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Guess Who's a Mess, my third album. 10 tracks, instant downloads.

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I’ve finally added a guitar tab section. Thanks to everyone in the forum thread who’s been contributing.

Posted on - July 31, 2006 [at] 2:26 pm by Brad
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For some reason my Officemax post is broken. Possibly due to the 470 comments by disgruntled Officemax employees on it. I wonder how to fix that. As BmcC points out, at least we have the black metal post to keep us company in the meantime.

Update: Installed this comment pagination plugin for WordPress and it’s fixed for now, though viewing all still breaks the page.

Posted on - July 31, 2006 [at] 1:13 pm by Brad
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I got psychologically suckered into signing up for Bebo this morning (everyone else was doing it), which in my circles has been getting the reputation of being a more music-oriented MySpace. The feature that intrigued me was playlists — users can create and display playlists on their homepages of songs that Bebo bands add to their pages. Why MySpace hasn’t added that, I have no idea. Here are my thoughts as I signed up and created my beautifully lame Bebo page:

  • The username “bradsucks” was taken. Weird.
  • You seem to be able to upload an unlimited number of songs which is way nicer than MySpace’s limit of four.
  • Drag and dropping the order of my top 10 songs is sweet, though arranging the songs on my album was done with cumbersome “up” and “down” links, which I gave up on.
  • I still swear to the lord god above something needs to be done to make it quicker and easier to sign up for these sites. All of my music and data are available for the taking — why must you force me to upload and label everything manually?
  • You have to have a regular Bebo account and then you make band accounts inside them, unlike on MySpace where you have to set up a separate type of account. I guess this is neat but I have no interest in having a non-musician account.
  • Instead of allowing the type of eye-gouging HTML customization that MySpace does, you’re restricted to using Bebo-approved skins. They’re pretty but they’re not customizable in any way, which sucks.
  • I now have two Bebo blogs (my regular user blog and the band blog) that I will not use and I can’t hook up to this blog I have here. Get some RSS going or allow easy cross-posting or something.
  • The search sucks, it’s just a full text Google search of the public pages. So there’s no way to search by location or interest in musicians or playlists or anything cool that would help me find people who are or might be interested in my music.
  • Crazily there seems to be no way to link to my home page here. The profiles don’t allow HTML and there are no fields for pointing to external band home pages. Additionally you can create albums of your music but can’t provide a link to any place that the visitor could download or buy it. What in the sam hell.

So I like the additional song storage. MySpace users are often asking me to post additional songs so they can add them to their pages, but if I remove any of the original four I put up there, it breaks every page with those songs on them.

The additional songs and the playlisting are probably what give Bebo the reputation as being more musician-friendly than MySpace. But it’s worse in that without links back to my site here or to a place they can buy my album it’s hard to believe it’ll sell any music for me. Not only that, it’s unlikely almost anyone will make it back to my site here and sign up for my mailing list so I can keep the relationship going, keep them in the loop on future releases, etc.

The social networks are definitely useful for spreading music and that’s certainly cool. But I find them frustrating — like there’s a huge barrier between the fans and the artist and that any contact between the two is almost accidental and always totally fleeting. And with Bebo’s lack of external links it’s driven home to me that, as a musician, it would be hard as hell to build anything lasting out of my social network “groupies” or “friends”.

And I guess I wonder: is that the nature of the post-Napster musician/fan relationship these days or is it just a side effect of crappy web tools?

Posted on - July 31, 2006 [at] 9:01 am by Brad
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Stompin’ Tom Connors came to my small town tonight and boy were there a lot of cowboy hats in the huge crowd. A Canadian legend, rumor is it this could be his last tour so it was cool to see him. For you non-Canadians here’s the origin of the nickname according to Wikipedia:

Connors’ habit of stomping the heel of his boot to keep rhythm earned him the “Stompin’ ” nickname – first announced at the King George Tavern in Peterborough, Ontario. Various stories have circulated about the origin of the foot stomping, but it’s generally accepted that he did this to keep a strong tempo for his guitar playing – especially in the noisy bars and beer joints where he frequently performed. After numerous complaints about damaged stage floors, Tom began to carry a piece of plywood that he stomped even more vigorously than before. The “stompin’ ” board has since become one of his trademarks. After stomping a hole in the wood, he would pick it up and show it to the audience (accompanied by a joke about the quality of the local lumber) before calling for a new one. It was reported that when asked about his “stompin’ board”, Tom replied, “it’s just a stage I’m going through”. Stompin’ Tom periodically auctions off his stompin’ boards for charity.

