Email addresses not working

Email

A good Internet chum of mine has pointed out my site email addresses have got lost, probably when I moved the site. I must admit I didn’t test them so I’ll need to take a look at that. Apologies to anyone who has been rudely rebuffed.

And yes, it has been very quiet here lately. Blame Japanese, DIY, music and the splendid weather.

UPDATE: Email addresses now fixed.

December site move—back in January

movingSo, here I go. I’m moving the WordPress blog and all the HTML pages.

I don’t know how long it will take. I’m also tidying bits and pieces from the past 13 years and reassembling everything under one roof.

I can only say it should be back up by January 2015. See you then.

EDIT: January: everything is now moved and simplified (cheaper and faster, hoorah!) Vaultpress was handy for the transfer although WordPress itself is bafflingly shit at transferring blogs home to its own hosting platform. So I’m still using a non-Wordpress host but everything is at least under one roof (at Zen UK).

I’m going to move web hosts

lorryMy current web host (BlueHost) is not very good. This year I have had severe outages and the helpdesk is not helpful, and they aren’t cheap.

I have identified a better hosting arrangement: move WordPress to WordPress.com and HTML to a very reliable web host. The cost will be less when it’s all done… and it will work better.

Unfortunately bits of the site will go missing for a few days during the move but it will all be back afterwards. Then, I’ll migrate the best pages of the HTML (the old bemuso.com web site) into WordPress a page at a time, and update them as I go. When it’s all in WordPress it will be far easier to update and it will look much cooler.

About half the old site has lost its relevance over the years so I’ll just retire those bits.

There is a bit of groundwork to do first so nothing will happen for a few weeks. I’ll post again right before the fun and games begin.

UPDATE: Research has shown moving WordPress to WordPress.com is not easy. There are tools but the media library (basically all the pictures) and links to it must be rebuilt manually. So I’m adjusting my move to leave out WordPress.com for now.

Music DIY in 2013

2013-4Every new year I tidy up online, review the effectiveness of what I’m doing and free up some time. This year the web site has been up 10 years so alongside the usual social media cull I’ve been thinking about where to take it next.

The main motivation for setting up the site in 2002 was to offer music biz information for newcomers. I couldn’t find much online help at the time and middlemen were everywhere peddling snake oil. Also, the number of searches on “how to get signed” was just depressing.

Almost everything is different in 2013. Sites like CMU provide good information and even PRS and PPL web sites have improved. Snake oil still abounds and too many people still expect “to get signed” but a serious search will quickly find decent advice.

Another aspect of the web site has always been the changing music technology picture. In 2002 big record labels were in denial about digital music, hoping locked-down streaming would be the next cash cow. In 2013 the freefall in CD sales is a fact of life and the big labels have transferred their hopes to Spotify.

We are now unmoved by music start-up hype and although hundreds of millions (and forests of newsprint) are still invested every year it’s getting pretty clear how things will turn out. I’m writing a separate post about the streaming pipedream, in short it won’t happen. Music sales are moving from CDs to digital, from albums to singles, and from audio to multimedia or live performance.

Web tools for new musicians are now pretty good. Bandcamp is a much better bet than building your own web site and distributors like CD Baby will get your music to all the online outlets.

So the Bemuso web pages are looking a bit out of date and some of the record company and collection society info needs updating. Quite a few pages can be archived and the rest revamped. There’s also the possibility of moving everything into WordPress now that is sorted out, which would have some advantages longer term.

This blog will be an effective substitute for the Articles section and a YouTube channel (initially for animated music biz diagrams) would be a better medium for explaining complex processes of which the music biz has one or two.

So that’s a rough idea of where I’ll be going with the site. I’ve trimmed my Twitter overheads considerably but continue to reflect things I think matter from day to day there. Longer ponderings and the occasional summary of good links will continue to appear here.

Amanda pays, what do I think?

Well, fair enough. It’s her career.

As you may know I supported Amanda Palmer for using volunteers. Even now that she pays all her musicians including locals, she still uses other volunteers, and I think she was and is right. If she wants to do something different she’s still right. That’s the beauty of DIY. You choose and you can never be wrong.

Here’s the thing. Independent musicians today inevitably start off with a lot of help. They need it, they use it, they love it. I love it. The people who run house concerts, lend instruments and support and feed artists are not normal fans. DIY musicians seem different and act differently to remote businesses that persistently balance the books and try to make a profit. I would rather need people than need money. I would rather have people I don’t know volunteer than see helpers queue up for cash.

But the blogosphere has drawn a line over Amanda’s musicians and made her change her mind. Now, if you publicly sell 24,000 albums and a global tour there are limits to the volunteers bystanders will allow. I think this makes us all worse off. Just imagine if local musicians could join Coldplay, U2 or Lady Gaga on stage for fun, wouldn’t that be rather splendid? Just for kicks? I wouldn’t give them house room but it would be a fabulous thing.

But no. They’re too rich to have that kind of fun. Too rich for volunteers.

24,000 albums is not much for today’s music business. UMG, Sony or WMG would drop you like a stone for selling 24,000 albums. In fact they’d drop you for selling 20 times that many. That’s what they did in 2000. Almost every 500,000 album Major label artist was dropped after the crash started. Major labels today only want platinum artists, if you sell less than a million you’re on life support.

Unfortunately mass media stories tend to set the standard. Every successful Kickstarter artist will be hounded over volunteers now. Amanda Palmer may even be hounded for remaining volunteers until her business is pared down to the dull, purely profitable model the righteous blogosphere will accept. Independent? Not much apparently.

I saw numerous blogs describe AFP as “one of the 1%” or equally ludicrously “a millionaire”. Those innumerate dullards seem to think that $1.2 million (less the cost of 24,000 albums, a world tour, etc.) makes you as rich as Mitt Romney and the arseholes of Wall Street—English readers: the City of London. You can’t educate that kind of ignorance.

Of course, there were others who simply believe every pro musician must always be paid. I disagree with them too, vehemently, but I can understand why they think that. It’s OK for them to be wrong.

My Theatre Is Evil CD arrived in the post  today with free extras (I’ve been playing the download for a week or so). $25 including Kickstarter commission and international postage—that’s art and cheap. As far as I’m concerned Amanda Palmer delivered. The commentators who don’t like her business model would do well to give us something that good and make 24,000 people happy. I won’t be holding my breath.

New landing page blog

After a lot of reading, trial and error the WordPress blog is finally up and running. I thought I might get it done in January but it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that.

WordPress is very powerful but it’s not simple. There are still a few minor snags but I have some blogging to catch up, and it seems to be fully functional. If you find any glitches please let me know.

Whatever happens the HTML site underneath will always remain accessible.