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  • #16
    I also really love kranky, erased tapes, and shelter press. Kranky is how I really fell into ambient music fully.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Silk Muse View Post
      I also really love kranky, erased tapes, and shelter press. Kranky is how I really fell into ambient music fully.
      I have Kranky to thank for a lot of my favourites from way back, Labradford, Stars of the Lid, some of Lows best moments etc. And of course those Godspeed records...
      Latest release: never to be repeated

      Hearthis | Soundcloud

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      • #18
        Hi...late to the party here but hey - I just joined!

        JSH started recording as Vir Unis in the late-nineties and founded AtmoWorks with James Johnson in the early part of the 2000's. The label went through a down-cycle and subsequent rebirth somewhere around 2007 when JKN got involved. I worked as the release engineer on that label for a couple of years, then departed in late 2009 along with Steve Brand to help JKN (who had left AW the previous year) build rM (Relaxed Machinery).

        rM was a unique label in that it really wasn't a label. JKN described it as a group of artists who "self-release, together". rM provided the nucleus - the backing if you will and JKN's innumerable connections within the ambient online radio scene - but each artist released their music on their own terms and outlets. This was back in the very early days of Bandcamp, so most of us (I recorded back then under the moniker ├ąpne sinn) were releasing on CDBaby, eMusic or other avenues. John took the label on hiatus in 2016 after more than 50 highly successful releases by some really fantastic artists.

        Since rM closed down, I've taken over ownership of Earth Mantra (now re-branded as eM) when Darrell Burgan decided to lay that mantle down. Darrell released more than 190 free-for-download albums on Earth Mantra in the many years he ran the label. Since our re-launch on Bandcamp in 2014 (music.earthmantra.com) we've put out 26 new albums by a wide variety of artists. All releases on the label are "Pay What You Want", meaning the listener can (and most often does) download it for free. If they want to pay for it, they can and all proceeds from the sale (after Bandcamp takes it's 15% off the top) go directly to the artist. eM keeps nothing. More recently, I founded Aatma (aatma.bandcamp.com) as a place to release the music I was getting in demos for eM that didn't quite fit with the "traditional beatless ambient" model of that legacy label. Aatma will also be where I release my music - assuming I ever get my ass back in the studio.

        Well...that ended up being a lot longer post than I originally intended! Hope I didn't bore to many people.

        Glad to be here. Thanks for hosting, Chris.
        Last edited by Geoff Stewart; 06-13-2018, 11:57 AM.
        a man is a maze of brambles in darkness, and even he does not know the way...robert jordan

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        • #19
          Welcome Geoff.

          It's just so overwhelming how much downloadable music there is.
          I listen to about 8 hrs or more of recorded live-off-air ambient radio shows per week. That's where I hear whatever releases I'll buy to own.
          I would never think to go to a label site just to audition...it's just too overwhelming.
          I'm wondering, with your background, do you have any advice for home producers of ambient(like) music, how they can get heard.
          Assuming the music is quality, can a home producer(non-touring) make any money selling virtual music?
          With all these labels, how does a label's artists get played?

          BTW, I used to hang with the Stillstream gang in the early yrs.
          The chat was originally on mIRC then sometime later we moved to Java script on-site messenger. Maybe you were there?

          "The dumbest of people are the first to tell you."annode
          My Music

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          • #20
            Thanks for the welcome!

            I hear what you're saying - there is a literal metric ton of music out there. Seems like pretty much everyone is writing/recording music these days and you can very easily get bogged down with discovery after discovery. That being said, I absolutely feel like you're missing some fantastic music if you rely solely on ambient radio shows to give you insight into what's out there. For the most part (in my experience) ambient radio DJs are very much like ambient label owners (myself included) in that they play the music that they like. No label owner I can think of is going to release music that they don't like, and DJs rarely play music that doesn't connect for them. Now if you find a DJ with the exact same taste as you, then that's another thing. For me, though I've always found much more enjoyment in browsing through recommendations and/or other people's collections on Bandcamp and finding new artists that way. Recent dives into others' collections has yielded some truly excellent music from Data Rebel, State Azure, Eternell and oliviaway - stuff I'd never heard of until saw the link and clicked through.

            Regarding your question, there's absolutely a way to make money selling your own music. Now to be fair, none of us is ever going to get rich off of ambient music. To my knowledge there's only one person who actually has "making ambient music" as their Day Job, and that's Roach. That being said, I know several artists personally who are doing it quite successfully. Steve Brand is a perfect example. Since 2008, Steve's released some 30 albums of very high quality work, and has a very loyal following that routinely snap-up whatever he puts out. Steve self-releases, so he keeps all of what his music makes. Getting tied to the "right" label can also be a money-maker. Cryo Chamber is a very popular "dark ambient" label whose releases routinely sell 300-400 copies. At $7 per, even if the label is taking 50% of the profit that's still a pretty good return.

