Sunday, 29 November 2009

Random photos from last week...

There is such thing as free lunch.

I work in a royalty management software company, and recently we(well, my colleague) did very good job on one of our client's important deal and our client bought us sandwiches and snacks for all of us last week. It's really nice that they recognise your work and show some appreciations. It was a lot sandwiches. That managed to fed some of us for two lunches : )

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Practicing with my old band

It is quite surprising how much you remember about music you used to play with your old band after 1 1/2 years. My old band recently decided to do reunion gig for fun and we had practice at home. It was quite nice to know that after long time we still felt that our songs were good.
We now all have other things to think about in life other than music, and this will never be serious thing again, but this practice have brought back some good memories.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Camera Bag app

I was reading Thrice blog and they mentioned this little application. All they do is apply various filter over pictures, but it just works! I was thinking about getting Holga or instant camera, but I guess this will do : ) It's a good app to have for those who like retro style photography but can't be bothered to carry cameras around...

Talking of Thrice, Teppei has left current tour to be with his family. I hope everything is well with him and his family, and also I wish the best of luck for the rest of the band with the rest of the tour. These guys make really amazing music and have influenced my like no other.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Talking of piracy....

This is pretty awesome song by pretty awesome band called Reuben.

Spotify URL:

Return Of The Jedi :
Piracy is piracy,
If you sail the seven seas or surf the net,
Record firms, they're making losses,
But they still spend it like they're making it,
It's fifty grand to make a fucking video,
And Sardy albums cost a fifth per track,
And so your favourite band,
They don't make that second album,
Dropped by their label 'cause they can't pay it back,

It killed them,
It killed them,
It killed them,
It killed them,

Well I got some news for you then my brother,
This is a buisness like any other,
You got your product, make money off it,
You count your losses against your profits,
And if you're thinking So? So?,
You don't know,

Underground, that's where we come from,
We don't wear no suits and we are not called The,
But chart success, that brings security,
You watch these brothers thinking Why not me?,
So show me where to sign,
And I'll write my name down in my own red blood,
Because there comes a time when you think a house might be nice,
And selling out don't mean a fuck, you see,

It kills me,
It kills me,
It kills me,
It kills me,

I can't stand..., (Stand... it...)
I can't stand..., (Stand... it...)
I can't stand..., (Stand... it...)
I can't stand... it..., (Stand... it...)

Well how's about you come down and I'll explain?,
Get yourself to London on the train,
Then I'll just send you home again,

Well how's about you come down and I'll explain?,
Get yourself to London on the train,
Then I'll just send you home again,

Well how's about you come down and I'll explain?,
Get yourself to London on the train,
Then I'll just send you home again,

Well how's about you come down and I'll explain?,
Lean a little bit closer, I'll make it plain,
You don't stand a fucking chance,

I'd like a job in which I'm able,
To put shoes on my feet, and food on my table,
Those nine-to-fivers, they look pretty stable,
But I get my wages from my record label,
And if you're thinking So? So? So?,

And if you're thinking So? So?,
You don't know enough about it,
Because this death is slow, (Because this death is slow)
Slow, slow, (Because this death is slow)
(Because this death is slow),

This thing will work itself out,
This thing will work itself out,
This thing will work itself out,
This thing will work it out,
Out, out, out,

'Guitarist and Songwriter',
That's what I thought I was,
I never had no dreams of being a waiter,
But these here Helmet rip-offs,
They don't but my lunch,
So I will get a real job in the office,

And I won't bother to make my music,
And I won't bother to sing my songs,
And I won't bother to get excited,
And I won't bother to get her off,

And I won't bother to make my music,
And I won't bother to sing my songs,
And I won't...,
And I won't...,

Sure... sure,
Sure... sure,
Sure... sure, (Sure... sure)
Sure..., (Sure...)

And I won't bother to make my music,
And I won't bother to sing my songs,

Sure... yeah sure,

Thursday, 12 November 2009

End of Recording Artists?

