| Jeff Schmidt, Bassist
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December 22, 2008

What Does this headline mean/say to you?


Here are a few random thoughts that popped into my cavernous mind on reading that.

A.) Duh . . . Most music just blows.

B.) Duh . . . of course it didn't sell cuz it was stolen/pirated

C.) Duh . . . People are only interested in buying Kanye records

D.) Duh . . . what do you expect when you let amature and hobbyist musicians put their music in online stores next great artists like Kanye.

E.) Duh . . . music continues to have the worst effort to payoff ratio of anything you can do with your time. Besides listening to Kanye.

F.) Duh . . . this obviously doesn't include indie artists. Or does it? Who knows - the article isn't clear. WTF?

G.) Duh . . . now I can't wait to begin working on my next internet music release!

H.) Duh . . . you say Duh too much.

Original article HERE

What thoughts bounce into YOUR cavernous mind?


February 26, 2008

I Need Your Help

Thanks and props to you for reading & subscribing to the Beautiful Bass Blog.

I hope you get something out of this space - inspiration, a laugh, a good link or two, things to think about & things to listen to. And that's why I need your help.

This space has become a bit of a catch-all for anything that interests me without too much regard if it interests anyone else. Since this is a PERSONAL blog I suppose that could be excused.

But I'd like to change that.

As I consider a re-design of this site - I want to make sure I'm not just putting new colors on it. I want to make sure it has a purpose. And serves that purpose.

I'm thinking maybe this blog isn't really why you would come here. . . . that maybe it takes focus away from my music. I don't know. Maybe the blog is a good idea - but it should focus on certain kinds of topics? Maybe it should just be a music player and a gig listing?

I'm curious what you guys think.

If you have an opinion could you please take a few seconds to drop a note in the comments - or in my e-mail about what you'd like to see happening in this space?

This site WILL be redesigned. And I WILL listen to your input & ideas. Cuz you guys rule!

What should be?

beautifulbass at gmail dot com

UPDATE: 10:15PM Feb 26 2008 - there was a problem with mysql server and comments were being errored out. please e-mail me if you get an error while trying to comment.

thanks! - -jeff

February 25, 2008

Uh Oh . . . no one is making fun of me.

via Jessica Hagy's EXCELLENT blog - "Indexed"

too many choices - not enough time or attention

As Im sure you guys know - there's almost unlimited choice in news and entertainment now. You can still listen to radio and watch TV to get an idea of what's new & cool. The problem with those mediums is 2 fold.

First - they are totally bound by time & space. There are a limited number of channels and a limited number of hours in the day you can broadcast so the presentation is always going to be limited. It's scarcity.

Second - only things that attract the widest possible audience get "time" on the network. It's great for mass appeal stuff like Michael Jackson & Spiderman movies - not so good with high quality stuff that's more niche in appeal.

Online blows that whole thing wide open. You no longer have to wait for the 6 O'Clock evening news to find out what's happening in the world (on the west coast at least - the evening news is already several hours old by the time it "airs") and you no longer have to wait for a radio station or MTV to play a song before you find out about it.

This is very very cool.

It gives indie musicians and artists the opportunity to be discovered like never before. Of course - when I say "be discovered" I'm not talking about BY the TV and Radio people. Of course that can happen. But they're still looking for the same mass appeal style material they always have.

What I'm really talking about is being discovered by music FANS. Fans that will tell other fans. That trusted source of fan to fan - friend to friend carries far more persuasive weight than an advertisement or a corporate marketing strategy.

But a new problem arises in the land of ubiquity. Too much stuff.

For example. I'm looking at the feeds in my RSS reader. I use Google Reader. It's so efficient that I've subscribed to almost 400 feeds. That's easily 1100 new posts per day. And while google reader makes it easy to sift through all that info - it's still too much to fully appreciate.

So what I do is look to a few trusted sources across several key areas of my interests.

These - incidentally are NOT the traditional "trusted sources" like CNN or The New York Times. They are people (like you) who have earned my TRUST - who have already digested some of that other material and now present it in a smaller more focused and easily consumable package.

In other words - they act as filters. As curators. They perform the same function as CNN or MTV - but on a much smaller scale and for much more focused interests.

I too am a curator of the information I consume with the "share" function of Google Reader. I simply mark items I find interesting and Google Reader posts them to a webpage accessible by anyone. It's not a definitive list of what's available online. It's a definitive list of what I find interesting online. My Google Reader Page.

