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Indie 69 August 2011 Playlist Released

July 31, 2011 2 comments

Indie 69 August 2011 Cover Art

empty.... full

August already? The summer is going by fast, and not as “summery” where I am.  Not much to say this month except that I think its a good , if sparse , playlist this time.

Get it HERE ( TPB link )

No “Tasty Leftovers” planned this month. May be a failed experiment. Hard to say.

Cover art credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandcastlematt/2628582339/

Cover and this document: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

See you here, and in September.

Enjoy. Get some sun while you can.

Indie 69 July Playlist Released!

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Indie 69 July Cover Art

BANG!

A few days late, but worth it. This one just took FORfriggenEVER! There will again be a “Tasty Leftovers” playlist in July, some time around the 15th. There were again just far too many good tracks to fit into a 69 or even 100 track playlist. And when the size of the whole thing approaches a GIG, you know it’s just too much for one music download.

Not much to say here aside from posting the link. I’ve been busy with a few other things, far too busy to be posting my musings and meanderings here in the old blog. But that will change as the summer moves along. I had some trouble with truncated files again. Somewhere through the process of using memory sticks to bring all the files with me so I could work with them wherever I decided to be for the day, many files ended up with the end of the song missing, or the file going from around 6mb to around 300kb. NOT good. So I ended up spending a LOT of time, last minute, seeking out copies on Hypem. I sent off e-mails to the artists whose tracks I could not locate copies of. Sadly, I couldn’t wait around for replies. So if you are one of those people, not to worry. You’ll get on next month.

I found a few surprises in the inbox as I was going through submissions. One was a very special song by an artist that I love, based upon a true story I wrote. It was moving, beautiful.  I cannot WAIT to get permission to share it with all of you. The other news was that I was sent an invitation to Google Music Beta!!! I’m excited to give it a shot and when I’ve used it for a few days I’ll be sure to write a review up and post it here. Has anyone who reads this blog tried it? What did you think?

So on to what you’re all here for…

Grab the July Indie 69 New Music Playlist

HERE

(and in all of the usual places you steal it from… lol)

SEED SEED SEED!

Hope you enjoy the hell out of it. I think it’s a “very special” playlist this time. Like a very special episode of your favorite sitcom. Except without a victim.

Whatever that means.

Be sure to read the NFO file inside the playlist and give me some of the specific feedback I’m asking. (open it with notepad or your favorite plain-text reader of choice… look for PDF versions in the near future)

Cover Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankauge/2646601665

Cover and this document: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en

See you in a couple of weeks for the Tasty Leftovers. I’m going to have some real fun with it this time.

Indie69 June 2011 Tasty Leftovers Now Released

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Indie 69 June 2011 Tasty Leftovers cover art

I can has head?

Okay, so what the hell is this??

Well, these days I’m getting about 400 tracks a month or more. And to be honest, there’s only room for just SO many tracks on the main playlist. And I’ve noticed that there’s SO MUCH good music left over every month, it just gets tossed into a folder and forgotten, for the most part.

That’s not fair if the whole point of this is to get new music HEARD. So I decided to put together a second playlist now, every month (I presume), featuring these leftover tracks.

These TASTY leftover tracks. So eat up!!

GRAB IT HERE!!: GULP!

Yummy.

You may notice a lot more remixes, instrumentals and more obscure experimental or weird stuff here on this playlist. So if that’s your thing, you may like this one even more.

But that’s not everything here… there’s plenty of sweet pop goodness and rock delectibles and edibles to chew on.

Enough eating metaphors to fill you up yet??

groan.

Anyway. Enjoy. And remember, if you found YOUR music here, it doesn’t mean I thought any less of it.. quite the contrary. These are NOT REJECTED TRACKS!! Those go in the trash.

That comes to about half of what I get going into the recycle bin.

Hope you all like it. It was fun to put together. As much as the other playlist. I imagine I will even do this one with quite a bit more care and attention from now on, even throwing
in some older stuff and personal favorites from time to time. A kind of playground for my evil whims. Bwahahahaha!

See you in July, Guy.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mohawkalex/4503736486/

Image and this document: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

P.S. – The concensus is in. The concensus being that I decided. I’ll put these out when I have enough tracks to justify it about halfway through the month.

