Sunday, 31 May 2009

Site for Free Music Scores: IMSLP

While browsing on the web for info about composers, I found a site which provides free music scores: Is hosted in Canada. Not sure if this is actually legal - the score sheets are scanned from printed versions, and the pages state "copying prohibited" (which should be a clear instruction to the ones who scanned that page...).

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Maintenance of existing music account: TopTempo and IAPLA

Since 2005 I had a music account as "Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra" with "TopTempo": at Most of my music which recorded from 1999 - 2003 is there.

Some time ago, this site merged with IAPLA.COM. I had not taken care of going through all the details on that site, but it also seems to have links to music publishers and allows to collect royalties. So far, I had given away all my music recordings for free - which resulted in me being now #2 in the weekly classical charts. Overall, more than 34000 times had some of my music been downloaded/played - quite something! My statistics there are only topped by my friend David Solomons, who had taken much better care of his repertoire and had been very active in his promotions. I also noticed that he actually had put a price tag on most of his music pieces...

Since I am planning to revive my old VPO activities, I will probably also have to close the free downloads on that site and make everything available only for a fee. Since the TuneCore music will be live around 10.July, I will give this some time, so that people who would not want to pay, have the opportunity to still get the music.

I also plan to make once in a while music freely available on that site, on special occasions, or just as a feature of the month/week or something like that.

But if I want to take my music pursuit seriously, I have no other choice than to put a price on it. Otherwise, none of the promoters would be interested in working with me, as they may want to see some benefit in this for themselves too.

The IAPLA site offers a variety of licenses for each uploaded music. I will check and select appropriate license schemes. It appears that the IAPLA site addresses more the conventional outlets of music, e.g. publishers, labels, producers etc. Interesting is also the link to film producers.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Trying out DittoMusic

It appears that the Dittomusic website is not as robust as the one at TuneCore: I get often a 404 - page does not exist, or just an empty image placeholder, with no text instructions on what to do... might be firewall and proxy, I have to try later from a different location.

It seems that DittoMusic is a bit less flexible than TuneCore: DittoMusic has a higher upfront cost, with setting up a label, a chartered release, and a few options for release options. I have not yet understood what a "release" actually means: it is indicated that a release can contain unlimited tracks... but what would then be the point of having several releases? Is a release the same as an album? The Dittomusic website is not very clear on this... the cost could go into £100, if I would choose the "Premium Unlimited Distribution" which has many 100 of "stores" and also mobile phone outlets. An additional £2 per month is required to keep the royalties coming in.

Yes, a release appears to be something like an album, I just checked. Unlimited tracks per release is fine, but it means that I have to have everything ready by a certain date... but I work more gradually, with single pieces. And then the fees would be to high, if I would choose to release just a single track as a release. So I guess I will stick with TuneCore for now, releasing one track after another. Maybe I will give DittoMusic another try some time later, when I have a whole "release" ready, something like a whole symphony.

My First TuneCore Upload complete!

For the very first time I uploaded now a piece to TuneCore. I choose my most recent MIDI rendition: "The Snow is Dancing" by Claude Debussy, which I had created in February 2009 after the "heavy" snowfall here in UK.

For iTunes, TuneCore required the uncompressed wave file. This should result in a very good sound quality, better than in the video on YouTube where the MP3 version is embedded:

I am aware that by providing the video for free and putting the music itself out there for sale, but when downloading (and paying) the music from the TuneCore stores, the quality will just be superior to any standard MP3 file.

I have not yet heard back from iTunes - is already almost 2 weeks ago that I signed on to iTunes, but these music companies take a long time... TuneCore mentioned 3-4 weeks.

The single piece "The Snow is Dancing" will then appear in the following stores:
Amazon, iTunes, Napster, emusic, Rhapsody, IMVU, Lala, Shockbound, Amie Street.

The fee for one single is $9.99 for one year is. So in order for this to be viable, I need to generate at least this amount.

I am looking forward to put more music online!
Now I may give DittoMusic a try...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Uploading Debussy's "The Snow is Dancing"

Just tried to upload the MP3 file of Debussy's piano music "The Snow is Dancing" to TuneCore. Choose a very generic "artwork", had no time to work on any other more sophisticated version.

But there was "a problem with the MP3 file": the bitrate is too low. Turns out Tunecore wants MP3 with at least 300 bps. I thought that I had used a variable bitrate, but it seems that the file was at 128 bps.

Not sure if my MP3 encoder supports 300 bps...

Anyway, for iTunes the file must NOT be MP3 or any other compressed version, but pure Wave... that will take a while to upload.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Designing of Cover in TuneCore - Problem

Ran into a few problems: Could not get an image snap shot from my own video - need to use the original capture software to do this. I want to have a snow-fall background, as it is on the YouTube video of my version of "The Snow is Dancing".

Ok, so I decide to use one of the predefined templates on TuneCore. Scroll ahead until page 6 - no page with a snow background. I choose any that does not look too weird. Then: the template shows up again, centered on the page, enlarged. But top and bottom are cut off. I try to use the window slider - the template display keeps flickering, and remains "centred", which means that top and bottomn are cut off, because my XGA screen is too small.

People at TuneCore, have you ever tried your web interface with reaal people? Who came up with the idea to keep the design template always centred, and then have the bottom cut off? Especially because there at the bottom there is a button to press, something "I take this template". But since it keeps just flickering out of view when I scroll, I have no chance of clicking it.

I guess I give up for today... uploading a single does not really work fast.

And anyway, why am I prompted for album artwork, when I just wanted to upload a single track?

TuneCore has no Classical category!

Just as I got ready to try out TuneCore and wanted to upload a file, I noticed that their category system does not have any classical category listed. They have "opera" and "electronic"... so since my music is created with synthesizers, I will choose "Electronic" for Debussy's "The Snow is Dancing"... quite annoying, this lack of an appropriate genre. I may contact them.

Joining iTunes and TuneCore

I realise that I have not done anything to promote my music or get it out into the market. There appears to be a market for music on MP3 players - that is no secred. People are paying in the iTunes store. So why did I not yet pursue this?

No good explanation for this, but I have just neglected the wnole music activities. This will change from now on: a few days ago I filled out a form on iTunes, to become a registered artist. iTunes is a bit strange: they provide a form, but then one has to wait for them to reply back. Have not heard yet anything from them...

In the meantime I did some more search and found TuneCore, where an artist can market music on a whole set of sites. So I signed up! Have no content there yet, but I plan to give it a try. Will probably test also DittoMusic which seems to offer a similar deal. I may compare the various sites - will post the results back here.