Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Online Music Distribution - "Classical" is still problematic

When I recently released my album "My Music in 2010", I used CD Baby as the distributor. They take care of submitting the music files do the various online sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Zune, Spotify etc. Is in principle a good idea, but there are still problems with Classical Music.

When I entered all the information about the tracks, I naturally indicated the composer of each piece. The instructions stated that the track name should not contain any artist name, so I did not put the composers' names into that field. Since each track had a separate field for the composer, I thought that the composer would appear in an additional information field. However, it turns out that the composer's name is nowhere present: neither on the track list of the album at CD Baby nor at any of the online music sites that I checked (Amazon, iTunes, Zune). This is quite annoying: now these tracks are without the composer information... And once published, this info cannot be added anymore.

This means that from now on I will have to place the composer's name into the track title. This is what is also done with most other classical music tracks that are online.

Another annoying thing: on Microsoft's Zune my music appears under the category "Pop", although I had explicitly given the "Classical" label.

It seems that the digital online music distribution is still not suitable for classical music...

New Version of "Blumine"

A new version of Mahler's "Blumine" (version 1.4) is now online on the VPO website (MP3 and WMA file). This version is based on the most recent rendition with trumpeter Julius Eiweck. The changes only concern the string part. Mahler-expert Jim Zychowicz had commented that the strings would benefit from "more depth", and so I decided to add a few layers. In particular the beginning sounded a bit "tinny", and so I added a total of four layers for the violins: for violin 1 a separate additional tremolo track (the GPO4 violin tremolo is different from the tremolo of the keyswitch violins) and a muted sordino, and the same for violin 2.

These changes give the bright strings a bit more substance and bite, and I find that this has improved the sound, away from the thin chambermusic-like texture to a more Mahlerian orchestra. I am working now on the same effect for all the other movements of Mahler's Symphony No.1.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Amazon is fast - "My Music 2010" online there

In February 2011 I had uploaded my album "My Music 2010" to CD Baby, and it was immediately available there. After that, CD Baby was supposed to distribute it to all major online music distributors (OMDs) such as Amazon, iTunes, Zune, Spotify and others. But I had forgotten co click one last button there... and so the distribution did not happen. I noticed this only last week - and then rectified this immediately.

Since then I have once in a while checking, and today I saw that this album is now available on Amazon. Quite fast!

It is not yet available on iTunes.

The pricing is beyond my control - it is determined by the individual OMDs; I only was able to set the price at CD Baby.

This album in this constellation of tracks is NOT available as such compilation on my web site - only the individual files can be obtained from my site and have to be collected manually to be assembled into this collection. So there is some benefit for the buyers of this album!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

New Rendition: Gustav Mahler "Blumine". With Live Trumpet (Julius Eiweck)

I just completed a new version of Gustav Mahler's Blumine, the formerly 2nd movement of his Symphony No.1 which he discarded after three performances and which had been lost since then, until it was rediscovered in 1966.

Last year in July 2010 I was able to create the first version of this rendition in one evening, just in time for the celebration of Gustav's 150th birthday on 7.July 2010. I did one revision a few weeks later, but now I created a substantial revision: my friend and colleague Dr Julius Eiweck plays a live trumpet (in Vienna), being accompanied by my Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra (in Leeds). Julius plays also in the Haydn Orchestra Eisenstadt and since recently in the Orchesterverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien - they give a concert tomorrow, 17.March 2011 at the Musikverein, so if you have a chance to be in Vienna, you can listen to a great concert with Mendelssohn, Elgar and Bruckner - and you can meet Julius Eiweck in person!

This latest rendition of Blumine was created the following way: I prepared a version without trumpet and sent the rendition to Julius. He then listened to this music through headphones and played life his trumpet part with it. He then sent me the recording of this trumpet solo, and I mixed it together with the rest of the orchestration.

The file is available as MP3 and WMA on my website.


I am also grateful for feedback about this rendition.