Wednesday, January 12. 2011
I'm in the process of updating websites and getting two more podcasts of the ground.
Back in May of 2011 I started a podcast called "pretty good gig" and it has taken off nicely. With a tag line of "interviews and conversations with musical people" it has been great fun interviewing friends and folks I've never met. Musicians, producers, and anybody who has some connection to music and the music business. prettygoodgig.com
UFOfarm is another project of mine. I started exploring instrumental music heavy with synths, drum loops, moody echoes, jazz influenced sax - just a wide open musical carnival. My tag line description of this is "music for technicolor daydreaming." I decided to add a podcast and plan to also do some video stuff on youtube and ustream with live performance, studio views and descriptions of the process. ufofarm.com
On my own personal site I've decided to add a podcast to called "Bill Kahler's Acoustic Corner" and the tag is "stories around the songs and techniques inside the music." I will be talking about how the songs came together, tunings, recording process and various stories. Another free style mish mash! There will also be connections to ustream and already there are links to youtube where views total in the thousands of capo techniques. billkahler.com
Thursday, September 9. 2010
Tess from Sonicbids left this comment and for some reason it never showed up so I pasted this from the email:
Tess has left a new comment on your post "Sonicbids, Taxi - worth the money? Scams?":
Hi Bill, Tess here - I'm the Community Manager at Sonicbids. Wanted to post a note here for you and address a couple of your concerns.
Your comments on the venues/submission fees are ones we?ve heard before ? so we?ve taken a lot of the feedback we?ve gotten and we are actually getting rid of submission fees for most of the venues and more accessible promoters you mention. The $2-10 fees you see for gigs like that were instituted as filters originally to prevent spam, but now we're shifting gears and turning them to No Cost listings and are currently in the works of developing the right kind of filters for these. As we do this, we already have over 150 No Cost Listings on Sonicbids. You can read some comments from Panos (our CEO/founder) on his blog about this initiative: http://panosbrew.sonicbids.
Also, sorry if you felt blindsided by your recent membership charge. Our membership plans are just like a gym membership where you set it up and it auto-renews you when your period is up. If you want, I can take care of that for you. Just send me an email. (tess at sonicbids dot com)
Thanks ? hope this helps!
Nice note. Still, you pay a membership, submit to a gig that only pays in tips, and you could just call them on the phone. For that matter why even go through the trouble of a free gig unless you think you can sell some product and make some tips. And, you can call some of those places on the phone yourself. It just doesn't seem like the kind of gig that most folks need help getting.
I find it interesting the way she compares the auto renewal to a gym membership. Health clubs are notorious for their automatic renewal of fees and make it very difficult to cancel at times. Their main interest is signing new members, just like Taxi and Sonicbids.
Additionally Sonicbids claims to have Nashville connections but in reality music submitted to Nashville publishers is never done in person. It goes into a drop box and then into the trash. Same thing for Taxi. Nashville publishers really have no interest in checking out outside submissions. They have writers on staff that they pay to write songs, usually on a draw. The only way they get this money back is if they get cuts on songs those writers.
I'm not saying either service is a scam or anything of the sort but I have plenty of musician friends with simlar stories and who eventually dropped memberships.
Tuesday, September 7. 2010
A couple things bother me about Sonicbids.The membership renewal without prior notification is the main reason I dropped them. I realize there is the "fine print on the contract" and so on but the first notice I had of renewal was on my credit card statement and I did not appreciate feeling like the fee was "sneaked past me."
Secondly, many of the venues you have to pay to submit to are a total waste of time. I have played many of the places listed and it was easy to book dates there with a phone call. Paying to submit to a place that does not pay anything makes no sense to me. Who makes money on these listings? The venue and Sonic Bids.
Might be too strong to call it a scam. . . might not. It is obvious that there is a bigger advantage to Sonicbids and many of the venues than there is for a musician or performer.
In some ways this is similar to Taxi, whose main goal is to sign up members, not to do the thing they sell. If you talk to publishers in Nashville about Taxi, they will tell you they have writers on staff and thousands of the worlds best writers at their fingertips. Why would they spend time going through Taxi submissions?
Friday, June 11. 2010
I heard an idea once from Alan Rowoth that I thought was brilliant was advice to a young singer/songwriter which could apply to a band. "Young" being the key adjective.
