Skip Navigation

Beat – A magazine covering Creative Commons Music Culture

After years of working as an music journalist I am still surprised how the print music media ignore the world of free music. Creative Commons Musicians nearly get no support by print magazines which write about music. Netlabels get no spot, even if they try. The only print media which cover creative commons topics are newspapers and live style magazines. Only one exception proves the rule: A German magazine called Beat writing about synthesizers, music production and... yes, Creative Commons Music. We interviewed its driving force aka main editor aka Thomas Raukamp.

Thomas, please introduce yourself! How did you get main editor of Beat and where are your roots?

First of all, let me thank you for the privilege of being interviewed by one of my favorite online magazines out there. Phlow has been a big inspiration for me over the last couple of years and you're doing a fantastic job.

I came to journalism through my enthusiam for Atari computers back in the 1990s, which lead me to writing for "st-computer", the last remaining print magazine in the German Atari market at that time. As you can imagine, I used the Atari for making music, as it was the no. 1 music machine back then. So I always had a passion for music and especially all kinds of electronic styles. To make a long story short, I always tried to combine my interests for technology and music, which prepared me for music journalism in the field of electronic music, I guess.

When was your first contact to free music and creative commons music in general?

My first contact with free music was back in the days when members of the Amiga and Atari demo scene exchanged the music they generated with trackers on their machines via mailboxes, forums and early versions of the web. Later the original MP3.com was the first online service that made me realize the potential of the net to distribute free music without the creative limitations of the mainstream music industry, which I learned to hate more with every passing year.

Granted, a lot of stuff that was released on MP3.com back then could cause severe earache compared to today's standards of recording, but it was that unbiased approach to write, produce and distribute your own music, that made those early music communities so charming - looking back it was kind of anarchic. On the other hand, I still follow amazing bands I firstly discovered on MP3.com, like the amazing Electrostatic. Must have been around 2004/2005 when I stumbled upon the first netlabel I discovered, and it was the fantastic iD.EOLOGY, which I still admire.

With its first issue in 2005 Beat introduced surprisingly Brigitte Bijoux as MP3 Music Artist of the month. Since then you kept an eye on free music on the web and increased your energy to cover the creative commons scene. Why?

In my opinion you'll find the most relevant music that is produced today in the netaudio or netlabel scene, just because it is not driven by commercial interests and is amazingly close to the bone. This may sound quite romantic and even odd to some, but for the vast majority of netlabels, it still is the case and will forever be. The netaudio scene has already changed the process of distributing your own music - and it has the power to continue to do that.

Computers, tools like Ableton Live and VST-Plug-ins have emancipated nowadays' musicians from expensive recording studios and time with producers, and the netaudio scene is just the next logical step, as it emancipates them from the traditional kinds of distribution via record companies and their creative restraints. Combine that with the power of the web to distribute trends faster than any other medium out there, and you'll have the most authentic look at today's music. How could we as magazine, which claims to stay close to the musical pulse as well as to the people out there who actually produce music here and now, ignore that?

Why do you think ignore music print media the world free music and musicians? Is it only because netlabels don't advertise in print magazines or is there maybe another reason?

It would be too blue-eyed, if I said that wouldn't be part of the problem, right? But on the other hand, most of the ambitious music magazines out there also cover releases from independent record labels that don't have the money to advertise as well - just because at least the labels that take their job seriously send out demos and cds.

This is still a significant problem in the netlabel scene to be honest - most people who run a netlabel forget that their work should start right there where the average netlabel head thinks it stops, they forget to promote their artists' work. Putting a release on a webseite and getting out some notes about it within the scene's blogs and forums or on Twitter and Facebook should just be the beginning of getting the word out.

If you want coverage in relevant magazines, print or online, you should at least send them an email or even better an email and a cd with some nice artwork they'll remember so you have to do the first step. Or give them a call to tell them you just released some excellent music on your label they should listen to. To a journalist, it won't matter if you are a traditional label or a netlabel, they just care about the quality of the music you put out. If they find out that it is yet free, they'll love it even more. Plus, netlabels should organize events and release parties on which they showcase their acts, or they should even organize and promote tours with them. Music journalists still happen to run into concerts and parties ;)

I should add there are already some netlabels out there which do a great job in promoting their artists, like the wonderful aaahh-records. And they're very successful: "Entertainment For The Braindead" didn't just go down like a storm within the scene, it also received some attention by regular media. Same with rec72 and Zoe.Leela's "Queendom Come".

