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Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

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

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Got this email today from Bebo and it looks like every song except for Borderline has been removed from my Bebo music page:

from: Bebo Service service@noreply.bebo.com
to: brad@bradsucks.net
date: May 22, 2007 2:48 AM
subject: Bebo Bands: Songs Removed for thebradsucks

Brad

Song content was removed for your Bebo Band, Brad Sucks.

Content was removed because it was recognized by the Bebo copyright filter to violate the Bebo Terms of Service:

<http://www.bebo.com/TermsOfUse.jsp>

As a result, the upload songs feature for this band has been disabled. If you believe that a mistake has been made, you can request that your Bebo band page be reviewed:

<http://www.bebo.com/BandReviewRequest.jsp?MemberId=1530240065>

Please don’t submit bands that you do not own the copyright to or your band may be deleted all together.

Thanks,

The Beboers

I think it’s pretty awesome that I seem to have violated my own copyright somehow. Well done! I’m sure glad my copyrights are safe!!

Posted on - May 22, 2007 [at] 1:42 pm by Brad
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An ask Metafilter question that caught my eye: Will my money get to the musician, or all end up with the record label?

Interesting question to me, but maybe not for the reasons the asker intended. While I recognize that fans want the artist to get paid, when a label is involved it’s more complicated:

  • The artist entered into an agreement with the record label. Even if it’s a shitty deal, why are you second guessing a decision that the artist made? Are we assuming that every artist on every label has been tricked?
  • The record label likely put up a lot of money to get the record made (which is a loan) – this is why most of the money goes to the label. Why do they not deserve to make their money back? The record might not exist without them.
  • The artist may actually enjoy the support they get from their label. Recording advances, promotion and tour organization are some of the more common benefits. The label’s only solid metric for determining the success of an album is sales through their distribution channels. If you take away those sales the label will likely decide the artist is a bad investment and drop them.

Independent artist money breakdown

For independent artists it’s simpler of course as we have no record label loans to pay back, but there’s still a lot of mystery. I’m asked often where I get the most money from awesome people who want to make sure their dollars go to me. Today in the interest of science and like… money… I did up some charts:

Net amount received by me per album sale. That’s the amount that actually goes into my pocket, so bank fees, postage, digital distribution fees, manufacturing and other charges along the way are factored in. The album price per service is listed next to the service name.

Percentage received by me per album sale, based on the same data above.

Neither of these graphs take into account any signup or yearly fees. Amazon is $30 a year and CD Baby (who handles all the other digital distribution for me) is a $35 one-time fee. I’m also not 100% sure I got the iTunes UK album price right and Magnatune lets buyers decide the price from $5-$18 so I used an average of $8 which I think I read somewhere.

Analysis

No big surprise, buying direct from me is the best (for me). Direct digital sales (using my free open source digital store, natch) is the best in profit and percentage as I only pay Paypal fees and a negligible Amazon S3 amount. I make more per sale on CD Baby and iTunes UK than direct CDs from me, but that’s only because the unit price is three or four dollars more.

It’s interesting how low Magnatune ranks in both charts. Magnatune is a non-exclusive record label that I’m on (and enjoy being on), but unlike other label agreements I referred to in the beginning of this post, I have no debt with them. It’s their decision to split the income and bank fees 50% with the artist, which means significantly less money for the artists than most other services.

Conclusion

It’s pretty simple. The less middlemen, the more money gets to the artist. The best would be to pirate the album and personally hand the artist a ten dollar bill. That would be as close to 100% as you’re going to get.

Posted on - May 22, 2007 [at] 1:13 pm by Brad
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Getting started with Ogg – A good intro to Ogg Vorbis via the Play Ogg audio format campaign. I want to be down with Ogg, but the support isn’t there (yet).

Posted on - May 18, 2007 [at] 7:39 am by Brad
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Recently I finally got off my ass and wrote a thingmabob to track MP3 downloads. Here is the fallout:

China, you are cut off.

Seriously, I’ve never to my knowledge received a single nice email from anyone in China about my music or sold a CD, yet you guys make up like 60% of my bandwidth usage via sites like QQ and Baidu and Yahoo China Music.

I mean maybe if I felt like I was huge with this silent mass of Chinese I’d just roll with it, see where it takes me, but the fact of the matter is that every MP3 on my server gets hammered 24/7 by the same blocks of IPs, over and over again. Is it just their haywire search bots? Is it proxy requests from very shy Chinese Brad Sucks fans? I don’t know!

