• Hotties of Electronic Music

    Gen 8 2009, 0:07

    Womynz making beats. Is there a hotter combo?

    Ellen Alien
    Techno / Electronica

    Ellen Allien, born Ellen Fraatz, is a German electronic musician, music producer and founder of BPitch Control music label. She lives in Berlin, Germany. She sings in both German and English. She has said that one of the main inspirations for her music is the culture of reunified Berlin;[1] her album Stadtkind was dedicated to the city. Her music tends to be difficult to classify stylistically and is best described as a distinctive blend of techno and electro music, which is dance-floor oriented, yet at the same time has noticeable experimental elements.


    Queen B (Orchard Lounge)
    Downtempo / House

    Orchard Lounge is a collective of DJs that formed in Chicago around 2000. The trio of Ben Silver, Spencer Lokken, and Bethany Lokken, focus on performing for the more discerning of dance floors, and are commonly known to appeal to open-minded and diverse audiences. They've never let their passion for the beat confine them to a single genre, as their sets may include anything from laid back downtempo/IDM to hypnotic tech house and b-boy era electro. Don't be surprised if you hear an entire night of music dedicated to the sounds that have heavily influenced them as DJs either: they all share an affinity for classic hip hop, rock, funk, and soul, as well.


    Colleen Shannon
    Hip Hop / House
    (Terrible music, but a legitimate DJ none the less)

    Colleen Shannon (born April 14, 1978) was Playboy's Playmate of the Month in January, 2004 and also was the magazine's 50th anniversary Playmate. She has toured the world as an accomplished DJ, usually playing hip hop or house music. She appeared on the ITV show Love Island and was evicted on 20 August 2006.


    IDM / Ambient

    Cybo's electronic project began in 2004. She began experimenting by meshing her piano, guitar playing and pulsating vocals with distorted electronic drum beats and thick layered ambient pads. Her music gives off a sense of diversity/chaos/beauty/form of expression. Taking it even further and beyond the surreal ambient atmosphere already conveyed through her music, cybo has created a new style that consists of a melodic ghostly type sound accompanied with hard filled gritty beats, overdriven guitar sounds and layered vocals breaching from afar. Taking subconscious thoughts and creating a visual of effects.


    Sophia Somajo
    Indie / Electropop

    Her music isn't that great either, but the following makes it so much more enticing:

    According Sophia, she made [her full length] album 'The Laptop Diaries' completely by herself, in her bedroom on her laptop, after ten o clock

  • Wrapped Around Chicago (An Umphrey's related blahg post)

    Ott 14 2008, 18:24

    Hello, blog. Been awhile, no?

    As I get older the years seam to go by faster and faster, even though I'm increasingly doing/accomplishing less and less as school winds down. The big picture has become fairly cyclic; winter is when I snowboard, spring is when I frisbee golf, summer is for soaking up Chicago, and fall is usually tbd. But fall also sees the ever punctual and regular announcement of Umphrey's McGee's New Years run. They are continuing their now three year old trend of three nights but moving the party south to the Auditorium Theater.

    I've only been to this theater once, but it was to see Radiohead in June of 2006 when they were testing out In Rainbows material before recording. I was 8th row Right/Center which was incredible, but for Umphrey's I'm BALC 1, Row A, Seat 409 which is front row of the center section of the first balcony on the right aisle. Perfect view and perfect sound in a perfect room.


    People were bitching about assigned seating for a show with such a 'party' atmosphere, which I can understand, but I think the good outweighs the bad. I can't wait to have a great spot without having to battle dreadybrah for three hours and have a place to be able to sit down during set break. I haven't been this excited for an UM show in a really long time and it may be due to the fact that before these three shows I will have only seen the band once since last New Years. The break was much needed, however. I over exposed myself in 2007 by listening to almost every released soundboard recording of that year, nearly 118 shows, in an effort to "tour from home" if you will. It was a fun hobby for awhile, I could tell you a lot about that year, but by the end it was too much. I don't want to speak of any direct correlation, but I've seen a fuck ton of awesome shows this year not having seen UM 14 times like last year.

    So it goes..

    The break has been long so it will be great to hear how the band has evolved in 12 months. As far as actual New Years Eve is concerned, there are other options this year, even though anything besides UM on New Years just seems foreign now. Future Rock at the Abbey Pub with Daedelus and Dark Party (feat. Eliot Lipp and Leo123) could be fun, but also might work as an UM after show depending on who of that line up I would catch. Justice is also spinning a DJ set at the Congress Theater (which is sure to be a hispter clusterfuck). And there's also bars and such with friends. I'm going to keep my options open but I'm fairly pumped to have a bitchin' seat for at least the 29th and 30th.

