Rubens Album 2 in Byron Bay / NYC

The second record is always difficult. You spent the whole last album cycle building your audience up and working your ass off to establish yourself. Then when it’s all done you have to take at least 12 – 18 months off to write, record and release your next album. You need to be progressive and move forward, but you can’t go too far or you’ll alienate your existing audience. Write the same record and you’ll be criticised for being too one dimensional. You’ve also got a full team around you including labels, managers, agents, publishers and more. These teams are hopefully set up globally and now they’re all relying on you to deliver an income for them. The pressure is extreme to say the least. This is a collection of photos from the pre-production and recording phase of The Rubens second record. Pre-production took place in Byron Bay, NSW Australia. Recording was in New York City at Avatar Studios.

A Critic And A Manager Go Head To Head On Music Journalism in 2014

Earlier this week @Caitlin_Welsh and I had a few things to say to each other on Facebook over the current state of music journalism and some of the criticism artists are throwing at journos. It’s a pretty controversial debate going on at the moment with Iggy Azalea, Lorde, Hayley Mary all getting their noses bent out of shape at critics, and critics firing back in equal measure. Personally, I feel like artists aren’t representing themselves that well in the debate, and I also think some shitty tricks are being used to make them sound like they don’t know what they’re talking about (one trick, recently used by Everett True, is to quote someone verbatim, including their “ums” and “ahs” and “likes”, the net result in this case was Mary coming off as ditsy, which she is anything but (to be fair, True did end this article conceding that Mary made some good points, but not before doing his best to make her sound stupid)). Welsh happens to be one of the best critics in the country, so I felt OK complaining to her

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@rrrregan This Is Why You Should Pay For Music

I’ve been having a Twitter debate with my friend @rrrregan about the value of music and why I think music consumers should be paying out of their own pockets for it. This isn’t a new argument, punters have for years been getting music for free and everyone in the music industry has been trying to stop them. Now, full disclosure, I don’t pay for all of the music I listen to. I work in the music industry and I get a lot of stuff for free, often as gifts, often pass arounds from radio friends. But the difference between me and @rrrregan is that I know I should be paying for everything. The Value Of Music So, @rrrregan, the first thing you need to understand is that music is valuable. Whether or not the industries that support it have f’d themselves in the A with failed business models is besides the point. Music and art in general form the foundations of culture. Culture gives us a language that helps us to explain and understand the world we live in. You can

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Response To Groupie’s Article Entitled “Why Music Piracy Is Good”

I tried to write this in the comments section but I couldn’t stop writing and there was a character limit. Original article Response: Alright I’m going to correct a few things for you, but firstly I’d like to point out that this is a tired argument. I first started hearing it 10 years ago when Napster was the shiz. Josh you’re probably in your first or second year of some arts degree which means you were born in the 90s and maybe you’ve just started to ponder the value of music and what kind of currency can be exchanged for the right to put it on your iPod or whatever. So it’s no surprise that you’re only just now coming to these conclusions. Before I get in to some specifics, it’s worth mentioning that yes, value can be gained by giving your music away online for free. It’s not a ground breaking idea, I remember getting sampler disks with Rolling Stone years ago and industries of all types give away free samples of their products. The main idea being that

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Facebook’s New Timeline For Bands

On the 31st of March Facebook swapped over all Pages to the new Timeline. For better or for worse it’s here now and we have to figure out how best to use it. A little while ago I sent a bunch of info over to my bands explaining some of the changes and suggesting ways we could use the new Pages to our advantage. Most of them backed up screaming murder “how can they be changing everything again???”. “Welcome to the future” is my answer to most questions these days. Here are some of the ideas I sent over to them. Cover Photo and Profile Photos The new Cover Image is great. You get to lay a big 851px x 315px image over the top of your Page. Really useful if you have some nice artwork or photos to show off. It’s the first thing people see and if you do it right, this could really make your Facebook Page something special. Think of it like an album cover and get creative, use it to tell more of your story.

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The AMP: Why Artists Should Be On The Panel

This is a reply I wrote to Darren Levins’ article suggesting artists should be removed from The AMP judging panel. Originally published on Mess and Noise. If you’ve spent any time around artists, you would be aware of the imperative which seems to drag them along. They don’t appear to have any choice but to live and breathe whatever their chosen art form is. This compulsion informs everything they do and carves out an idea of the world which they try and pass on to the rest of us. Last week M+N editor Darren Levin [wrote an article](/articles/4440950) addressing some issues surrounding The Australian Music Prize (The AMP). Following some [controversy](/news/4426964) over the shortlist, his idea was that maybe artists shouldn’t be on the AMP judging panel. But I think artists are better placed than just about anybody to decide which of their peers has written the best album of the year. Here’s why. It’s their job to play it No, playing music is part of their job. Primarily, artists write; an important distinction when you’re talking about judging the best

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Crowdfunding Your Music Projects

Recently one of the bands I manage, Belles Will Ring, successfully crowdfunded $6705. We wanted to print their incredible record, Crystal Theatre, on vinyl. These days printing vinyl isn’t a very profitable proposition and it’s getting harder and harder to talk record labels in to paying for it. And who can blame them? A little birdie told me that in Australia, Radiohead’s In Rainbows only sold 1000 copies on vinyl. I hope that’s not true but the person who told me was in a position to know. So if Radiohead has trouble moving LPs, what hope does a tiny indie band have? Belles Will Ring were in a particularly odd position and we were facing a few obstacles: Crystal Theatre had already been out for 6 months on CD and digital. Presumably most of their die hard fans had already purchased a copy in another format. Belles are coming to the end of their record cycle and without a heap of touring to support record sales, we couldn’t realistically expect to shift many units (industry talk for albums). Belles don’t actually have a huge fan

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There Will Never Be Another Powderfinger/Silverchair

The state of the music industry has changed a lot over the years and the sad truth is, there isn’t room in the market for a band to make it as big as Silverchair or Powderfinger did. The market has fragmented a lot and there is also a lot less money out there for bands to share in. What I mean is that consumers are spending less on recorded music and there are a lot more bands out there than there used to be and each of them are taking little pieces of the pie. It’s easier than ever to record a few songs at home and it’s even easier to find an audience for your music online. It’s even easier still to then distribute your music through someone like Tunecore, who will make your music available in almost any iTunes store for less than $50 a year. This is what we called a double edged sword; You won’t hear me say that more art is ever a bad thing. The artist is afforded the opportunity to express themselves and

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Head of Community at Blackbird Ventures. Festival Director of Sydney Craft Beer Week. Homebrewer. Family man. Former Artist Manager / Founder at (The Rubens, Cloud Control, Urthboy, Winterbourne and more).

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