• warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 40.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 41.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 42.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 43.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 44.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 45.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 46.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 47.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 48.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 49.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 50.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 51.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 56.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 57.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 58.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 59.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 60.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 61.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 62.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 63.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 64.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 65.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 66.
  • warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/midnight/public_html/midnightparking/sites/all/modules/token/token_node.inc on line 67.

OiNK, Saul, Trent

No doubt you've heard the news about the popular bittorrent website OiNK being shut down. Here's a short article with Saul Williams and Trent Reznor, talking about why they released their new album in the Radiohead style and Trent explaining how he was an OiNK user.

They're not stealing it because they're going to make money off of it; they're stealing it because they love the band. I'm not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.

In stock!

Saul Williams w/ Trent Reznor...Album Release

Hey guys,

Just a heads up about another D.I.Y. digital distribution strategy. Saul Williams has released his new album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! (produced by Trent Reznor of NIN) online, and has given the option to either pay $5 and download the album in your preferred format - options available are 320 kbps, 192 kbps, or FLAC (lossless). The other option is to pay $0 and download the album in 192 kbps. I kind of like this strategy even better than the Radiohead release, mainly because it lays out the options very plainly. For me, I immediately opted to pay (they support Paypal too) and get the FLAC version. It looks like they are using Amazon's S3 service to deliver the album.

Site: http://niggytardust.com/saulwilliams/download

How much did you pay for the Radiohead album? Survey Results

A website surveying how much people payed for the new Radiohead album has released their results.

Check it out at What Price Did You Choose.com

Average price per download: £3.88 ($7.93)

(Average price per download, excluding discbox buyers*: £3.55 ($7.25))
28.5% of respondents said that they had decided to pay £0.00-0.01 ($0.00-0.02)
56% said that they had paid between £0.02 ($.04) and £10.00 ($20.43) for the download.
2.5% paid between £10.00 ($20.43) and £39.00 ($79.68) for the download.
13% said they had paid £40.00 ($81.72) for the download (which came free with the discbox)

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Back on the Scene

Whew! Had to shutdown the mothership for some emergency repairs. Things should be back to normal...

Attached audio files: 
  1. Slum Village - Fantastic 2

    2.02 MB

OD show

Orange Drink will be opening for the amazing group, Baby Magic, next Wednesday, Oct. 3rd at Gallery Cabaret. This will be a 2-man acoustic guitar+sampler+surprises setup, so watch out!

Baby Magic w/Orange Drink
Wednesday, October 3rd 2007 @10pm
Gallery Cabaret
2020 N Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

(bring quarters, their website says they have arcade games!)

Amazon MP3 Store

Amazon has just opened their new Amazon MP3 Store. So far it looks like a promising alternative to iTunes.

PROS:

1) You can browse songs on the web, no need to download a client like iTunes.
2) The interface is very simple, and works the same way as other parts of Amazon.com.
3) The single song prices are variable.
4) Some bands (Radiohead) only want to sell full albums, with no single downloads available. iTunes doesn't support this, but Amazon does. I really, really like this.
5) No DRM.
6) It's not iTunes.
7) It's an actual STORE. I can buy other things like shoes.

CONS:

1) They only sell MP3s. I still can't convince myself buying lower quality music is worth the money. When will these stores start selling high quality audio? They could set multiple price points based on quality.

TO BE DETERMINED:

1) What's the price breakdown of a sale? iTunes gets .30 for every .99 cents. Will this be variable? Fixed? Set by the seller, or Amazon?

2) Openness of the system
What I'm hoping happens is that Amazon can open the doors of this system to any Joe that wishes to sell their music on their store, even if they don't have a label. Amazon already lets you stock your independent CD directly with them, so it seems like a natural progression. If, however, they go the route of iTunes and only deal with labels, that will be a mistake and they will broil in the fiery pits of hell.

Open up the goddamn floodgates already!

From someone who has never bought an MP3 in his life, and shuns the concept of third party vendors selling an overpriced, lower quality product, the Amazon store seems interesting.

I'll still always support artists selling directly on their website first. But having fair and decent alternative methods is important too.

To be continued...

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[CANCELLED] Zirafa opening @ Elbo Room, Sept 3rd, 2007

CANCELLED!
The Elbo Room has just informed me they will be closed for "reasons beyond our control" on Monday Sept 3rd (labor day). They have offered to reschedule the show at a later date, I will try and keep you all informed and sorry for any inconvenience.

--
Hey yall,

Booked the very first solo zirafa show Monday, Sept 3rd at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It'll be an opening slot right at 9 o'clock sharp. Probably will be a mix of electronic tracks, live performance, and some sort of random surprise. Thanks to Johnny Twenty Three for hooking up the show!

Zirafa
Paid Pilots
JohnnyTwentyThree
Autumn In Analog

Sept 3rd, 8:30 pm @ Elbo Room (2871 North Lincoln Ave)
$5 cover

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R.I.P. Max Roach. One of the greats...

Yesterday Max Roach passed away. Saying he was one of the greatest jazz drummers in history is an understatement. One aspect about him that I liked was that his approach to drumming was so much more melodic. Not just hitting things as fast as possible - but trying to create phrases, patterns and more. It's that sort of musical feel that attracted me to the drums in the first place, and he'll be missed. He was also not afraid to experiment, or confront racial issues; he pushed boundaries constantly.

On another note: If you have a chance to see a great jazz legend, you should DO IT NOW. People think jazz is old and dead, but the truth is some of the greatest legends are still alive and still touring and kickin ass. So if you want to experience jazz, feel jazz, and not just read about it and listen to it on some dusty record, go see a live performance before it is too late...

