren't already aware that A) I am a graphic artist and B) I am a musician. (Neither is my official profession at the moment - sadly - but that's another matter.) In fact, what few readers remain at the moment are probably acquaintances of some sort.

My creative output has been light and spotty for a while now, and as such I haven't felt the need to do a lot of heavy self-promotion. Why go to the trouble of trying to increase traffic to my web presence when there's not a lot new to see?

I have a primary website, stop-him.com, which is horribly out of date. I have a music website, platzangst.net, which also needs some work. Slightly more active are this very LiveJournal, and two "community" sites - by which I mean they're hosted on sites dedicated to gathering communities of "artists" or "musicians" together*. My deviantArt page is stophim.deviantart.com, and my "band" Platzangst is hosted at platzangst.bandcamp.com.

I've detailed all of that because of this:

All of these sites track the traffic they receive. If I were motivated, I could look up what sort of hits my "main" site was getting. My deviantArt page shows me some stats about things like how many people look at it and what the most looked-at pieces are in my gallery. The Platzangst Bandcamp page shows me even more details - what songs are being listened to, whether or not they get played through to the end, whether they're played on the website page or off an embedded player elsewhere - and the page itself gathers some stats, such as where a visitor comes from. If, for example, I have a link to the Bandcamp page in the "signature" that gets posted whenever I make an entry on some public messageboard, and someone clicks on that link, then that visit will show up in my stats listing, with a note telling me where the link was that brought the visitor to my page. If you click the link I made above, it would tell me it came from "stop-him.livejournal.com/61801.html". The only time there's no such note is when the visit is made directly to the site - no link, someone either has it bookmarked in their browser or they enter the address manually.

Platzangst on Bandcamp has been getting a light but steady trickle of direct hits for a while now. A few a week. It's easy to speculate that it's one or two of my online acquaintances who like my music and check on what's going on every so often. Hell, maybe someone I've never met has discovered my music entirely on its own merits and checks in for updates ha ha the poor waiting fool. But direct hits suggests a familiarity with me or my work - you don't need to go to some other page to get to mine, you go right there because you know where it is.

And this is where the mystery comes in.

Because what fascinates me about stats is when there's some radical change for no apparent reason. When I make a rare post on, say, Warren Ellis' Whitechapel message board, as I did when I came out with the Our Corporate Strategy album, I can expect a certain increase in traffic. It makes sense. Put the address out in more places and in front of many more eyes, you get more potential response.

What seems to make no sense is when - say, August 21st - Bandcamp notes thirty-one direct hits on the Platzangst page for that day. Scanning the records for the last 60 days, the next highest amount of traffic in a day was eight hits. Other than that, it's little dribbles of single-hit days, a few with 2 or 3, a bunch where just nothing at all happens.

So I look at 31 hits and wonder just what the hell was going on that day. On Twiiter I mentioned making an album of timestretched 80's hits. Did someone think it would be posted that same day? Other than that, I can't think of anything I personally did to trigger such a frenzy. That's the danger of these stats - the blanks they leave are more tantalizing than the info they provide. Was it just one person constantly checking in all day? Was it an assortment of fans of which I'm unaware? Something in between? What were they looking for? I mean, thinking of it as one person is kind of frightening, that level of attention. Makes me wish I had a new album out NOW so I could put it up and satisfy the poor crazed soul on the other side of the Internet.

I am working on the album, incidentally. Soon, but not immediately. Relax, mystery fan.

*Yes, I realize that anyone who pays attention to the Internet for more than 12 minutes is already aware of this phenomenon and is probably familiar with the community sites in question. I just mention it to point out the difference between sites that are ostensibly my responsibility and sites that were free for the taking...

Colin Wales [userpic]

I Have A Twitter Account. Don't Push Me or I'll Use It.

August 20th, 2010 (02:52 am)

I've had it for a while, actually. When it first started to look like Twitter was going to be the new fad, I grabbed an account with my preferred username - and then did absolutely nothing with it. At all. Because who gives a crap? I used to have ICQ, but killed it when one "friend" (a nice but overly enthusiastic fellow I barely knew online, whose ICQ "friendship" I accepted out of a sense of politeness and not-hurting-feelings [which years on the Internet has deadened]) kept flooding ICQ (and by extension, me) with details about his every waking minute, down to what his last fart smelled like. God no. And in principle, Twitter sounds like ICQ times thirty. So I was reluctant to jump on the bandwagon.