How is this useful to you? If you like me, if you share interests, if you trust that I know the difference between quality items and shit - my shared items page is a really good resource. I scan 400 feeds a day and only share a dozen or so per day at most. THAT is curation.

What if we could do this with MUSIC? Well, we can't just yet. BUT -

Steve Lawson just launched a new use for our favorite new internet toy Twitter. It's called To The Left Of The Mainstream. It's a regular feed of music Steve finds interesting and worthy of your attention. Follow the TTLOTM feed HERE.

If you like Steve, and trust his taste it's worth following. And it's not just about following Steve - it's about ADDING to the conversation too. You can tell Steve about something - and if he likes it - BOOM it goes on his feed for others to find out about.

Why does it surprise anyone that networking is easier on a NETWORK where communication and information flows in synchronicity?

Curation and filtering are even MORE vital in the internet space because it's potential is nearly limitless. But unlike the old guard - the new filtering is NOT a top down affair. It's interactive. You can shout back at the TV & radio now - and they can hear you- if they choose to listen.

EVERYONE can become a filter.

When you look at what these online tools allow it's all ultimately about connecting with other people and sharing information and ideas. And music connects like nothing else.

How do you do it? By participating. By sharing items online, by engaging others and ADDING to the conversation. In fact - if you engage in conversations you can add value to - the whole space gets better and more useful for everyone.

BTW - it also helps establish your personal BRAND. That's an issue for another time as there is ALWAYS a "what's in it for me" element to the equation. The short answer is - a lot!

February 19, 2008

And you're not on Twitter because . . . . ?



go there.

sign up.

post the inanities of your daily life.

find other people to follow.

watch as interesting things start to happen.

February 12, 2008

reasons I'm video blogging

• improve my video chops. the more I do it - the better I get

• improve ability to explain my process. even when I'm not entirely sure what the hell I'm doing

• to confront & overcome the fear of being exposed - of not being perfect

• perhaps make some of this weird music a bit more accessible by showing "how the sausage is made"

• to open up a space around my musical effort where conversations can happen, views are exchanged and ideas can be shared.

• it's simultaneously an ego boost & an ego check

most importantly.

• when all this music is done and recorded and available to the world as a complete artistic statement - I want there to be a bread crumb trail of how it all came about.

February 11, 2008

Copies are Free, context is NOT

I've Been meaning to post about the Kevin Kelly article about what WON'T be free -or rather - what will be worth paying for.

It's an in depth read - totally worth it if you're pondering what happens when selling copies isn't the business we're in anymore.

The Future of Content: copies are (feels like) Free, context is NOT: "

Inspired by Kevin Kelly's work



(Via MediaFuturist.)

February 06, 2008

follow me on Twitter

I gave up on Jaiku - google bought it out - ignored it and I only know 2 people using it.

I'm on twitter now. everyone uses twitter. they're going for mass - huge mass.

fol-low me . . and I'll, fol-low you and I . . . .


January 12, 2008

The shit storm continues

If you have the stomach - here's more about how major labels are screwed. This time from the Economist:

The music industry | From major to minor | "

And a few of my fav highlights from the article:

IN 2006 EMI, the world's fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. “That was the moment we realised the game was completely up,” says a person who was there.

Ok - so it took almost 10 years for labels to actually SEE people rejecting CDs. Fair enough - I guess.

So - the question we all have is - NOW WHAT?

From the article:

They (labels) now want to move beyond Apple's iTunes and its paid-for downloads. The direction of most of their recent digital deals, such as with Imeem, a social network that offers advertising-supported streamed music, is to offer music free at the point of delivery to consumers.

Perhaps the most important experiment of all is a deal Universal struck in December with Nokia, the biggest mobile-phone maker, to supply its music for new handsets that will go on sale later this year. These “Comes With Music” phones will allow customers to download all the music they want to their phones and PCs and keep it—even if they change handsets when their year's subscription ends. Instead of charging consumers directly, Universal will take a cut of the price of each phone. The other majors are expected to strike similar deals.

“‘Comes with Music' is a recognition that music has to be given away for free, or close to free, on the internet,” says Mr Mulligan.

Paid-for download services will continue and ad-supported music will become more widespread, but subsidised services where people do not pay directly for music will become by far the most popular, he says.

For the recorded-music industry this is a leap into the unknown. Universal and its fellow majors may never earn anything like as much from partnership with device-makers as they did from physical formats. Some among their number, indeed, may not survive.

