Collaboratively created album released on MagnatuneVictor Stone has released a new album on Magnatune that was produced from tracks he received from other Magnatune artists, working with them at a close level.
After Victor's first project, Magnatune Remixed last year, Victor expressed an interest in doing less of a remix project and more expressing his own musical vision in partnership with other musicians (ie, involved earlier in the process than with the final mixdown, and a stronger personality stamped on the final piece). Victor himself is an accomplished musician rather, so it's interesting that he's moved into the world of knob-twiddling, and I wanted to see the result.
I told my Magnatune musicians about Victor's interest in cooperating with them, encouraging that exchange throughts with Victor and send him original source tracks (ie, just singing) that he can work with. A suprising number of people were really interested, and started trading tracks over the net.
You can listen to Victor's new album here: http://magnatune.com/artists/four_stones
Norine Braun, in her own newsletter, talks about 2 songs she worked with Victor on:
Lots of musical stuff to share with you. For starters the song Be Brave from Now & Zen has been remixed and included on the Four Stones brand new release Chronic Dreams released as of yesterday! The album is indeed groove soaked ambient chill and in the electronica category.
Victor Stone produced this amazingly artful beauty of a collection and I love his interpretation of Be Brave! The vocals are from the original recording I did with James Bowers. I actually emailed the vocals to Victor wow technology is a wonderful thing! Ian Varley from Drop Trio added a terrific Fender Rhodes piano to Victor's tantalizing production. You can listen for free at http://www.magnatune.com/artists/four_stones
And As a special introductory offer: If you purchase a digital download at Magnatune Victor will send you a free imprinted CD with artwork and everything for free (including postage). Just email victor&fourstones.net from the account that you entered when you purchased the download so he knows who you are. Also http://magnatune.com/artists/norine is now carrying my entire catalogue too!
Posted by John Buckman on May 21, 2004 at 08:46 AM | Permalink
Pay-me-to-share-music business modelsThe topic of Weedshare came up on the Magnatune discussion list, with people expressing growing displeasure over that company's concept of "paying you to share music with others". I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts ...
This sort of model has worked well in the USA in the past, with Avon http://www.avon.com/ and Tupperware http://www.tupperware.com (and *many* other companies) turning their consumers into a sales force, and selling one on one, with the salesperson thus being a trusted neighbor or friend.
Now, I'm not saying I'm advocating having music follow the "tupperware party" and "Avon lady" model (that's an ethics question) but that this selling technique has been very successful. Generally, the companies successfully doing this kind of thing have sold a high quality product, and have a huge selection, so the salesperson can put their personal stamp on the process by picking out the products they want to recommend.
This kind of mixing of salesmanship and domestic life may sound typically American (or perhaps, distinctly un-European), but I remember reading about a company that used a customer-based-salesforce in France who was wildly successful.
A side note -- when my company had a paid affiliate system with our anti-spam software MailShield http://www.mailshield.com/, we found that many fans of the software were offended by the idea that they'd be paid to recommend the software. When we dropped the pay-to-recommend system, the number of voluntary mentions on other web sites greatly increased. What did we learn? That many people don't want to be paid to recommend things, and that their personal reputation (avoiding the appearance of bias) required them to not recommend products where their motivations may appear questionable to others.
So, generally, I'm in favor of *not* offering money to people who recommend music, but, given the history of successful companies who have done this is other areas, it's likely there's a viable business model in the "Tupperware for music" vein, and perhaps weed is it.
Posted by John Buckman on May 17, 2004 at 09:34 AM | Permalink
Comments disabled due to porno comment spam
Yes, sadly, it's true, I've had to disable comments on my blog, as Typepad, the for-a-fee blog service I use, has no mechanisms for blocking robots from posting comments to its blogs, and my blog has recently been hit with dozens of fake, porno comments with links to their sites (in an attempt to boost those sites Google rankings, I suppose). I've been deleting them each by hand, but now I've had enough (about 15 of them today), so until Typead ads some anti-comment-spam features, I'm keeping comments disabled (sorry!)
