Is remixing the new X-Factor?

toy piano

Or Is remixing becoming the new X-Factor? Whatever you want to say about them, tv shows like the X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, etc., are becoming the major way for kids to become pop stars. The temptation to audition for one of those shows is often too much for the budding singer, girl band, boy band, or guitarist, and when they finally reach the live shows, there’s the chance to get free publicitiy, exposure, critique of their style and ability. Even if they don’t make it all the way to the final, there’s always the chance of being signed by a record company, however well they can sing.

So, why do I think that remixing is becoming the new X-Factor? Well, compare the two: someone advertises a talent contest where you don’t need any industry form or prior performance experience. You just need your instrument (voice or digital audio workstation – Ableton Live, anyone?); the material to perform with, either a song or some audio stems; and you need some time to get your performance right, but not necessarily to a high level. There are so many talent shows out there – X-Factor contests run by pubs and bars, holiday hotels, local tv and radio stations, probably a new one every day somewhere in the world. There are so many remix contests out there too. There are even websites dedicated to advertising the latest contests. Somewhere in the world, someone will enter all of these contests, but usually budding remixers, who see it as a quick way to get signed by a record label, will enter one or two a month, hoping that this will be their big chance.

But, like the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, the really talented, dedicated, hardworking remixers will miss out, only to be beaten by the “popular vote”, in terms of the ones with the highest number of plays or likes will be shortlisted. Talent probably does come into it if they’re in a contest that is looking for particular techniques and it’s about ability rather than what sounds good to some people. However, like in the real world of becoming a popstar, it’s the approaching people in the industry and showing them what you can do, that gets you the opportunities. Ok, so some people who win remix contests may be famous and find a way in to the music business, but more often than not it’s the talent that is wanted and that’s what gets you the gig.

So, two things from all that. First of all, anyone can make a remix. It may not be good, but it may be what someone is looking for. Even my 8 year old can make a remix in Ableton Live. Secondly, I still enter remix contests, despite having done “official” remixes for some bands I know, and appearing on compilations etc. Why, because there’s a very tiny part of me that still sees them as a way to get famous, despite that fact that I always ridicule shows like the X-Factor! My latest remix below, is one I did in about 6 hours for the Ableton 24 hour remix contest “Beat the Clock”. I downloaded the parts for the track, most of which you could only open in Ableton Live and you had to make the remix with the same program. Having only used Live for a few days before, I probably proved my theory that anyone can make a remix, so here’s the result:

Contest Page:

Beat the Clock – Ableton Remix by Tim Blackburn/mistrust

Listen in Soundcloud:

By the way, if you’re a Soundcloud user, and like the track, please favourite it,and share it, thereby making me win the popular vote! If Pudsey the dog can do it, so can I!

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Zen and art of selling music

Some people have been asking where they can buy my music. Well, the simple answer is: you can’t. It’s all free to play/download over the internet. You can listen to it and download it, make your own compilation CDs from my tracks. As long as you don’t sell it on or pass it on as youre own, I don’t mind. I’m trying to get my music into film, tv, adverts, that sort of thing, so the more people who listen to it, maybe the more chance that some music supervisor somewhere will hear the tracks and want to use it. That’s the idea….

“mistrust music” can be downloaded here:

TV Tunes (10 tracks) at MusicFreedom (including: Dubcrazy, Paul the phone is ringing, All roads)

Making Movies (8 tracks) on MusicFreedom (including: Never Alone, Happy Birthday)

Making Movies EP on Nishi Netlabel

Myspace

If you prefer me to send you a physical CD, I can send one out to anywhere in the world for just a small price to cover printing, postage and packing, with either the list of tracks that are on MusicFreedom/Myspace or a “pick and mix” selection of your choice.

Click here to contact me if you want a CD….

If anyone wants to use my music for film/tv/advert work etc., please click here to discuss your project with me. Have a look on Youtube for examples of my previous film work. I’m already signed to Candy Cover music library on a non-exclusive deal…

Zen and the art of music licensing

Since I licensed my tracks out to O’Neill Europe for the Deep Blue Open dvd, I’ve had a lot of people asking for some advice on how to get their music into film, tv etc. Obviously, I’m no expert, and I had a few people give me some pointers before I signed up with O’Neill, but here are some tips from me from what I’ve learned so far (but don’t blame me if this method doesn’t work!!!)

