Tuesday, 6 October 2009

It's been a long time, Colin

Hello, hmmm am a little ashamed that this is my first post in a while. I'll use my favourite age-old excuse, that I've been 'sooooo busy' to write anything worthy here. Which of course is true, but rather poor nonetheless. Plus I miss my blog, it makes me feel whole again.

What's even more rubbisher is that I've not got anything proper to write here just now, considering the incredible summer I've had with festivals and work!

I will *promise to self* get back on this asap with music industry observations and musings asap -which hopefully you'll find interesting!

Meanwhile, I'm ever active on www.twitter.com/benallenmusicpr

Inabitlike... B

Friday, 13 March 2009

Amazing Meeting Pt 2

Hello All (i think there's at least 6 of you now),

I wasn't sure whether to write about this or not, i'm still fighting with this blog being a little self-indulgent and narcissistic. However, being the self-indulgent narcissist that i am, i decided to go ahead....

Leading on from my last entry 'Amazing Meeting', another amazing meeting occurred with the same people. The sharper readers amongst you will have noticed this already, by way of my clever and cryptic title.

The meeting really started where the other left off and covered similar ground. Similar subjects -some in further detail, some in less, but this time we applied the philosophy /thought /hippy bollocks to ourselves a little more, an introvert perspective, if you like. This was never a conscious decision, it's just where the conversation went.

Much was spoken of God, religion, language, spiritualism and the multitude and /or lack thereof amongst ourselves and humanity at large.

It's probably worth noting at this point that like the last meeting, this one took 3 hours! Not that it was at all laborious, of course. All 180 minutes were an absolute pleasure, and this time with no exasperated cleaner trying to move us on (it was about 9:45pm by the end) and was again, immensely mentally stimulating.

Anyway, the reason reason i'm writing about this again -and specifically talking about spirituality, is that a few days later i had a really vivid dream. Every now and again i'll google a dream meaning if it felt particularity good -which this one did.

I dreamed (or is that drempt? -ok, my spell check tells me i was right the first time) that i climbed Mount Everest /a very high mountain. I climbed it fairly easily and it felt great being at the very peak.

-I've pasted the dream meaning result i found below. (Again, Jesus, this feels egotistical) anyway.... i'ts affected me in a great way and i wanted to share it. Of course, take it with a pinch of salt.

Here you go: I'll sign off here... next post will be about my trip to NY and SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. ICANTFU**KINGWAIT!!!!

PS I'm not a new-age hippy thinking person (probably) -i just love thinking about energy and what else is out there!

Mountain Dream Meaning:

Psychological Meaning: Mountains represent the lofty, planes of consciousness. It is the realm of the ‘higher self’, the part of you that has higher, transcendent knowledge.

Dreaming of being at the top of a mountain may show how you now feel that you have risen above the common routines of life and achieved something with spiritual meaning. Conversely, it may show your desire to do this.

Mountains can also indicate that you are in touch with or thinking about the higher dimensions of reality. In particular you may be thinking in a positive way about death and the afterlife.

On a more mundane level, climbing a mountain may symbolise your sense of achievement and the arduous effort needed for a long-term undertaking. You are on the slippery slopes to success and have the self-determination to reach the summit.

Mystical Meaning: If you dream of climb a mountain effortlessly then all your ventures will be successful but if you fail in your efforts to reach the summit your plans will fail. To the Chinese a mountain can symbolise the unshakeable peace that comes from keeping the mind still during meditation.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Amazing Meeting -Is This Interesting??

Hello, well... i felt compelled to write something about a meeting i had yesterday with 2 very interesting people. I won't name them so i'll call them 'younger chap' and 'older chap'. Younger chap is in his 20's and very clever, knowledgable and passionate about music. Older chap is a very well-known composer who's list of credits and collaborations is incredible -he's older. They are currently working on a project together.

The meeting lasted 2 and a half hours and only stopped because the cleaner at work was keen to kick us out as everyone else had gone home hours ago. We would have been there all night without a doubt otherwise.