What it took for me to say, "okay maybe I'll use this thing" was finding a Firefox plugin for it that sits in a corner of the browser and doesn't bug the living crap out of me. I don't have to have the Twitter website up, I can look at this plugin or ignore it at will, and make posts when the mood strikes and I'm at the computer. So now I guess @stop_him is the thing you can use to hear me blather on about things that are even more inconsequential things than what I discuss in this blog. As if there were people actually reading this blog.

Colin Wales [userpic]

eBay, and Why It Sucks.

July 7th, 2010 (12:17 pm)

Not because of service charges, or anti-porn policies, or an uneven stance on copyright/trademark enforcement, or the fact that it and PayPal are one and the same and PayPal has its own varieties of suck to choose from. These are all contributing factors. But not the main reason. Which is to say, the thing that's got me all perturbed right at this moment.

It's because people can use it without being trained to recognize certain situations and what they mean. Stupid people are on eBay, in other words.

Case in point: I was looking for some ink cartridges for one of my printers. Sometimes you can find deals on eBay better than from any other online outlet like Amazon or the rest. So I did a search for my cartridge type, and scanned the list. A series of listings of seemingly identical type came up - all of the same price, using the same picture, the same seller ID. A business selling multiple sets of the same ink cartridges, right? That would be a reasonable assumption.

Normally - and especially when the item is something fairly common and available elsewhere - I HATE the entire bid/wait/re-bid/wait/ohshiti'mbeingoutbidatthelastsecondrebid process. Just hate it. I want my stuff, I want it now, I don't want to freaking fight people for it. I only tolerate it for a really good deal or a rare item. (Not to mention that my job schedule means that most auctions end when I'm sleeping or at work, so even if I wanted to have a bid war, the timing blows.) So of all these identical listings, I should have picked the one single listing that had a "buy it now" tag, right? Well, that was my stupidity for the night - I didn't. None of these listings had bids. I didn't think they were in huge demand. So I just chose the one ending soonest and made a bid on the exact price listed. It was going to be a few hours, I wouldn't have to pay immediately, no biggie.

This morning, come to find out that my own stupidity has been outbid. Someone has decided to pay more for the cartridges than me.

Now, think about that. I know there's sometimes people who have mule accounts that try to heat up a bidding war to drive up the selling price of an item. There's a risk to that, in that sometimes the bidder you're trying to squeeze extra dollars out of will just give up and leave your mule holding your unsold item.

But let's assume for the hell of it that this is an honest bidder. I looked at the bid listing, and "2***1" only has 7 bids - probably not very experienced.

So that person probably had to do the same kind of search as I did to find the same listing of compatible items, and the same string of duplicate listings. Of all those, they chose the one I was bidding on to settle on. They also passed up on the Buy It Now auction. I rechecked - none of the other listings have bids, so it's not like they're just buying everything of this type. Why? What sense does that make?

The only thing I can think of that makes any sense is that they wanted a listing ending soon because they needed the ink ASAP. But still, that doesn't make any sense with the Buy It Now auction providing instant gratification.

If it isn't mules, and there's no logical reason to outbid me when other auctions have the item at the same price, then the only remaining possibilities are oblivious stupidity, or perhaps some sort of maliciousness. "Hey, let's outbid that guy just to screw with his day!" I wouldn't put it past someone to be that petty and mean. But in any case, this person has just added a whole dollar onto the price of an item that wasn't there before, when simply thinking about the bid a little would have kept the price at its original listing. Congratulations, eBay moron, you are paying your stupidity tax.

I just watched the auction end, no other last-minute bids. So what was the point?

And that's why I hate eBay today. For the morons.

Colin Wales [userpic]

LiveJournal, stop SUCKING PLEASE

May 19th, 2010 (12:23 pm)

Am I the only one this is happening to? Many times I've tried recently to click a link on a journal entry (say, on my Friends page) and nothing happens. Dead, like I was clicking on simple text. I can't figure out why, and I've tried relaxing my anti-script features temporarily to see if there's some weird interference, but so far I haven't been able to get this to stop. I can work around it - by doing a click/drag of the link up to the main address bar, but still, A) it's less convenient, and B) I don't appreciate the implication that LJ is slapping in some sort of buggy link-tracking BS for whatever spying/revenue generating reason they have. (Because, frankly, whatever is causing this, whether it's an error or a new deliberate feature, there can be no reason that benefits ME.)