To be fair, I must admit it is certainly also music journalism's own fault to ignore a scene that keeps some of the most precious gems of today's music scene. Journalists tend to be lazy, and they would have to dig a little deeper than they're used to in order to find them.

Nowadays musicians - especially electronic musicians - get lots of incredible music software for free. Next to freeware vst plugins you also find user-friendly music software on mobile phones like a lot of incredible apps for the iphone for example. Do you think free music software could endanger some day in the near future magazines like Beat, because all the tools you need wait to be downloaded for free? Could it be possible that something similiar might happen to print magazines dealing with music software and music devices like the death of the old music industry? What happens if suddenly mobil phones morph into music machines and so on?

You'll never know ;) In my personal opinion a print magazine has to return to what it does best: delivering in-depth information. So coverage in a print magazine has to be vertical, not horizontal. And the worst idea to me is to try to imitate online magazines in a print magazine or compete with them in their ancestral strongholds.

A print magazine is a print magazine is a print magazine, right? And this is what people expect from it. They already pick up the latest news and tools from the internet, they don't need a print magazine to do that for them. A print magazine does a good job, if people love to take it with them to their favorite armchair or to bed and actually read in it and say "I didn't know that before" when they finished an article of their interest. There still is an sincere interest in in-depth information, and the web still isn't the right ambience for that - which might change in the near future with new tools and technical gizmos by companies like Apple and their new tablet whatever. So I guess we'll have to answer these questions again in two years time or so.

Please tell us your Top-5 Creative Commons Songs, Top-5 Creative Commons music album and Top-5 netlabels you won't miss anymore.

This is a tough one, I keep asking that myself every day. ;) So here are my Top 5 netlabels for this day in no particular order:

It's even tougher to name my favorite CC-albums, there's so much wonderful stuff out there - so this is also a mere snapshot:

It's impossible for me to name my favorite CC-songs, I think I tend towards being an album lover. Sorry!

Thomas, thank you for taking your time for the interview!

More Information on Beat and Thomas Raukamp

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

About the Author

Phlow-Author Moritz »mo.« Sauer This article was written on 19.January 2010 by Moritz »mo.« Sauer.

Moritz »mo.« Sauer is the founder of Phlow-Magazine.com and a true music lover. As a participant and journalist of the free music movement he joined several Netaudio parties in Europe including Netaudio Nürnberg, Netaudio Barcelona, Netaudio London or Netaudio Bern.

Read more articles written by .

35 comments

  • Very nice interview!

    You mentioned some very important points. Promotion is dramatically underrated in the netaudio scene IMO, if not completely ignored by most.

    The current listener's habbits either point to free on demand streaming applications (last.fm, deezer, ect) or tend to exclusively use the big shops (I-tunes, Juno, Amazon) to search, find, enjoy and sometimes buy the music they like.

    So, there is no big demand for zipped free music downloads hidden on a nerdy label website. From the listeners perspective, every song is free for listen and easy to find. No matter if it's Madonna or the Beatles, it's streamable for free on last.fm, napster, deezer and buyable at many places for very low cash (many prefer paying instead of searching). And here's the funny part: 99,9% of all netaudio music is not. WHY??!

    The biggest problem if you ask me is that "netaudio" tries to build up a parallel world to avoid competition with the "real world". thoughts like "Oh no, it's unfair to compare it with Warp, my releases are free!" are symptomatic in the scene. So, it's no wonder the scene isn't really taken seriously in the press and broadcast, music fans want cool music, not hippie ideology and politics upfront.

    The netaudio scene is nothing new and far over 10 years old, the music press obviously had their time and didn't really enjoy its output IMO. I don't think there's much to expect.

    Gravatar of fabien fabien said on
    19. Jan 2010 at 8:15 pm
    Link #1

  • [...] phlow-magazine.com/…/1582-beat-a-magazine-covering-creative-commons-music-culture [...]

    Gravatar of Phlow » Beat – A magazine covering Creative Commons Music Culture « DEEPGOA's electronic sessions Phlow » Beat – A magazine covering Creative Commons Music Culture « DEEPGOA's electronic sessions said on
    19. Jan 2010 at 9:14 pm
    Link #2

  • [...] just got finished reading Phlow Magazine’s excellent interview with the editor of German magazine Beat, Thomas Raukamp. It got me thinking about what I do to promote blocSonic releases. Thomas is quite correct when he [...]

