Hoard Videogame Remix by Kearley for Download!

Some time ago, I had the great privilege of working on a fabulous game I love called Hoard. Designer Tyler Sigman was wonderful to work with, and welcomed me to do extensive sound design and create an original score. Juno-nominated artist Kearley created this most excellent remix of one of my compositions from the game, and we are presenting it for download it here:

Survival Mode (Kearley’s No Machination Edit) MP3

Stream it here:

The Gates are Wide Open, What Now?

Due to public acceptance of digital distribution, majors are now forced to compete more and more with indie artists. The world is upside down. It used to be the major labels and distributors controlled all of the content in record stores. It used to be that they were the gatekeepers. If you wanted to get heard, you more or less had to play ball with them. Much to their chagrin, it’s all moving online now.

They tried to control the distribution there too, remember? By adding DRM and doing various PR shenanigans, which only served to alienate their customers more and more. Really, they didn’t treat their customers all that well. When I bought a Compact Disc, I could make as many copies as I liked without hassle. It wasn’t copy protected. But when I just wanted the mp3 that I was going to make with my Compact Disc, they were blocking me all the way. So I waited. And waited. And finally the Apples and Amazons of the world managed to convince enough guys in suits to get their heads out of their own arses and sell me something I actually want.

But how do you cope with all the onslaught? Anybody with a few bucks can get digital distribution now, and the album is never out of stock. And that’s a good thing. Tons of new music all the time. But how are customers to choose? Where are they finding their music? These are things which keep me up at night. If access is not limited, then is it all about exposure? And who do you trust for recommendations?

Personally, I rely on friends, and chance. If I come across something I love, I’ll make an effort to find it. Otherwise, I ask for trusted friends to recommend stuff. It is the most reliable method. Strangely, they mainly recommend the same stuff. Somehow the music is snaking through the social network. And not just in the Twitter sort of way. Lately I’ve taken to having good old fashioned listening sessions with buds, sort of an extended musical show and tell. I really find it helps to cut through the mammoth mountain of choices.

For this reason I suspect some releases and careers will take longer to build. The slower the burn, the longer the fire – that type of thing. I try to take comfort in this when I ponder the microscopic corner of the music universe I presently occupy. At least I’m not some raging forest fire.

Do major labels still have something to offer? Surely they must. They are a finely oiled PR machine. They have money – lots more than the artists usually have, but less than they used to. And if you want to be a massive overnight Pop wonder, you would have a tough time doing it without big label clout.

I often think the role of the majors may eventually become more like a consultant or an investor. Like to nurture artists to grow. Leverage their experience, their contacts. Offer something the artists need. Since a distribution monopoly is no longer something they are offering, they must offer something else. Without expertise or other value, how will they inspire their bread and butter to sign on the dotted line?

Imogen Heap Averts Troublesome Leak, Indies Still Have Nothing to Worry About

The last couple days on Twitter, it seems some serious beeswax went down concerning Imogen Heap‘s hotly anticipated new album “Ellipse”. A fan noticed a listing for a pre-release press copy of her album for sale on eBay, which is a big big nono. In the ensuing Twitterstorm Immi and her fans took to the listing and managed to bid the errant promo CD up to the delightful amount of ten million pounds. In the end it seems the listing user canceled the ridiculously high bids, while eBay got smart to the violation and took down the listing.

The promo disc was actually labeled for a specific reporter, which made things look extra suspect. Leaking a release for profit could get you blackballed bigtime. In the past, the majors have even gone so far as give reporters CD players that are glued shut with a disc inside to prevent dupes. In any case, the reporter in question says his mail was stolen and his employer is standing behind him. Crisis averted, all is well that ends well… sortof.

The illustrious Thomas Dolby wrote blogged his reaction to this event, and also took that opportunity to convey his distaste for music reviewers in general. (Fortunately, I do not share his feelings about reviewers — perhaps because I haven’t had my heart broken by them yet.) Stereokill.net also picked up the story early, and then updated it to help clear the journalist’s reputation.

I’ve been following Immi’s journey in making her album on Twitter for a while now, and it’s been a comfort to know what there are others (albeit vastly better known) going through some of the same crap I go through making music. The leaking problem however, I am fortunate not to worry about. The good news about being a small indie artist is that nobody WANTS to leak your stuff yet. Leaks only have value if the release is hugely anticipated. That could change, but for the minute, I can happily mail out out unprotected promos to media as I see fit.

If you don’t already know Imogen, do yourself a favour and listen to her last album “Speak for Yourself”. It’s a delicious concoction of synths and earnest girlish vocals — and you know how much I like that. 😉

What’s in a Name?

For those who wondered – I wanted to address my change of artist name. This upcoming release will be released as Adriane Lake as opposed to my nickname Adri. Why, you may ask, when Adri was a perfectly good name? Well, for several reasons. It was actually a choice I really agonized over. I even went so far as to take an informal poll of all my buddies to ask them which they prefer, but in the end I had to make the choice on my own.

Some of the arguments in favour of the fullname were that it sounds more “mature”, is better suited to someone who is also doing vocals/songwriting, and is pretty decent as far as names go. Some of the arguments for keeping my nickname were that it’s kinda quirky and that’s how people knew my past work. Personally, I happen to find two part names more sticky. Bjork, Madonna and Feist obviously do OK, but whatever you release as, it should be as sticky as possible.

In the end the biggest deciding factor was, well, Google. In this day and age, an Indie is going to be using the internet more than any other media to share their work. For this reason, one should be easy to find. I already feel lost enough in this massive ocean saturated with music, the last thing I need to do is to swim out into it vastness without so much as a safety flare. I should make myself available. If listeners like what I do, they will hopefully try to find me… So while Adri is a very unique name, Adriane Lake is actually vastly more unique to search engines, the iTunes store or any other searchable medium. Adri generates more unrelated results for anybody named “Adrian” or the word “Adrift” – you get the idea. So in the end it made the most sense.

Also, I already had my dot com, which anybody will tell you is kind of lovely.