I was approached by a licensing company for them to use my tracks on an O’Neill surfing dvd and got some info from them about how to get my stuff into more films, etc and was advised to get a showreel together to prove to film makers and post-production people that my music fits in with the sort of thing they’re looking for. One of the best ways to do that is to offer some of your tracks for low/no fee to build up a portfolio. Have a look at some of these for more info:

http://www.mandy.com

It’s a site for film jobs – go to the Production Jobs section and check look through all the locations, eg Europe, then the Post-Production links. There’s both paid and lo/no income jobs.

http://www.ukscreen.com

There’s a forum on the site which lists people looking for music for films, mainly lo/no fee

http://www.labelsound.com

They’ll make all your tracks available for film and tv licensing (for a small fee).

http://niceup.com/misc/internet_music_licensing

An excellent article about how to get into the film music industry.

Google for things like music licensing companies, “indie movies”, “music wanted” stuff like that. Check out indie movie forums – there’s always indie film makers looking for cheap music and it gets you some footage for your showreel. Contact your local college or uni if they have a film or media school. Have a look on the unsigned band web forum – http://www.unsignedbandweb.com/forum-37.html for people advertising for music. There’s always ads on there. There’s a film makers forum on Myspace.com, too.

Music licensing can be a bit of a closed shop to unsigned artists if film producers have got a massive music budget. They get the best composers and pay a fortune to people like Sony and BMG for tracks. If the budget isn’t so big they want unsigned people like me and you. Usually for lo/no fee. Oh, and it looks good on your music CV if you’ve got film credits, whatever they are.

It’s definitely worth going down the lo/no fee route, just to get known. I’ll pm you with a list of some of the other sites I’ve been on for info. Make sure, though, that you get a proper contract. Well – 2 in fact – a Master Use and a Synchronisation contract.

BTW when you’re dealing with these sort of people – licensing, post-production, etc., be prepared for a very long wait. The company I dealt with over the dvd was actually liaising with about 5 or 6 other companies, so I was the last to know anything. If the bloke said there’s potential, try your music out on the sites I mentioned. Oh, and tell people you’re a film composer, and say so on your website.

You never know – you might get your music used and get paid a lot of money for it.

This article first appeared on my Blogger pages in November 2005. Since the, I’ve learned a lot more….
I’ve now discovered music libraries and production music….more information about how to get into this is at the MCPS website, where you can get a list of the 80 or so libraries in the UK.

I’ve had quite a few more opportunities………….

– Deep Blue Open has been on TV around world and now on O’Neill TV. Clips of this are doing well on Youtube. Click here to have a look….

– Tracks on another O’Neill DVD and surfer biography film

– Requests from various indie/student film makers for use of my music – I was confident enough to say “no” because the deals weren’t right. If I hadn’t done the O’Neill thing, I wouldn’t know about my rights, etc.

– Tracks put forward by licensing company for use in Hollyoaks (UK TV show)

– Signed non-exclusive deal with major UK music library for licensing my tracks to TV, film, advertisements etc. The tracks are now registered with MCPS-PRS.

– Requests from other music libraries to work with them.

Oh, and I’ve actually made some money from all this.

Check out some of my film music at my musicfreedom site.

Disclaimer: the opinions and advice given are just that: opinion. They do not constitute a contract between you and the companies mentioned, nor are they intended as adverts for those listed. Don’t sue me if you don’t get signed!

Everything’s gone green again

I’m something of a perfectionist when it comes to something looking right, and usually I get this nagging feeling in the back of my head telling me that something doesn’t look as good as it should. That explains why I’ve changed the look of this blog about 5 times in the last few weeks. I’ve reused the old “green” header and adopted a more plain-looking body. Hopefully I’ll be satisfied now and not want to change it again.

I’ve been trying to work out what to write here because there’s just been so much going on at home, work, and with the music. When I’ve got everything straight in my head, I’ll post more info here.

Other things: I’ve been helping Paul with some more tunes. He’s finally got back into music-making, so he’s been asking for some help. Expect more of his stuff on myspace soon.  Also,  I came across a great WordPress blog called Svartling.  It’s a comprehensive list of loads of new VST plugins and music-making software. Highly recommended!