Reflections, “Will we think about tomorrow like we think about now? Will we survive it out there? Will we make it somehow?”

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Like that? it’s a quote from Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever).” I’m not graduating but sadly it’s time to say goodbye to Melbourne Uni.

The Subject:

As an exchange student, I came to Melbourne Uni to study a more modern and hands-on approach to Communications. While I love my home university (Shout out to the University of Pennsylvania!), I have been eager to take classes where I can learn about new media and perhaps even gain the first-hand experience of working with it in an academic setting.  Net Communications provided just this opportunity. I learned so many new things in this subject (which is good because as a third year Comm student, everything was starting to sound the same) but I do have a few take-aways.

Software Studies is pretty nifty: I’ve never studied a software approach to new media but I now realize just how important this view is. Because nearly everything we see is mediated, we must study the physical medium itself.

Lawrence Lessig is awesome: Free Culture is such an interesting book and it really encouraged me to investigate different media and the practices that work behind them.

No Blog is an Island: This is perhaps the biggest take-away from my blogging experience. Once I added a Twitter account to my blog, my entire blogging experience began to change (see: Progress). In this “Web 2.0 era” it is so important to be highly connected on and offline. The more connected you are, the more information you can receive AND the more your information can be circulated.

Progress:

Twitter: I’ve had Twitter for a while now and I’ve also had a blog for a while but not until listening to our guest bloggers, did I realize the importance of joining the two. The Twitter/blog combo is good for a few reasons:

  1. Finding new content: I discovered multiple new bands on Twitter (one of whom I blogged about– See: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors)
  2. Attracting viewers/promotion: By following music fans on Twitter, I too received a few followers which hopefully brought more traffic to my page.
  3. Engaging with viewers: I wrote some tweets asking about new music and had a few responses from some of my followers. Perhaps via Twitter is a better, more personal way to engage with viewers (as opposed to via blog comments- see: Comment Culture)
  4. Networking/Finding out more about artists: After writing about Par Avion and tweeting the post, I received a message from the band offering to send me a copy of their EP.

The main take-away from this Twitter discussion is that with blogging, you really get out what you put in. If you take the time to promote your blog, you’ll get more viewers, which will make your blog more interactive and hopefully give you more incentive to write.

Challenges:

MP3: I really think my blog could have been enhanced by putting MP3s on the page. This is minor, but for a music blog, I think it’s important. When I tried to upload MP3s, it said that I needed to use wordpress.org. One day, if I decide to pay for my domain, I might have MP3s

Post Frequency: I always log onto blogs and I’m upset when there’s no new content but now I can appreciate all the work that goes into posting frequently.  I also found that my subject choice makes frequent posts difficult. How often do you find noteworthy unsigned bands?

Voice: I found it challenging to write in my authentic- non academic- voice but I think this was a good exercise for future blog/new media endeavors.

The Future of Undiscovered Muse

When I first chose my blog title, I was tempted to steal the name of my former blog (Muse Sickly Challenged). While I enjoyed the name of my first blog, I realized in tutorial that it wasn’t particularly easy to say/spell which made it a poor domain name. When this subject is officially over, I plan to merge the content of Undiscovered Muse and Muse Sickly Challenged, taking the name of the former. For Muse Sickly Challenged, I used Blogger, which allowed me more freedom for my theme.  But I have decided to stick with WordPress because it does a lot of the work (pings, trackbacks) for me- which makes marketing a lot easier.  I am excited to use the new methods of promotion (pings, trackbacks, comments, twitter) that I’ve learned in this subject.  The little bits of information that we learned about search engine optimization will hopefully come in handy in the future.

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Electric Wire Hustle, Steppin Up the Neo-Soul Game

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Right about now, you’re probably wondering what any of these images have to do with one another. But don’t worry, I got you covered.

Electric Wire Hustle is a band I’ve been listening to for the past year and I just found out they’re coming to Australia (of course, after I leave). This R&B/Soul band has the laid back, old-school vibe of Curtis Mayfield with the Hip-Hop/Soul musicality of The Roots. And in case you haven’t gotten my gist yet, that combination makes them quite genius! So now you’re probably wondering about the kiwi. Well, Electric Wire Hustle happens to be from New Zealand which makes this soulful trio that much better.

Check out the video for “Perception”

Check out more EWH on: MySpace | Twitter | Facebook |

Categories: Muses Tags: , ,

Creative Commons

May 29, 2010 Leave a comment

You’ve heard about it on the news or perhaps in your classes, but you were too lazy to Wikipedia what Creative Commons was all about. Well, here it is.

WTF est CC?


According to Marc Garcelon, “Creative Commons devised a novel strategy giving current copyright holders the option of making creative work available for copying and distribution by granting various exceptions to the rights they hold under copyright. Thus Creative Commons needed no legislative action to legally enable its licenses, as these are voluntary license explicitly deferring to standard American copyright law whenever legal questions come into play. Creative Commons thus emerged as a counterpoint to open-ended copyright pushes by commercially successfully creators and large media corporation.”

Still don’t wanna read? I can dig. Check out this video instead.