A friend bought a DVD at the show and on the cover it said it included a genuine piece of one of Tom’s stompin’ boards. Including a piece of plywood with your DVD, to me, is totally awesome.

Posted on - July 29, 2006 [at] 11:13 pm by Brad
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I like the idea of Snocap and I hope it (or something like it) catches on. Mashable’s got a good write-up on it here:

Artists on MySpace Music (or hi5, Bebo, Multiply and any other site that supports Flash embeds) can post a widget that plays the tracks and allows you to buy them right away. Indie band “The Format” is currently using the widgets on its MySpace page, where you can buy songs from their album “Dog Problems”. Tracks cost $0.79 each, which Snocap automatically charges to your Paypal account.

I checked out the widget and it’s not bad, though I found the checkbox interface confusing at first and my stomach turned at the idea of having to make an account on another service just to make a transaction under ten dollars.

What would be nice (for me) is a simple Flash widget for Paypal data transactions with no middle-man. So you can be all wandering MySpace looking for hotties in your area and then BLAM you’ve impulsed purchased my album for reasons unknown to you. If Apple was on the ball, they’d get an iTunes widget out there stat.

Posted on - July 27, 2006 [at] 7:37 am by Brad
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REAPER 0.996 is out and that means v1.0 should be just around the corner. The updates keep coming with amazing frequency. I spent some more time with it today to get in some last minute feedback and it’s still a really impressive piece of software. Check out some of the features here.

It’s incredibly functional and customizable and the entire install is still only one meg in size. Once again it’s free up until v1.0 and then according to Justin’s post in the forums:

Should be something like $40 for noncommercial use and ~$200 for commercial use. Purchasing 1.0 will give you a license for all 1.x releases..

And after being asked how they’ll define “commercial use” he posted this clarification:

as far as what constitutes commercial use, it’s essentially if you are a) making money directly from what you’re doing, or b) using it in a workplace.We will let you upgrade from the non-commercial license to a commercial license for the difference in price, as well. so if you go purchase the non-commercial version ,make some stuff, then end up making money on it, you can pay $160 or whatnot and be legit.

The important thing about all of this, too, is that we won’t take any technological steps to enforce this– it will be up to you to do the right thing. If you don’t feel you’re doing something commercially, then you’re probably not, etc.

Nice.

Posted on - July 25, 2006 [at] 12:11 pm by Brad
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Here’s another demo I’ve been working on: Bad Sign. (And here’s the forum thread.)

Posted on - July 24, 2006 [at] 1:25 pm by Brad
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Worst Onstage Meltdowns – a fun list of onstage screwups.

Posted on - July 21, 2006 [at] 5:50 am by Brad
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Not that I’m qualified to answer, but since I started blogging about painting my guitar I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions. Abe writes:

Great job on your guitar! So if I’m correct I’m supposed to use sanding sealer, primer, Krylon spray paint, and a clear coat. What kind of primer and clear coats do I use though? And is orange supposed to sit for 3 months after the clear coats are applied? Thanks for any advice (again).

I used the generic gray Krylon primer. You can see it in this picture here on the right:

For the clear coats I used Krylon’s “Crystal Clear” acrylic spray. I don’t have any pictures of that right now unfortunately.

As I understand it, the color you paint the guitar doesn’t affect the time it needs to sit for. It’s only if you use more than one color (and therefore more coats of clear.)

Other parts in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Posted on - July 18, 2006 [at] 2:03 pm by Brad
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Looks like I’ve got until 2015 to work out my plan to be the first musician to trash his space hotel room. Time’s a-wasting.

Posted on - July 17, 2006 [at] 3:47 pm by Brad
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