In other words - people won't buy music - they'll buy things that have music in it.

January 10, 2008

Music Tax Anyone?

One of the comments made in the C-Net interview with Trent Reznor I posted about is the idea of a "Music Tax" on ISP's.

That set off a firestorm around the internet "blogosphere" (intended consequence perhaps?) with most people opposed to the idea. I join them in being against it. I might voluntarily subscribe to a service that gave me access to EVERY song and release - but not some arbitrary tax.

There isn't a clearer, more focused articulation of why a music tax is a bad idea than from Michael Arrington @ TechCrunch - so I re-print his words here.


The Music Industry’s Last Stand Will Be A Music Tax: "

It is becoming more and more difficult for the music industry to ignore the basic economics of the their industry: unenforceable property rights (you can’t sue everyone) and zero marginal production costs (file sharing is ridiculously easy). All the big labels have now given up on DRM. They haven’t yet given up on trying to charge for their music, but it’s becoming more and more clear that as long as there is a free alternative (file sharing), the price of music will have to fall towards free.

You can disagree as to whether it’s ‘fair’ that the price of recorded music will be zero or near zero, but you can’t disagree that it’s going to happen. I presented my arguments here last October. Subsequently, we noted that even offering the new RadioHead album for free didn’t stop massive file sharing on BitTorrent. More recently, NIN’s Trent Reznor was disheartened to see that, when offered a choice between downloading a new album for free and paying $5 (and, thereby ‘feel good about supporting the artist directly’), only 18.3%, or less than 1 in 5, chose to pay the $5.

Personally, I think a new era of free recorded music and paid live performances is a very good thing. Recorded music will become a marketing tool to get people to pay for concerts and merchandise. Overall the music industry will be smaller in terms of revenue. But the artists who are driven to create their art will continue to do so, and many will make a very good living from it.

But before that happens, the music industry is going to make one last stand to preserve their ‘bloated bureaucracies.’ And that is going to be a call for a music tax to create guaranteed revenues.

Reznor called for it today, saying ‘I think if there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, ‘All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPod and put up your a- if you want and it’s $5 on your cable bill.’’

This isn’t the first time its popped up. Over a year ago, Peter Jenner (he was Pink Floyd’s first manager, as well as managing The Clash and other great artists) called for a mandatory monthly tax in the European Union on broadband Internet and mobile phones of around €4/month that allows consumers to download and consume all the music they want without DRM. I attacked his plan, and he responded here.

Mathew Ingram notes that similar efforts are being made in Canada. Last month the Songwriters Association of Canada called for a mandatory $5/month ISP music tax.

So far they’re just testing the water. The big push will come when the labels put lobbying dollars behind the effort, sometime in the next few years.

Music Taxes Will Kill Music Innovation

Forcing people to buy music whether they want to or not is not a solution to this problem. The incentives created by such a system are perverse - guaranteed revenue and guaranteed profits will remove any incentive to innovate and serve niche markets. It will be the death of music.

Music industry revenues will be a set size, regardless of the quality or type of music they release. Incentives to innovate will evaporate. There will only be competition for market share, with no attempt to build the size of market or serve less-popular niches. Forget labels building new brands and encouraging early artists to succeed - they’ll bleed existing big names for all they are worth and work hard to keep anything new - labels, artists, and songwriters - out of the market. New entrants just means more competition for a static amount of money. Collusion by existing players will run rampant.

Soon labels will complain that revenues aren’t high enough to sustain their businesses, and demand a higher tax. It will go up, but it will never go down.

As I said before, Asking the government to prop up a dying industry is always (always) a bad idea. In this case, it is a monumentally stupid, dangerous, and bad idea.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0


(Via TechCrunch.)

Why won't people pay $5?

Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) produced a great record last year with rapper/poet Saul Williams. It's smart, edgy and doesn't fit the current model of what "hip hop" is sounding like these days at all.

It's kind of a throw back to "old school" hip hop - it's pre "bling, bitches and bentlys".

Anyway - instead of putting the music out through a record label - Trent & Saul put it out for free online with an option to get the high quality digital version for $5.00

Last week Trent released the numbers (something radiohead has not yet done) here's how it broke out:

As of 1/2/08,

154,449 people chose to download Saul’s new record.

28,322 of those people chose to pay $5 for it,

meaning: 18.3% chose to pay.