    Gravatar of What are your favorite music magazines? — blocSonic.com: Your introduction to the world of netaudio… What are your favorite music magazines? — blocSonic.com: Your introduction to the world of netaudio… said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 12:29 am
    Link #3

  • there's something significant that the wonderful and very successful aaahh-records are doing differently which sets them apart from the classic, "old" & widely ignored netaudio scene: they're not doing electronic music.
    have a look at what's selling in the commercial music market and you'll see it's not mainly warp-like music...
    if the masses out there are searching for the beatles & madonna that's exactly [metaphorically] what they get at aaahh: very good music for the masses.
    they're not doing any ass-kicking d'nb @ aaahh or any moody ambient, do they?
    so let's face it, it's alternative pop.
    mindf*cking beautiful, damn good music, but... pop :)

    well, but most netlabels, even popular ones, even the lovely peppermill, are mainly doing the niches and, frankly, electronic music is and has always been niche-music...
    hmm... if the next madonna- or beatles-album is getting released on warp, electronic music may come out of it's niche, but until then...

    or the other way around: just try to imagine the whole netaudio scene without any electronic music - what would it look like right now? or the phlow-mag / beat-mag without any relation/reference to electronic music?

    don't expect any big changes regarding public attention for the netaudio scene as long as it cannot compete with the main sources of the commercial music market.

    @ fabien: it's the strength of netaudio to resist, e.g. not to offer the cheap single track "to go", but beautiful tied albums with heavy duty artwork and lovely linernotes for real music lovers... :)

    Gravatar of martin martin said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 12:34 am
    Link #4

  • just forgot to mention: i love the niches ... :)

    Gravatar of martin martin said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 12:59 am
    Link #5

  • The promotion-problem is a serious one, i have to admit. we (aaahh records) do quite a bit of promotion but the results are mostly disappointing, to be honest (if you look at the effort it takes). we got covered in printmagazines, radioshows and even on international tv. but it didn’t really help us in terms of downloads or feedback. it's nice to read about your artists in a print magazine and it's always great to hear your artists song on the radio. and of course, it feels great when you realize that "your" artist and work is being appreciated and praised by professional (music) journalists.

    but: it is a fact that the "old media" is not really connected to the digital world. there is a "media-gap"... did you ever type a link, you read about in a printmagazine, into your browser? do you remember any link, some presenter told you on the radio/tv? Most printmagazines or radio/tv stations have websites, but they don’t know how to use the internet. Most of them don’t even link to external sites, for heavens sake!

    almost every blogpost about aaahh records had a deeper impact in terms of a promotional effect then any radio, print or tv thing.

    we have a huge mailing list, we know some multipliers and aggregators (mostly blogs) we contact personally, when we got a new release. we try to be as open and transparent as possible, we are eager to cooperate with other (net)labels and do co-releases. important is, that we take our time. even more important: we give our releases time to "ripen slowly". we see aaahh more like a community than a plattform. we try to get people involved (by remixing, for example. or booking), we want our artists to get to know us and the other aaahh-bands. we believe that all this is part of a good way of running a netlabel. because all the interwebs out there make it so easy to get people together. Is it time consuming? Hell, yes! Is it profitable? Hell, No! So, why do you do it? Because it’s great fun!

    And there is much more a netlabel could do: A label-festival/event. A mailorder-service (for people who want to by physical stuff). A booking agency. … Just to name a few examples.

    We are still thrilled about the scene and we are looking forward to what is about to come in the future!

    cheers,
    christian // aaahh-records

    Gravatar of christian christian said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 2:37 pm
    Link #6

  • "netaudio" tries to build up a parallel world to avoid competition with the "real world"

    --- sometimes I have the same impression. but in general you're wrong. more and more creative commons labels promote highfidelity sounds. currently there is still much electronic music. but listen to the productions of error broadcast. listen to old productions from epsilonlab or other techno labels like zimmerlautstaerke. the quality is high as ever and the "bad apples" will rot and be forgotten but I think Phlow and others prove how compatible the music really is.

    "The netaudio scene is nothing new and far over 10 years old, the music press obviously had their time and didn't really enjoy its output IMO."