It was a meeting like no other i'd ever had! I can't discuss the actual project but during the meeting we (younger chap, older chap, my boss and i) discussed: Religion, chaos theory, martial arts, Karma, Buddhism, Zen, deep deep philosophy!, banks, virtual worlds and theory, world events, current affairs, a new renaissance period, web 3.0, PEOPLE 2.0!, spirituality, alternative thinking, alternative dimensions, space /time continum, new thought /original thinking, and other musings that are generally reserved for chats with complete strangers at 5:30 am when one might be 'off one's face' at a house party, slumped on the corner of a sofa -you know the kind....

Except! This was discussed in the day with 4 sober professionals. Also bear in mind that ALL OF THIS WAS RELATING TO A MUSIC PROJECT, and remarkably....


I left the meeting (much to the joy of our increasingly-less-patient friend-in-marigolds) with my head absolutely buzzing! My brain's not been that stimulated for a long time, maybe even since university. So much so that i HAD to have a beer (well cider, actually, if you're buying) afterwards just to come back down to earth. Pretty intense, man. Incredible, it was great to have such chemistry with a couple of other human beings -whether they are prospective clients or everyday people. Have a feeling this one will stick in my head for a long time.

I hope this is interesting, i'm sure it's probably not.... like when you have to listen to someone else's music or are forced to look at pics of their kids etc. but i really wanted to share it in the spirit of being 'a blogger'.

If i end up working on this project, i'll tell you all about it. It's massive and will almost certainly change your life!

Inabitlike, Ben

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Some questions i answered for a music website, i thought i'd share....

See below, again feel free to comment, attack, critique and spit at. Hope you find this interesting...

Rivmixx is a great website you should look at.

At Rivmixx.com we're putting together an in-depth feature on illegal downloading and the various responses to it – and we want to get some quotes from you.

If you could take a few minutes to respond to some of the following points, it'd be much appreciated.

Omnifone's MusicStation, offering unlimited access to music for a monthly bill tagged onto the ISP fee, has just been launched. Will this catch on, and what implications will it have?

It will catch on if consumers choose to adopt it. These ideas are great for ‘saving the music industry’ but if consumers choose to stay with torrents and file-sharing networks this will have no implications what so ever as it’ll be irrelevant. Build a bigger shield and they’ll build a bigger gun! Education and awareness amongst consumers is crucial.

Personally i think it’s a good idea and could work as long as consumers /music industry killers aren’t made to feel forced in to submission. It needs good PR!

A music tax on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has been muted in the UK and elsewhere. Is this a good idea?

If the artist gets ‘something’ as opposed to nothing, it’s a good idea, but records and labels have to remember that some people will simply not pay for music –instead they should use these downloaders as mini-marketeers. Dare we say; ‘monetise them’ and subsidise the money they’ll lose in free/illegal downloads in to nurturing downloaders in to street teams, buying merch /coming to gigs etc. Get wise!

How would you make sure that revenues from a music tax were distributed to independent label artists, as well as major ones?

I’d get AIM (the Association of Independent Music) to oversee and regulate the process, working with existing or a new collection society. AIM do an amazing job and would make sure this was done. Allison Wenham (CEO) takes no sh*t from anybody when it comes to protecting independents –just ask Steve Jobbs....!

Can illegal music downloading be policed, or is it better to look at other ways of compensating music producers/artists?

Stop calling it 'illegal'. Consumers dictate this issue by mob rule, you will not defeat them –especially not with force. Education is needed to educate and work with the mob.

It’s true that artists need to be compensated, but the golden age of artists earning millions and millions of pounds is perhaps over. Maybe earning less money from music alone would leave us with passionate artists that would make music regardless of revenues? Who knows.

With the playing field now more level than ever, artists and producers have much closer relationships with their fans. Lets help them to turn this in to cash –directly or indirectly via the multitude of online platforms that are available.

Sponsorship, syncs and advertising will certainly play an ever-increasing role.

What is the future for the sale of music?

Clever people and Music Week readers will all say (probably quite rightly) it lies somewhere in the live music industry. My view -It’s whatever the mob say it is. Lets work on educating them and make sure artists get something back.

Friday, 20 February 2009

....As the actress said to the bishop

....here's a quick entry.

