Dec 5 2013

Solo Albums Now All Pay What You Want

Hello folks

I thought this would be a good time to drop a quick post to let you all know that I have recently made all my solo recordings “pay what you want” on Bandcamp. This means that you can pay whatever you think the music is worth to you. If you want to grab an album for free you can. If you want to make a contribution you can pay whatever you like. A good guide would be around 50p per track but it is entirely up to you.

Mandala

I currently have three solo records out there and one EP. Many of you will be familiar with my first record Mandala which I put out in 2010. This was the result of my early experiments with live-looping and the culmination of a good few years tinkering with the technology. There are still CDs of Mandala available via Bandcamp for the bargain price of five pounds. If you want one signed, just let me know when you buy the record!

The Rejectamenta EP followed in 2011 as a teaser for the next album. That was always available as PWYW, so I’m guessing if you’ve been following my music you’ll have that one already! This was followed by The Knowledge Of Things To Come later in the year. This record was a lot more glitchy and in your face than Mandala and was a bit more progressive in the use of live looping as a compositional device. No CDs of that one I’m afraid…

The Knowledge of Things To Come

And finally we have the ‘acoustic’ album [un]plugged, recorded on that rare breed of instruments; the acoustic bass guitar. I really like this record and whatever shape the next record takes I can imagine it will be along these lines. I went for a far purer sound his time with fewer bells and whistles sonically to let the sound of the instrument shine through. It was pretty well-received when it came out in 2012.

[un]plugged Artwork Final

So there you have it. A whole bunch of music for whatever you want to pay for it. About three and a half hours of bassy goodness to rattle your speakers. If you do feel like making a contribution for the records you can rest assured that it all goes back into making more music. Although it doesn’t cost me much financially to put an album together the way I work, the gear is frankly bloody expensive!

So why have I decided to switch to PWYW on Bandcamp at this stage? you may ask. Well a number of artists that I have a lot of respect for have been using this payment model for a number of years now and it’s something I’ve been meaning to try out. It gives  listeners the opportunity to consider the value of the music they listen to and take a punt on something new. All these records are on Spotify too.

So tell your friends that this music is out there. Bandcamp has a plethora of sharing options for you to shout about the music you love so it’s all very easy. And if you do pay something for the music you’ll appear in the ‘supported by’ section directly under the album artwork. If you add a review that’ll pop up too. Bandcamp has become such a fantastic site for artists and fans alike over the last couple of years. In fact I wrote a blog post about the new Fan Pages a little while ago which is worth a quick read if you’re unfamiliar with all the new features. I’m rather proud of how my fan page is coming along!

So go forth people! If you really want to support this music why not buy a CD of Mandala? Christmas will be upon us before you know it! I shall start thinking about the next record. If you have any requests or suggestions, let me know.

Until then…

Simon Little DLM Grunge


Mar 23 2012

CDs or Downloads?? You Decide.

Good morning everybody,

Earlier this month I asked the good people of Twitter whether they preferred downloads or physical copies of albums. The main reason behind this is that my third solo album (#soloalbum3) is coming together nicely and will soon be ready for release. So it’s that time of year once again when I agonize over whether to get a load of CDs pressed or just stick to digital distribution.

A lot of artists and bands are struggling with this question now so I thought I’d drop a quick post here to share my thoughts and hopefully hear some of yours.

With two albums out already I have experimented with both formats. My first album Mandala was released in 2010 on CD and download. It was my first dalliance with Bandcamp and also the first time I’d been through the process of getting a physical product manufactured. So all very exciting. It was important for me to have CDs pressed for my first album, whether they sold or not, because it was something I’d always dreamed of doing. Sad but true. So I had 1000 copies made.

Which is a big issue for a lot of people. I didn’t need 1000 copies. I am well aware that if I choose to make particularly esoteric music I won’t be selling vast quantities of CDs. And given the kind of music it is (and if you haven’t heard it yet but are reading this blog post I have no idea how you got here!) a download would be preferable to most people.

Here’s the rub. It is the same price to get 1000 copies made as it is to get 500 made. And the price per unit is extortionate for anything less than 1000 copies. I have a lot left folks! Fear not if you don’t have one yet; I shan’t run out any time soon. Most people that did buy Mandala from my website (or iTunes etc) bought the download. I tend to sell the CDs on gigs but not so much online. I guess buying a CD from someone you have seen perform live is a very different and more tangible experience than going home after a show and downloading their album.