    --- the scene is not "new" but to most people it is. often no musicians have heard of creative commons music while i talk to them. and i got ignored many times asking to write netaudio reviews for magazine. always the same answer: we have no place for that.

    otherwise i did a podcast for the german newspaper zeit for nearly one year. http://zuender.zeit.de/netzmusik

    the print media ignore ccmusic musicians. in germany that's a fact. is it elsewhere the same? people please tell me.

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 2:44 pm
    Link #7

  • What I observed is that most journalists (and potential fans) want a really good story and not just the 10.000th "Nothing interesting except CC" press text.

    Just telling people "download here, it's free" is not promotion nowadays. It worked 10 years ago, but doesn't work anymore these days. Every rap kid in the US has at least one free EP he's currently promoting daily over myspace and facebook, same with every techno dub producer in the EU. Every major label marketing plan involves free download somewhere and again, with services like deezer and last.fm, everything is basically free for the user, no matter if it's labeled "netaudio", "CC" or not.

    "Free" is probably the most overused, saturated and ignored claim on the web today. And in my opinion not the best method to create buzz.

    Oh and finally, it's really no secret that it's basically impossible to get anything reviewed or mentioned in mags as long you as don't:

    - Create hardware and:
    - Work with a good distributor which promotes the new releases in the magz through ads (this is by far the most important point!!).
    - Work with professional promo agencies. Most music journalists use these as filters.
    - Explicitly send them proper and interesting press material.
    - Already built up a huge audience.
    - And the most sadistic point: You don't get mentioned if you have never been mentioned before.

    However, as Christian mentioned, the music press seriously lost it's weight in the last years. A single blog post can create much more buzz than any print mag. Not sure if print reviews are really worth all the promo work.

    But radio and taste-maker airplay is still one of the most effective music marketing, you're not credible if you're not played by others.

    Gravatar of fabien fabien said on
    20. Jan 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Link #8

  • Net-audio appeals to a niche audience which takes its cue from sources other than print media. I do not see this as a "flight" from mainstream media, but as a way of sharing music within a niche culture of music fans. In some ways, mainstream culture has "flown from" staying current with a wide range of music.

    I make and listen to music in ambient, post-ambient and non-traditional genres. The free music culture created a swath of labels and websites geared toward linking this audience. Analog culture had been singularly unable to serve this audience--brave small labels failed to make money and failed to get their product out to all but an even tinier niche. The technological liberation of this music from traditional print-and-sticks-and-mortar distribution caused a wonderful blooming of the listener base for this music.

    Will ceative commons/copyleft/free music ever be a mainstream phenomenon? I cannot tell. Yet if it never expands beyond a vibrant niche sub-culture, I must admit I will still be content.

    By all means, there is work to be done. Yet that work is anything but becoming internet alternatives to mainstream culture. Imagine a world in which third world artists net-release vibrant new sounds, and listeners actually donate to them directly. Imagine net-radio
    attracting a larger listenership, and creating a larger live audience for those net-artists who wish to perform live.
    Imagine 10 magazines of the quality of phlow, but a reach in the millions of readers. These days are inevitable, even if we are but a fad and a dream and a tiny sub-culture. But they are only inevitable because we will make them so.

    Gravatar of gurdonark gurdonark said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 3:15 pm
    Link #9

  • @gurdonark: Word up!

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 3:59 pm
    Link #10

  • I completely agree that there is a media gap. But from my experience it doesn't just exist for netaudio releases. True: To download a netaudio release I need to insert the URL into my browser. But for me to buy a physical release, I either need to peform the exact same task (to surf to Amazon or any other mailorder) or to leave my comfortable chair and visit my favourite local record store (if it still exists, that is). This is probably why reviews have never been ideal promotional tools: Even if they manage to stir up some excitement, this sensation has mostly evaporated by the time you put the mag away. Nothing will beat the immediate reaction of buying an album after a great gig.

    I've never understood why there should even be this divide. To me, the ideal situation would be a media landscape which features netaudio alongside physical releases without making a big fuss about it. If a magazine states that there is no space for netaudio to be included, they are obviously confusing a method of distribution with the actual content...