    UM's New Years history, bold for shows I've attended.
    2007 - 12.29, 12.30, 12.31 – The Aragon Ballroom (with support from The Wailers and Tortoise)
    2006 – 12.29, 12.30, 12.31 – The Aragon Ballroom (with support from Taj Mahal, Los Lobos, and North Mississippi All Stars)
    2005 – 12.30 and 12.31 – The Aragon Ballroom (with support from Keller Williams)
    2004 – 12.30 and 12.31 – The Riviera Theatre (with support from Buckethead and Mini Kiss)
    2003 – 12.29, 12.30, and 12.31 – The Vic Theatre
    2002 – 12.30, 12.31 – The Vic Theatre
    2001 – 12.31 – The Vic Theatre
    2000 – 12.31 – The Cubby Bear

    "I wish I knew how to quit you."
  • Detroit Electronic Music Festival 2008

    Mag 22 2008, 4:18

    On Friday I will break my second festival cherry of the year when I head up to Detroit for the second largest electronic music festival in America (first being Ultra Music Festival). DEMF traditionally brings in 40,000-50,000 electronic music fans from around the country for 3 days featuring over 100 producers and DJs performing across 5 stages. In addition to the festival, the extensive choice of late night shows is just as much a part of the experience as the festival itself. I plan on seeing LA Riots after the festival on Saturday, and hopefully I will head over to Fusion 4 on Sunday to see The Flashbulb. There are over 18 artists playing Fusion 4, and I only know The Flashbulb. From what I hear the other artists are , , and . I hope I can get to Fusion 4. The Flashbulb is my newest obsession, an incredibly talented producer who records all of his own instrumental tracks (guitar, piano, drums, you name it) and composes them electronically in very unique arrangements.

    I'm incredibly excited for this weekend. It will be a celebration of getting my first internship with a civil engineering firm, beating out 30 other applicants. (Take that U of I people!)


    I'm very excited for deadmau5 (who was also at Coachella), Moby, Matthew Hawtin (Richie Hawtin's brother), Benny Benassi, Mark Farina, and Richie Hawtin. Sadly, my train home leaves before Dieselboy plays on Monday. I would have LOVED to have seen him as I missed him when he came to Denver, even though I was at the event he was playing. Somehow I didn't realize he was there. (Lame!)

    I am going with a few of my friends from the wonderful community of Umphrey's McGee fans that I've become friendly with over the years. Should be a grand old time.
  • Lollapalooza 2008 Line Up

    Apr 7 2008, 5:03


    I have bolded the ones I'm looking forward to most.

    Rage Against the Machine
    Nine Inch Nails

    Kanye West
    The Raconteurs
    Louis XIV
    Love and Rockets
    Gnarls Barkley
    Bloc Party
    The Black Keys
    Broken Social Scene

    Lupe Fiasco
    Flogging Molly
    Mark Ronson
    Cat Power
    The National
    G. Love & Special Sauce
    Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
    Explosions in the Sky
    Brand New
    Gogol Bordello
    Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
    Dierks Bentley
    Okkervil River
    Amadou & Mariam
    Blues Traveler
    John Butler Trio
    Girl Talk
    Your Vegas
    Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves
    Steel Train
    Jamie Lidell
    Bang Camaro
    Butch Walker
    The Blakes
    Mates of State
    Tally Hall
    Spank Rock
    White Lies
    Brazilian Girls
    Magic Wands
    Electric Touch
    The Kills
    The Postelles
    Rogue Wave
    The Parlor Mob
    The Go! Team
    Bald Eagle
    Mason Jennings
    The Gutter Twins
    Ha Ha Tonka
    Grizzly Bear
    We Go To 11
    Sofia Talvik
    The Weakerthans
    Booka Shade
    Black Kids
    Black Lips
    Dr. Dog
    Nicole Atkins & the Sea
    The Ting Tings
    Kid Sister
    The Cool Kids
    What Made Milwaukee Famous
    Does It Offend You, Yeah?
    The Whigs
    Manchester Orchestra
    The Octopus Project
    Cadence Weapon
    De Novo Dahl
    Noah and the Whale
    Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s
    Serena Ryder
    Newton Faulkner

    Very solid line up! Miles better than the 2007 line up in my not so humble opinion. Radiohead will obviously be headlining the festival on Sunday night. After their August 2001 performance in Grant Park, Radiohead have been trying to get back ever since. They were even denied a June 2006 performance in the then two year old Pritzker Pavillion in Millenium Park, despite rental fees of $100,000, due to a Grant Park Symphony Orchestra practice scheduled on the desired evening. I'm very pleased to hear they got the main spot, and I'm sure they are too. This will be the performance of the summer, I'm calling it right now.

    There are many repeats from a few other Chicago festivals over the years.