After college or so, pick a major metro area to live in that has a huge music scene within a one day drive. You could live in the Philly area and play New York, Boston etc. Live there for 2 or3 years until you know the town and gigs inside out and build a large email list and then move to another area like maybe Chicago, going back to play favorite Philly, Boston, N.Y. venues ocasionally. Next move again, maybe to San Francisco. Repeat.
By the time everybody is in their late 20's or early 30's the band, or duo or solo act will have enough places to play to make a living with three geographic locations as far as touring.
Lots of work but very doable if you have a dedicated band. (The idea probably works best for duos and solos obviously.)
All week I struggled with getting my podcast up on itunes - prettygoodgig.com. I set up hosting through godaddy.com, installed wordpress, and used feedburner to establish the RSS feed. It looks like feedburner would have all you need but I could not get my image to show up in itunes! No artwork at all. I also was missing the author tag and some other stuff.
While searching around I saw dozens of posts that said "can't get my image to appear in itunes using feedburner, wordpress etc."
During my search I came across powerpress which was rated very highly, so I installed it and struggled with that for days. Nothin'! Nada!
While looking at the site for the podcast called audionowcast, one I really am a fan of, for the information and humor about all things audio, I discovered they used podpress which was not as highly rated but should be at the top in my opinion because everything came together after installing that plug in. I did end up using a separate player for the mp3s of the podcast, and I also installed my itunes image in the wordpress "Resources" folder. If I had this step by step along with the other info I found about starting a podcast such as the Apple podcast help, it would have saved me 20+ hours of fiddling.
Lastly, to get an image to show up in album art on the itunes page, you embed the jpg in the mp3 file. With the file loaded into the itunes program, click on get info for that file, choose album artwork, drag the image to that location. The artwork shows up in the little box on the bottom left of the itunes view. After that upload this new mp3 to your podcast site. I had already done 4 episodes, so I had to reload the mp3 files and change the name of each one too.
Still working on trying to get the image to show up in search results!
This week was like a college course! Hope this helps!
Tuesday, May 25. 2010
Announcing my brand new podcast - pretty good gig. Check it out at prettygoodgig.com. The show features interviews and conversations with musical people - a behind the scenes look at gigging, songwriting, recording and working in all kinds of situations as a musician. Should be searchable on itunes very soon, but you can still subscribe to it through itunes. Instructions are on the prettygoodgig.com site.
First interview is with James Casto with a hilarious look at playing the Conyers Georgia Fall Festival and the prisoner skit. Show #2 features Justin Kahler talking about attending SAE audio recording school and working in a studio. Then show #3 features Charles Williams of the Bonaventure Quartet and his work with Bernadette Seacrest. Lots of stuff about Django and gypsy jazz.
Friday, March 12. 2010
But they edited the letter and here is what was left out:
I totally agreed with what Larry Crane replied to the part of the letter that was published but
I had just spent the money for the upgrade on the software a short time before they ended the product. I'm sure they knew they were selling an upgrade to a product that was going away. Might as well have burned some 20's in my front yard! I just think it's reasonable for a company to give you a heads up on when they are discontinuing something, since you have to register etc. and they have contact info.
Additionally, the $60 product they mentioned is pretty cool, but why didn't N.I. tell me about it? Seems like the company is a little screwy when it comes to customer service.
Then on the other hand, I bought some way out of date IK Multimedia software for 50 bucks, and they gave me a download link for the latest version of the 400 buck mastering software! Which company do you think I am going to buy from?
Saturday, January 9. 2010
So I picked up a copy of T-Racks Mastering software. Bought it online and the description seemed to suggest it would work with my current Mac OS. When the box showed up, I had my doubts. (I am using Mac OS 10.5.6 and the box actually said it would work with OS 9!)
I called Musician's Friend where I had purchsed the software and asked them if it was compatible and they said I would have to ask the tech department. I asked if they could transfer my call. No, I would have to email them because they can't take calls! (?)
So I emailed them and received a message that someone would get back to me within one business day. (That was a week ago and I still haven't heard back.)
I really wanted to try the software so I emailed IK Multimedia. Received a reply in about half an hour! They told me I probably had version 2 and when I registered the serial number they would send me a download link that would work with my system.
When I was registering the number, it looked like I actually had version 1 and I thought, oh no, I had just wasted my money on an outdated version. I really expected to find out I would have to buy a new version or at the least, purchase an upgrade.