            How your stuff gets played is entirely up to how you go about releasing. If you choose to self-release, you have to be your own advocate. That means tooting your own horn on all social media avenues and sending complimentary copies of your work to every ambient radio DJ on the planet and hoping they a) listen to it, b) like it and c) decide to play it. Some labels (at least the larger ones) may also provide some marketing assistance, as JKN did for rM back in the day.
            a man is a maze of brambles in darkness, and even he does not know the way...robert jordan

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            • #21
              Thanks so much Geoff, this is invaluable information.
              No one will talk about their personal success, or lack of it, in this forum.
              We are all aware nobody can pay the rent with earnings from their ambient Bandcamp releases, but it's of course very rewarding when you can sell your work as an artist.
              I believe ambient music DJ`s acting as their own program managers are the best source for hearing quality new music. I made a list of many over-air shows,HERE, auditioned them, and chose the shows that fit my tastes best..like you mentioned above. Not all, but some will write out their weekly playlist for their listeners and I find this very valuable when choosing new music to re-audition and purchase.

              Yes, I have noticed that a DJ will stick with certain labels. I see them pop up often with some DJs. When 'Synphaera' releases a product I hear tracks from it on multiple shows for weeks. I have wondered how much impact those plays have on sales. I've watched Ascendant hop up the chart at Bandcamp, maybe due to air-play...but I've also seen another Synphaera artist get weeks of play without any if little Bandcamp movement. So who knows? haha (I'm not in the game of music for sale, but if I were I would want to understand how to best get heard and sell my music.)

              I get notifications from Bandcamp artists I follow as well as from Projekt Records. Just auditioning an artist, much of the time will inadvertently bring you to someone you haven't heard before.
              At $7 per, even if the label is taking 50% of the profit that's still a pretty good return.
              You didn't mean literally 50% did you? A label would take that much? I read you saying Bandcamp is 15%.
              BTW yes I've purchased more Steve Roach then anyone else through the yrs. haha

              You didn't pick up on the Stillstream chat mention, so I'll assume you didn't chat yourself.

              Thanks again Geoff for sharing your experience and opinion with us.
              "The dumbest of people are the first to tell you."annode
              My Music

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              • #22
                It's my pleasure, honestly.

                Truth is I don't really know how much labels today keep of their artists' sales. My experience has always been in the not-for-profit vein, whether with rM, eM or Aatma and I honestly prefer it that way. I have a decent job; what I do with the labels I do because I enjoy it and I want to get people's music "out there". I'm sure that AtmoWorks functioned on a commission basis with their artists, but that was above my pay-grade, as they say. I did the release engineering, working with the artists to get their materials (tracks, times, artwork, accreditation etc) and then putting the package together twice - in MP3 format for the radio folks to download for free, and in lossless format for the buyer to download at purchase.

                Chat - I did take part in some ambient music chats though not as far back as you. Mostly it was during album release premieres. We used to do an album premiere for every rM release on Rusty Hodge's DroneZone broadcast, and there would always be a "chat with the artist" section online while the album was being played. Prior to that, I do recall some StillStream chats with JKN, VU, pixyblink, Dean Richards of Disturbed Earth and host of others, but that was sporadic at best.
                a man is a maze of brambles in darkness, and even he does not know the way...robert jordan

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by annode View Post
                  No one will talk about their personal success, or lack of it, in this forum.
                  I will... Where do you want to start?

                  Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by synkrotron View Post

                    I will... Where do you want to start?
                    My question was sprouted from THIS article. (and originally from my thread HERE.
                    I don't have a BC account, so I can't add to this, but anything you can tell us about your earnings experience and any thoughts you might have are welcome. I certainly am curious about BC as a possible way to earn some extra scratch.
                    "The dumbest of people are the first to tell you."annode
                    My Music

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by annode View Post

                      My question was sprouted from THIS article. (and originally from my thread HERE.
                      I don't have a BC account, so I can't add to this, but anything you can tell us about your earnings experience and any thoughts you might have are welcome. I certainly am curious about BC as a possible way to earn some extra scratch.
                      Hi Barry,

                      I read a bit of that guy's article and got bored to be honest. Some stuff in there that needs to be said but the article is simply to long and failed to keep my attention. A little bit like my music haha!

                      Anyway, FWIW, I spouted some drivel in your post in off-topic.

                      cheers

                      andy
                      Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

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