Indie69 June 2011 New Music Playlist now available

June 1, 2011 2 comments

Indie 69 June 2011 Cover art

The mantis quietly judges you.

Well, well. June has arrived. And change is in the air.

…So that’s what that smell is…

I’m going to do things this month a little bit differently. Instead of stuffing a few tracks left over into a folder, and because there are now usually SO MANY good tracks left after I’ve narrowed it all down, I’ve decided to do a second playlist every month featuring what I call the “Tasty Leftovers”.  These are not rejected tracks. These are the ones that I liked but for whatever reason just didn’t seem to fit. Or would have made the playlist just TOO huge. Since I started off about halfway through the month this time with (around) 400 tracks, and STILL didn’t catch up with 100% of the e-mail submissions alone (if you were left out and your track was great.. chances are I just have not heard it yet.. check next month), I decided that it’s just getting far too huge for a convenient download. I cannot imagine everyone wanting to download over a gig of music just from my playlist alone, every month. So now there’s a second playlist (watch for it here) to take care of what was left for the month that didn’t suck. The whole idea of all this is to help this music get heard, new music. And with so much of it being so good, it just seemed wrong to stuff it in a folder and forget about it.  And let’s face it, that’s what was happening. There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a month. The “Tasty Leftovers” for this month number more than 100 tracks. It’s up to you if you want to grab both playlists or just the main one. If you dig the instrumentals and remixes, the extremely eclectic or bizarre.. you may find a few examples of that in the leftovers. But there are quite a few pop and rock tracks in there as well.

I must apologize, however, for not having the time to double-check for duplicates this time. I scanned over it and trusted my memory this month. I hope it served me well and did not fail all of you. But if it did, I hope it’s not too much trouble to delete a couple of dupes. But let’s get to the playlist now and I’ll save my babbling on for a little further down the page…

You can grab Indie69 June 2011 New Music Playlist HERE and at all of the usual places you find it.

I would also like to announce my official intention to move the site to a new host with more flexibility, even though I adore WordPress.com. There are just a few tiny, specific reasons why I want to move to a new place. One of them is better community flexibility and more direct control over ways to submit music, as well as a specific interface I prefer at the new host. IF you are interested in guest blogging, let me know. I’m interested in finding music lovers who would like to post short reviews and mp3 downloads. Although I adore music criticism, I prefer to focus on what you DO like rather than posting articles about things you hear that you do not. I find very little value in being “warned” about bad music when so much of it is available for free. What’s the risk?? If I like a sample track, chances are I won’t HATE the album. And if I hate the sample track or single, why on earth would I buy the album? There’s no risk anymore which kind of takes the purpose of a lot of the criticism and flushes it right down along with things like Blockbuster stores and floppy drives. It’s still really enjoyable to read a well written review, and there are so many of those out there. But when things go negative these days, I tend to find myself wondering about things like motive and personal issues rather than the music. Is it just me? I’m not saying  “love everything you write about”, I AM saying “don’t write about music that you think is terrible”. There are exceptions, of course.  If something is so terrible that it becomes humorous or compelling in some other way, by all means write about it. I also ask that the focus be on new music or specific genre. If this all sounds fantastic and you’re okay with just getting a link and credit, get in touch at indiesixtynine@gmail.com . I expect to start the move this month.

Coincidentally, May was this blog’s best month ever, stats-wise. That was nice to see.

I hope you love the playlist(s) this month. Keep in touch, I love the e-mails and submissions. You know where to find me now on Twitter and Facebook (personal profile coming soon, I think). And keep your eyes open for the “Tasty Leftovers”, expect to wait no more than a few days, if that long. Comment if you’d rather see it arrive halfway through the month instead.

..and remember, always.. SEED SEED SEED! (even the old stuff.. I just re-seeded all of the 2009-2010 playlists)

Cover Image Credit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mohawkalex/4503736486/

Image and this document:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Indie69 April 2011 Playlist is out!

April 1, 2011 3 comments

Indie 69 April 2011 Playlist Cover ArtSorry, no April fools joke this year*. Just couldn’t come up with a good one. Saying I’m quitting is old hat now, so it’s just played out and tired to do the same old thing over and over. Bleh.

So this year is the year I decide to leave the jokes and pranks to others.