    Lolla '05:
    Louix XIV
    The Black Keys
    G Love & Special Sauce

    Lolla '06:
    Broken Social Scene
    Blues Traveler
    Kanye West
    The Raconteurs
    Gnarls Barkley
    The Go! Team
    Mates of State
    What Made Milwaukee Famous
    Manchester Orchestra

    Lolla '07:
    Lupe Fiasco
    G Love & Special Sauce

    Intonation 2005:
    Broken Social Scene
    The Go! Team

    Intonation 2006:
    Bloc Party
    Lupe Fiasco

    Pitchfork 2006:
    Spank Rock
    The National

    Pitchfork 2007:
    Girl Talk
    Stephen Malkmus

    There are also a lot of over laps between this line up and Coachella, which will open up a lot more opportunities for different music at both festivals. 3-day passes are over $200 which I really don't want to pay. Last year I found someone selling an extra will call ticket for the 3-day wristband outside the gate on the first day. $100 was all they wanted, it was a huge score. I will probably do the same this year. My loins tingle with anticipation...
  • YES!! Coachella Bound!

    Mar 13 2008, 6:15

    Finally, after oogling over lineups for the past four years, I have a chance to go to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA. I have grand parents that spend the winters in Palm Desert, CA and they have been begging me to come out since 2005. Thankfully this year I have no conflicts with school that weekend.

    Year after year Coachella has found itself as the vanguard music festival of the country, priding itself on reunion performances by some of the biggest names of our generation. Last year we saw four reunions, including Rage Against the Machine and The Jesus and Mary Chain. The year before that in 2006 saw Daft Punk's first US performance since 1997. No other festival brings in the shear number and diversity of artists that Coachella does.

    The 2008 Lineup can be found here.

    I'm interested in the following artists the most, with the bolded ones representing must-see's.

    Friday April 25th:
    Fatboy Slim, Battles, Midnight Juggernauts, Spank Rock, Architecture in Helsinki, Busy P

    Saturday April 26th:
    Kraftwerk vs. Portishead (headliner), Sasha & Digweed, Animal Collective, VHS or Beta, Man Man, Kavinsky, New Young Pony Club

    Sunday April 27th:
    Roger Waters "Dark Side of the Moon", My Morning Jacket, Justice, Chromeo, Simian Mobile Disco, Booka Shade, The Field, Holy Fuck

    Aphex Twin have been added as well, but it hasn't been released as to which day they will play. It will most likely be on Friday night competeing with Jack Johnson. I'm hoping for Fatboy Slim > Aphex Twin. I've been in love with Fatboy Slim since the 6th grade, over a decade ago. Seeing him will be the longest I've gone without seeing a concert by a favorite artist. The Chemical Brothers previously held the record, as I didn't get a chance to see them until I had been a fan for over four years.

    Day three is shaping up to be the most dense filled day of awesome music I will have experienced since Lollapalooza 2006 day two where I saw Matt Costa>Nada Surf>The Go! Team>Built to Spill>Wolfmother>Disco Biscuits>Flaming Lips>Manu Chao.

    It's going to be a long wait for the schedule to be released. Last year it wasn't put out until a week before the festival. I'm hoping there won't be too many conflicts, but day three is looking too dense for it's own good. Portishead vs. Kraftwerk is also going to be incredibly, incredibly difficult to pick, if not impossible. I'm very upset with that situation, but I guess you can't win them all.

    Kraftwerk announced three dates just prior to Coachella:
    Sat 4/19 Minneapolis, MN @ Myth
    Sun 4/20 Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
    Wed 4/23 Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium

    The planets must be aligned in my favor. Now I can see Portishead on Saturday night at Coachella. This is great because Kraftwerk was who I wanted to see most and now I can get right up front at The Fillmore instead of really far away at Coachella. They put on an incredible live show.

  • One Weekend, Three Concerts [A Review]

    Mar 10 2008, 5:43

    Well another epic weekend of music in Colorado has come and gone. It's funny, good shows always seem to come in waves here. Every month has one or two weekends packed with shows, forcing you to pick and choose, which is promptly followed by a dry spell. Sometimes I wish it was more spread out as to not interfere with regular life, but when it comes down to it nothing beats seeing great music night after night like this. Without further adoooooo...

    MSTRKRFT @ The Church
    March 6th, 2008

    This was the least crowded I've ever seen The Church out of my five visits. The crowd was a clashing mix of urban clubbers and hipster kids. I felt like I was in an ipod commercial and Ludacris video all at the same time. Really weird... They started just before midnight, and spun for a full two hours. Class at 9AM the next morning was nothing short of brutal.

    Only minorly familiar with this duo from Toronto, Canada, I had no idea their primary focus was remixes. I'm only familiar with their one album of originals which is what I came expecting to see. It takes a damn good remix to impress me, so I left pretty underwhelmed. I've been listening to enough Daft Punk and Justice and Chromeo on my own, I really don't need to hear other people play it too. Thankfully their originals were peppered throughout the set, and though their choices of tracks for remixes was incredibly cliche, they were undeniably *good* tracks. It was just nothing new, is all. Easily the best part of the night was my view (look at that f-ing picture). This was my first time to The Church since they changed the layout. Now you can stand right next to, or behind, the DJ creating a whole new feel of a show. I know very little about the production of electronic music, but I could watch them play for hours, cliche tracks or not.