Posted by John Buckman on May 15, 2004 at 04:37 PM | Permalink
Baby born under the Magnatune signA human interest story: Drop Trio's Ian Varley reports to me that the band's bassist Nino had a newborn child last week. Ian writes to me: "When Nino was heading out of the house to the hospital he grabbed a couple clean white T-shirts. Well, one of them (unbenknownst to him) happened to be his Magnatune t-shirt. And guess what he was wearing when she was finally born, several hours later?"
Yes, it's true, the baby's first sight of her father was him wearing his Magnatune "We are not evil" tshirt!
Posted by John Buckman on May 15, 2004 at 04:32 PM | Permalink
Magnatune summary for April 2004Music Licensing was fairly good this month. Most exciting was a license of an entire album (various songs from his two albums) of DJ Markitos' http://magnatune.com/artists/dj_markitos to a company making (and selling) his music as exercise music. Markitos remixed his songs to the client's spec of 138 BPM. The money is not huge (about $2 per CD) but they pay up-front and the music gets more visibility, so I feel it's exciting.
NetMusic http://www.netmusic.com/ is now selling most of our catalog on-line. We signed an agreement with them in January, and everything Magnatune has (as of the beginning of this month) is up. The owner of the site, Glen, personally listened to most of our catalog and was so excited by several of the bands that he's been featuring Magnatune artists on the home page, giving us 50% of the featured artists on the "tracks" section (currently, Brad Sucks, Rocket City Riot, and Cargo Cult). Note that unlike Magnatune, NetMusic *does* sell single tracks. We gave NetMusic a 50% margin when selling our music, which is higher than average, but that's another reason he's pushing our music so hard. Glen tells me sales are still quite modest, but picking up.
Last month, I mentioned an agreement with a German record company to sell physical CDs of a few of our artists. NovaTune http://www.novatune.de/ is now printing and selling CDs of Cargo Cult, Emma's Mini, Tom Paul, William Brooks, and Bjorn Fogelberg. NovaTune is similar in philosophy and business to Magnatune, letting musicians keep their rights and paying them a very fair 4 Euros per CD sold (which is also our deal with them), and only signing up music they really like. The main difference is that NovaTune makes physical CDs (and artwork) using a just-in-time printing system, selling the physical CDs both online and through distributors and stores in Germany. I watching NovaTune closely to see if their model might work in the USA and the rest of Europe. A few more Magnatune artists are currently in the pipeline to be sold via NovaTune, and should show up next next month.
The average purchase price for Magnatune albums in April was $8.59, still very healthy and above the recommended price of $8.00.
We sent about 60 custom CDs to movie and film producers this month, in response to their request for music submissions (we get notified of these requests for music from a lead service we pay, and put 3 songs on each custom CDR that we think would work for the scene). So far, nothing has come from any of these CDs sent (no acknowledgement of receipt of any of them), which is disappointing, but we'll keep plugging away at it. We paid for 6 months of this lead service (it's not cheap), and we'll give it the full 6 months of honest attempt to make it work.
The USA Magazine Business 2.0 did a large story on the Creative Commons, heavily featuring Magnatune and our artist Cargo Cult http://magnatune.com/info/press/
We've slowed down the rate of release of new artists on Magnatune, to six to eight artists released every 2 weeks. We've done this because sales have been flat the past 3 months and we don't want to split the same monthly sales amount across more and more musicians, unless those new musicians are truly amazingly wonderful. This also helps us keep our reputation of having tremendously good music. Finally, this seems to be a pace at which people who receive our newsletter can handle the new artists. When we were adding artists faster, we noticed that new albums didn't get much of a chance on the 'new' section of the home page, and didn't get listed in the "customers who bought this also bought" because they weren't featured long enough. We will probably keep fiddling with this.