Over years things change, and some things come to end - To me it seems that value of recorded music has lost its significance rapidly in past ten years or so, and as valuable entity it may not last for much longer.
There are now music everywhere...It's almost impossible to spend a day without hearing recorded music.
Some might argue that this can't be bad thing - it shows that people have easy access to music, and because of that people can share their enjoyment to their friends and families.
But I can't help feeling that people have got so used to hearing music without paying that they take it for granted and no longer appreciate the effort that has been put in by artists to produce their music.

Once music used to be form of art, it was very special personal expression of emotion by musicians. Now I feel it has been degraded to as low as something you just put on while you are travelling on public transport or while working just to interrupt silence/cut out the noise.
I haven't seen many people who would play records, and sit down and dedicate full attention to the music. I find this sad personally, some recordings really means a lot to the artist, and they have put a lot of time, effort, and emotion into them - And they are just used as something to put on background in a house party, say.

There is nothing wrong with using music as something to go on background - But there are some music which are not designed that way, and I feel they are massively under-rated these days because of how people have become to treat recorded music.

As a recording artist who hasn't performed for 2 years, it makes me really sad. Recorded music will soon be something that band use to promote themselves, and not something to make living out of, or something to go on background for some other purpose, not just for listening like in commercials, films, restaurants and shops.
So recording artists who make music as art, and just so it happens that it serves no other useful purpose, simply will not be able to make their living out of making music.
I am being bias here, but art of recording music is very challenging and requires very specialised knowledge, with lots of demand - Everyone around you listen to music. I feel they deserve to making living out of what they do.
But just because of how technology has developed and the music industry has been lazy to cope with the change, as well as how people have become to treat music, they will not be able to keep doing what they want to do.
Yes, everyone needs to make compromise to strike the optimum balance of what they want and what they have to do for living...But I feel the this is unfair. Is it not?

I guess the main complaints here is how people have become to treat recorded music and their significant lack of appreciation for the effort being put in to produce it. Once you've gone through the process yourself to make recording you will get what I mean. It is very time consuming, creative art that requires specialised knowledge - It deserves a little better respect. Even if all you need to do on your computer is to click .mp3 file and Ctr-C, Ctr-V to reproduce it, the creation of very first file is a long long painful process - It's just so easy for you to ignore that because you don't see the process - A bit like people dying in the third world. We can just ignore about their suffering and death because we don't see it - Or media choose not to show it because it doesn't make money(I can write whole new blog on this topic haha).

I know me complaining here will not change much, but I hope these blogs will at least stop you and make you think a little before you copy music or download music next time. And I hope some of you will treat recordings the way they deserve. It's all for the artists we love, and you know you should respect their passion and their choice to dedicate their lives to their music.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Here it goes again...

So today I was surfing on the internet and came across an interview Frank Turner did, which featured quite extensive talk about his blog that had rather strong reactions about illegal downloads.



Some of you who have been following Cyclamen for a while may know that I am massively against file sharing music that is not approved by artists.
The main reason for this is quite simple.

They think their music is worth your hard-earned money, and they want you to pay for it if you like them.
That leaves ONLY two choices for you:
- If you want to have access to their music, you do what they want you to do - pay for the music
- If you want to have access to their music, but don't feel that it's worth the money they are asking for, you don't pay - and you don't get the music.

That's it. There is no other choice you should be thinking of. That's what the creator(artist)'s wants to do, and they can do whatever they want to with what they've created spending huge amount of effort.
They've accepted the fact that some people might not hear their music because they are asking for money, and you can only respect and embrace their decision.
What you don't do is disrespect them by obtaining the music in a way that they are not happy for you to do.
That is what makes this downloading issue download stealing more than anything.

You can argue non-sense like:
a. "Art shouldn't be about money",
b. "No one is forcing you to make music, you are doing this by your own choice"
c. "It's free market, you need to be innovative to earn your money, don't complain and get on with it"

which seem to be three most popular arguments - Here is what I think:
a. "Art shouldn't be about money"
Yes, art itself can be irrelevant of money issue(Some artists make music without worrying about how well it sells), but process of making money will always cost money, and it's only fair to ask for the cost - Unless you expect musicians to be some sort of charitable people who sacrifice their blood, sweat and tears for your own entertainment.
If you actually think they all are/should be, then you are very much mistaken.