    Holy Fuck @ The Larimer Lounge
    March 7th, 2008

    This was my first time to The Larimer Lounge. Located on Denver's North East side, this run down hole in the wall appeared to be a safe haven for yet more PBR-guzzling, tight-denim-jacket donning hipsters. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, as the crowd was nothing but respectful and quiet (the best kind of crowd). The low ceilings and hyper-narrow layout of this bar-venue hybrid gave it awful sound and even worse sight lines. If you were not within the first 10 rows you basically could see nothing. They have at least provided a monitor by the bar to alleviate the inherent flaws of the building. Thankfully I was able to weasel a good spot after the opener.

    Holy Fuck, also from Toronto, started at a quarter to midnight, and played for just shy of an hour including the encore. Tired from the night before, I had no problem with this. They only have two albums and an EP, so a short set came as no surprise. They opened with 'Super Inuit' which really set the pace for the set nicely. The crowd was instantly in dance mode, syncing to the infectiously speedy beat. I was really impressed with their drummer, he didn't let up all night (all one hour of it). The songs were all played very much like their album versions, which went against a few reviews I had read that spoke of improvisation within them. Again, I didn't really have a problem with this as the albums are just that good. They specialize in creating the sound, feel, and elements of electronic music using live and unique instrumentation. Consisting of a drummer, a bassist, and two gadget-men, I will say I've never seen a show quite like theirs. A 35mm film sequencer was perhaps the most unique, but I couldn't figure out what it was outside of an unwound roll of 35mm film. Toy keyboards and phaser guns were also prevalent in the mix. Besides being incredibly energetic and intricately danceable music it was just awesome to watch, which I usually hold in equal importance while at a show. When they were done I realized they have one of the most apt band names I've come accross as my reaction afterwards was simply, "...Holy Fuck..."


    The Motet Classic @ Cervante's Masterpiece
    March 8th, 2008

    Finally a Cervante's show without Conspirator! Strangely enough the only other two times I've been to this venue were to see the same Disco Biscuits side project. I like this venue a lot. It reminds me of a larger Abbey Pub (Chicago) with better ventilation and sound. There ain't a bad spot in the house. Only the door time was posted on the website and no opener was listed. Fearful of missing The Motet I decided to get there an hour after doors opened. I had the displeasure of arriving too early and having to watch most of the opener's set. From Boulder, Pachedu, "playing the music of Zimbabwe", was about as bland as it gets. I'm pretty sure a few of them were old enough to be my parents. Take The String Cheese Incident, and add a black vocalist singing in Zimbabwanian (you heard me), and there you have it.

    The Motet, or rather, The Motet Classic, took the stage just past 11:00 to a half full Cervante's. This show was special as it featured all of the original, Boulderite members of The Motet. Their earlier sound seamlessly blends funk, afro-pop, jazz, and world music, bringing something for everyone to the table. The focus is a band as a whole, but founding members Dave Watts (drums) and Scotty Messersmith (percussion) create a rhythmic and percussive emphasis to the horn-accompanied songs. The band evolved over time, and ultimately replaced their bassist, keyboardist, and guitarist, while also parting ways with their vocalist Jans Ingber. Current bassist Garrett Sayers is responsible for bringing the electronic improvisation element The Motet's current sound is known for. Personally it is this extra spark that really sets The Motet out from the rest of the bland jam-funk that's already out there. The band recorded and released Instrumental Dissent in late 2006 and completed a short promotional tour thereafter. *Enter when I start to like the band.* Unfortunately founding member Scotty, the percussionist, found artistic differences with the new electronic element, and parted ways with the band after the tour. This left a noticeable void in the band's sound, almost rendering them too genericly electronic and without that original afro-pop, funky flare. Even without Scotty, they're still one of the best live acts around. (See my review here.) Essentially they became two bands with the same name united by a drummer and a saxophonist. I was never fortunate to catch a show with Scotty until now, and I will say it was worth missing that electronic spark to hear him play. He's a great percussionist. That said, I don't really like older Motet. I'm sure older fans had a great time last night, especially with Jans up there singing, but I guess I'm just one of the new era fans. I'll be anxiously awaiting my next opportunity to the see the current incarnation of The Motet.

    Feb 22 2008, 6:00

    "The market is over saturated with music festivals."

    While 100% true, I've been hearing people say that since 2002, and the number of festivals each year has only gotten bigger. There's no denying it's a direct reflection that people are listening to more music in general these days. We're simply consuming more music, because it's so readily available. You could probably make a pretty good case that it's due to piracy, but I won't go there. With resources like myspace, pandora.com, last.fm, etc artists music is getting to more ears, and more quickly, than ever before. More exposure = more demand = more festivals.

    The problem here is two fold. One is that the demand for these artists is just large enough everywhere that these festivals are often associated with the same publicity companies, record labels, etc., which leads to generic lineups and many recycled artists. Phil Lesh and Friends is at Bonnaroo, Rothbury, 10,000 Lakes, All Good, and Langerado. The Flaming Lips are at Wakarusa, Summer Camp, and 10,000 Lakes. Michael Franti and Spearhead are at All Good, Rothbury, 10,000 Lakes, and All Points West. Jack fucking Johnson is at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and All Points West. I could go on. Even Radiohead is all over the festival circuit this summer, headling TWO nights at All Points West and one night at a yet-to-be-named-but-still-confirmed festival in San Francisco. (That just means Lollapalooza is looking even more likely as their Chicago date.)