    Gravatar of tokafi tokafi said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 4:27 pm
    Link #11

  • I think the perception that innovative music today only comes from the netaudio scene because it's not driven by commercial interests is naive at best. And only makes sense if you compare it to the other extreme (that being the extra commercial mainstream music). But in between there are incredibly many independent and experimental music labels that actually sell records, tour with artists and all that jazz. The whole "we vs them" attitude with some netaudio ppl never really made sense to me. Netaudio has its well deserved spot in the spectrum of music distribution today, but is by no means an indicator of quality or innovation -- just as as all the other representatives of the spectrum aren't.

    Gravatar of Alex Alex said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 7:58 pm
    Link #12

  • I am not sure if all the print medias really ignore cc related musicians. I totaly agree with the opinion of Thomas. He is right. If you ll get more organised and develop a connection to the media with your material, your music, your image and and. the fact to have a release on a netlabel should not take your fear to contact media press, radio stations or any device of media feedbackers out there. as you can see rec72.net and us as a team we took a hard road.

    we created a base and still working on a plattform to inform the people out there...with the help of different other netlabel "owners" we started this trip without any competition. we worked together as one not even with any thought of competition. i am really grateful for this and i like to thank anybody out there. BUT i have to say the support really last very fast. We kept and keep on moving on this...releasing the e.p. is one thing. beeing out there and show people that zoeleela is for real is a different story.

    my exeprience says out of mind out of control and support. we still keep this litchen warmed up. touring, rmx contest in partnership with thomas and the beat magazine, regular media are publishing my news, dates n stuff but where is the scene that supported me and the netaudio by itself now? i dont like to say ok that´s it. no more a helpful hand of...whatever iam not complaining pls do not get me wrong. but to be honest Zoe.LeelA created something in a realy short time and i think we all can benefit of the things my team and i did. could it be that a girls has stronger lungs than a bunch of dudes who working for this for years? how could it be than my latest video is not beeing embend at the main intersections of netaudio interests.
    So where is the complaining now? or is it just us? we ve been able to create a dream in this ugly world of mass media, instead of moving a weight together we just keep on talking like juveniles sitting around bonfire and keep on talking and wasting time instead of doing something...best yours truly ZOE.LEELA

    Gravatar of Zoe.LeelA Zoe.LeelA said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 8:15 pm
    Link #13

  • "To me, the ideal situation would be a media landscape which features netaudio alongside physical releases without making a big fuss about it."

    That's what I like about Beat - you (yourself as tokafi) do it exactly like this in the magazine.

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    21. Jan 2010 at 11:05 pm
    Link #14

  • @mo I think your point about working with professional promo agencies makes a lot of sense. For journalists, just as much as for anyone else, it can seem next to impossible trying to identify what's relevant. Some promo agencies have turned into quality platforms, pre-selecting the material in a way. Right now, if I really wanted, I could refuse to accept review-submissions from individual musicians and labels and work exclusively with these outfits (I don't want to, but it is technically possible) It may still seem odd to some for such an agency to take on a netlabel, but I do know about labels that release limited print runs of 50 copies and employ the services of a PR-expert.

    Gravatar of tokafi tokafi said on
    22. Jan 2010 at 2:24 pm
    Link #15

  • I just saw that it was actuall Fabien who made that point about promo agencies :-)

    Gravatar of tokafi tokafi said on
    22. Jan 2010 at 2:44 pm
    Link #16

  • I agree that netlabels and physical CDs can (and should) co-exist. And also hope that paying netlabel artists will hopefully become normal someday, to those who want it. I would like to see netlabels become a known and respected entity in the music industry.

    But first you have to build an audience of fans, and that includes getting people to play your music on webradio, podcasts, social networks, and blogs ... and in clubs, restaurants, etc.

    The main obstacle is getting people to know these artists. So I agree that promoting to traditional journalists and magazines is essential, along with playing the music online.

    Gravatar of cary cary said on
    23. Jan 2010 at 8:38 am
    Link #17

  • great discussion. my two cents on a couple of points...

    i agree with aaahh (a label i enjoy) that the results from promotion can be quite disappointing at times. there's just such a gigantic amount of media out there. and to most people, it's all free. it just seems that most people assume that free releases must compromise in terms of quality. and it's true i think that the artists on established labels are people that work extremely hard on their craft as they do it for a living, and the netlabel musicians are mostly forced to do it part time in between jobs. but as we know there's great stuff in every genre that rivals commercial releases. however people don't have time to filter through it and unfortunately the stigma goes as far as the popular music blogs and zines and they rarely cover any of these albums. with a few rare exceptions.

    also on the subject of festivals... peppermill does one! on top of a mountain, every summer. it's fantastic but even there i find that even the people that will come every year and anticipate it, they won't check out our releases on a regular basis, as the festival becomes its own entity. with such a wide variety of styles being released, even peppermill-loving festival goers don't seem to have time to filter through our output. it seems sometimes my own failure in promotion, but reading the accounts of others it seems more and more like it's just not an easy thing to do. on such a small scale as a netlabel. maybe an entirely new approach is needed, not sure.

    at least i and others seem to be getting a ton of downloads even if they are scattered throughout the entire planet. so people out there are listening.

