Leveling playing fields in the music biz

The Devoted Few recently finished their latest video-clip for their single, Don’t Listen to Us (which, incidentally, you can download from their website).

The clip captures moments from their recent touring and recording activities, and looks pretty cool. The band currently doesn’t have a label deal, despite getting high-rotation airplay on Triple J, and therefore they don’t have the budget to produce a video clip. (I still don’t get this: band that consistently gets good airplay and has done some amazing live dates supporting top-line acts like Eskimo Joe hasn’t received any bites from a major label? But I digress…)

So they turned to iMovie. Barry collated a bunch of footage captured on his personal digital video camera and pulled it into iMovie, then cut it to the track. The bridge section needed a little “something else”, so a friend helped them by pulling it into Final Cut Pro to do the 16 panel sequence that fills that spot. That’s the only sequence that wasn’t done on a basic G4 iBook and the free software that comes with it.

And the result is quite compelling. Sure, it doesn’t have fancy special effects, but it does capture the tone of the band, and is compelling enough to hold its own. Compelling enough for multiple spins on Rage, and hopefully jTV – Triple J’s digital TV channel (which also appears occasionally on free-to-air ABC).

So – let’s recap. They couldn’t get a label deal so released the single on the net and got high-rotation Triple J airplay. They didn’t have funding for a video clip, so they did it themselves using a video camcorder, an iBook (recently replaced in the Apple hardware lineup by the more powerful MacBook), and a bit of creativity – posted it on YouTube, and also had it played on free-to-air television.

As I understand it they are currently working out how they might fund their next long-player themselves also. Sure, it’s a lot of hard work. Sure, it would be nice to have the funding to get other people to do the job – more time to spend on creating music. But whereas these used to be barriers that couldn’t be overcome unless you had truckloads of cash, nowadays bands can do stuff on a shoestring and pull it off.

Anyways, enough philosophising on the power of digital and social media 😉 Give them a hand and go check out the clip, download the single, request it on Triple J’s Super Request and jTV.

EchoDitto on the Pew blogging report

EchoDitto on the Pew Report on Bloggers.

The full report is on my reading list for when I travel to WA in a week’s time, but Terrence’s overview is very useful. I particularly like this pullquote:

But the numbers have to be combined with common sense. Blogging requires internet access (79% of bloggers surveyed have broadband), access to a PC, enough knowledge to use both, and enough leisure time to read and write blog posts; all of which usually requires a certain degree of education and economic privilege. Put all of that together and you get a clearer picture of who’s being “democratized” and whose voices are being empowered.

Indeed…

Ugly is good

Ze Frank: "Ugly when compared to pre-existing notions of taste is a bummer. But ugly as a representation of mass experimentation and learning is pretty damn cool."

I keep hearing about Ze Frank – this is the first one I’ve checked out. I’m intrigued…

The news

Cameron quotes from a few blogs about the footage from the Pentagon attacks that was supposedly “released for the first time” yesterday.

One of the quotes struck me most:

If you’re just the slightest bit intelligent and keep up with current events, you’ll realize that the footage they’re trying to impress us with isn’t new at all. In fact, that footage was available mere months after the whole attack* even happened. I guess they figure we’ve let our guard down since then and they want to inject us with a new healthy dose of angst.

I saw the footage on the news last night and I too remember seeing it years ago. So much for new…

On two related notes – I watched the TV news last night for the first time in months and I was very unimpressed, except when I flicked to SBS. And I realised that I now get very little of my news through mainstream outlets like TV and the papers.

Just a few weeks ago I actually unsubscribed from the major dailies’ RSS feeds – so pretty much all of my news now comes through blogs and friends on instant messaging or email (i.e. people I trust – to a greater or lesser degree – flag items of interest for me).

So another of Cameron’s recent posts, Aussie Newspapers in decline and denial, really got me thinking.

There are some great graphs which indicate that capital city newspapers’ sales in Australia declined 2001 – 2005 and that the per capita consumption of capital city newspapers from 1993 – 2005 have declined substantially, especially the Mon-Fri numbers. The graphs also indicate that capital city commercial free-to-air TV stations have declined 2001-2005 BUT, and I love this, the ABC and SBS are UP over that period.

Very interesting stats. But this rang true most for me:

He misses the true point of what’s happening though. It isn’t technology that is disrupting the news industry – it is the people who are dissatisfied with the news product as it currently exists and who are using the technology to create alternative sources of information and entertainment.

It’s something newspapers, TV and radio would do well to tattoo on their foreheads so they don’t forget: It’s the people, stupid.

Factoid check

John Quiggin: Factoid check:

The obvious question is, if readers of this blog can find this kind of thing out for free, and in a matter of minutes, why is Albrechtsen getting paid for not bothering to make such obvious checks?

Reminds me of another recent incident at The Australian… Welcome to citizen media.

Update 17-May: John reports that a correction was included in the paper.

TPN sustainable lifestyle host

half arsed bluster: Wanted: host for a new podcast on sustainable lifestyles. Wow – that was fast! Cameron of The Podcast Network is seeking a host for the program we’ve been chatting about… I’d love to do a show like this, but I’m kinda busy doing other things 😉

If you know anyone that might be suitable, point them to Cameron’s request (and let me know too if ya don’t mind).

Cool!

(Just to be clear, I should mention that WWF hasn’t actually got an agreement with TPN – I’ve been chatting to Cameron about how we can become part of the “podosphere” in a constructive way. I do hope that we can get a real agreement up and running though – I really think it would be a Good Thing™. Fingers crossed…)