Pros of CC:

-creates a space for amateur production to thrive (remixes etc)

-allows producers more flexibility with(in) copyright

Cons of CC:

ignores “economic model for supporting cultural production”- Medosch

-allows “venture capital driven online projects such as Flickr or YouTube [to] make a fortune by harnessing user generated content” (Medosch)

I’d like to describe CC as the “indie” or “grassroots” alternative to copyright which becomes particularly immediate when dealing with user-generated content and “independent” producers (see: Sharing is Caring)

My CC License

If you scroll to the bottom of the left-hand side of this blog, you’ll see my CC License: “Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.” According to creativecommons.org, “This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.” I wanted to allow people to use my work but I wanted to make sure that I was acknowledged and that they did not profit from my work. This part of my license was easy to decide but the difficult part came in deciding whether to add the “share alike” aspect to my license. Ultimately, I decided not to do this because I thought it was too restrictive.  Once my work has been remixed, I think it’s up to the subsequent producer to decide how they would like to license it. I realize the potential loopholes in this decision (after being passed on a few times, my work could potentially be used for commercial purposes), but given this particular medium, I’m not too concerned.

Sharing is CCaring: More CC Pros

The Blogosphere: As I stated earlier, CC works hand-in-hand with user-generated content and this is particularly important in the blogosphere. CC enables me to easily access pictures and themes for my blog. While it may seem like this sort of sharing only helps the “remixer,” because of linking capabilities, it usually benefits all parties involved.

Music- it’s so indie!:  Hip-hop, Electronica, Pop, and pretty much every other genre these days thrive off of sampling. In the music industry, CC is very important because it allows unknown artists to get their names out while also enabling musicians to share their work with one another. Victor Stone explains,

You have the struggling artist who’s unknown and…it only makes sense to put music in the commons…Because….if you reserve your rights, and you make criminals of other people who listen to your music, then guess what- no one will ever hear your music…it’s been pummeled into our minds that if you give away your music, you’re going to ruin your career…you’re going to ruin your career if you don’t give away your music.

It’s also a powerful rejection against the mainstream notion that “only those who are paid are legitimate and professional producers” (see: Armin Medosch– Paid In Full).

[John] Buckman (see: Magnatune)  realized that using Creative Commons licenses, thus, giving potential downloaders both non-commercial and commercial options, allowed small companies to challenge major music companies’ attempts to control distribution markets. — Marc Garcelon

This is the grassroots music. This is the indie music that’s more concerned about the sound, the experiments, the fun, than the money. But unfortunately, for many Americans, free does not mean cool.  Victor Stone explains,

The fact of the matter [is, for] an American…if it’s free, it must either be stolen or it sucks…And in the case of music, it mainly “sucks.” I wanted ccMixter [to be] where you could reliably find good free music that breaks the notion of if it’s free, it must suck.

Still Don’t Know If CC is for you?

Check out this video by Lawrence Lessig: “File Sharing: Pros and Cons for Independent Artists”

Where’s Your Head At?

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The British Medical Journal has some “Metical” advice for headbangers– check out this blog

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Wallpaper, Taking Music Seriously Since…Never

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Where do I begin? Wallpaper is a two-piece electro-hip-hop duo from Sacramento, California. Eric Federic who goes by the pseduonym Ricky Reed masters the auto-tuned vocals while Arjun, sits back on the drums.

I first heard about Wallpaper last summer when I was doing research for my internship at WMG. I was looking for concerts to attend when I saw that Wallpaper would be playing in Brooklyn. And after hearing their remix of Das Racist‘s “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” (earth-shattering!) I knew I had to see Wallpaper live. The show was …interesting. Ricky Reed was drunk as but he put on an amazing show…possibly one of the best I’ve ever been too. His entire outfit was made of sequins and I was in love. Since the concert, Wallpaper  has blown up…they’ve even been featured oddly enough on the BBC for a mash up of Jay Z’s 99 Problems and DOA (“I’ve got 99 Problems but my pitch ain’t one”). Wallpaper soon became a viral hit (check out: “The Anatomy of a Web Hit: Wallpaper’s Autotuned Mash-Up of Jay-Z’s Death of Autotune“)

Ricky Reed is quite the character. While it’s not quite evident which substance he might be abusing, it certainly adds something to his music…and quite frankly, I love it. Check out this video of RR explaining the logic behind the name of Wallpaper’s most recent album, Doo Doo Face:

But on the reals, Wallpaper is awesome and you should definitely keep an eye out for them.

Have a listen to “DDD” my favorite song off Doo Doo Face:

Need entertainment for days? Follow Wallpaper on:

MySpace | Twitter | YouTube | iTunes | Blogosphere | Facebook | Say Now


Categories: Muses Tags: , ,

Attention Unsigned Melbourne Acts (Part II)

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment


That is all…thank me later.

Locksley

May 23, 2010 3 comments

No- this is not a picture of the Beatles. This is Locksley, a four-man power-pop/rock outfit from Madison Wisconsin (now residing in Brooklyn). But describing themselves as “doo-wop punk,” I’m not relly sure they fit inside any genre. I really like this band because while their sound is reminiscent of the British Invasion, they modernize it in their own way and I think they’re one of the most unique bands I’ve heard lately.

Check Out: Why Not Me (Why Can’t I Be You)

Good Luck getting that one out of your head.

Keep up with Locksley on: MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | iTunes