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ange on 05/15/2013 at 03:00PM

Songs About Prom

Patrick Q/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

In TV prom, there's always an incredible live band up on the gymnasium stage with tuxedos and torn tulle skirts. The entire room is dancing. Most of us are not so lucky, with more Celine Dion slow dances filtered thourgh a bored laptop DJ, and half the room sitting around at tables looking awkward.

In this songs about prom playlist, get drunk and wasted at prom '98 with the Modest Mousey Undynamic Pop Expariment. Hear Grooms sweetly sing "I want to be friends with you." In the last track, enjoy some Twin Peaks-inspired New Wave in "Laura Palmer's Prom" from British Columbia's You Say Party! We Say Die! live at KEXP. All three songs have a feeling of looking back in time, when you looked like a child in those grown up clothes. Prom never had it so good.

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ange on 05/07/2013 at 09:30PM

Megapolis Audio Festival: Remix Workshop

Papercut Artwork by Mayuko Fujino

As part of the 2013 Megapolis Audio Festival, the Free Music Archive taught workshop on finding music for projects legally, including podsafe music, instrumental tracks, and music you can modify, adapt or build-upon. Then participants dug up music tracks and audio elements from Creative Commons and Public Domain resources with which to construct an original 1-3 minute sound art composition.

Check out our shared Google Doc for more online audio resources to use in your projects, and let us know where it takes you.

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ange on 05/06/2013 at 08:29PM

Hollywood Culture vs. Internet Culture: Jonathan Coulton Joins the Glee Club

The TV Show Glee is about a cute group of high school underdogs, who sing sparkly cover songs while dancing through the cafeteria.

But there's another Glee club forming, whose members have no say in joining. They're a ragtag group of underdog musicians who've found their arrangements of cover songs appearing in the hit show without their permission or credit of any kind. One member of this club is independent musician Jonathan Coulton. He's is the Internet's take on a rock star. He was also a recent judge of our Birthday Song contest, and he's currently hosting a highly successful Code Monkey comic book Kickstarter campaign.

For this May's edition of The Organist podcast from Believer Magazine & KCRW, I've produced a story about what's become known as #backgate. It begins about 8 minutes into the program, wedged between James Franco (!) and Tao Lin (!).


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ange on 04/29/2013 at 06:30AM

Francesca Panetta on Radio Free Culture: Is Location Audio the Future of Radio?

On this month's edition of WFMU's Radio Free Culture, multi award-winning producer and sound artist Francesca Panetta joins the Free Music Archive to discuss Hackney Hear, the winner of this year's Prix Europa Radio Production Award. It's a smartphone app that asks you to put it in your pocket as you explore London Fields and Broacway Market in London. As you travel, the app scores your journey with a blend of location-specific interviews, archived audio, music, and poetry.

We'll discuss the future of app-based storytelling, the challenges of GPS accuracy, and learn how Francesca pins two lapel mics to her left and right ears to capture a wide stereo sound.

Then, later in the show, listen back to this past year's Radiovision Festival, where Francesca spoke on a panel with Pejk Malinovski (East Village Poetry Walk) and Ellen Horne (RadioLab). The three super-producers will discuss how they're pushing the boundaries of audio with walking tours, immersive apps, and live events. Plus, the significance of taking risks and experimenting with new methods of storytelling. Jim Colgan (Soundcloud) moderates.

Here's our interview as heard on WFMU's Radio Free Culture:


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jason on 03/20/2013 at 01:20PM

New Aquatic Music from Barcelona's Selva De Mar

Selva de Mar, photo via selvademar.com

Barcelona's Selva de Mar formed as a street duo in 2006, sculpting "aquatic music" from the wooden timbres of the cello blended with the pitched steel percussive frequencies of the hang.

"Música Para Planchar" is a track from their captivating self-titled debut. Their second album, Olas Invisibles, was recorded in a cathedral with guests like the Swedish singer Ewa Wikstrom and African artist Mû (listen to "Gulab Jeman" below). Their third album, Club Eden (listen: "Walking & Talking"), introduced electronic signal processing as they continue to refine their enchanting sound.

The duo is currently raising support for a fourth album that will introduce guest musicians from Spain, Israel, Guinea Bissau, Mexico, Argentina and USA. As one of the many folks who've enjoyed Selva de Mar's previous three releases for free courtesy of the artist here at the FMA, I'm proud to support their next album. This is one of the many projects curated by the FMA on our Kickstarter page.


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ange on 03/09/2013 at 12:29PM

SXSW 2013 Pre-Game Playlist

Photo by kk+/flickr

It's that most hipster time of the year, when bursts of tweets, tunes, and trends aerosol into the Spring air. SXSW has begun, and SXSW Music (March 12-17) fast approaches.

To help you prepare, we compiled a mix of almost 70 artists from the Free Music Archive who will be playing in Austin this year. We recommend listening to this free SXSW 2013 Mix in the van, on the plane, between sets, at the hotel, or while you sit at home and pretend you're there.


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ange on 03/05/2013 at 01:59PM

Happy Birthday Song Contest Winners

Artwork by Greg Harrison

The votes are all in from our incredible panel of judges, and these three winning songs took the cake!

At this party everybody gets a present now that we have this dynamic Free Birthday Song Repository available for your projects. If you explore for a while, you'll find birthday songs that are incredibly touching, starring adorable children, offered in multiple languages, full of every foul word imaginable, and fun to share with your friends. Plus, the special happy birthday song that America just isn't ready for.

