I listen to a lot of music and I come across songs probably unintentionally borrowing elements from each other every now and then. One of the most obvious examples I’ve run into lately is the case of i Square vs Calvin Harris though.
First there was Calvin Harris‘ I’m Not Alone, who composed a catchy tune with a melody that just really stuck! Maybe a little too much…
And then there was i Square’s Hey Sexy Lady.
How does this keep happening? Nobody involved at any point said: “hey, you know what, you know why you suddenly felt so inspired with that melody? It’s because you heard it when Calvin Harris’ track was playing somewhere.” Oh, and Magnetic Man’s I Need Air also sounds quite similar.
Or maybe they licensed it. I don’t know. Terribly uncreative though.
Another recent scandal is the Usher vs The Simpsons / Homer Simpson situation by the way.
Last week I read about Die Antwoord on the Birthday Party Berlin blog. The first time I watched their video, I was immediately convinced I had witnessed something I needed to share, to spread. Apparently I wasn’t the only one… One week later and the blogosphere is blowing up with posts about Die Antwoord.
In one day, they have doubled their Facebook fans from 5.000 to 10.000 and it seems like they’re still picking up steam, with blogs like Boing Boing, Dlisted and Mad Decent writing about them. Why is that? It is very simple. Die Antwoord is unique. They offer something fresh, in a remarkable way… In the digital age, where we can share all the music we want, being remarkable is THE most important characteristic for a band, group, musician, producer, etc. You have to be worth talking about.
So what did they do? Not much. They created a unique concept (or maybe this is just an extension of their personalities), uploaded their songs to YouTube, do a lot of performing and try to get people to spread the word. That’s probably why they give away music at live shows: “First 100 zeflings thru the door get a free hand-drawn full-length $O$ album (16 tracks) burned by die fokken rap-rave meesters NINJA en YO-LANDI.”
That’s it! Do something remarkable, connect with the fans and give them a reason to buy. Their album is due soon on Magnetron Music and I expect it to sell quite well for a debut, but of course it will be downloaded for free much more often… The “reason to buy” for now is going to be their live performances until they’ve built a considerable fanbase and they can start applying freemium on a bigger scale.
So who else are doing this? In The Netherlands we have an act which is quite similar, which also generated a lot of buzz when they first came to the scene; De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig. They’re actually label mates of Die Antwoord, just like a bunch of other great acts.
Another act that the music industry can learn from in my eyes, is MENEO, although MENEO is a bit less reachable for fans. Same goes for belladonnakillz.
Anyway, to conclude this post… I suggest you head over to the website of Die Antwoord and listen to their album. You can stream it in its entirety on there.
This afternoon a Dutch court ruled in favour of Dutch copyright protectors, BREIN, in a case versus The Pirate Bay. Within ten days, The Pirate Bay must block access to all Dutch users. BREIN’s head honcho, Tim Kuik, is happy about the verdict, because The Pirate Bay (TPB), according to him, is simply illegal.
What does this verdict change though? Internet users can make TPB’s servers think they’re not in The Netherlands simply by using a proxy. The less tech-savvy users can simply use one of The Pirate Bay’s clones. Those that are getting paranoid can be relieved that people are constantly working on increasing the quality of filesharing and making it harder to track (see this article about HydraTorrent, which, by the way, has already copied all of TPB’s torrents). Now that The Pirate Bay is gone, will the market for music in The Netherlands suddenly be a little bit bigger? No, no, no. Only the lawyers are profiting from this.
So what does it achieve? It makes it easier for people to get websites banned if they disagree with the content. The Pirate Bay doesn’t host any copyrighted content, it links to it. It also hosts a lot of legal content, I personally use it to distribute my DJ sets, so thanks BREIN for killing one of my best distribution channels.
While living in Turkey I witnessed horrible web censorship. I couldn’t use YouTube, one of the most popular sites on the web, unless I used a proxy or some other workaround that simply kills the user friendliness. Why was YouTube banned? Because the Turkish government didn’t like the content of one of the movies on YouTube, because it was against the law in Turkey. When YouTube didn’t remove it, the government had ALL of YouTube blocked via the courts. For years! In an older post I already mentioned that the whole YouTube ban is pointless anyway. Research in Alexa.com’s traffic ranking system has shown that YouTube is the 10th most popular site in Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan surprised everyone when he stated that even he uses YouTube.
