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zircon

SoundTempest - 4/9 SITE REDESIGN

19 posts in this topic

4/9/09 - REDESIGN!! Thanks to Chad (aka Cyan_Ide aka Steam Powered Design), SoundTempest now has a fresh, NON-generic WordPress template design and some awesome new features. For example, all of the guides are now available as downloadable, snazzy PDFs and you can now Digg/Stumble/Email any post or page.

If you haven't visited before, SoundTempest is a music industry news blog covering various trends and events that affect consumers and artists alike. Additionally, I regularly write articles intended for musicians and producers, such as "How to Detect (and Avoid) Music Scams", "How to Pick a DAW Computer", "How to Distribute and Sell a CD", and various others. There are about 8 guides in total - over 40 printed pages of content! - for your reading pleasure.

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This domain has been basically unused for years, but recently I decided I would actually use it for something useful. Welcome to the new SoundTempest, a blog reporting on and analyzing the latest developments in the music industry. A lot of important industry news, especially anything relating to entities like the RIAA, SoundExchange, iTunes, Universal, etc. is often improperly reported and thus misunderstood. My goal with this blog is to not only cover news properly, but also break down why it's important (or perhaps, why it isn't), what impact it might have on both the consumer and the artist, and my own personal thoughts on the issue.

I hope to differentiate this from any other site that might report on music business news because I practically eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff day in and day out. My degree is actually called "Music Industry", so I have a pretty thorough knowledge of not only the historical aspects of the industry, but things like record label operations, copyright and publishing law, marketing, and everything in between. I'm also a working musician myself that pulls in a decent part-time income from my personal endeavors, so I've learned (and continue to learn) a great deal from firsthand experience.

One more time, the link is www.soundtempest.net and I hope y'all check it out. Feel free to give suggestions on stories and comment on my posts. I like discussion. Whether you're a listener or an artist I think you'll like the site's content.

BTW yes it's a default WordPress theme right now. I figured content first, design a little later. If you want to design something nicer for me, let me know - I think I'll just choose some other random theme, until then.

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you gonna talk about the Trent Reznor/Saul Williams/Radiohead shit? Seems like a very obvious topic :D

Also, I have a suggestion:

I think it might be smart and more helpful to focus a bit on what these things mean for the small, independent artist. Maybe lay out what you've been doing yourself and what works and what hasn't. I think there are plenty of blogs out there (ars technica etc) that blog about this high-up business stuff and no offense, a lot may have even more business experience than you despite your schooling and experiences thus far. I'm sure you would do fine, but that subject matter is generally covered already. Focusing on an audience at the stage you are at yourself currently musically and business-wise is something I haven't seen, something I would find useful, and something I think a lot of the people in the circles you are in right now (and no doubt telling to check out your blog) will find useful.

There's very few (or none, even) resources for little guys trying to figure out the best ways to market their music online without a label behind them.

Stuff I'd like to read about:

-Music profile/social networking sites (soundclick, myspace, verb, lastfm, jamendo, newgrounds, etc). Which are the best? What is the best way to take advantage of them? Are they a waste of time? Spread your shit out on all of them, or just focus on one?

-Services that get your music on iTunes and other download services. CDbaby, and others. What are the deals in a nutshell?

-What do listeners want? How do you entice them to buy your stuff? Strategies for releasing free samples...etc.

There is a HUGE audience of bedroom producers who I think have 0 clue how to get any sales, let alone decent listenership, and there are no resources giving them tips. All the articles on the music business that you find now are higher up - a level above where these people are at right now. Sadly, having awesome tracks alone is like 10% of making money with your music.

Just an idea. Also, this is stuff I think about and have been experimenting with for years with my own junk and would probably be up for contributing on these topics.

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I'll definitely cover the DIY area of music; that was my intent with this, in part. I have a lot of info to share and would love outside contribution. However, I want to appeal to listeners as well as musicians.

The reason I'm covering the "big" stuff is primarily because:

(1) While it IS covered elsewhere, like CNN, Reuters, etc. there is no singular source. Nearly every music-related story I hear comes from a different source. My blog basically serves to aggregate the most important stories, including many that some major organizations might not cover at all for one reason or another.

(2) I am not strictly reporting on news, but also general trends. The general media does this, but not regularly. For example, today I have an article planned on a MIDEM topic that I have not seen written about anywhere (it might have been, but there certainly doesn't seem to be any major media buzz.) However, it's a hugely important topic.

(3) The people writing about these topics do not typically have experience, and even when they do, I have read SO much misinformation because the writers have a bad understanding of law or the way the industry works.

So, in short, I still think this will be a good, worthwhile resource of music industry developments in general... but your point is well-taken.

I'll have something in the DIY field shortly, maybe on Thurs or Fri.

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Bump because I've started the artist workshop stuff... guide to setting up a home studio is the first page (check nav in the upper left!) More to come soon of course.

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Cool idea for a blog, zircon. That theme you picked is really weak though. Some suggestions:

- use wp's clean url option. /?p=11 is a lousy url, whereas /lg-and-omnifone launch-unlimited-music-service-for-mobile-phones is intuitive, easy to read and, most importantly, ranks higher in search engines.

- your theme needs SOMETHING about music in it. speakers, guitars, keyboards, anything. dogs? cities? no good dude.

- lotta cool wp plugins you could utilize, such as comment captcha utilities.

- having a "who runs this" kind of about section in a sidebar is a good idea. lets people know who you are and relates them to you.

If you really want your blog to thrive, I'd recommend reading about every article on problogger.net. Crazy.

Anyway good luck!

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Thanks for the feedback. I'm not a web designer of any kind and I don't know anything about art. I'm just using the first theme I found online that looked cool; I know I need a better one, but I wanted to focus on content first before seeking a designer to rework the whole site on my behalf. I do want to check out that captcha plugin, as I've already been getting spam- again, I'm new to this and have only scratched the surface of what wordpress can do :) If you have any other plugin suggestions you think might be useful to me, I'm all ears.

I do have a WIP of an "About Me" page but I'm not that great at writing about myself so it has been a second priority.. plus I feel like if people knew I was "just a student" they might not take me as seriously. I'll keep working on it though. Took your suggestion on the permalinks, too.

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Bump. Just added another page, a fairly in-depth guide to the basics of music licensing and what it can do for any musician, with or without a label deal. Please read, post questions, comments, thoughts of any kind. I know a lot of y'all want to make some money from your music, and this is one of the best ways to!

http://soundtempest.net/how-to-make-money-from-music-licensing/

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Pretty cool site, there's definitely some invaluable information there. Anyone at OCR looking to make a career with their original compositions would probably benefit from checking out the articles.

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Bump because I'm updating this more regularly again. Sticking to a shorter format, more summaries + short opinion than longer posts, sourcing at the bottom Consumerist style. Here's the latest article:

http://soundtempest.net/2008/12/19/riaa-to-stop-lawsuits-against-customers-focus-on-isps/

I'm encouraging people to comment more - my actual "pages", like How to Avoid Scams, have gotten TONS of comments. Check those out too, of course. :)

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Will the next site redesign feature "original game music content submitted by users" and a forum just for me Ty and Rellik? :P

QFE please please please please :)

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QFE please please please please :)

Haha, maybe someday :-)

Xerol: I haven't decided yet whether I want to integrate actual music production tutorials on ST. Another 'maybe'...

Anyway. Chad just added Twitter functionality to each post so you can easily tweet any post or guide on the whole site. Badass.

Also, I'm looking for more writers for the site to write about music biz stuff. Much like how the Consumerist or various other blogs have multiple writers, I think multiple perspectives would be cool here too.

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