So for now you’re blocked, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

Posted on - May 17, 2007 [at] 6:56 pm by Brad
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Interesting article over at Pitchfork: What Do You Look for in Music Writing? As in music reviews, not like, writing music.

Music advocacy (well, it sounds better than “what mp3 blogs do”) is exploding. Music criticism on the other hand survived commercially for the past 40 years or so by hitching itself to its own version of advocacy. In an age of limited music supply, the word of an informed expert was invaluable, and the flights of fancy or theory that expert indulged in were part of the deal. Sharply and suddenly, the internet has broken that link.

Since I was a teenager I’ve thought music criticism was silly. I’ve never really understood why I should care that someone doesn’t like an album, it alway seemed like trolling — a ploy to get fans riled up and generate attention. I prefer the idea of music advocacy, though I get impatient reading overwrought poetic waxings about music when I could have decided if I liked the music in the time it took to read the article. (Also there are only so many times I can read the word “scintillating” without wanting to puke.)

Lately as I’ve been working on my album I’ve been getting existential. Is there still a point to doing albums? Why should they be in 11 or 12 song bundles? What will I do when it’s done?

It used to be a bad idea for a musician to release too many songs too quickly. You get the rep as being a prolific genius, but the quality pretty much always goes down. You oversaturate the market with a lot of b-side material, confuse potential fans and make it hard for anyone to find the songs they’d like.

But now that music advocacy is the name of the game, are things different? It seems like all you have to worry about is if there are enough people interested to separate the good from the bad. The bad gets ignored, the good gets spread around.

Posted on - May 15, 2007 [at] 5:39 pm by Brad
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This is software I’m using but would be happy to ditch for something better:

Google Desktop – I run Google Desktop because I like the quick program launcher and docking my Google Talk & Calendar in the sidebar. But the sidebar overall feels bloated and slow, the email gadget sucks (slow to update, shows sent items, lacks Gmail integration), the quick launch often doesn’t find things I want to launch and the desktop search keeps finding files I’ve deleted that don’t exist anymore. The more I write about it here the more lame I think it is.

ToDoList – I’ve used this for a while and it works okay, but the options and UI are super complicated. I also can’t get it to keep hiding my completed items and I’d like a view that shows me all my due tasks on one page. Having it online and integrated with my other software would be nice as well but I haven’t found a better one to replace it.

KeyNote – KeyNote’s development discontinued back in 2003 but I’m still been using it. It’s done well for me as a notebook and scratch pad, but these days I want to ditch the note-tree paradigm for something that lets me tag my notes and ideally store them online.

Firefox – I love the awesome customization of Firefox, but it’s slow, even without my gazillion extensions installed. It can’t be denied that IE7 and Opera are both much faster. But I’m tied to Firefox because I can’t live without Greasemonkey & Gmail Macros and NextPlease and Adblock and Firebug and Google Browser Sync and All-in-One Gestures and and and…

Posted on - May 15, 2007 [at] 2:18 pm by Brad
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MediaMonkey – A while back I mentioned I was searching for a new music player, something that would let me shuffle through my library nicely. I tried nearly everything out there and 95% of it was awful. Media Monkey is awesome. Less bloated than iTunes, more feature-rich than Winamp, MediaMonkey has it all. I went from being bored with my massive music library to being entertained again.

Media Player Classic – Make no mistake, VLC should still be installed on every system. But Media Player Classic is a little bit more attractive and faster for jumping through certain video files.

RocketDock – This is a sexy lightweight little program launcher. I always used the built-in sidebars in XP but this is sexier.

Notepad++ - My favorite programming editor. I keep finding new features in it that make my life easier.

Pidgin – I replaced Trillian with this after being horrified by how bulky Trillian Astra looks. I still like the simplicity of Google Talk but this is cool for all the other protocols.

Posted on - May 14, 2007 [at] 10:35 am by Brad
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Great collection of old metal show photos in Ye Olde Metal Days. Here are moves and outfits I’d like to pull off sometime:

Posted on - May 10, 2007 [at] 11:06 am by Brad
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Thanks to everyone who submitted artwork for the upcoming ccMixter/Brad Sucks remix compilation, there was a lot of great stuff. My favorite was by Katie Sekelsky:

Hooray for almost being done with this project!

Posted on - May 8, 2007 [at] 10:03 pm by Brad
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