Posts Tagged ‘Neil Young’

Neil Young – Like A Hurricane

April 29, 2012


February 7, 2012

We like to share. We are social creatures. It is part of the human condition. It is what makes us who we are.

When we read a book it is because someone has given, lent or recommended it to us. If were are very lucky we may have met the author.

When I go away I like to take books with me to read. I then give them away.

In hotels we often find books others have left behind.

My introduction to Paulo Coelho was an attractive Lithuanian girl sat by a river reading The Zahir.

Synchronicity and Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho likes to share. That is why he writes.

He recently uploaded The Way of the Bow to FrostWire, free for anyone to download.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

These are the download statistics for the last few days (from FrostClick):

Sunday (2321 GMT), 7,020 downloads, downloading 24, sharing 974

Monday (1835 GMT) 11,713 downloads, downloading 17, sharing 910

Tuesday (1829 GMT) 12,409 downloads, downloading 22, sharing 1,057

Paulo Coelho only sold a few thousand copies of The Alchemist in Russia, until a pirate copy appeared on the net.

In 1999, when I was first published in Russia ( with a print- run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘ pirate’ edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page.

A year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition. By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold 12 million.

When I traveled across Russia by train, I met several people who told me that they had first discovered my work through the ‘ pirated’ edition I posted on my website. Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho’ website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on file- sharing sites. And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies world wide.

Paulo Coelho is banned in Iran. His response, to make available free downloads in Farsi.

Aleph in Farsi

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley arose from a late night story telling on the shores of Lake Geneva.

We cannot like a piece of music until we have heard it.

I am happy to share music with others. If that makes me a pirate, then I am proud to be a pirate.

When I saw The Sixteen in concert in Guildford Cathedral last October, I asked was they on youtube? Officially no, but yes, you will find us there. I asked in order that I may share.

The Sixteen – Miserere Mei Deus – Allegri
St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen

A couple of years ago I was in Brighton and found Brighton Books open (not usually open on a Sunday). I asked of the music they were playing. Unlimited Art by Jacob’s Stories. I was pointed in the direction of Resident Records from where I could obtain a copy.

I gave copies to friends, I went back and bought a few more copies to give away.

Jacob’s Stories led to Mechanical Bride and Stewart Warwick. Stewart Warwick led to Shadowboxer. Shadowboxer led to BandCamp. BandCamp led to their blog, and the blog led to Gabriel Kahane through featured album of the week Where are the Arms.

Bandcamp connects creative artists with those who may appreciate their work, thus bypassing the music industry. But it does far, far more.

It gives the creative artist a presence on the internet. It allows sharing. We can listen to the music on-line. We can share. Click on share, and you can share on twitter, post onto to you and your friends facebook wall, copy the embedded code and you can embed the code on your blog. And you can download the music (often for free), buy albums, real albums not digital downloads, and the digital downloads are available as high quality audio, not mushy, low quality, highly compressed mp3 files. [see mp3 v FLAC]

I expected BandCamp to post on facebook an image of the album cover, nothing more. Why a little play button? I clicked. It changes into a little media player, listen to the entire album as often as you like. This is going to help creative artists and destroy the music industry. Yippeee!

To keep it clean and simple, no volume control. Use volume control on computer. It is also to encourage downloads.

And when the little media player appears to replace the image of the cover, it lets you not only listen, but share with others and download.

The embed code for a blog lets you choose from about half a dozen options how it will be displayed, including track lists if you desire.

I am amazed at the amount of money flowing through Bandcamp direct into the pockets of artists. $13,935,756 to date $1,038,844 in the past 30 days. Albums outsell tracks 5 to 1, in the rest of the music buying world, tracks outsell albums 16 to 1.

BandCamp is a good example of how websites have evolved into something different, probably the main difference between web 1.0 and web 2.0.

Web 1.0 you landed on a website and hopefully accessed or acquired some information. I say hopefully, as too often so badly designed that you give up as you were wasting your time. A good web 1.0 design had sharing, ie it gave you something, but not social interaction. Web 2.0, this blog is an example, has interaction, social dialogue takes place. We see that even more so with twitter and a very good example is Paulo Coelho’s blog.

Few understand, let alone make effective use of web 2.0. It is not broadcast, one to many. Social network: social interaction, network, many to many.

Tweet level gives some measure of the effective use made of twitter (and it is not simply a crude measure of the number of followers. [see Can we rank twitter streams?]