    The other problem is that the proverbial "jamband" world is the only "genre" in the country to have so many festivals on such a large scale. It should come as no surprise when bands are on multiple lineups. I think the number of hippie festivals is matched one to one with the number of every other festival out there, regardless of genre. Jambands are a dying breed as it is, and their festivals will soon follow suit.

    Festivals are meant to be special, too. Diluting the market with festival after festival makes coming up with unique ideas, lineups, and locations for them difficult. They all start to feel the same eventually. Coachella and Lollapalooza are the only two festivals year after year that deliver diverse and eclectic lineups for their patrons. By signing large international artists that don't normally tour often, let alone in America, they can bring in attendances close to 100,000, beating hippie festivals out by sometimes ten fold.
  • The Flashbulb: Benn Releases Download vs. Donation Figures

    Feb 15 2008, 7:15

    Well the stats are in. Benn has written up a fairly lengthy blog post about everything, including comparing the numbers of downloads, donations, sales, etc. If you have not downloaded these albums yet I seriously question your cognitive capacity for knowing good music.


    From Pirates To Profit

    Well, finally, here we are. The storm is over.
    The incoming mail has slowed down. The story is off the headlines.

    I figured this sub-zero Sunday morning in Chicago is as good of time as any to start putting the numbers together. But before we get to that, I’m going to do a recap of the story. Oddly, I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t tell the “uploading story” yet.

    Without going into a huge back-story, after having released on various record labels for over a decade, I decided to release my newest album on my own label. I initially pressed 4,000 digipack CDs which were officially released on January 29th, exclusively distributed through Alphabasic.com. The album is also available from Alphabasic via pay-per-download.

    On Wednesday, Jan 30th I was surprised to find that nobody had uploaded my album to What.cd yet, despite that it had been released for over 24 hours. In the past, the torrent appears almost instantaneously, that is, when I’m fortunate enough to not see it leaked before it is released.

    A couple weeks before the album was shipped, I was tossing around the idea in my head about hiring someone to spend a day uploading the album to torrent sites the day of release. Accompanying the music files would be a small non-intrusive html document that would offer a list of options pointing out where the listener could support the artist, if he/she was so inclined. It was also to skew the current copyright law that is increasingly fining and imprisoning people without much merit.

    So, without seeing any sign of my album uploaded on the net, I went ahead and quickly wrote up a document, then uploaded a torrent to What.cd. About 4 hours later an admin of the site told me that he was a big supporter of what I was doing, and offered to put “free leech” status on the album uploads with my permission. I mulled it over and decided that it really couldn’t hurt, and away we go. He posted a message on the homepage linking to the album…and the ride began. Almost immediately, the album became the most downloaded file of the week. Within 48 hours it became the most downloaded album/torrent/file of all time on the network, which had me in utter disbelief.
    What.cd Most Downloaded

    Whew! Donations started piling up, my site’s bandwidth weakened, and I became addicted to constantly monitoring the entire situation instead of sleeping. Then a bunch of interview requests starting coming in. Some smaller, some HUGE. As many of you know, I’m not a big interview lover. So I spent hours with my publicist picking and choosing which to do and which to kindly decline. For the first time, PR became an actual strategy that I had to take on. I decided to refuse the big articles as they wouldn’t really cater to people who are already interested in the issue and genre. Most importantly, I don’t want to be known as the artist who hates iTunes (which I probably didn’t avoid anyways). This situation is interesting and beneficial to a lot of different players in the game, but I’m still a musician at the end of the day.

    So the first official interview went out to Torrentfreak.com
    I knew that since the story broke out so quickly, a lot of people would have a lot of challenges directed at me. I loved Torrentfreak’s interview questions because it gave me a chance to explain specifics that I knew would ultimately be blown out of proportion.
    A few hours after the story went live, I start getting bombarded with text messages from people I haven’t heard from in years. The story was #1 on Digg, and a whole pile of other viral news sites.

    Of course, now the story had completely shifted into a controversy involving iTunes, which meant that an army of Apple fanboys were about to distort it further and push the real story out of the light. It did create yet more bad press for Apple, but I didn’t mind this, since I think Apple somehow has spent years cleverly dodging bad press for treating it’s loyal customers like shit. Anyways, now that the story was controversial, the attacks came on as strong as the praise. I shut down and stopped doing interviews, reading news sites, reading emails or Myspace messages. It wasn’t even emotional…I guess that’s what I was trying to avoid. I think the cold-interface of the internet showcases the world in a really nasty and nonobjective manner. Any publicity that happened after the Digg article was pretty much pointless and not worth paying attention to.

