NOISE GATE: How to create an awesome office jukebox in five easy steps


If you work in an office, then how does the music work? Is it a tinny radio in the corner blaring out Radio 1? If so, I feel sorry for you, and I suggest you take control.

We moved offices over Christmas, and switched from a benevolent musical dictatorship run by Stuart from My Chemical Toilet to a much more democratic approach using communal playlists in Spotify. It’s very simple, and all you’ll need is some speakers, as well as someone volunteering to take charge. Click through to the post to find out how.

NOISE GATE: 6 Tenets for a New Music Industry, Part Six


Today’s the last tenet in the series, and next week I’ll wrap up with some conclusions before getting back to regular programming in the new year. Last on the list is the importance of getting artists onside. Many bands bitch like crazy about their label, and actively recommend that people pirate their content – it’s a strange situation and one that’s unique to the music industry. How do you get them onside? Click over the jump for my recommendations.

  1. Music must be sharable – word of mouth is more important than ever
  2. Revenue must come from multiple sources – if one bit of the industry becomes obsolete, it shouldn’t sink the whole ship
  3. New technologies are to be welcomed and understood, not feared and litigated against
  4. A&R can be crowdsourced, but remember the long tail
  5. “Added value” is key – give people a reason not to pirate things
  6. Your artists are your most important spokespeople

NOISE GATE: Do geeks know anything about the music business?


An almighty beef has kicked off between Idolator and Listening Post, where the former has blasted the latter with a headline accusing them of stupidity, claiming that “online nerds” don’t know anything about the music business.

It started with the disclosure of EMI’s financial data the other day. In that, it was revealed that 88% of EMI’s artists make a loss, almost 50 per cent of CDs were returned unsold in April and May 2007, and the label spent £700,000 on taxis in London in the last financial year. To anyone but old-school music business people, that would seem ridiculous and not a good way to run a company, right…?

NOISE GATE: Lala launches idiotic "web song" concept


After the joy (and surprising popularity) of Spotify the other day, my palm is firmly back on my face thanks to Lala and their launch of “web songs” – cut price music that’s locked up tighter than a… actually I probably shouldn’t pursue that simile any further.

Lala is offering music for 10 cents a track. “Great!”, you cry. But wait a sec. The only way they’ve got the record labels to agree is to limit you to only listening to that song in your browser. You’re essentially paying 10 cents for something that you can get for free on Spotify, Last.FM, MySpace, or even YouTube, for god’s sake. As the unnamed head of a digital music service once said, “you want the world’s best on-demand music service? Go to YouTube and close your eyes…”

Radiohead "pay what you want" numbers released


Ever since Radiohead’s revolutionary “pay what you want” experiment on their most recent album, “In Rainbows”, the band has steadfastly refused to release any figures on how successful it was.

This led some to conclude that it was a massive flop with millions paying nothing. However, the band’s publisher, Warner-Chapell, has just released figures proving doubters wrong. Across all mediums, physical and download, the band sold three million albums. Considering their previous three albums sold in the low hundreds of thousands, that’s not too bad…

NOISE GATE: Doug Morris must be replaced at Universal


Doug Morris, pictured over the jump, is the chairman of Universal Music – the biggest record label in the world. His contract has just been renewed, but given that the recorded music industry is in freefall and he’s admitted in the past that “there’s no one in the record company that’s a technologist”, is he really the right person to be heading up the careers of artists like The Killers, Elbow and Girls Aloud?

I say no. Morris has a long history in the industry – he headed up Warner Music before moving to Universal – but at the moment, one of the biggest issues with record companies face is that the old, traditional way of doing things simply doesn’t work anymore…

NOISE GATE: Record Labels vs. Guitar Hero – who owes who?


Over the last month or so, there’s been an almighty argument between music labels and makers of rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band over who owes who. Major labels claim that the games wouldn’t exist without the music, but the games developers point out that the music in the games gets a massive promotional benefit. Who’s right? Click over the jump for my opinion…

NOISE GATE: Wi-Fi enabled MP3 Players


From today, I’ll be contributing a new weekly column to the site every Tuesday afternoon about digital music. We’re calling it Noise Gate – which refers to an electronic device that cuts through the noise and crackle of an analog signal and delivers you a noise-free result. In the same way, I want to cut through all the crap surrounding digital music, mainly delivered by major labels and tech companies, and deliver you the pure, unadulterated facts. Think you can handle them?