The music is a big improvement over March, with many happy surprises. I’m going to leave it at that for the most part and just remind you that I love music submissions ( indiesixtynine@gmail.com ) and if you search sxsw on TPB you will find my best of SXSW 2011 torrent. I picked what I thought were the strongest 100 tracks out of the thousands that were made available this year at the official site and the unofficial torrents of said tracks.  Get that thing here. (tpb link via tinyurl)

But I know what you really want…

Indie 69 April 2011 New Music Playlist (TPB link via TinyUrl)

Grab it, seed it, share it, talk about it, use it to decide what to buy! Find a way to support the artists you love. Then do it. Vital.

I expect May to be my official celebratory playlist, double length. February was my real anniversary, marking the start of my THIRD year of doing this. Crazy, I know. It doesn’t seem like that long, but there it is. I was in far too bad shape at the time to really do it justice. But I’m far better now. So look out. See you then, and in between here.

Image and cover art credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/thraxil/1387925406

Image and this document: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

*Oops, 96 tracks instead of 69. Must have mixed up my numbers. My bad.

6.9 Tips for Dropbox Submissions (and submissions in general)

March 13, 2011 1 comment

box 69

drop box 69

I run into a few problems here and there related to mp3 submissions. They can be frustrating, mildly annoying and in the worst case scenario, make it impossible to nearly impossible for me to include the track in the playlist. You have no idea how terrible it feels when I have a track sitting in a folder, a track that sounds amazing, only to find out that the track is called “song name.mp3″…….

Ouch.

Then I think to myself.. no problem. I’ll just check the id tags.

Double ouch. Nothing there. Not even the song name in the file name. So what do I do? Start a full investigation? Rely on my superpower (addled memory)? No, I simply have to move on. And that is very, very sad. I’m not being facetious! I find it genuinely sad when there’s a track I cannot attribute to an artist at the very least. And the file names that are truncated or incomplete are NEVER the band names or artist’s names, they are always song names. And in most cases, the song titles are common and could be any number of artists. Truly a shame.

So I thought now would be a good time to do a sort of “best practices” post regarding mp3 files, submissions and related things. I bring to you…

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6.9 Tips for DropBox and E-mail Submissions

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Tip 1If at all possible, find a way to e-mail tracks to me instead of using a dropbox. Yes, it may take a few moments longer, but in the end it’s better for both of us. I pay closer attention to e-mail submissions, and they are easier to keep track of in my gmail. Then, if something does go wrong, I can hit reply and clear it all up rather than having to sign into a site again, find the track on a long list of tracks and hope that the information I’m looking for is there. ( indiesixtynine@gmail.com )

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Tip 2 Get your file names and id3-4 tags right. If your song spreads around, as you probably hope it will, virally even, it will be important to you to make sure a few details are present in the file. Things like, oh.. I dunno.. your name or the band’s name? The name of the song? Less importantly, the name of the album or maybe even your web site urls? Cover art is a nice touch, even if it’s a digital only release.  You can edit these tags easily with programs like Winamp just by opening the file and clicking in the part of the program that typically displays such information. This will allow you to edit the info and save it very easily. There are also nice programs out there such as MP3Tag – The Universal Tag Editor . MP3Tag is freeware and works wonderfully. It’s easy to use, powerful and versatile. Never trust iTunes, as wonderful as it is, to do all the work for you. MP3Tag will let you add cover art easily, edit extended tags, and supports ID3v1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, iTunes MP4, WMA, Vorbis Comments and APE Tags. Good stuff.

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Tip 3When you are choosing encoding quality, choose wisely. Even if your track is lo-fi. I’ve met completely unknown artists, I mean completely unknown, who are severely and unrealistically paranoid about their music being “stolen”. Look, if you want your music heard, the only way to do it these days is to put it out there to BE heard. It’s your right to keep it to yourself, of course. And it’s your right to decide how it’s shared, if you believe there is power in that somehow. But if your intention is to have what you created heard by an audience, you will find that the “industry” is unwilling to take chances on emerging talent when it comes to exposing your music to a large audience. If what you created is something you believe is worth hearing, and you release it to the wild in the right ways, it WILL be heard. It is my opinion that in most cases this type of paranoia is usually not what it seems to be on the surface. I believe it is a sort of masked self-sabotage or fear of failure. Some of these people feel that if they release a low-quality mp3, people will be encouraged to buy a CD or a higher quality download version of their song or album. In my experience, this is not the case. What it really means is that the track you sent out the the public, the track that represents YOU and your new work, simply sounds like crap and will be perceived as such. There are really no subtleties and strategies here. If what you put out is crap, people will remember you as crap. Use the best quality encoding you can, at the highest bit-rate possible. And if you really want people to hear the subtleties of your recording, give people lossless versions of your tracks on your own site.