Music Publishing and the Web: Back to Basics

At my job we build websites for people. I originally got into website design not to pay the bills, but because I really felt passionate about what websites could do for musicians (including myself). I envisioned that an artist would put up their website and immediately have the tools to publish audio, video, images, news, email lists, flyers, communicate and sell directly with their fans and visitors.

Somewhere along the way I think the hype got to me. Sites like MySpace.com, YouTube.com, Imeem.com, and catalog sites like Rhapsody and iTunes made me rethink this scenario. I began to think that a centralized service site for artist tools was the answer - a site that would provide the capabilities in the first paragraph but one which would be free and ad-driven. The site owner would make tons of money off ads to run the site, the artists would get lots of eyeballs and ears and as a result would sell more music, with maybe a percentage cut given back to the host site for handling the sale. There are already many retail services attempting to do this: Snocap/MySpace, CD Baby, and iTunes come to mind. But the problem with these centralized services is that they essentially own the content you produce or have potentially sticky licensing contracts once you use the service. I started to realize that in order for a centralized site like this to work, it would essentially have to exploit its very users to stay afloat. (This site explains this concept in more detail, although I disagree with the conclusive predictions the author makes.)

Recently I've been involved in some discussions that have made me rethink things and go back to my original concepts about how music could work on the web.

Going back to the most basic questions:

a) How do musicians publish their work and support themselves?
b) How do listeners find new music?

To answer the first, I would argue that any semi-professional musician that wishes to build a career off their work should establish their own unique website. It is more work but the benefits are tremendous - the artist maintains complete control over their work and can determine exactly how their work is published, distributed, licensed, and sold (even setting up their own storefront). The idea should be that this site is the *exclusive* method for updates, downloads, and sales of music. Why? Because having one strong website identity will mean the artist will maintain more control over their work. Online retail stores and social networking sites are a waste of time and should be avoided as much as possible unless they are able to ultimately drive more traffic to the artist's core site. Put the minimum amount of effort into these third party sites, and maximize the effort into making the core site kick ass. The web is a giant time sink and people make money off of this fact...your time is literally making people money. It's something to keep in mind when browsing the web.

The cost of building a website is becoming less and less as hosting gets cheaper, and the technology keeps getting better and better. This means that it is now possible for an artist to setup their own website with the capability for direct online sales, downloads, blogs, forums, email lists, tour schedules and much more. Instead of using Blogger for blog posts, you can run your own blogging software. Instead of uploading music to MySpace, upload as many tracks as you want to your own site. Instead of depending on these third party companies which can change their policies, you can do it yourself and have more control over everything.

To answer the second question, I think people will discover music the same way they always have - friends, music blogs, email threads, shows, music aggregators, radio, search engines, magazines, and review sites. I doubt that any automated system can really compete with a trusted friend recommending their favorite band, or a good DJ playing their favorite music. What the web *can* do is streamline these sorts of organic interactions. It can also organize the immense amount of music that is out there. It's amazing to me how many new sites pop up which try to build centralized music catalogs. The web *itself* is an enormous decentralized music catalog, it just needs to be indexed and organized. Search engines work this way - there is no reason internet radio, or Last.fm can't work this way too. One of my favorite sites that treats the web itself as an endless catalog of music is the Hype Machine. This site essentially scrapes quality music blogs for any MP3s and then lets you immediately listen to a stream of new music. You can narrow down by artist or song name. Simple, trustworthy, decentralized, scalable and powerful. Another site that supports this concept is Del.icio.us, where you can bookmark MP3 files you like and other people can listen to your "radio station". A link to an MP3 file should be all it takes to publish your work to the world - it's the job of these sites to find, index, and organize them.

Here is the point - if an artist has the capability to publish their work directly, then other music sites can literally just link to the original artist when talking about them. Music blogs and review sites will be more inclined to trust and link directly to an artist because the quality of content is higher and more trustworthy. The result is increased traffic to the artist's core site where they can build a fan base, get people on their email list, get a street team going, or sell music CDs or downloads. Contrast this with a music review site linking to an artist's MySpace site, where there are a limited number of things that can occur. Aside from adding somebody as a friend and previewing some tracks, there isn't a whole lot else that can happen. As an artist you want to provide an honest and enveloping experience for potential fans, and with sites like MySpace you just hit a brick wall.

It may sound like I'm putting down social networking sites, but I'm not. They work very well for their intended purpose - connecting people. When it comes to music publishing however, I don't think these sites work very well because ownership, licensing, sales, and distribution of the work gets complicated. Plus, it is just hard to maintain content across five different social networking sites.

By publishing directly on their own site, an artist can specify the license of their work explicitly. Probably the best approach would be to give published works very loose distribution licenses so that the music can spread freely across the net and other music sites can pick up and distribute it.

I don't think I'm making any sort of astounding discoveries - I'm just trying to take a step back and think about things. Just think about it next time you buy a song on iTunes. Why are so many middlemen involved in that transaction? How much is the artist really getting and who decides how it is licensed? Or the next time you visit a MySpace page, think about who really benefits more from you visiting the page. That band you are checking out, or Ruport Murdoch?

It just seems so much simpler for an artist to publish and sell direct and sidestep all of the bullsh*t while simultaneously earning more money and decreasing the amount of time spent managing their website(s). Less time dealing with this crap means artists have more time to focus on what they do best: make music!

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