    Then, as fast as it came on, it seemingly ended. Life is back to pretty much normal, whatever normal is. The donations have slowed down…so here’s what we got:

    It would be absolutely impossible to come up with an accurate statistic since I have no way of finding out how many people on the internet downloaded and listened to the album. I’ve taken the stats from 4 sites that I believe to be the top contributors. As of this morning:

    What.cd had 8532 downloads, Waffles.fm had 432, Idmtrade had 2144, and Piratebay had 1238. These 4 sites add up to a total of 12,346 downloads of the full length album in either V0 or FLAC format. This is definitely estimating low, as this blog and Alphabasic.com had hits in excess of 150,000 per day last week.
    If we are to assume that ALL pay-per-download purchases were from people who downloaded the album “illegally” (very unlikely), then 0.55% of downloaders bought a pay-per-download copy of the album. Surprisingly, I only sold 69 digital downloads in February for a total of $673.73. The expenses run around $130 a month to maintain the download server, so after transfer fees I’m hanging out at around $500 without touching another 3rd party service. Not bad, not good either.

    The donations turned up a little better.
    1.83% of downloaders donated. Those 227 people donated an average of $11.02 each, totaling $2490.97.

    The total percent of people who either donated or purchased a digital file (under the assumptions I’m making…that definitely side on the positive end) is 2.38%.

    If only I could somehow figure out what is going on with that other 97.62%. How many of them thought the album wasn’t any good? How many of them were too broke? How many didn’t have or feel like setting up a Paypal account? How many simply don’t pay for something they can get for free?

    Now compare this to the gross income from the CD sales, which from 1429 total CDs sold chimed in $21,435. I’m not going to attempt to figure out if the torrent ordeal helped or hindered CD sales, but before the album was released, I had 969 preorders…which is beyond double the sales I had in February.

    So, did I do good? Is piracy helping my income or hindering it?
    Well, if you don’t count the cost for gear, hiring musicians, or any of the other expenses that go into making, manufacturing, or shipping an album…I have grossed $24,598 in the first 2 weeks of it’s release without spending a dime on promotion. I’d love to say that my little torrent experiment brought me to that number, but the bulk of that sum was in CD preorders.
    Again, without calculating expenses, it is like earning $12,229 annually or $235 weekly. If I had a bunch of hipster roommates and lived very very modestly, I suppose I could get by from just writing and releasing albums (which is probably my life long dream).
    That being said, me playing about 10 shows or licensing/composing for 1 big ad campaign brings in more money than that “whole year’s work”…so until my album sales go way up, I’ll continue to divide my time working in television and flying around the world clowning out my art.
    Wait! Before you say it…
    I’m not bitching! I understand that there’s plenty of people who wish they were in my shoes. Although I do admit that I often envy those with boring office jobs, as they allow the person to not only enjoy the benefit of a guaranteed paycheck, but they can separate work from their passions. I hate to admit it, but even writing this article waters down the innocence and purity that comes with writing music.

    …which I guess is my point. You probably think that 2.38% number is disappointing. But it also allowed me to expose my life’s work to, at the very least, about 10,000 new people. By running all these numbers I expected to add to the argument that the music industry needs more creative business plans, which I’m not sure if I have or haven’t done…

    I’m too distracted by the content feeling when looking at the numbers. It reminds me that after all the labels, tours, contracts, and bullshit…I’m still making albums for one reason…because I simply fucking love writing music.

    Thanks to all those who have helped and challenged me. I hope this continues to pan out into something positive.

    Benn Jordan

    Minor aside... I'd love to find out what IDMtrade is, and how I can get on it...
  • The Flashbulb: Music Industry Innovation, and The Best Album of the Year (so far)

    Feb 8 2008, 18:35

    After creating this post I realize it's really long, but seriously read it all. Plus there's free, artist endorsed mediafires that follow.

    Last Friday, Benn Jordan, the post rock/IDM fusion artist also known as The Flashbulb, posted his own album on what.cd only one day after it was officially released. For those of you out of the loop, what.cd is a Bit Torrent music community, aiming at replacing the late OiNK tracker. Included in the torrent folder is an HTML file that takes you to a site with the following letter:

    Hello listener...downloader...pirate...pseudo-criminal...

    If you can read this, then you've more than likely downloaded this album from a peer to peer network or torrent.

    You probably expect the rest of this message to tell you that you're hurting musicians and breaking just about every copyright law in the book. Well, it won't tell you that.

    What I would like to tell you is that my record label understands that a large portion of people pirate music because it is easier than buying it. CDs scratch easily, most pay-per-download sites have poor quality and ****ty DRM protection, and vinyl is near impossible to find or ship without hassle.
    In many cases I wonder why people buy CDs at all anymore. A few like the tangible artwork, some haven't adapted to MP3s yet, but most do it because they have a profound love for music and want to support the artists making it. Kind of restores your faith in humanity for a moment eh?

