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cheyenne_h on 09/02/2016 at 03:33PM

LittleBits Synth Kit



Support the FMA and make some music while you're at it! Enter to win a LittleBits Synth Kit. We're giving away one kit to a lucky winner on Friday, September 9th at 6pm Eastern Time. Be sure to enter before noon (Eastern Time) on Friday, 9/9/2016, when we stop accepting entries. One entry per household.

Wanna know if you can win, or curious about the official rules? Check out our eligibility notice for more details.

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planetterrorrecords on 08/30/2016 at 09:26AM

Planet Terror Records: Looking Back

The ethos behind Planet Terror Records is something that we still hold very close to our hearts: high-quality, cross-genre electronic music released freely into the world for anyone to enjoy.

When we launched the label in 2008, we were wide-eyed youngsters straight out of university, passionate about dance music and scoping out unsigned and unknown artists. Many a night was spent trawling Myspace (RIP) and later Soundcloud for new music, while our increasing involvement in the music scene in our resident Sheffield, through DJing and playing together in a band, yielded some invaluable connections which carried us through to our 50th and final release in May 2016.

While other labels we grew alongside had bigger aspirations, we were happy to keep seeking out new music we loved and releasing it without too much fuss. Our music has never been selected for its marketability, but always for its own sake: snapshots of individual and collective creativity which we have had the pleasure to curate.

Like all parents, we try not to look at our back catalogue in terms of 'best' and 'worst' releases, but over the years it has been a pleasure to put out music by the likes of Titus Twelve, Barbarix, Culprate, Robot Koch, Cellar Dweller, Ascetic, Smurd, Kingstux, Mikuś and so many others. We enjoyed having the opportunity to put on an event with Culprate and Barbarix in Sheffield, our occasional DJ sets around Sheffield and our collaborations with the closest thing we have to a resident artist, Mattias Jones.

As with anything worth doing, running a netlabel takes time. To do justice to the musicians who give us their music to promote, we cannot accept having to take shortcuts. We do not live the same lives as we did. We started as students with endless hours to post music around the web and seek out new sounds. But personal and professional lives have evolved, and we no longer have the time to give the label and its music the effort it deserves.

We are pleased that we leave the netlabel community as healthy as we found it, with new labels starting every day. We are proud of our contribution to the scene and our library will remain online indefinitely. It’s the end of an era for us, but we hope that many more people enjoy the music we have released.

Find out about our mix by clicking the "Read More" link below, or download/stream it here.


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cheyenne_h on 08/25/2016 at 05:27PM

25 Years of People Like Us

Vicki/People Like Us.
[guest post written by Vicki/People Like Us & Cheyenne]
"I woke up at 5am yesterday and realised that I'd been publishing music for 25 years, to start with I thought it couldn't be possible, must be 15 or something, since it's easy to get your decades muddled up once you get past the first two!  It's often occurred to me that although the internet is fantastic in terms of being a self-distributor or spiders web of connections, people can often be overwhelmed by how much you have on offer if they haven't been with you from the beginning.  So I have made a "small" (well it's 25 years of stuff!) collection going through the years of things that I've released, often on CD and LP, but always subsequently online.  I have been putting mp3s online since 1998, so it will be an anniversary for that too!
Over in the world of moving image, I also have a great deal available to watch, both at ubuweb ( and on my website at
Meanwhile it's my penultimate DO or DIY with People Like Us of the season on Monday 29th August at WFMU, and the last two shows will be also "best of"s and I'll be posting a file of the collage meddle mix on the FMA shortly after the last show of the season on 5 September."
Since 1991, British artist Vicki Bennett has been working across the field of audio-visual collage.  Working under the name People Like Us, Vicki specialises in the manipulation and reworking of original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use. . The ongoing sound art radio show ‘DO or DIY’ on WFMU has had over a million “listen again” downloads. since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download via UbuWeb. To listen to the 100-track, 7-hour collection, "25 Years of Us", click here or click "Read More" below for an embedded playlist!

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people like us
cheyenne_h on 08/24/2016 at 05:12PM

Radio Free Culture #70: Marc Weidenbaum's Disquiet World

WFMU and the Free Music Archive are proud to bring you a fresh episode of Radio Free Culture, a podcast exploring issues at the intersection of digital culture and the arts.

In this episode, Erik Schoster, a Software Developer for the FMA, was joined by Marc Weidenbaum, the creator of the online publication Disquiet which covers independent ambient and electronic music. He also organizes the Disquiet Junto, which challenges artists to create new music each week within specified, challenge-specific parameters.

The theme song on this podcast is "The Spidrman's (nanoloop)" by UncleBibby, (CC BY). Other music on this week's episode include:

Hey Exit - Twenty Seconds (CC BY-NC-SA)
Bryan Teoh - Fifths (CC BY-NC-SA)

Trio Mopmu - Prodava Se Konche (RF Remix) (CC BY-NC-SA)

The OO-Ray - Silhouettes (CC BY-NC)

Fredo Viola - Lullaby (CC BY-NC-SA)

Check out the podcast at WFMU, PRX, or subscribe to the Radio Free Culture on iTunes!