Colin Wales [userpic]


April 2nd, 2010 (02:17 am)

And not the Police album, although I do like it. First half mostly.

In the 90s, as some of you who've been paying attention may remember, I released a series of cassette albums as Platzangst. At the time, pre-Internet, that was how a lot of the underground musicians did things. You recorded an album of music, often on lo-fi equipment, and tried to sell it by mail order. You'd have xeroxed flyers to tuck in envelopes, you'd trade tapes with other musicians.

For a number of reasons I dropped out of that scene for a long while. My connections to the underground experimental community waned. I've been trying to make more pop/rock oriented albums.

My favorite record store - Record Collector in Iowa City - often has a "free" box near the door where whatever's inside is up for grabs, and this can include old junk albums nobody wants, both vinyl and CD, sometimes promo items from labels giving away samples to create buzz, even indie and local musicians attempting to just get their work noticed. Not long ago, I scooped up a handful of the latter kind of stuff, label samplers and weird CDR releases of free jazz and noise and stuff. And among that batch was one cassette tape.

It was easy enough to listen to the CDs in my car, but I only have tape decks at home, and lately at home I've not been actively listening to music, I've been trying to create it. So the tape sat around for a while, unplayed, half-forgotten.

In February, as you ought to know, I created my first actual album in years, Our Corporate Strategy (no, I won't post that player again). Instead of pop or rock I went back to noisy experimental weirdness. I sent a CD-packaged copy to the RPM Challenge center. I idly wondered if I could reconnect with that old underground.

A couple weeks ago I purchased a used CD by an artist named John Wiese - who makes what we call "noise" as a genre of music. There was a URL on the CD case for the record label.

Shortly thereafter, I came across this on the Warren Ellis blog:

Indignant Senlity - Plays Wagner Volume 1
by _type

ha ha. Not my music in a player, but another Flash player. "Indignant Senility Plays Wagner". An album of eerie droning soundscapes. Looking up the description on the website of the record label releasing this as a vinyl LP, I was surprised to learn in a throwaway sentence that the artist, Indignant Senility, originally released this album - on cassette. In the post-cassette era. Did artists still do that cassette stuff? I began to do some Googling.

Looking up the label for the John Wiese CD, I found a forum dedicated to noise music (with some less-noise-based experimental stuff on the side), which Google also pointed towards, and I learned that yes, indeed, many musicians were still releasing music on cassette tapes. For a while I had been kind of interested in going through my collection of old cassettes and dubbing some of them to digital; sadly, my longtime cassette deck had quit working. Now, seeing this forum, i kind of was wondering if I could, myself, get back into tape trading as well as CD trading, MP3 trading, whatever.

It has motivated me to seek out a repair shop that can handle fixing the thing (the manufacturer, Sony, does not make that model of deck anymore, and in fact probably does not make a cassette deck of any kind that has the same features, and their online repair service stated that I'd most likely get "an equivalent exchange" if I sent it in, and I figure I'd get some crappy inferior substitute, so, no thanks Sony).

Tomorrow I take the tape deck and drop it off to get it fixed. I'm looking forward to digging out some tapes and playing them again. Maybe I'll be dubbing more of my own home-grown tapes, trading them. Maybe.

A couple hours ago I moved a stack of stuff and saw that cassette I got from the free box. Read the cover label.

The artist: Indignant Senility. Album: Plays Wagner.

Colin Wales [userpic]

This is Why You Work at Burger King and I, Thankfully, Don't.

March 29th, 2010 (12:09 am)

I order a Whopper and an order of onion rings. I like the "Zesty" dipping sauce they have - I believe it's part horseradish, which I like, though there's something else in there. I'm generally not a fan of the trend to make everything so goddamn spicy-fire-hot these days - what, is everyone too jacked up on cigarettes or something to actually taste food? - but I tolerate horseradish a lot better than I take, say, jalapenos. Which isn't hard, since I avoid jalapenos and chili peppers like the plague.

"Anything else?" asks the disembodied speaker voice.