Immediately I was sent a link for downloading the version 3 of the software, which installed easily with no problems, and more importantly, sounds fantastic!
Way to go IK Multimedia. You just won another faithful supporter. Native Instruments should take a lesson from you!
Wednesday, October 28. 2009
It is so cool to listen to something that is very similar to radio except it's exactly the programming you want and there are no commercials! Heck, ya might even learn something.
Here are some of my favorite podcasts:
A Prairie Home Companion's The News From Lake Wobegon (If you never heard Garrison Keilor tell a story, you are missing out.)
CD Baby DIY Musician's Podcast (Great stuff about marketing and promotion and the journey as a musician)
EM Cast (From Electronic Musician Magazine)
Inside Home Recording (Cool recording show)
New Yorker: Fiction (Great for long drives in the car - one story equals 60 to 80 miles or so!)
Sessions With Slau (More recording stuff - very cool)
Sonictalk (And more - this one with a Brit twist to it though there are a couple Yanks)
Sonicstate (Video podcast of gear reviews, recording, synths, guitar stuff, studio tours - very well done)
Sound On Sound (Along with TapeOp, the best recording/tech mag there is - this is their podcast, again a bit of the Brit)
This American Life (NPR's show about things you might never imagine, sometimes interesting and sometimes riveting, with subjects all over the map. Ira does a fine job!)
Wednesday, October 21. 2009
I don't understand how a company can have such terrible support. It's like buying something from a guy on the street who takes your mmoney and then you never see him again!
Got the upgrade message for Pro Tools 8.0.1 LE and after upgrading my system locked up because the Native Instruments B4II is not compatible with the upgrade. Had to drag it out of my plugins folder. The worst part is N.I. is NO LONGER SUPPORTING THIS PLUG AND OTHERS. Arrggh! More money wasted on software that now is obsolete. I bought the B4 originally, then paid for the upgrade (less than a year ago) and now it's vapor. I will never buy another N.I. product again. I realize it's difficult to keep up with all the system upgrades etc. but isn't that what a company is in for when they go into this business? I am disgusted with this lack of support from N.I.!
Sunday, June 21. 2009
While watching a trailer on HBO there was a song playing that had the words "You addict me" in the chorus. There were some other lyrics that are now fading from my head like waking up from a dream. I thought it was a cool song and a great time to check it out on itunes. Couldn't find it.
I searched a while more and then wondered, if an artist whose song is on HBO is impossible to find doing a lyric search, what about me? So I googled one of my own oddball lyrics and it didn't come up. Then another - Nada. But on the third one I tried, from a more recnt CD, it came up on billkahler.com. (Check it out.)
Turns out it's a good idea to put your lyrics on your site somewhere in case someone hears a song of yours and wants to download it on itunes.
Of course that's just my opinion and I realize a lot of songwriters are afraid their songs are going to get stolen. Probably not. The bad thing is, no one will know about them at all.
So I finally got the extension tube for the Pro 44. It took a bunch of emails and calls to customer service before I finally got a reply. I was told I had to order the part (#MP-181) from a Hammond dealer. Strangest thing about it was that since it was drop shipped from Hammond, they couldn't tell me any details on cost!
I gave my credit card number and a couple weeks later got the package. Inside was a tube very much like the flexible gooseneck hose that originally came with the 44, only shorter - about 8" long. When you bend it and insert the flexible plastic hose, you gain about 2 - 3" which helps with the bending-over-playing position but it's not exactly ideal.
Originally I guessed the part would probably cost about $15 plus a few bucks for shipping. Ah, but hammond is really proud of their stuff and their price on this was $36! They apparently are very proud of their shipping too because for a one pound package shipped UPS ground they charged another $16, bringing the price for this up to $52 and the total for the Hammond Pro 44 to $602! Holy smokes.
This will be my last Hammond purchase I believe.
Had I known all this on the outset, I certainly would have figured a way to attach contact mics to my Hohner $125 melodica instead.
Then again, if one pays 10 times more for a Jaguar than a Honda, one doesn't get a 10 times better car. . . .
Please visit billkahler.com.
Friday, April 3. 2009
I've been a big fan of melodicas - nothing else sounds quite like them - a cross between a harmonica and an accordion. Their sound can be quite mood evoking in the right settings with the right amount of reverb o echo or whatever.