Last night i gave another lecture at Central St Martins College, London (for those of you that don't know that's a very good arty university) on Music PR, specifically on networking -online and offline (in fact i'll probably put my lecture notes up here for you younger industry types at some point). I LOVE doing this! And really would like do it more, it's a very nice ego-boosting feeling to impart (my supposed) knowledge on to students looking to get in to the industry. A warm feeling indeed and my mum thinks i'm the shit (although she doesn't necessarily articulate it in that crude manner). Next week i get to mark their work -scary!

Then later that eve Dega Breaks -the band i manage had a gig in 93ft East, Brick Lane (a cool dingy venue, in cool dingy East London). It was a great set and we had a last minute visit from an industry type (the type with a cheque book) so we'll wait to see if that one bears fruit. FYI I've been looking after bands and their interests for a while now and know not to EVER get excited until the dotted line is signed.... which in honesty rarely happens! As someone once said, "it's a tough old game" -but that’s all part of the fun.

Anyway, in the nature of 'blogging' (i'm new to this remember) there's my latest blog. PS if i ever get too self-righteous and self-important on this blog please do tell me to shut-up or tell my mum.


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

To start with, one from the vaults....

Well, here i go, like a newborn foal finding it's sticky weak legs. In this blog i'll write stuff i know about, probably some stuff i think i know about, and some stuff i just like.

This will be entirely personal and not related to my day job. Expect some music industry advice, new bands i love, gig tips, digital music industry stuff and the occasional sandwich, pie or soup blog -all of which i'm a big fan of.

Here is an entry pasted from my myspace blog to get the ball rolling, feel free to comment, attack and critique. The issue addresses those generic 'come check my band' messages one receives on via myspace and emails.....it was written in a self-righteos rant and i stand by it! Ben

Personalised messages from bands and artists...BANDS PLEASE READ!!!

This advice shouldn't really have to be said as it's so bloody obvious, but here we go anyway...

The following is meant to help you, it's not just a self-righteous, self-important soap box rant -for the most part.

Bands, artists and performers. When you contact myself or ANYONE else in the music industry from whom you are seeking advice, support and /or management etc, you MUST personalise the fekking message!! This is a 'people business' if you're not a 'people person' learn how to be one quickly, or get someone to represent you that is.

If you can't even be bothered to take the time to say Hello personally, what chance do you think you really have of working your ass off to succeed in this industry? That's how we see you instantly. You look lazy and instantly fall in to a pool of thousands of other 'myspace bands'. The delete button beckons like a seductive siren, unlike your generic message which is seldom actually read.

I've never listened to a link from a generic cut-and-paste message and never will. It's the same for other serious industry folk. Do you realise just how many (mostly shit) bands contact us every week? The answer is a lot, so what makes you think you're worth a listen without even reading our profiles or getting our name to address us properly?!

Whilst i'm on one (this soap box sure is comfy) ...never ask me or anyone 'just check me out' or 'let me know what you think'. Why??!! What reason do we have, and how is listening to your latest offering going to enrich our lives?!

By doing this, what your asking for is (often) valuable advice and consultancy for free and offering nothing in return. Let people know what you are up to and what it is you are trying to achieve i.e. "We have an album ready to go and we're looking for a good indie label /management to help us make the next step" or " this website /NME /music mag said this about us and we're looking for help with decent gigs...etc" this will arouse much more interest than a standard cut and pasted 'band babble' message.

Do research on the person your contacting, read the bands they like on their profiles and drop them in to the email! If they have a postal address send them a letter -you will stick out and they'll remember you. It also massages their ego a bit more -which of course, we luuurve.

Contact industry at the right time when you are ready to go, timing is crucial. Scrappy demo's aren't fun to listen to, make sure your putting your best foot forward all the time to give yourself the best chance. Forget "we're going in to the studio next month, it'll sound much better etc etc" -send us the studio recording! It'll help you and it's worth waiting.

Remember you're looking for that 'one' person to give you a break, so each and every correspondence you send should be treated like a letter to the queen, or a rich elderly relative on their death bed. Get it right. Tell them where you are and what you're looking for and how they might be able to help. Show them how you are succeeding already and why they should get on-board with you.

It takes a lot of ridiculously hard work to achieve in this business, along with a pinch of luck. Help make your own luck by taking the above advice.

I hope this helps. I also hope it stops some slack bands from pasting generic 'throw away' messages to me...but unfortunately it probably wont.

Oooh, that did feel good...