@keithpp 62.2

@paulocoelho 92.6

Paulo Coelho, Neil Young, Neil Gaiman, and many others, all recognise the value of sharing. Neil Young calls piracy the new radio, as that’s how music gets around.

Piracy is the new airwaves

Those who bleat about sharing, who through flawed thinking think it is bad, should heed the words of Andrew Dubber (see Hear / Like / Buy):

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume … But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it…whether it’s a pop tune, a heavily political punk album, or an experimental, avant-garde suite — the key is very simple: people have to hear music, then they will grow to like it, and then finally, if you’re lucky, they will engage in an economic relationship in order to consume (not just buy and listen to) that music. That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t. Nobody really wants to buy a piece of music they don’t know — let alone one they haven’t heard. Especially if it’s by someone who lies outside their usual frame of reference. And a 30-second sample is a waste of your time and bandwidth. It’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan.

But the music industry and Hollywood, very often the same global corporations, do not like sharing, they wish to criminalise sharing. The tried with Sopa, cooked up in back room deals with corrupt politicians on the take and failed miserably. They are trying again with Acta, an international treaty that will criminalise sharing, would disconnect from the net those who share. We killed Sopa and we must kill Acta.

Say NO to ACTA

Piracy is the new airwaves

February 2, 2012
Piracy is the new radio -- Neil Young

Piracy is the new radio -- Neil Young

I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. […] Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around. — Neil Young

Neil Young is right when he refers to piracy as the new radio.

Neil Young is right — piracy is the new radio
Neil Young on music and Steve Jobs: ‘piracy is the new radio’

Neil Young calls piracy “the new radio” because it’s “how music gets around”.

Hard to believe but the music industry used to pay radio stations to play their music. They paid so we could hear their music for free. It was a discredited system called payola. They also used to go and buy records in record shops known to be sampled to produce the Top 20.

We like to share. Though I wish the brain-dead morons would not share their bad taste as they drive around town with what laughingly is called music blasting out, or disturb me when travelling by public transport.

As children we used to stick a mike in front of the radio and record to tape. Then a pair of crocodile clips were affixed to the speaker cables. Eventually out came the soldering iron, holes drilled in the cabinet and little terminals to connect to.

The music industry, and more lately Hollywood, likes to equate pirate copies to lost sales. Pure nonsense of course.

We like to share.

I rarely listen to the radio. Or rather I listen to speech radio with occasionally music programmes. I hate music stations and the garbage they play. An exception was the late Charlie Gillett and his excellent World Music slot on BBC World Service. And guess what, the BBC in an act of crass stupidity, axed his programme to save money.

BBC Radio 3 and World Service DJ Charlie Gillett dies

I used to help run a pirate radio station. Occasionally there were raids by the police, but we were in a labyrinth, we knew our way around, they did not. On rare occasions, I had the late night slot. Sharing with the world, or at least our handful of listeners, my immaculate taste in music.

What was I doing playing music on my late slot? I was sharing with those who cared to listen in. Maybe they even liked what I liked.

I have always shared. That is how I first came across Neil Young, listening to a friend’s albums at university. It still gives me the shivers when I hear those early Neil Young albums.

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold
Neil Young – Old Man
Neil Young – A man needs a maid

Another friend had a vast collection of music, from Neil Young to early music groups and everything in between, he had even written a book on music Popular music. He would always give me music to take away to listen to. Try this, he would say. Would I have come across Gotan Project or Astor Piazzolla? Well actually yes, but only because I was at a concert by Zum.

Gotan Project – Santa Maria
Gotan Project – Una musica brutal
Monica Bellucci – Heart tango
Gotan Project – La Gloria

A couple of years ago I was in Brighton and found Brighton Books open (not usually open on a Sunday). I asked what was the music playing. That is how I came across Jacob’s Stories. You will only find it in Resident Records, I was told. I walked down the street and wandered around the shop. Not able to find what I was looking for, I asked. The helpful assistant laid his hand on what I was after.

I walked back to Iydea to examine my purchase. It is vinyl, I discovered, then on closer examination, saw it was a jet black CD made to look like vinyl, it even had grooves! Worried it would not play, I asked the bookshop would they play it. Yes, it played.

Unlimited Art is a limited edition CD. The cover made from hand-woven grass. Inside, a unique piece of art. I ran off copies and passed to friends. They liked so much that I was asked to buy copies next time I was in Brighton. I liked so much I bought copies to give as presents.

Resident Records is a rarity, an independent record shop. An independent record shop with a good selection of music, staff who know and love music.