    So, now what?
    Like the album? About to go "support the artist" on iTunes?
    Well, don't.
    Alphabasic is currently in a legal battle against Apple because NONE of our material (Sublight Records included) receives a dime of royalty from the vast amount of sales iTunes has generated using our material.

    Want to buy a CD just to show your support?
    If you don't particularly like CDs, don't bother.
    Retailers like Best Buy and Amazon spike the price so high that their cut is often 8 times higher than the artist's. Besides, most CDs are made out of unrecyclable plastic and leave a nasty footprint in your environment.

    If you do particularly like CDs, buy them from the label (in our case, alphabasic.com). After manufacturing costs are recuperated, our artists usually receive over 90% of the actual money coming out of your wallet.
    In addition, all of our physical products are made out of 100% recycled material.

    Want to show your support?
    Go here and browse our library of lossless, DRM-free downloads.
    Already have that?
    Then feel free to donate whatever you want to your favorite artist. 100% will go directly to them.
    Hell, you can even donate a penny just to thank the artist.

    If you really like 'The Flashbulb - Soundtrack To A Vacant Life' and want to show your support without it going to greedy retailers, distributors, and coked-up label reps, then click the button below.
    [link to http://www.alphabasic.com/index2.htm ]
    If you send us your mailing address, Alphabasic may occasionally send you various goodies (overstocks, stickers, even rare CDs) in appreciation and encouragement for your support.
    Thanks for reading.
    Who knows if my little business plan here will work to fund new releases, but even failure is better than the crappy label/distributor/retailer system musicians have suffered from for over 50 years.
    We hope you enjoy the music as much as we do releasing it.
    Finally, if you plan on sharing this release, please include this file. The only reason it is here is to show the listener where he can support his favorite artists!

    Benn Jordan
    CEO - Alphabasic Records

    In only one week, the album became the most downloaded album on the site.

    Here's an excellent interview with Benn conducted by torrentfreak. I thought the title was very interesting. "Pirated by iTunes, Artist turns to Bit Torrent." http://torrentfreak.com/pirated-by-itunes-artist-turns-to-bittorrent-080206/

    I think this attitude and distribution strategy is the wave of the future. Music piracy has become too socially acceptable to go away, and artists are seeking compensation in brand new ways. These new ways allow for greater artist profit, and cut out all the bullshit that led to music piracy to begin with (record companies, corporate retailers, etc).

    Benn has encourage the free sharing of his music, as traditional means don't really equate to profit for him, and simply asks you to donate directly to him if you support his music or his cause.

    Besides all this innovation stuff, this artist has stomped all over my previous favorites and climbed comfortably into my top three. These albums are so incredibly unique. And textured. And sonicly stimulating. It's almost an overload of sound and colors. I highly recommend listening to them in order of release date. Even in only two albums you can hear a very obviously maturity and development of his sound. Kirilian Selections has much more IDM infused into the music, with fast and sporadic e-drums more prominent in the album. Soundtrack to a Vacant Life is much more instrumental and cinematic, with the end goal of creating a soundtrack to his own life. It's being described as modern classical, as the arrangements and instrumentation sound incredibly orchestrated.

    Without further ado:

    The Flashbulb - Kirilian Selections [2005]

    The Flashbulb - Soundtrack to a Vacant Life [2008]
    Quick blurb about the new album:
    "With over two years in the making, the release that outlived it's original record label is finally here. Benn Jordan gracefully departs from his boundaries in electronica and delivers what some critics are already calling an instant classic. With it's impeccable production and orchestral performances; this epic, cinematic, and audibly breath-taking release will tell a story you won't forget."

    Both albums are V0 VBR MP3's.
  • Pete's Concerts of 2007

    Dic 19 2007, 8:20

    Another fantastic year of live music has come and gone. 2006 was an incredible year for me, but 2007 was not without its shining moments. My obsession with electronic music manifests itself strongly in my shows list for this year.

    47 shows, which averages one show every 7.7 days, continuing the same average for 2006.
    14 of those was for one band.
    Two festivals.
    Two raves.
    Nine different multi-night runs.
    Three different round trip flights.

    I love live music.

    Top 3 Non-Umphrey's shows of 2007:

    3. RJD2 @ The Fox - May 9th
    I've seen RJD2 5 times (I think, 4 or 5), and this was the best, by far and away. He made his usual stop in Boulder, promoting 'The Third Hand', his new instrumental/song writing album. I was getting tired of his shows, honestly, as they usually were pretty similar sets (and that same damn video he shows behind him). It was a great change of pace to see him playing guitar with a band. What really made the show was seeing him play his previous DJ hits, like Ghostwriter, with a full band. They opened with 'Exotic Talk', and I still stand by my claim that that was the strongest opening song/track/whatever I've ever seen by a band, or DJ. My jaw was on the floor, it was so powerful. The only complaint I had about the show was that his new material, written for/with a band, isn't very good ( Wink). The show also featured an abbreviated version of his tradition DJ set that I've seen all those times.

