Dec 6 2012

New Trio Record Preview Track!!

Hello folks,

Yesterday I got together with Jez Carr and Mike Haughton to work out what we’re going to do with the trio project.

We’re going to release an album very soon. It’s going to be called Foreground Music, Vol. I. As soon as it’s mastered by Jez we’re essentially good to go so watch this space for the release announcement. We’re going to put it out on Bandcamp. As it stands the album runs at about 72 minutes of freely improvised music over eight tracks. We’re all so pleased with the way it came out.

So, what does this music sound like? I hear you ask. Well, as a special treat for you all here and on Facebook and Twitter, here is a little preview track from the album. It’s mixed but not mastered. This will be the closing track from the record and is a lovely piano/saxophone feature. Not much bass on this particular track boys and girls but fear not; there’s all kinds of bottom end action to come.

Also, you’ll be glad to know that Jez has recently rejoined the world of Twitter and is now fully tweetable (!). You can find him at Jez Carr. He has also added his wonderful duo album with bassist Steve Lawson Conversations to his Bandcamp page. You should all check this out while you wait for our trio record. Here’s the handy player so you can have a listen…

So watch this space and Twitter for the release announcement. It could be as early as this weekend if it all goes to plan. Exciting times. Hope you like the preview folks!

Until then…

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…

Jan 31 2012

Bandcamp Tips: Embedding Bandcamp Players On Your Site

Hello folks,

I had a rather fraught evening last night when I discovered that my lovingly-crafted website front page, with all it’s cunningly placed Bandcamp players, did not display properly on certain mobile devices. Now I am a bit of an Apple fan and thus only tested the page on my iPhone and iPad 2. I have no way of testing it on an Android phone or Opera etc, but seeing as though a huge proportion of us use various “iDevices” to browse the internet I thought this was issue enough to take immediate action.

Yes, I am a big geek and this post might not be of interest to many of you; but if like me you use Bandcamp as the major distributor for your music then this issue may well affect you too. The embeddable players are one of the best features offered by Bandcamp and one of the many reasons I chose to go down that route to distribute my music.

After a bit of digging around and a call for help to the lovely people of Twitter (@basdriver, @solobasssteve and @alunvaughan were all very helpful) I think I discovered the root of the problem. I was using the original Bandcamp embed code, which looks like this:

<object width=”400″ height=”100″ classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ codebase=”,0,40,0″><param name=”quality” value=”high” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><param name=”allowNetworking” value=”always” /><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /><param name=”src” value=”;iframe width=” /><param name=”allownetworking” value=”always” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><embed width=”400″ height=”100″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”;iframe width=” quality=”high” allowScriptAccess=”always” allowNetworking=”always” wmode=”transparent” allownetworking=”always” allowscriptaccess=”always” /></object>

Now it looks to me like this contains a Flash player link, which iDevices do not support. Plenty of people have Flash-based websites which simply do not display on iPhones, iPads etc. That would drive me round the bend by the way…

The newer embed codes (and the default code when you click the “Share” button on Bandcamp these days) does not contain a Flash link. They look like this:

<iframe width=”400″ height=”100″ style=”position: relative; display: block; width: 400px; height: 100px;” src=”” allowtransparency=”true” frameborder=”0″><a href=””>The Knowledge of Things To Come by Simon Little</a></iframe>

So all you need to do is go through your site and replace any old embed codes with the new version. Simple as that really.

Also, in case you wanted to center the player on your page like I did, you’ll need to wrap the embed code with <p align=”center”>code</p>. In case you were wondering…

Sorry for the geekfest, but my previous post on Bandcamp image maps proved rather popular and if I can save you the hour or two of frantic Googling that I experienced last night, my job is done.

Good luck 😉

ps. If you haven’t heard my latest solo album The Knowledge of Things To Come (shame on you), then here is said Bandcamp player in all it’s glory (cunningly centered too by the way!). Feel free to embed it somewhere for your friends and help spread the word. You have instructions now so no excuses…