Last year I asked was there anything new out Jacob’s Stories? That was Easter. No, they said, try later in the year, as we are expecting a new release. September I picked up The Ordeal by Stuart Warwick. Stuart Warwick was the founder of Jacob’s Stories.

Stuart Warwick – Ex-Gay

Ben’s Records in Guildford is another independent record shop worthy of a visit.

I do not know if it is still there but around the back of Waterloo Station there used to be a fantastic independent record shop. You did not walk out with a couple of CDs, you would walk out with an armful. Such was the turnover of this shop, that if you visited in the morning (I do not think he opened until lunchtime) then again in the evening, you would find a whole new stock to browse.

If you want to look at at falling record sales, look no further than the death of independent record shops. We are now seeing the same with independent bookshops, a quarter have gone in the last few years. Killed by the music and publishing industries.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

Musicians were paid, ie commissioned, to perform, or were travelling minstrels who played and hoped we liked what we heard and gave them some money, or at least something to eat and drink and a bed for the night

Sheet music helped spread the fame of a musician. No photocopiers and scanners but you can guarantee scribes were hard at work running off copies for their friends.

When Mozart toured Europe, would his fame have spread before him were it not for sheet music?

Records, wind-up gramophones, the wireless, helped spread the fame of musicians far beyond the concert hall and music hall.

Last October I saw The Sixteen in Concert at Guildford Cathedral. A little stall selling their music. Are you on youtube, I asked? No, not officially, but yes, you will find us there. The reason I asked was that I could share with others what I had heard.

The Sixteen – Miserere Mei Deus – Allegri
St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen

Shadowboxer show a way forward. Their live sessions at Surrey University are fantastic. Not only excellent musically, but excellent arrangement, production and excellent filming of the sessions. You can download their EP Two Cities and you decide the price. At times very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac when I saw them in the early 1970s. Their cover versions are vastly superior to the originals. Shadowboxer have no record label. Who needs a record label? What could a record label offer them when they have achieved so much without? They produce and perform their excellent music, then make use of the net and word-of-mouth.

Shadowboxer – Chase and Status – Time
Shadowboxer – Scott Matthews – Elusive

One author I know, she will remain nameless to save her from embarrassment, hates second-hand books. To her, every second-hand book sold, is a lost sale. How short sighted can you get! The second-hand book sales are helping to spread the word of an otherwise unknown author.

Last year I heard a woman complain that people had the gall to reproduce her poetry on the net. I had never heard of her or her poetry. You stupid woman, I thought. If people like your poetry sufficient that they will take the trouble to reproduce and share with others, be grateful, they are doing you a favour.

If I find poetry I like, I reproduce it. I say who it is by, where it can be found if in a published collection. I get thanked!

Artists thank me when I reproduce their work. For them it is a free global exhibition, a window to the world.

Every day I have been out this week I have picked up books by Paulo Coelho and a couple of other writers. These I will give away. Sometimes I leave as BookCrossing books.

Paulo Coelho is only too happy to see his books pirated. He knows it will lead to more people reading his books.

Paulo Coelho calls on readers to pirate books

Little known author Neil Gaiman was opposed to piracy, until he woke up one day to the fact that it led to exposure, exposure leads to more readers.

Gaiman: SOPA and PIPA are on the wrong side of history

At a recent music-industry conference in Europe, the CEO of superstar game company Rovio (creator of Angry Birds) said that piracy “may not be a bad thing” because it increases demand for the official version of the company’s products.

Angry Birds boss: ‘Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business’

The ones who bleat about piracy are not the artists, it is the industry. The same industry that has killed music and seems to be determined to do the same to books.

With Amazon offering to publish unknown authors, the publishing industry is going to wake up one day and find it no longer exists.

Information flows, that is what information does. At the height of the Soviet Gulags, Solzhenitsyn was able to smuggle out his writing on little scraps of paper. The might of the Stalin police state could not stop the flow of information, so what hope the greed-driven Hollywood movie moguls of stopping the flow of information on the internet, a system designed purely to facilitate the flow of information? They tried with Sopa and Pipa and look where it got them. They are now trying again with Acta, an international treaty to control the net.

Say NO to ACTA

I do not download music, and no way would I pay to download music. The reason is simple and nothing to do with piracy. The quality is so poor. But having said that, check out bandcamp, quality audio files (large size) and they link bands directly with their fans.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

Neil Young – A man needs a maid

May 5, 2011

Neil Young – Old Man

May 5, 2011

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold

May 4, 2011

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