I just picked one of these up and the first thing I have to say is it wasn't cheap. I bought my first melodica in 1978 for 10 or 20 bucks. My second purchase was about 8 or 9 years ago for a Hohner that's not too bad and it was about $125. They were glorified toys really.
The Suzuki Hammond is $550 right now! Phew! But, you get what you pay for right? Sort of.
So what's the deal? Well, after reading the review in Keyboard magazine I decided it was going to be a cool addition to my instrument arsenal, and it was right around my birthday so I had the perfect justification.
It's much more of an instrument than my other melodica. The sound is at least 75% better, fuller richer. The wood finish looks like the fine wood grain on a Lexus (key words -" looks like " - it's really plastic), and the internal mic seemed like a good thing to have when playing with a band. The keys feel pretty good an don't click and clack like the Hohner but they are thinner and smaller than the Hohner! ?
The Keyboard review talked about the tone, volume, keys and was overall very positive. While the info in the review was true, there were many things Michael Gallant failed to mention.
The air hose is cheap, like a Mattel toy, and it's really short. You have to hunch over while playing the thing if it's sitting on your piano. Hammond says they are looking into an extension. We'll see - I hope so. They said it may take 30 days before one is available. I'm hoping they aren't just saying this so that the short tube comments don't start showing up on the forums, denting possible sales. I will keep you posted as to whether this problem gets worked out. This is a real make-or-break deal for me. (Hammond, are you listening?) If an extension hose or another hose all together is not offered, I will be left to rigging up my own air hose with some Home Depot shopping. An item that is played by blowing into it is not returnable. Truth be told, I'm not sure I would return it if I could - I really do like the thing. But. . . .
The goose neck air tube is heavy and awkward - so I far I can't see any use for it. Interestingly, the 44 is louder with the goose neck than it is with the air hose - probably because more air can get through it.
The mouthpiece is a cheap-feeling piece of plastic. I would have expected some sort of replaceable cork and a hard rubber mouthpiece similar to a saxophone type set up.
It is quite prone to feedback and it is quite a challenge when playing with a loud band. It is controllable but tricky.
The volume control is on the right hand side makes no sense. (My Moog also has this. Do the designers ever go out and play the prototypes of instruments? Sems like they could figure out a volume control on the left makes way more sense.)
The backpack design of the gig bag is really weird. Is anyone really going to put a strap over each shoulder and wear this 3 lb. instrument bag like a backpack? (I picture little kids walking to school - but these would be spoiled little kids to have such an expensive toy.) It should have one decent strap and a better handle. (Designers again - how would you carry this thing? Do straps make sense?) I will be looking into some sort of case for it to protect it better. Again, this should have been more thought out. This is a really small thing.
In my opinion, for $550, it should be an overall better instrument. I like it but I'm somewhat disappointed so far - if it were $250 I'd be fine with it. I can overlook straps on the gig bag - who cares? I can deal with controlling the feedback - turn it off when not in use etc. I could probably rig up a better mouthpiece system with the help of my instrument repair guy. The biggest let down is that darn air hose. It should have been longer and of better quality. What happens if the cheap plastic gets a tear in it and they no longer make the 44? Home Depot again!
I am beginning to suspect manufacturers get a nod and a wink in Keyboard magazine reviews for an exchange in ad revenue. I'm told by the editor this isn't so. Check out my previous notes about the stuck-in-the-eighties-bad-key-action Juno Stage. Keyboard raved about this one as well.
Monday, January 19. 2009
Monday, December 8. 2008
After struggling with this problem for months, I finally fixed it. My Macbook would connect to the wrong network when waking from sleep or turning on the Airport card. I looked all over the net trying to find a way to fix it and the close but no cigar answer was "select preferred networks instead of automatic with your network as the preferred one," etc.
That didn't do it, even when I set it all up and locked it. One post said to delete other networks in the preferred category and another said to delete all other WAP password protected networks.
What finally worked for me was to delete ALL the preferred networks inclding my own using the minus sign and then using the plus sign I added my own. Once this was all set up, I was able to switch back to automatic and so far it's been a smashing success that only took hours and hours of teeth grinding. Why Apple couldn't have this info on their web site I don't know.
(Page 1 of 3, totaling 45 entries) » next page
Syndicate This Blog