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cheyenne_h on 08/03/2016 at 11:32AM

9 Things You Can Do To Help The FMA

Become an FMA Volunteer today and get a handshake from Colonel Dog! (image via flickr commons)

The Free Music Archive is a digital repository for music that wants to be shared, with more than 100,000 free and legal tracks to stream and download! Want to help us out? Here’s a list of ways you can help the Free Music Archive stay free, fun, and fabulous:

1. Make an FMA account… and use it
If you have an email address, you can make a free FMA user account, which has a variety of added benefits, including the ability to ‘favorite’ songs and artists, make mixes, write blog entries, leave comments, enter a song challenge, and much more! When you sign up, you can also sign up for our newsletter, which comes out once a month. If you "Favorite" songs, leave comments, blog, etc with your FMA user account, it helps us know what people are listening to and liking!

2. Make a mix of 8-20 songs on FMA using our playlist tool and share the link with us
You can make a playlist from any songs on the FMA that you want if you’re logged in to your member account. You can name it whatever you like, give it a theme, add an image (290x220 px – and don’t forget to credit the artist), write a little blurb about it, and share it on your page. Once you have it ready to roll, send us a link. It can be seasonal, freeform, genre-specific, use/license specific, or whatever you please!

3. Rant and/or rave
Want to let others know that there’s a gem hiding in plain sight? We want others to know where to go to get the good stuff: write a blog entry about the album you’re really feelin’ or you can use our “Write A Review” function. Predictably, blog entries will live on your FMA blog, whereas reviews live alongside the album you reviewed. Also, commenting on artists’ pages to let them know you're a fan is a great way to connect with them and show your gratitude to artists who are generously sharing their sounds with the world. Some artists also have a "Tip The Artist" button you can use to send them donations directly!

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cheyenne_h on 07/27/2016 at 02:53PM

Radio Free Culture #69: Upload the Punks! Maximum Rocknroll's Archive with Shivaun Watchorn

Photo by Winston Merchan, courtesy of Maximum Rocknroll Archive. Used with permission.

WFMU and the Free Music Archive are proud to bring you a fresh episode of Radio Free Culture, a podcast exploring issues at the intersection of digital culture and the arts.

In this episode, Cheyenne Hohman, RFC host and current Director of the FMA, was joined by Shivaun Watchorn, the archivist-in-chief for the Maximum Rocknroll Archive Project, which is currently underway and aims to preserve all issues of the long-running punk/hardcore fanzine, episodes of their radio show dating back decades, and contain a fully searchable listing of their entire record collection, which currently holds more than 49,000 pieces of vinyl.

The archive, expected to launch in early 2017, has also been featured in a couple of print interviews if you want to read more about it.

Check out the podcast at WFMU, PRX, or subscribe to the Radio Free Culture on iTunes!

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AS220 on 07/25/2016 at 07:45PM

Foo Fest 2016 Performer Sampler!!!

FOO FEST is AS220’s annual summer block party, held outdoors and inside, on Empire Street, that highlights the incredible arts, music, creative, and cultural scene brewing right here in Providence, Rhode Island. AS220 has been hosting an annual celebration under the name of Foo Fest, or Fool’s Ball, since 1995.

This year's headliner is DAN DEACON!



In addition to the bands on this sampler the fest also features the 2016 Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire, the Providence Anarchist Bookfaire, and the always exciting 12 hours of art, performance, kid and family-friendly activities, DIY technology, food and drink, and special guest emcee RANDY BUSH!

This year's Foo Fest is Saturday, August 13th from 1pm - 1am

To purchase tickets visit here.

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hecanjog on 07/21/2016 at 09:39AM

100k Wavetables & Sonification Data!

To celebrate 100,000 published tracks on the Free Music Archive, we've put together some data that we hope you will use for creative purposes!

There's a github repo over yonder with a handful of wavetables created using data from the first 100,000 published tracks. FMA benevolent software overlord Ross Oldenburg cooked up some more data for visualization / sonification use here:

To kick things off, I made a little song using the wavetables in the repo above. The wavetables created from monthly publication and creation dates were enveloped by the wavetables created from yearly publication and creation dates and used to drive a pulsar synthesizer whose pitch was modulated with the wavetables created from track durations. The pitches spell an F major Add 9 chord, because you know... FMA. :-)


Please share your creations!

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cheyenne_h on 07/20/2016 at 12:08PM

"It's all about experimentation:" an Interview with Steve Combs, CC Composer

Part of a collage from Steve Combs. Used with permission.