    Gravatar of pk pk said on
    24. Jan 2010 at 10:04 am
    Link #18

  • Thank you to Thomas and His Moness for a great article and a fascinating debate.

    Thomas makes a good point about the difference between music articles in print and those in electronic formats. If tablet PCs provide a pleasant reading experience, it will increase the chances of "traditional" magazines including links to CC netaudio artists and netlabels. Hopefully, the divide between the two worlds will narrow.

    Until then, it's up to the CC community to do the legwork: contact magazines & promo agencies, develop merchandise, ensure that CC releases meet the standards of professional releases: hi-fi sound, correct metadata & tags, high quality thumbnails and full-size artwork, liner notes, zipped albums and individual track downloads in mp3/Ogg/FLAC/Wav formats, CDs & 12 inches EPs, and so on.

    Thomas is also correct in stating that music journalists, with some laudable exceptions, are not renowned for their work ethic. :) All that tedious stuff I've just mentioned will help to make things easier for scribes and give them less of an excuse to reach for the latest platter from GenericMegaMusicCorp.

    Having said that, the beauty of CC music is that anyone can slap a 90-minute 32 kbps buzzsaw drone on archive.org and invite all and sundry to "enjoy" their magnum opus. Netaudio encompasses everything from rank, cack-handed amateurs, to seamless operations like rec.72 and aaah! Long may it do so.

    I agree with Martin that one of the weaknesses of the CC scene is the preponderance of electronica. Now, my love for dance, glitch, ambient and electronica has deepened thanks to all of you lot out there, but I've always found it difficult to source everyday genres such as rock and pop. In addition, songs, those pesky things with lyrics, verses and choruses, are noticeable by their absence. This may be a reflection of the "bedroom" nature of many CC artists and, in particular, the inevitable consequences of the development of DAW software and VSTs that Thomas mentioned. I've read many posts in music production forums where an experienced musician admits to being a complete beginner in using software to produce music: they are invariably guitarists, singers and drummers, the very people who make the rock and pop that is such a graing omission from the free music scene. It's probably a generational thing; it might take a year or three for "traditional" musicians to really catch up with the amazing and rapidly changing world of music software.

    By the way, that word "free" is full of negative connotations. Most teenagers and twenty-somethings think that music is free anyway, so CC music is nothing special. In fact, it's distinctly unspecial because anything that is given away free of charge when record companies are trying their best to combat piracy must, by definition, be musically worthless. Free music is rubbish, isn't it?

    So, how to change people's opinion? By getting the music out there, right under people's noses, and showing them that CC music is fun. Get on to Spotify, Magnatune, LastFM; email internet radio stations; compile a list of likely publications but don't send "blanket" emails to magazines and newspapers - contact their journalists directly; hold parties and gigs; pump out some merchandise (I want to see (XXXL) t-shirts and mugs, people!); get on Facebook and splash the cash on a Facebook advert (300 MILLION people are waiting to hear from you); tweet your guts out (Twitter is increasingly popular, easy to use, and provides something like a bespoke news service in subjects that interest you); set up a newsletter; begin a mailing list for subscribers; start a YouTube channel (videos are catnip to the curious music fan and make for a wonderfully moveable advert that can be sent and hosted anywhere); explain in words of one syllable how to use Google Reader or similar to take advantage of an RSS feed...and I'm spent. There's lots more that can be done.

