Archive for January, 2008

Demos incoming

As a record company, there is a phenomenon we have to deal with. Suddenly artists start sending demos. This is quite strange, since we used to be the ones sending the demos. Now, at the other end, we try to get the time to listen and write to everyone. It feels important to be able to give some kind of relevant feedbakc to people sending. mostly we have received websites and myspace sites, which is very efficient and gives a good view of the bands style. Some has sent CD:s, which in turn is a great way for us to take home or listen in the car.

Generally the recording quality is incredible. I mean, gosh, I sat with a cassette 4-track when I started… It seems that musicians knows how to handle a studio and how to twist the knobs for great sound. However, the songs; meaning melodies, groove, spirit and dynamics, are not as good. I feel that there is a lot of technology and very little magic involved in the music. Some exeptions though… We will see what happens.

Two japanese bands, one english and some swedish bands has sent the demos. Of course we are not a usual record company, so we require more than just someone who wants to get onto Itunes… We want people who become part of the team, to work with us in marketing, networking and creativity.

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File sharing only problem for large artists

There has been some renewed debate in Sweden, on this very tiresome issue. The green party has released this movie, promoting file sharing.
http://www.iwouldntsteal.net/

And a famous author, Liza Marklund, has written about these issues form her point of view. “Stop your hypocrisy, net pirates” and “Create yourselves – lazy parasites”. If you know swedish, read here:
http://www.expressen.se/kronikorer/lizamarklund/1.1011882/sluta-hyckla-natpirater

I think her views are relevant and in some ways true , but I can not share them. Because the loss for her if she was copied would be huge, since she sells huge amounts of her books. So I understand the problem. But for small artists, who need creative marketing and are not too afraid of their work being used, the file sharing is a very good alternative to use their products. So I suppose this leads to a logical problem. There can’t be one law for the small artists, and another for the huge ones. But how do we solve that?

Music has nothing to do with identity anymore

Music has nothing to do with identity anymore – is that true? We have been discussing that for a couple of weeks, after an article in the magazine Bon. Music is supposed to have lost its unique role as an identity marker during the last few years. Some say that fashion is the new way of displaying and creating an individual identity. Others say art, and others still, say technology has taken that role. A cool MP3-player or an extremely flat computer shows who you are. Is that true?

Music used to be the ultimate expression of ones identity, but the decline may be true. It is too accessible and too shallow nowadays. I suppose that creating identity through artefacts has to do with exclusivity, not too easy access and pricing.

Some ideas of my own: Some will still think of music as their arena of identity. But also litterature of course. Where you go to amuse yourself on saturday nights is also a great indicator, because it shows who you want to be and who you get along with. I dont belive in technology, it is also too shallow and easy to access. Maybe fashion, but I am not sure. Art definately.

The future of the CD

I participated in a talkshow on Swedish TV on tuseday, where we talked about the future of the CD and alternatives to it. It is interesting that there is a movement regarding the beauty of cover art and physical products in these times of focus on Internet-based distribution.

I believe that there will be a part of the audience who will always demand beautiful, physical music products. The collectors, the music lovers and people who buy musical presents in particular. Because who wants a folder of MP3:s as a gift?

I also visited the lovely Rough Trade shops in London last week, and they have a huge amount of new preduced vinyl records. Of course the LP is still the most beautiful way of distributing music. I’m looking forward to a reinessance for the LP.

Here is the talkshow, 25 minutes long and in swedish: http://svt.se/svt/play/video.jsp?a=1026667

5 sek for a MP3 file

Maria Styvén at the University of Luleå in Sweden, has done a questionnaire with people 16-60 years old. The result shows that people want to pay 5 swedish krona – about 0,5 euro or 0,75 dollar – for an MP3 file. The result is published in her dissertation ”Exploring the online music market: Consumer characteristics and value perception”. There are some other fast impressions too: Copyprotection are regarded as a very negative attribute, there are only certain groups that will be using internet shops, and very interesting for us: The file sharing and payment services are already connected in a users mind, since people sharing files are also buying stuff online and are not afraid to do so.

For Gramtone, there are some interesting outcomes of this: We will do a drive when we start our factory outlet, to sell our MP3 for 5 sek. But the problem is that 5 sek is what the bank payment service cost us if customers only buy one MP3 at a time. So this identifies that these service fees have to become cheaper.

Some more reading for you who knows swedish :
http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.137675
http://sydsvenskan.se/nojen/article288492.ece

Latest activities

It’s been a while. There was a long christmas holiday, followed by a trip to London, but now we are fit for fight again. here is the latest: We are setting up our factory outlet now, just a few days morre. This will be promoted with a drive to sell/ give away our MP3 -files for 5 swedish krona per song – thar is about 0,5 euro or 0,75 dollar. We are also in the middle of a large business decision – can we buy the building or will we get a new landlord, who prpbably will rise the rent quite a lot. This is a big question for us.

Musically both The Modesty and Tree full of people are planning tours and gigs at the moment, so a lot of marketing is done. Slowly, our other bands also finish their recordings.


Gramtone

Gramtone är musikutgivare och bas för ett gäng musiker och låtskrivare, baserade i Norrköping. Vi äger bolaget och studion tillsammans, folk med olika bakgrund och olika smak. Två dussin är vi, som ställer allt vi äger i ett rum och säger: varsågoda. Ett kollektiv av individualister har vi kallats, och varför inte: Grammisar har vunnits, stipendier har fåtts, medan somliga är kända för helt andra saker. Alla spelar roll, men inte nödvändigtvis rock. En driver ett enmansprojekt, en annan är med i fem band samtidigt. Några är runt 20, några har fyllt 50. En fick pris för årets bästa museum. Någon ligger bakom Softubes banbrytande pluggar och någon har fått utmärkelse för, hör och häpna, bästa fotbollslåt.

Gramtone satsar på en liten, spännande utgivning av ostyrig, vacker musik. Lyssna där du vill, vi finns i alla de vedertagna kanalerna. Vissa spelar live, andra spelar in. Några älskar att skriva låtar, andra spelar gitarr så fingrarna blöder. Gramtone är en plattform som används av varje band och artist som det passar dem bäst. Ibland är vi en lekplats, ibland kreativt nav, affärsyta eller en trampolin för musikkarriärer. Vi blir planterade och uppodlade av varandra, och vi gillar't. Vi tycker att musik gör tillvaron större och vill man att något ska finnas, då ska man också skapa det. Tre dussin utgivningar hittills, och mycket på gång. Titta in, lyssna in, och häng med.