Of those paying,

3220 chose 192kbps MP3

19,764 chose 320kbps MP3

5338 chose FLAC

Trent was somewhat disappointed. You can read his original blog about it HERE

Today - Trent does an interview on the whole matter with C-Net (don't know why he talks to them - whatever)

In the interview Trent basically said he might have given "the fans" too much credit - thinking the only reason people pirate music is because there's too many unnecessary obstacles to paying for it. That if given the fair and reasonable chance - fans would choose to support an artist.

With 18% of people choosing to pay - it appears NOT to be the case in this instance.

Here's the thing though.

Trent & Saul's project is really different. It's a fusion/mash up of Nine Inch Nails and Saul's unique brand of hip/hop poetry.

I'm not sure the average NIN fan or the average Saul Williams poetry or hip hop fan would really dig that kind of mash-up.

Perhaps Trent over-estimated the tolerance & interest of his & Saul's fans for music that travels outside the expectations of their own brands.

We've seen this happen with many other artists over the years who have traveled away from what made them "famous" to begin with. Sometimes to good results - most often not.

We all have artists we know & like - and when they do something that travels too out far from what we love them for - chances are we won't go along for the ride. That's just the way it is.

That forces me to wonder how different it would have been had Trent used this internet release method with a genuine Nine Inch Nails project.

I suspect the "support" figure of paid downloads would be way higher. But maybe even that is a pipe dream.

Anyway - here's the interview. Good read - the whole thing makes me think. I'm grateful for guys like Trent who try new things - take risks and then have the balls to talk openly about it.

Trent Reznor: Why won't people pay $5?: "In an exclusive interview, the Nine Inch Nails front man said his realization that fans think 'music should be looked at as free' was a bitter pill to gulp down."

(Via Jeff Schmidt's shared items in Google Reader.)

PS -For the record - I was one of the 18.3% that ponied up a measly 5 spot for a great recording.

December 17, 2007

Attack of my LINK BLOG

Bit of geekery to share with you. I read (skim actually) lots of blogs.

About 2% of the stuff I skim/read is stuff I feel compelled to share.

So I've added a LINK BLOG over on the left. These are posts I've found on other blogs that I really like.

Only the last 10 links are showing in the side-bar, but there's many more behind that. Topics are stuff that interests me - tech, media, music, marketing, business, space/astromomy/science, politics, philosophy, religion, humor, serious stuff, frivolous stuff etc...

Don't read too much into why I might have posted an item. I post stuff I agree with and support and stuff I disagree with and think is stupid - as long as it strikes me in some way.

Good luck figuring out which is which. ,-)

Direct link to the whole thing HERE

And for the truly daring - an RSS feed568400747-feed-icon-12.png

November 26, 2007

JERMAINE DUPRI = old school Music Cartel Mogul-tard

In his blog on the Huffington Post- the Hip Hop producer voices support for Jay-Z's decision not to sell his latest album on iTunes because iTunes allows you to purchase the music by the track.

Fair enough.

Every artist can sell their art any way they want. Jay-Z contends, much like Ruiner Severhead, that his album is a concept album - designed to be listened to all the way through - not in pieces.

But in his defense of Jay-Z and subsequent slamming of iTunes for allowing "by the track" sales - Jermaine reveals the TRUE problem he has with "by the track" sales -


Back in the day when people were excited about a record coming out we'd put out a single to get the ball going and if we sold a lot of singles that was an indication we'd sell a lot of albums. But we'd cut the single off a few weeks before the album came out to get people to wait and let the excitement build. When I put out Kris Kross we did that. We sold two million singles, then we stopped. Eventually we sold eight million albums!

Way to keep it about the "art" Jermaine. Geeze.

Continue reading "JERMAINE DUPRI = old school Music Cartel Mogul-tard" »

November 24, 2007


Stuff I've been reading/enjoying/wanting to share:

- A great post that tells how many "Viral Videos" are manufactured can be found HERE

- Dilbert creator Scott Adams talks about copyright, opinion about copyright, & how encouraging gambling addicts is the same as paying a musician.


- Crazy mo-fo bassist/noize machine "ruiner S E V E R H E A D" offers up a full length 13 track release for FREE.

myspace HERE.

Download it here.

hope you had a great holiday!

October 24, 2007

Goth Dolls


Left to your imagination is what it was I was searching for when I found this.

Missing the point of MySpace (10/23/07)

a "progressive" view of making music free (10/20/07)

More on "Free" (10/07/07)

Site Re-design time (12/10/06)

It's about time (05/13/06)