Sometimes we get curious about our artists. Steve Combs is one of those great artists that came out of nowhere (and started on FMA as a contributor for our microSong and Masters Remastered challenges), and has been contributing tons of CC-BY goodness to FMA for more than a year now. We wanted to know more about Steve and his musical background, so we asked him a few questions. Read on!

FMA: Give us a little background about yourself.
SC: My name is Steve Combs, I’m from New York's scenic Hudson Valley, and I compose the hell out of little electronic jingles. I've been doing this since March of 2014, and in the past two and a half years, I’ve put out somewhere around 300 songs under my own name, as well as another 50 or so through various side projects. Pro-tip: remixing your first eight albums in their entirety is a great way to build up your catalog.

FMA: You're a very prolific composer. What inspires you to write music?
SC: I don’t usually use the word "write," since I never actually write anything down beforehand. I say I make music, because my approach to making music has always revolved around improvisation: I'll sit down at the computer and play around with the keyboard until I happen upon a chord progression or a beat that I like, record 4 or 8 bars of it, and layer complimentary parts on top of it. Once I have all of that A section, I'll spread it out and throw together a B or C section in the same way until I have a full song. So there's really never a moment for me where I feel moved to write a song - they're all just the result of me sitting down and seeing what happens. But on the broad scale, I think I compose music because I'm fundamentally fascinated with musical theory and want to see what I can do with it. Instrumental music seems to me to be the best way to explore that, since I can use whatever scale, time signature, or instrumentation that I want without worrying about it being accessible. I do tend to write hook-based major key songs, but I've also done an electro-orchestral concept album and free jazz interludes and president-sampling EDM, so I think that level of possibility and freedom to create whatever is a big part of why I do this. I think it's all about experimentation, and seeing how I can use music in new and interesting ways.

FMA: Do you enjoy collaboration with other artists/musicians?
SC: This is actually a really serendipitous question, since I just did a split LP with the FMA’s own Simon Mathewson for Netlabel Day. It’s called Notes and boasts 9 new songs - 3 of mine, 2 of his, and 4 that we did together.
(Also, while I’m doing plugs, I have a new album of my own out called To Kill A Messenger, which is 11 songs, most of which were on my Comma and Apostrophe EPs, but also 4 new songs - including a cover of "On The Banks of the Wabash," the state song of Indiana.)
But to actually answer the question, yeah, collaboration is always fun. I haven’t done as much of it as I'd like to, because it's more work than just churning songs out on my own, but I've done a few here and there, and have always enjoyed it. Working with Simon or The Pardos or James Dean Claitor (with whom I wrote "Irascible," which is on my album Anaheim) is always rewarding and always produces something I find worth listening to.

FMA: Why did you choose the Free Music Archive as a music distribution platform?
SC: I honestly think the FMA is the perfect distribution platform for anyone who works in non-jazz instrumental music, because with the exception of Yanni, we don’t really have an avenue to success that doesn't involve being used as background music. People don't really listen to instrumental music the same way they listen to punk rock, pop, or country. I had to make peace with the fact that my albums aren't going to be anyone's favorites. But what surprised me once I started using the FMA, and what seemed kind of paradoxical, was that once people saw my music as a commodity, something to be used, they actually appreciated it way more than they did when I was pushing it like you would push pop music. Once it was of use to them, they actually listened to it. So in the process of discovering this platform, I had to change how I pictured what "success" was for my music - I'm never going to hit the Billboard charts, but there are people that listen to and like my music, not just for what it is on its own, as art, but for what it is to them. I imagine this is what ambient artists felt like when spas and yoga studios started playing their music in the background. Moods of the Rainforest, Volume 4 finally found a home! Someone appreciates it!
So to circle back to the actual question, I chose the FMA because it provided me with a level of appreciation I never would have gotten had I not made those realizations. The most immediate feeling of success that I get from my music is seeing that a song on a new album put out the day before is already in the background of someone's vlog or podcast. That’s pretty much why I use the FMA.

FMA: How did you find out about Creative Commons licenses?
SC: Honestly, when I saw the little tab on Bandcamp that lets you change your licensing when I put out my first song. I had no idea what it was, so I followed a link and learned about this amazingly simple, amazingly ingenious system. It had never occurred to me how needlessly complicated copyright was, and especially as I grew to accept that I was making background music, it seemed like such a great fit. The idea that people can use your songs in their cat videos and you don't have to sue them? It’s revolutionary.

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cheyenne_h on 07/19/2016 at 11:27AM

100,000 SONGS!!!!


WOOO! WE MADE IT! We now have 100,000 songs in our database! Please go frolic amongst the free files forever! Though it's just a number, of course, it's a BIG one and we're delighted to have worked with so many curators, independent musicians, and community members to make this happen! 

We'll be putting together some breakdowns of what's in here so far, and we're looking forward to the next 100,000 songs! Maybe now's a good time to help us keep doing what we do best -- either by pitching in for our expanding data & hosting expenses, or to contribute music to help us grow!

All the best,



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