    2. Daft Punk @ Red Rocks - July 31st
    This needs no explanation. Even if I tried to explain it, I couldn't. I was at Lollaplooza as well, and the reason I thought this show was better was because I could actually see my surroundings, I really got the ambiance of the show more. At Lolla, I was too close, and everyone was facing away from the skyline. I wasn't a fan of that aspect. Here's a youtube of the London show, to give you an idea of the madness.

    1. The Chemical Brothers @ The Fillmore (Denver) - September 26th
    This single show took five years of waiting. I first started listening to TCB in 2003, they were one of the first electronic acts I became *obsessed* with. A few years later I saw this TV special about a show they played with Fat Boy Slim at Red Rocks back in '99 -- It was the first annual 'Rave on the Rocks' (later to me named Global Dance Fest), a yearly concert featuring big names in electronic music. I was blown away by the sheer energy of the show, and the lighting production. Remember the first time you saw Daft's set up? That's how I felt watching that show, 'cept it wasn't nearly as elaborate. Ever since seeing that TV special I knew I HAD to see TCB, eventually. Even though the Denver Fillmore is a strange venue for electronic music, they came and delivered. They played the hardest, dirtiest, deepest beats I've seen at a show. It was insanity.

    Honorable mentions:
    -Bonobo @ Club 2AM - September 6th
    -The Motet @ The Gothic - November 9th
    -Lotus @ The Fox - April 12th and 13th
    -Tortoise @ The Metro - July 1st

    Pissed I missed because their tour didn't come to Colorado:
    and some crapbox band called Ween or something.

    Here is my complete list of shows I attended in 2007, including dates, cities, and venues.


    01/19 - Great American Taxi - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    01/27 - GLO 2 (Richard Vision headlined) - Denver, CO - Warehouse Rave
    03/05 - Umphrey's McGee - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    03/06 - Umphrey's McGee - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    03/10 - The Motet - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
    03/15 - Future Rock/Pnuma/Glitchmob - Boulder, CO - The Root
    04/01 - The Apples in Stereo - Denver, CO - The Bluebird
    04/12 - Lotus - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    04/13 - Lotus - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    04/14 - Cut Chemist/MMW/The Greyboy Allstars - Denver, CO - The Fillmore
    04/21 - Umphrey's McGee - Chicago, IL - The Vic
    04/22 - The Disco Biscuits - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Park Zoo
    04/22 - Umphrey's McGee - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Park Zoo
    04/22 - The Disco Biscuits - Chicago, IL - The Vic
    05/09 - RJD2 - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    05/31 - Dinosaur Jr. - Chicago, IL - Abbey Pub
    07/01 - Tortoise - Chicago, IL - The Metro
    07/04 - Umphrey's McGee - Muksegon, MI - Summer Celebration
    07/05 - Umphrey's McGee - Milwaukee, WI - Summerfest
    07/06 - Umphrey's McGee - Chicago, IL - The Taste of Chicago
    07/13 - Umphrey's McGee (The Ogden - Trancegression Pre-show)
    07/14 - Umphrey's McGee/The Disco Biscuits - Copper Mountain, CO - Trancegression Festival
    07/15 - Umphrey's McGee/The Disco Biscuits - Copper Mountain, CO - Trancegression Festival
    07/18 - The Disco Biscuits - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
    07/31 - Daft Punk - Denver, CO - Red Rocks
    08/03 - Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL - Grant Park
    08/04 - Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL - Grant Park
    08/05 - Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL - Grant Park
    08/15 - The Pod (Ween cover band) - Chicago, IL - The Tonic Room
    08/30 - ATB - Denver, CO - The Church
    09/06 - John Digweed - Denver, CO - The Church
    09/06 - Bonobo - Denver, CO - Club 2AM
    09/11 - Underworld/Paul Oakenfold - Denver, CO - The Fillmore
    09/14 - Conspirator (Disco Biscuits side project) - Denver, CO - Cervante's Masterpiece
    09/15 - Skylab 2007 (Armin Van Buuren, Bad Boy Bill headlined) - Denver, CO - Warehouse Rave
    09/26 - The Chemical Brothers - Denver, CO - The Fillmore
    10/05 - Lotus - Fort Collins, CO - The Aggie
    10/11 - The JOIN/Future Rock - Fort Collins, CO - The Aggie
    10/12 - The JOIN/Future Rock - Boulder, CO - The Fox
    10/13 - The JOIN/Future Rock - Denver, CO - The Bluebird
    10/31 - Umphrey's McGee - Denver, CO - The Fillmore
    11/09 - The Motet - Denver, CO - The Gothic
    11/23 - Drop Q (Umphrey's McGee side project) - Chicago, IL - Kinetic Playground
    12/29 - Umphrey's McGee/The Wailers - Chicago, IL - The Aragon
    12/29 - Lotus (Umphrey's Late Night) - Chicago, IL - Kinetic Playground
    12/30 - Umphrey's McGee/TORTOISE - Chicago, IL - The Aragon
    12/31 - Umphrey's McGee - Chicago, IL - The Aragon

    BRING ON '08