I would be so happy if there were even enough new lossless promotional tracks out there monthly to fill a new lossless playlist even 10 tracks long each month. But I just do not encounter enough of these monthly, at least not from genuine sources. The world of piracy seems to be the only true domain of quality currently, with a few exceptions. It’s not as if our portable music players don’t have the space needed to store these tracks, they more often do now than do not. For most people, mp3 is simply good.. enough. It will take a willingness and enthusiasm on the part of artists to encourage the use of lossless formats, because the common listener clearly is not asking for them.

But back to reality here. There are options, and the quality of encoders do vary. While the rest of the world of encoding rests on its laurels, the LAME project has and does continue to develop and improve mp3 encoding technology. LAME is only released as source code because of patent issues, but many open source, closed source, free and paid encoders use LAME to encode mp3 files. You can find a list of these programs HERE. UberStandard has a fantastic step by step guide to getting the absolute best quality CD rips (if you are ripping from a mastered CD of your own rather than from a mastered, higher bit-rate, lossless digital file) that makes it all very, very easy. There are other guides out there, as well as other encoders. Look around. But do your research if you care about your music and how it’s presented.There may be some controversy surrounding the various mp3 encoders out there, my advice is to try a few different things and go with the one that suits your ears and maybe a few other ears as well.

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Tip 4Include some information about your project/recording/band/process/history along with your file. Many artists may feel uncomfortable with what feels like self-promotion, but if you truly are doing it “indie” or “DIY”, you should probably relax your self-promotional standards a bit, as doing otherwise would go a bit against the whole idea of DIY/Indie projects. If you just cannot bring yourself to write your own bio, get a friend or a critic familiar with your work to do it for you. Make it short, informative and fascinating. If the whole project cost 15 dollars to make and you used all borrowed instruments, mention it. Figure out what makes your project stand out and focus a little on that.The music will speak for itself, and any context you add that is appealing, unusual or fascinating will improve that first listening experience. Include a little info on the other people involved in your project, to a point. But I don’t need to know who your management is or the name of the guy that loads your gear and who he toured with before becoming your personal slave.

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Tip 5Check your links. If you are not attaching a file, and are instead pointing to a download, make sure that the download works and if it does work make sure that the number of hoops I have to jump through to get said file(s) are as few as possible. I recently was sent a link to an mp3 submitted for the playlist that sent me to a site, which required that I join the site, then wait for a confirmation e-mail containing a link to the file. When I finally got the automated confirmation and reached the link, I discovered that in order to download the file I needed to allow javascript for approximately 9 domains. (NOT an exaggeration) Then, after allowing all that scripting, the file still would not download. I simply had to set it aside and move on.I realize that this type of process is very common and somewhat popular, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck the stink out of rotten eggs. Because it in fact does. I also realize that this is sometimes not the fault of the artists themselves. All they know is that the service they are using is common and widely used. My suggestion is that if you are using a service to reach fans and/or promotional resources, try the service first as if you were a fan or a blog (or playlist). Then count how many seconds pass before you want to go do something else. Direct downloads and attachments, the “old fashioned way” (in other words, 2009) is always best. Keep it simple, make it fun (or at least not annoying). And try to remember exactly what it is you want to do by making a file available for download and stick to that one task. Any service that is trying to DRAG a fan to a site and make them stay there or force return visits for something as simple as a file download, is repelling to fans. A compelling site brings fans back because when they last visited, they found what they were looking for, hassle-free. And when it comes to critics, you don’t generally want to piss them off right before they listen to your music, attaching that emotional response to your music, probably for some.. permanently! Just because a service is popular or widely used, does not mean it is useful to YOU. It may be useful to some established artists, ones who already have ravenous fans willing to jump through hoops to get to their content. But to others it may mean the difference between giving your music a shot or NOT. And don’t even get me started on streams. Someday, streams may be available to us 24/7, wherever we are. For now, this is still not the case. Even for those of us with modern smartphones and unlimited , fast data plans. Even for those people, networks are unstable and unpredictable, sites go down (or go away completely). Nothing… NOTHING beats a file that a music fan can HAVE and KEEP. Nothing. And nothing promotes your music better than your music.