So when it was time to release my second album The Knowledge of Things To Come last year I decided to release it purely as a download. This meant that the audio quality of the music was higher across the board (24bit as opposed to 16bit squashed down for CD) and I had no production costs. I sold more digital copies of Knowledge than I did of Mandala.

But I can’t sell it on gigs. As a result I’d say that I have sold far fewer copies of the last download-only record than the one which is available on CD. After a chat with Grant Windsor on one of our long car journeys across the country with Ms Teal (#tealtour) I have been considering the idea of selling download cards at gigs instead. Now this is not a new concept. Bandcamp have been offering this facility for years and I know CD Baby also offer them to users. Basically I would be selling a little printed card with a unique download code which would enable people at gigs to go home and download the album. I like this idea because although you can tell people to go home and look at your website in nine times out of ten they won’t. Or more likely they will have forgotten the address. Having a physical thing that you have paid money for to actually take home and utilize makes a big difference. I think..

So. It’s over to you. I had a very mixed response form Twitter (@simonlittle). I was expecting the vast majority of Twitter users to prefer downloads. But a significant number of people stated they would much prefer a CD. Something to touch, keep, play in the car etc. I have started buying much more music as downloads, purely because 1. It’s normally a bit less money, 2. I have so many CDs and I have very little room and 3. I listen to virtually all my music via my iPod wherever I am anyway. I haven’t used a CD player for years so all the CDs I buy only ever get played into iTunes anyway. I do always buy CDs from certain artists. Peter Broderick, Kate Bush, Bjork and Tom Waits have all prompted instant trips to Fopp.

So which would you prefer and why? Do leave your comments here so we can have a little discussion. I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts…


Jul 1 2011

The Knowledge of Things To Come: Two week update & Other News

Hello folks,

Well it’s been a fortnight since I released my new solo album The Knowledge of Things To Come on Bandcamp and iTunes. So far I’ve had a very positive response from all concerned.

I had a lovely review from Oliver Arditi on the fantastic eBurban site. I was really pleased to get a review on eBurban as I really like that site and they have some great writers working for them. Oliver’s closing comments:

Little presents a series of atmospheres, a selection of airs for us to inhale. They do not take us to extreme places: there is a tang of melancholy, but there is also a sense of purposeful movement. The experience of listening is highly rewarding, for the continual sonic transformations, and the ongoing flow of ideas, as well as for the moods he creates. The Knowledge Of Things To Come is the work of a thoughtful and very creative musician, and one who shows signs of development and growth with every new release.

Oliver is such a great writer. He has previously done reviews for both Mandala and the Rejectamenta EP. In fact he is the only person to have reviewed all my solo releases. He has a brand new website so go check it out and subscribe to the feed.

I also had a little feature on the front page of the Warwick website. For those of you that don’t already know, I am a long-standing endorser for Warwick basses and amps. The whole of the record (and the previous albums) were recorded using my fantastic Warwick Thumb bass and they are a big part of my sound. I was really pleased to be featured on the site again and it’s great to have their support, especially for the solo projects.

One track from the album will be the featured free download of the day on the All About Jazz website on July 16th so keep your eyes peeled for that one. I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you which one.

I’ll keep you posted on any new reviews or features on the album as they come in. Probably via Twitter. I’ll assume that if you’re reading this we probably chat on twitter at some point!

Had a rather busy week last week as I scooted up and down the country with Clare Teal. We played Glastonbury last Saturday in the Bourbon Street tent. Didn’t get much chance to see any other acts (saw two songs from Rumer on the main stage; it was nearest) and only slightly wrecked my bass in the mud. Please remind me to take my electric bass next time I play Glastonbury; it really isn’t the place to be carting around antique instruments.

I went straight from there to play a show in Tychy (I’ve seen it spelt about a million ways) in Poland with Maggie Reilly. We had a lot of fun out there in the short period whilst we weren’t on planes and waiting in airports. For the first time since I’ve been playing with her, somebody in the audience filmed us playing a song that isn’t Moonlight Shadow. Here is a wobbly video of us playing To France. The sound is pretty nasty so don’t get over-excited!

I shall leave you for now. Don’t forget to grab a copy of the new album from the Music page via Bandcamp. It’s the only place where you can get the full hi-res audio. The iTunes versions will be all squashed down to fit in with all their other squashed down music. You know it makes sense… And don’t forget to spread the word of the solo bassist and his new album ;)

I hope you’re all enjoying it.

Simon x