 

FIRST PLACE: MONK TURNER + FASCINOMA

After collaborating on the concept album Emergency SongsMonk Turner + Fascinoma weren't sure is they would ever work together again. "I almost killed him a few times," Fascinoma told us. Monk explains that when they collaborate she's the John Lennon and he's the Paul McCartney. She brings a certain kind of melancholy, and he brings a pop sensibility. You can hear how these different styles compliment each other in their winning song. "It's Your Birthday!" captures a feeling of heartfelt well-wishing with a sound so polished you'll want to run out and buy a tablet computer.

Though the winning song lacks the opportunity to shout out the birthday person's name, there is room to build in a call and response element. You can download the sheet music in the key of B (pdf, google doc) or the key of C (pdf, google doc). Also, check out the alternative versions of the song including two piano tracks and an instrumental version.


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ange on 03/05/2013 at 11:00AM

The Real Scoop on Fake Techno

When our excellent new curator Price Tapes joined the Free Music Archive, they suggested we add a new genre called Fake Techno. To explore this new sound, we reached out to the originator of the term Fake Techno, the effects pedal virtuoso David Harms of Mincemeat or Tenspeed. He explains that if you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon all you have to do is get a holographic eagle. Laptops not recommended.

What is Fake Techno?

Fake Techno's a term I used to describe my music starting back a couple years ago. I was working with a lot of effects and feedback loops trying to approximate the structure and sounds of techno, and it sounded good but without drum machines, synths, music making stuff, it didn't really work. It wasn't noise but it wasn't techno so I decided it was the fake version of techno.

What's your process for getting the sound you want? 

I was accidentally strict when I was starting out and was only using effect pedals to make the music. This meant it was really easy to make the wrong sounds, but now that I'm old and don't care I use shit like synths, drum machines, and midi cables. This means I gotta try extra hard to make sure the music sounds wrong lest I make 'real' techno.  

What would we find if we went into your studio? 

This is a picture of my studio. If you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon the only thing you absolutely need from this set up is a holographic eagle. Fake Techno, like noise, can be made with any pile of garbage. The only thing I can't recommend using is a laptop 'cause that's the wrong tool. If you use a laptop you're probably gonna end up making techno, or electronic music. Don't use a laptop.  


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jason on 02/23/2013 at 04:00AM

The Changing Relationship Between Radio Airplay, Record Sales, Musicians and Income

This is a guest post by Kristin Thomson, a social researcher, musician and co-director of Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams project. We'll discuss this groundbreaking project on the next episode of WFMU's Radio Free Culture, Monday 6-7pm ET. 

For at least fifty years of the 20th century, the relationship between music and radio airplay was fairly well understood. Record executives knew that if they wanted a hit record, they needed that song to get played on the radio, preferably as many times as possible. In fact, until 2000, radio airplay was essentially a prerequisite to selling significant amounts of recorded music.

Clearly, radio airplay is still critical – especially for genres like pop, country and urban/R&B – but in recent years both radio and the mechanisms for selling music have been upended. Traditional commercial radio, with its limited playlists and regional reach, has been challenged by new forms of radio: webcast versions of existing stations (including WFMU), pureplay webcast stations like Soma-FM or Pandora, and Sirius XM satellite radio. Then there are the interactive services like Spotify, Rhapsody, Last.fm, and Rdio, many of which mimic radio through playlist options or pre-programmed channels. And there's YouTube, now considered one of the most widely used sources of music discovery in the world.

The sale of recorded music has also changed. Prior to about 2000, the money that a musician could make from the sale or license of a sound recording was pretty simple: you could sell physical copies of an album or a single in a retail setting like a record shop, you could sell them via mailorder, or at shows/gigs. If you were lucky and your music was placed in a movie or TV show, you could make money from the synch license on the master recording. But that was about it. Since about 2000, these options have expanded to include digital sales on stores like iTunes and Amazon, digital performance royalties when sound recordings are streams on non-interactive services like Pandora or Sirius XM, and interactive service payments for streams on Spotify/Rhapsody. And there are more.

The average US consumer now has dozens of low-cost or free ways to listen to and discover new music. What has this done to the relationship between radio airplay and music sales? And, more to the point, are musicians benefiting from this changing landscape?

In 2010, the nonprofit Future of Music Coalition launched Artist Revenue Streams, a multi-method, cross-genre examination of musicians' revenue streams, how they are changing over time, and why. We used three methods to collect data: in-person interviews with over 80 hard-working musicians and composers; an online survey that was completed by over 5,300 US-based musicians and composers, and financial case studies that allowed us to fully examine musicians' income and expenses over time.


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ange on 02/12/2013 at 05:15PM

Mardi Gras Playlist Fodder

While you scarf down king cake and brace yourself for tomorrow's hangover, we have a few suggestions for what belongs on this evening's playlist. These odd ball finds aren't your usual crawfish boil Zydeco. Check out bubbly Spanish street orchestra music from Magnifique Bands dos Homes sen Medo, horn-heavy hippie-sing-along Southern Rock from Dark Meat, the accordion toting Zydepunks live at the OCCII in Amsterdam, and NOLA Electroclash organist and inventor Quintron live on WFMU.

Lastly, don't forget to toast your Hurricane cocktail to the legendary Raphael Saadiq as he performs "Big Easy" live on KEXP.

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