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Tip 6Exclusives feel good. Yes, you want your track to reach as many ears as possible. But when I get an exclusive track, even a few days early, it feels great. And I’m going to be paying closer attention. This may or may not be true for other playlist peeps. And I’m not sure many artists actually realize the size of the audiences we reach (collectively) every month quite yet. When you consider the number of monthly playlists out there now, and the various ways some of them make the files available, you have to imagine it’s in the hundreds of thousands at this point. I know Blalock’s and Criznittle’s playlists get TONS of downloads every month alone. Add in the rest of us, and you’ve got some pretty big numbers, rivaling most blogs out there. But the focus still seems to be on giving bloggers the exclusives. And that’s fine. When I get them, I smile. When I do not, I don’t frown or anything. That’s for others to do. Like you when you reach 400 people instead of 40 thousand, along with a snarky review that compares you to the flavor of the week because it makes them feel like better critics. Don’t get me wrong, I loves the music blogs. Without them I wouldn’t be doing all this. And I am kinda one of them. I just tend to focus on what I like and do not spend a lot of energy on tearing down the tastes of others, as much as I respect the art of criticism. I just see a lot of really underdeveloped, deceptively polysyllabic critics on overly-respected blogs lately. While a lot of the less-read blogs are doing the real work out there and following their own trends. The point is…. notice us. We’re working hard to get the music out there because of pure love for it. And I think we’re all doing a better job of it than many of us get credit for.

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Tip 6.9If you submit a track for a playlist, be sure the track can actually be downloaded. There have been several recent SoundCloud submissions that have been stream-only. Know what you’re submitting to. And, (here’s the .9 part) don’t suc…

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I hope this has been helpful to some of you out there, and not too snarky. I cannot wait to hear your music. Genuinely.

Image credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/2936681653/

Image and this document licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license.

Indie 69 March 2011 New Music Playlist is Released

March 5, 2011 3 comments

staring rabbit knowsThat took longer than expected! But it’s done now and I can get some much needed sleep. Yeah, I’m still awake rather than rising early. That cookie simply crumbled. I hope you like this month’s selection more than I did. I found a few too many sound-alikes for my tastes this time around. I mean.. there are still numerous great tracks in there, and I do hope you like it more than I did. I guess I’m kind of talking it down a bit, eh? I’ll stop.

This is March, so I included a rabbit (or Hare) for the cover this time around. That rabbit’s stare is so intense, huh? He’s thinking, planning, knowing. Something.  I feel so lucky to have found that image AND it was a Creative Commons image!

Blahblah, on to the music….

You can grab the March playlist HERE and all the usual hangouts where it’s been found lurking in the past.

Remember to keep seeding it. And I want to remind everyone who downloads these playlist torrents to remember to SPREAD THE WORD! About all of the playlists, not just mine.  Through Facebook, Twitter, any way you communicate with others. You may have noticed I stopped doing my monthly playlist round-up posts. Well, that was partly because of time constraints and partly because indierockplaylists.com does such a bang-up job of it now. Check the site out to grab ALL of the playlists that came out this month so far. You will be very filled with super happy joy! I Promise.  So much music. A few duplicates, but that’s easy enough to fix now isn’t it? Just be sure to keep seeding and copy/paste (NOT CUT) the files to a new folder/library before you start deleting tracks. Seeding is so important. You probably download the music for the same reason I compile and curate, for the music.. because you love the music. Show that love by seeding as long as possible. And if it’s slowing things down for you, remember most bittorrent clients allow you to throttle/adjust the bandwidth used by any particular torrent. Better a slow seed than no seed. Always. Always.

I’ll stop begging for seeds now and get to work on April. Yep, right away. This month was so frustrating on so many levels that I have decided to start earlier from now on to be absolutely sure I find the best possible selection of new music with as few sound-alikes as possible.

Original Image For Cover :  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkstoop/152751595/

Cover image and this document:

Creative Commons:
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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