There are some musicians who genuinely don't mind not getting any money in return and share their music free.
But that should be only the case IF THEY CHOOSE TO. If the artist wants to make money from their music, then it's their choice and you should respect their choice.
If you don't agree with choice, again you always have choice of not buying their music and not listening to their music. They may be losing potential fans who would listen to their music if they are free but artists have happily accepted that fact for money. You never have right to argue against their decision or steal music just because you think they should be provided free.

Let's say you are in a pub, and there is a wallet on the table that belongs to someone else, but no one is looking after it. Do you steal the wallet just because you can, even though you know the owner would not be happy if you do? No - Or at least I hope you have decency not to.

But if you are in a pub, and the pub owner is trying to promote their new beer and giving away a pint for free, then by all means, have it free.

See the difference? It's all about whether the owner is happy with the action or not, not whether the action in right or wrong. It maybe true that it's the wallet owner's fault that he left it unattended, but that is not, by any means, something you can use to justify your action of stealing.

You may think beer should be provided free in pubs, but that doesn't mean you can just help yourself a pint, even if bar man happens to be not there because they feel they provide good service worth your money, and they need to pay for these beers from the suppliers. If you feel they don't deserve your money, then you can not go to the pub, or ask for tap water - Not quite beer, but that's life.

In exactly the same way, musicians put their money into producing music - They put money into their instruments, recording, promotion, and their life - And they think the final product is worth your money. If you don't agree, you have choice of not buying - and you can listen to them on Spotify, Myspace or whatever, not quite the same as having mp3s, but that's life. (Much better deal than "tap water and beer" comparison I reckon!)

Tell me a place where I can find free instruments, free recording studio, and free promotion to do what they manage to do right now, to the same quality they achieve, and I am sure they will be happy to provide all their music for free.

b. "No one is forcing you to do what you do":
Yes, they've made the choice to try to make living from playing music, but they did not choose for you to steal music and fuck their lives. As I said in the first point, you are allowed to select a choice within the choices the musicians decided to provide to you, and consequences within these choices are entirely their fault.
But to find alternative that is not agreed by the artists(i.e. illegally downloading music when the artist expect you to buy) is not acceptable. You are disrespecting them and abusing their property, and there is no justification for that.

c. "It's free market, you need to be innovative to earn your money"
I am all down for this, I agree that the music industry has been lazy far too long trying to milk their money out of old business model when they really should have worked hard to invent new business model. But this is totally abusive use of word "free market".

According to Wiki: "A free market describes a market without economic intervention and regulation by government except to regulate against force or fraud", and this basically means that: You are allowed to do whatever you like, as long as you don't do things that's not classified as illegal. I am not sure why file sharing would have name "illegal download" if it wasn't.
Secondly, if free market concept is operated properly, this is what should happen:
1. Each artists(or label) try to make better music than other to sell more
2. Each artists(or label) try to provide music as cheap as possible in order to give competitive edge
3. Price keeps dropping because of this competition
4. Eventually some artists(or label) start to provide music free, and so artists who try to sell their music won't be able to sell their music anymore, you can't compete with free.
5. Artists who try to sell music will disappear, due to the fact that they cannot compete with free music.

But what has happened in reality instead of Step 4, of ARTIST DECIDING THEMSELVES TO PROVIDE MUSIC FREE, people started to steal their music just because they can. This is not accepted, even in "free market" environment, and should not be tolerated because artists are not happy to do that.
It's not because this technology or the way of doing business is wrong. I would have no problem with people downloading music from Torrent if artists agreed to share it free, and I am all happy for the world with free music - GIVEN THAT'S THE DECISION MADE BY ARTISTS.

So yeah, basically reading some really stupid comments attempting to justify illegal downloads made me really angry that I had to write this...

P.S. If you've finished reading this, and still think music should be free, why don't you provide us with free tracks with the same quality these awesome artists provide us? I'm sure people will appreciate it, and it will be a step forward to free music in free marketing environment.