Recording budgets

I have often seen a lot of debate about the merits of downloading music for promotion of a band and how downloads are changing the music landscape.

Generally I agree that the opportunities for bands are much greater in this day an age than they were previously. In fact, our first EP is released under a Creative Commons license because of this belief – anyone can share our music with their friends, remix it (as our friend Karoshi just has – can’t wait to share that with you!), and the like.

What I haven’t seen is a lot of discussion of how much it actually costs to record and produce music of a standard suitable for “releasing” (radio play etc.). I get a sense that there’s a bit of a misconception that, with the advent of cheaper computers and audio recording hardware and software, that artists are able to produce their music really cheaply, which isn’t actually the case.

The other suggestion I see a lot is that bands can release music for free and make money through other means (performance fees etc.). This I think is in some way related to the first misconception, but also is problematic in its own way.

What I want to do in this post is share my experience of producing music with my band, Fuzu, and having a look at what it costs to release an independent EP.


Research project


Ever since I first worked with Digital Eskimo (while I was working on the Future is man made site re-launch for WWF) I’ve really admired their approach to using qualitative research methods to underpin their work.

The research we did for the FiMM site was really valuable and useful – giving us a much clearer picture of where sustainability fits in people’s lives and what sort of site/support people would find most benefit in.

So, in starting down the path of launching a new business, I felt strongly about embarking on a research project to underpin the brand and product development.

Keep reading over the jump for more information about the research process.

Update: I was remiss in not mentioning that I was first introduced to the idea of ethnographic style research for business and the web by Stephen Cox, who is now doing great work at News Limited.


Growth and prosperity when “less” is more

Seth Godin: “I’m more and more convinced that the best hope for the eco movement is to tell a story of efficiency and growth and ingenuity. More is easy to sell. Less almost never is.”

I, too, am becoming more convinced. I think that communicators working in the environment movement are going to cop an aweful backlash in the coming 12 months unless the story changes. The story needs to be about advancement, a better, healthier life, not “have less”. That’s not going to get traction in the broader market – never has, never will. It won’t get traction in developing countries either.

While there are clearly circumstances where less must be less (i.e. eating seafood and cattle for meat), and I am very aware of the “scientific view” of the world where “technology alone can save the day”, there are many other opportunities where “more” = less – more efficient, more innovation etc. that resonate with both the business community and community at large, if the story is told well.

This seems to me to be very much at the core of the Cradle to cradle philosophy too – let’s be smarter, and have less impact as a result. Not “let’s go without” (I could be wrong there, but that certainly was one of my takeouts.)


So the National Australia Bank (who would prefer to be known as “nab” it would appear) have launched a new advertising campaign. The basic thrust of the campaign is that you can live large by banking with NAB, one assumes by extending your personal debt with them.

The tag line that they’re running with is “a little word for a big life. nab”.

So let’s offer them creative license for a moment and ignore that in this context “NAB” is an acronym – if we treat it as a word, what does it mean?

According to

  1. to arrest or capture.
  2. to catch or seize, esp. suddenly.
  3. to snatch or steal.

Perhaps it’s our money they intend to “catch or sieze”? Not quite the connotations the marketing folks at NAB were aiming for I suspect…