Tuesday, 31 May 2011

big scary thoughts

This is where I assume that nobody is really reading this, but would like to get this thinking into the record I am making here of the process of making B:M:S.

If there is anyone reading and you have comments, I'd love to hear them.

I've been thinking recently about marketing and promotion. I feel like when the album is ready I should have another round of spreading the word. I've also been made to think by recently making 10 copies each of 11 bells and binary tree and finding it takes flipping ages! And I've been thinking about how to do a "press pack" for the release. For me, bunging pictures and music and text sounds like a job for a USB flash drive (or "data stick" as I normally call it).

And so my first diversion was into branding the outside of flash drives - there's a lot of it done for corporate promotion, and if I wanted enough I could get almost anything printed, lots of choice of shapes and colours, special materials, all sorts of bespoke shapes even. But it costs money.

And so my second diversion is thinking about what could be on the stick. What if, when you stuck the stick in, the album played automatically? What if it launched a special application which plays the music and does other things as well? Like display images? Like run animations? Like scrolling a real-time commentary in text? Like a supa-dupa multimedia application. This could have a press pack built in, and lots of other information and resources, including this blog, and including the printable covers if anyone wanted to burn to a CD.

Which led to some fear of a large undertaking. Strangely enough writing the application doesn't scare me much (I am a programmer and I can see how to do most of what I want), but it's creating the additional artwork that this might imply. because it might be nice to have an image for each sub-section, or even more than one for some.

And then also I started thinking about "Freemium". This is a word taken from the games world, where you can get a game for free, but pay for premium content. What if the music continued to be free as the previous albums have been, but the data stick was for sale as the "premium" version. This is scary because it requires an outlay of money to buy the sticks, and ways of duplicating the information, and of getting them to people, and of handling the money, and all sorts of businessy things. On the other hand I have been wondering if there was a way to apply the principles of Freemium to music, and this might be a way.

And I have also been having thoughts about crowdfunding - which is where you get people to pay before they get the thing, in order to collect the initial outlay from presales. Crowdfunding often offers different tiers of payment - for example you could have a reduced price for the artefact if you pay before a certain date, for a bit more you could have a credit, for more you could have a super-deluxe version with a special message, your own chosen colour scheme, signed, etc. For seriously large money I could write and record some music especially for you. Even more, maybe a share of profits.

So on the one hand this is scary-world time, do I want to take it this seriously, it was always meant to be a fun hobby, something to do in my spare (cough) time.

On the other hand, it's a plan, and I find plans hard to resist, especially those that are almost within reach. This would take a little bit of a stretch in the programming, a bit in the art, and a major stretch in the marketing and business and legal stuff. A challenge. An undertaking. A creative thing beyond where I have gone before. In other words, a lot of the elements of how I like my creative fun.

And on the third hand (maybe a result of mutation), this is a blatent gimmick, a way to attract attention, innovative, different, definitely marketing... from my mixture of positive and negative phrases here you can see I'm not sure how I feel about this aspect.

So, if you have an opinion I'd love to hear it.

In the meantime, there's no harm in looking at what technology would be needed, maybe even in doing a proof of concept demo... would there?

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