    Oh, and recommend Phlow and Beat magazine. ;)

    Best of luck. :)

    Gravatar of Catching The Waves Catching The Waves said on
    24. Jan 2010 at 1:04 pm
    Link #19

  • I like especially your last paragraph and a lot of the arguments before Steve. One big point for netlabels who want to do it right is to spend some money for ads or try to play around with it. Today it's amazing how you can target your audience. Of course you can adress 300 million facebookers, but with their ad-service you can narrow down the folks you want to reach for. also googles adwords program is incredible. you can search for website you like and think they are good and if they run google ads you can promote your releases on those exact pages. on the web there are a lot of coupons like a 50€ starter edition. play around with it. it's interesting and makes fun.

    hopefully I will start a marketing/promoting articles series here on phlow or netlabels.org to show interested netlabels some great and effective tactics :) Still most of them have a lot to learn.

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    24. Jan 2010 at 3:20 pm
    Link #20

  • i actually played around with facebook targeted ads for a new release back when that program just started... i thought i'd throw away a hundred dollars on it as an experiment. i tried to make a very eye-catching ad but saw zero benefits from it. others may have more success but i think that facebook users are very good about focusing away from any ads in all that clutter.

    Gravatar of pk pk said on
    24. Jan 2010 at 3:25 pm
    Link #21

  • hey mister peppermill, thanks for sharing your experiences...

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    25. Jan 2010 at 2:29 am
    Link #22

  • In context of the discussion of the interview with Thomas Raukamp from the BEAT magazine. I am more than pleased to announce the BEAT magazine as Presenter of my QUEENDOM COME 2010 TOUR. Thanks to the BEAT 4 support! And yes, this is the context. Keep the ball in the game. Release your dream and work hard for it! Playing shows is important. More than ever! Show the people out there your skillz. No matter if Creative Commons or not. Your music is your soul, trust, faith, love, so much more than just a license. It´s you.
    ZOE.LEELA

    Gravatar of Zoe.LeelA Zoe.LeelA said on
    25. Jan 2010 at 7:53 pm
    Link #23

  • except the "splash the cash"-arguement EVERYone who runs a netlabel should heed steve's last paragraph and read it again and again on a daily basis - all others will sink to the "bad apple[-tablets]" and will be forgotten tomorrow or maybe even the day before.
    but for most of the [non-commercial] netlabels it won't make any sense to throw away / spend some money on coupons or starter editions of adwords.
    they'll reach exactly the same goals or maybe/hopefully even more than that with just spending a damn lot of blood, sweat'n tears to find out who to contact for which kind of release [just as christian/aaahh proved].

    @ steve: it's those strange netlabels like shsk'h which give me the hope there will be an equivalent of "music as usual" in the netaudio some day - but as long as there's no real scene for beebop, blues, ska, ... [fill that space with any genre except electronic + noise] in the netaudio-movement, there's very much work to do with involving artists...

    @pk: it's the elementary and somehow beautiful, but in the same time disturbing gap between "online" & "offline" which let's your festival-goers ignore your releases. however, you should obviously target your audience directly at the festival, announce that everyone should bring with their thumbdrives and provide some very special "peppermill to go" ["a complete label-catalog to take away"], including exclusive live-takes...

    @Zoe.LeelA: if anything matters, creative commons does.
    just try something else.

    @thomas: your pic at soundcloud is much funnier than this one here... :)

    Gravatar of martin martin said on
    26. Jan 2010 at 1:59 am
    Link #24

  • I agree on the lack of non-electronic music. I do love reading about the technological aspects, so I follow some blogs and articles, but musically I prefer alternative rock, progressive rock, some pop and a touch of metal and then some electronic stuff (don't ask the genres - I wouldn't now the difference anyway).

    So the funny thing is that even though this music is available, it's not often that I actually start listening to it. What it did cause is that I started to make my own music also available under a CC license.

    But I don't see this kind of music being covered in the main CC-oriented media, which tends to be mainly electronic-music focused.

    Gravatar of Stefan Stefan said on
    26. Jan 2010 at 1:06 pm
    Link #25

  • hey stefan!

    I think you state some important points. I would like to cover for example heavy metal music and such genres. But I don't listen to these styles, have no expertise, so I keep my mouth shut. I think it's only a matter of time, that there will be more and more magazines like Phlow covering rock, heavy metal and more hiphop. I feel it ;) It's just around the corner.

    Gravatar of mo. mo. said on
    26. Jan 2010 at 4:22 pm
    Link #26

  • Here's a very cool source of info (music marketing and distro) with tons of links for those who want to dig deeper into the topic:

    http://www.Buzzsonic.com

    @pk: You must be more careful. Advertising can be very deceiving without monitoring. You need something to measure. Of course, netlabels usually cannot look at their sales. You might look at your download stats (which is technically very difficult to impossible with CC music, because everyone can redistribute it) and especially count how often you've been featured somewhere (radio, mixes, blogs). You really need to measure your ad campaigns success properly to improve its effect and efficiency. Doing cool & focused ads is a very advanced topic, an intuitive approach will mostly fail and waste cash.