In the past, when I've asked for this sauce, they toss in two foil-sealed tubs. But a little of that stuff goes a long way, and I never even open the second tub.

"Just one tub of the Zesty sauce, and that should do it."

"Please pull around to the window."

Money and food changes hands, and the middle-aged woman leans out the window and offers, "Well, I put two tubs in there, no biggie." Like she was doing me a favor.

"Ah. Well," I say, almost already sensing the futility in trying to communicate this idea, "I only ever use one of these tubs at a meal."

"Oh, that's okay - you've got two, you can double-dip."

Mental facepalm, drive away, consider myself glad the economy hasn't forced me to work in fast-food. Yet.

Colin Wales [userpic]

Everyone Tired of Me Plugging Bandcamp Yet?

March 15th, 2010 (02:06 am)

Tired of seeing these flash players appearing in your Friends page?

Lord knows I'm not.

This isn't an album, really - I've just uploaded a lot of the singles and demos I've done that are - you know - musical and actually liked by humans - into a catch-all spot on Bandcamp, so this contains my recent Road Gator and Cut the Black Wire tracks, as well as some of the tracks from my long-delayed Music album.

And you know what, if there's any of my music you like and want to promote, it is easy as sin to go to the Platzangst Bandcamp page and get the code for a player that you can embed on your own blog or whatever, either for an album or single tracks. Tell your friends, post it on message boards, really, spread it wherever you like. Bandcamp provides the bandwidth, and getting some buzz wouldn't hurt me.

Colin Wales [userpic]

His is the Ball that Bounces

March 8th, 2010 (02:53 am)

Hey, guess what the heck I've been doing lately.

Well, if you didn't see it last post, here it is again:

This is my latest album as Platzangst, Our Corporate Strategy, and I have placed it on Bandcamp. It is an album of experimental noises and weirdness, and if you happen to like it (you won't), you could download it for as little as five dollars - though feel free to send more money if you like.

Here's some of the old cassette albums I made in the '90s:


And now they are also for sale on Bandcamp. In fact, you could get these for free from the main Platzangst website, but the versions on Bandcamp have been remastered and enhanced a bit (as much as you can enhance lo-fi cassette recordings).

[There's a couple of the older albums that still have issues. mor eevul pleez contains a Gary Numan cover, and I really ought to work out the whole royalties issue if I'm going to put this up for serious sale. The Creed of Spears has album art shamelessly lifted from some Japanese guy's website, and I really should either get his permission to use it or change the artwork. (Before anyone gripes at me - the original edition of the album was produced in an enormous run of maybe five copies, and I don't think anyone actually paid me for them, so it's not like this was theft on a grand scale.)]

Our Corporate Strategy is my entry into the 2010 RPM Challenge, which, if you follow this blog at all, you may have heard me mention before. I succeeded this year - I got the album turned in on time, it can be seen and listened to on the official RPM Challenge site and everything.

Only, it wasn't the album I intended to make, which was a more guitar-art-rock-oriented kind of affair. About halfway through the month of February, it became obvious that I was simply not going to be able to finish enough music on time to complete the Challenge, so I shifted gears and went to Plan B, an album of experimental noise that was, well, less demanding on my resources, but also less, uh, commercially viable, let's say.

Still, I'm at the point where something is better than nothing, and for whatever reason, this is the first official Platzangst album release I've had in, uh, nine years, and that last one was kind of a cheat.

So now what?

Well, I still want to make the guitar album. In fact, I came up with enough material and ideas to make two albums of guitar stuff, if I turned everything I came up with into actual songs.

And then there's None O'Clock, the electronica album I talked about making a while back.

And then there's the Music album, long-neglected, but featuring some of my most popular tracks.

The question is, can I keep myself motivated enough to push ahead with any of these projects now that the pressure of the Challenge is over? I'm hoping so. Getting the Bandcamp page fixed up has given me a bit of enthusiasm - although I will be damn surprised if ANYBODY pays a single cent for any of the albums or tracks I've got on the page now, it is, at least, a functioning system that can automatically take money and deliver downloads without me having to do much else besides provide the audio files.

Which means it's one less damn thing for me to drag my hump over when it comes to getting an album made.

And some of the other albums might actually be, you know, sellable.

So we'll see.

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