In Holland, blasphemy is also illegal, so is disturbance of the peace, or insulting people. These could all be precedents to take down websites now that that door has been opened. Tim Kuik is proud, but he’s only keeping lawyers paid and limiting the freedoms of the citizens of The Netherlands.
Help us out. Spread the word. Understand that blocking sites like this does not help artists make more money, it only helps LAWYERS make more money. When they killed Napster, 10 things came in its place. There is no more stopping it. The business model needs to change. That’s the only way.
Besides that, don’t buy from artists that support this. I personally won’t buy anything anymore from any artist supporting or represented by BREIN. Especially artists shouldn’t align themselves with freedom-infringing practices like this. Art is about expression, not repression and free expression only happens in free environments.
A few weeks ago the Bulgarian psychedelic trance community, OUIM.org, celebrated its 5th birthday. They invited a bunch of great progressive psytrance DJs like Vibrasphere, Sandal Wood, Kalumet, Kliment and there were also some harder sounds from Bulgaria and Macedonia (see it here). Well, I went there and made a video… so without further ado, I present to you………. ME!
Groove Armada, the famous big beat, electronica and trip-hop producers, are sharing their newest EP freely with their fans through a nifty downloading scheme. One of the guys from Groove Armada recently stated about filesharing that “it’s utterly futile to try and stop people, just like it was stopping people creating mix tapes once they had two decks and a tape recorder”.
You can download Groove Armada’s newest mini-album by clicking hereor on the picture (provided by aeter). All you need to do is enter your age, since the deal is sponsored by Bacardi rum and you have to be above the legal drinking age in your country, and your email address to receive the first song of the album immediately and to acquire the rest later.
This is very interesting to me, since I’ll be doing my final thesis of my bachelor degree very soon and it will be about the future of music distribution. It is very obvious that labels need to adopt new business models and that the old models simply don’t work anymore, since music is going back to being a service, instead of a product, so access is the most important thing. Groove Armada have realized this very well and have started this music distribution campaign which is bound to go viral (it already is).
Apparently Groove Armada spoke about this deal with Bacardi at the MIDEM Conference in Cannes, France where the music business meets every year. Below is an example of one of their chillout songs, for two more famous songs, check out Superstylin (big beat) or My Friend (lounge/electronica) on YouTube.
For Groove Armada’s new mini-EP, click here. If you’re a music lover like me, also have a look at The MiX-Files where I post my DJ sets as Spartz (for drum ‘n bass), spacescape (experimental & psychedelic), and EvilAngle (house/eclectro/breakbeat).
So I finally found my flat for the time to come. I moved from Istanbul to Sofia, Bulgaria one and a half week ago and have been flathunting each day, but it took quite a while to find something.
I lived here one and a half year ago and prices were quite low, but to find something decent near the center for a reasonable price is very difficult now, especially for a foreign student.
What an awful process. Going from flat to flat, waiting for agents, replying to online ads for apartments that have been given out already, saying yes to a flat to find out that they’d rather have a Bulgarian living there and not a foreigner. Saying yes to a flat to hear the next day that they are only interested in people for a long-term stay. Seeing all corners of the city, resisting agents’ arguments on why some nasty remote suburb is a great place to live (which it is not).
Well, yesterday I found my apartment. I still have to sign the contract later today, but it looks like all is well, but you can follow my Twitter feed to get an update when everything is all done, or wait for the next blog post.
The flat is quite close to my old apartment where I lived up until a year ago (how time flies), although my old apartment had a much better location. It has a separate living room and kitchen, although I prefer the two combined because I’m lazy, plus I like to listen to my DJ sets or other music while I’m cooking. A bedroom with a nice double bed; bigger bedroom than the last one, for those in the know. Since I’ll be spending a lot of time at home behind the computer, to write my final thesis, I wanted to make sure I’d be comfortable at least. Now I’m sure. A video soon!
Below are two videos of my old flats, the first one is of the flat I previously lived in in Bulgaria, the second is the flat I shared with 3 other students in Istanbul.
“Given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.” - Daniel Quinn, Ishmael