    But one idea might help to get more out of simple page visits and track downloads: Why not asking for a mandatory newsletter subscription and a "how can you support?" input field before download? E-Mail addresses are very valuable for further marketing and there's even some kind of tribe feeling if done right. Just my 2 cents...

    Gravatar of fabien fabien said on
    26. Jan 2010 at 8:55 pm
    Link #27

  • @martin: yes i would like to showcase our other music at the festival... but in such an environment, there's not any real natural way to do it that i can think of. besides playing the songs on the busride there?

    i love shsk'h! they exist in their own wonderful world it seems.

    @fabien: i agree with this too i should be exploring mailing lists more than i do. as for the facebook campaign, i did measure the stats closely to see but it seemed to be negligible, compared to other methods of just finding people that would like your music and telling them about it.

    Gravatar of pk pk said on
    26. Jan 2010 at 11:32 pm
    Link #28

  • @pk: ehm... i didn't realize you have no electricity. and without cellphones too you're luckily, really and absolutely "offline" :)
    how enviable [no irony] !
    then provide a DVD with every ticket, including your whole catalog [which still fits the normal size of a DVD]. it will be unique every year [esp. including more releases] and could be a kind of an ever growing "offline archive".

    @mo & all the other former headbangers at phlow: check this out [25MB, low quality only]
    http://www.archive.org/download/DTM029/8BitCannibal-8BitCannibalismPt1.zip
    metal & death metal classics/cover-versions on 8bit :)

    Gravatar of martin martin said on
    27. Jan 2010 at 1:54 am
    Link #29

  • @martin that maiden cover is, well, ace! very funny...

    Gravatar of bettina bettina said on
    27. Jan 2010 at 3:59 pm
    Link #30

  • actually martin, that's an excellent idea i hadn't considered...

    Gravatar of pk pk said on
    27. Jan 2010 at 11:35 pm
    Link #31

  • @Stefan @Mo We actually once had the idea of doing a series of CC-licensed Metal-compilations with an international focus ("Metal from Brazil", "Metal from Greenland" etc...). Problem was that none of the bands we approached even returned out emails. I think the whole notion of Creative Commons is still pretty alien in the Rock-scene.

    Gravatar of tokafi tokafi said on
    28. Jan 2010 at 9:58 am
    Link #32

  • This is a fascinating discussion -- I am new to the creative commons world, my friend Dan turned me on to the scene (www.danosongs.com) and I am searching for some more answers. This indepth conversation is really enlightening! Thanks!

    Gravatar of Heidi Howes Heidi Howes said on
    9. Feb 2010 at 7:47 pm
    Link #33

  • Very interesting article. I don't think most print media will ever cover CC because there is no money in it for them - the press (mainstream and alternative) don't care about the quality of a piece of music or the development of a music scene, they care if it can sell CDs, and therefore sell copies of their paper.

    Maybe NME and The Wire etc did once give attention to good new music, but having looked through the NME in a shop today out of curiosity, its just the same old faces from 10 years ago and that irritating 'we're down with the kids' way of writing they have... but it just seems fake.

    The only really honest, pioneering, grass-roots journalism on new music (CC and commercial alike) i have found in the last 5 years or so has almost always on blogs and online magazines. I guess the only thing you can do is to support the CC artists by buying their physical goods if they offer them, but without money from music sales, independent art will never be able to compete against the established media for attention. Maybe the way forward is for successful CC labels with large audiences to evolve into commercial labels, produce physical editions of their artists work on CD and vinyl, and try to make the energy and the innovation of even a few of the artists who release music via CC more well known to the public. Then, I guess, the press will have to pay attention to them!

    Gravatar of thom thom said on
    14. Feb 2010 at 3:29 am
    Link #34

  • whoo, what a discussion!

    but as we all know:
    "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
    Gil Scott-Heron (1971)

    http://www.archive.org/details/TheRevolutionWillNotBeTelevised

    Gravatar of headphonica headphonica said on
    17. Feb 2010 at 10:08 pm
    Link #35