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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!

There are over 20 performers throughout the day including HARRY AND THE POTTERS, ED SCHRADER’S MUSIC BEAT, ARC IRIS, CHURCHBURN, SECRET LOVER, HUSSY, LOVESICK, TAINA ASILI, POWER MONSTER, THE QUAHOGS, FLINSTONES, SIDY MAIGA, HOUSEBOY, GERTRUDE ATHERTON, XR TABS, SNOWPLOWS, LEIKO, THEOSOPHIA, and AS220 YOUTH ZU-KREWE.


CHECK OUT THE SAMPLER HERE!

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: http://bit.ly/2agaoPM

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!!!!

Wowzers!

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,

-Cheyenne

 

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cheyenne_h on 07/14/2016 at 10:34AM

Netlabel Day 2016 Is Here!!

Time to get on the dancefloor -- Netlabel Day releases are available!! (Image: flickr commons)

Welcome to Netlabel Day 2016! Now in its second consecutive year, this event is in the spirit of Record Store day, but every release is available for everyone -- digitally! Collecting exclusive releases from artists hailing from five continents, this is a special occasion indeed. Put together by M.I.S.T. netlabel from Chile, last year there were more than 80 labels and 120 fresh releases! Today, there are more than that. Like, waaayyyy more. Like, 176 of them! So nab some killer free releases here!

To check out the full list of participating labels, unaffiliated mucisians, and of course, releases, please visit the Netlabel Day site, or stay tuned to our Twitter feed for announcements about Netlabel Day releases that are being shared here on FMA! If you live in Mexico City, Santiago, West Sussex/Worthing, Madrid, Montreal, or Ljubljana, head over to the event near you!

So far, here's what's been added to FMA (we will add to this list):

The Blessed Cassettes
Keshco
Bloque Del Sur
SUBSET
Eva Schlegel
Enrico Falbo
Taker 51
Neurotic Wreck

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rosso on 07/09/2016 at 01:38AM

Activation/Notification Email Problem Solved

The FMA is once again sending out new user registration emails and other notification emails.  If you tried to register over the past several days and never received a confirmation email, there is no need to register again.  We will be going over the backlog of registrations over the weekend.  You will receive an email when your account has been activated.  Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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cheyenne_h on 07/08/2016 at 02:16PM

Samuel Corwin's Selected Field Recordings from India and Nepal

Image via flickr commons

A contributor to FMA (as a field-recording collector and a composer) shared three volumes of sounds and songs from India and Nepal earlier this year. Though they have garnered some attention (in part to their being licensed CC-BY, no doubt), we wanted to shine a light on these unique recordings. We've put together a playlist of some highlights for you, but please visit the full triple-volume set to soak it all in!

Of his recordings, Samuel says:

"I traveled from the south of India to Nepal and back again in the winter and spring of 2015.  The experience changed my life.  As much of these recordings are an expression of the place and temperament that is India and Nepal, I believe in a way they tell somewhat of my story, too (though in a different language).  All recordings are raw; only the length of time was edited in any way. Volume I is intimate.  Most songs were performed personally by musicians for me and are often playful or humorous. Volume II is music of the collective.  The performances are usually devotional or ritualistic in some manner, designed to bring performers and participants together.  The tone will waver between the celebratory and the solemn.  A majority of the performances were done in a public sphere and I was only one among many. Volume III is natural.  Soundscapes meant to create a three dimensional space; field recordings in the purest sense."

If you have traveled abroad and want to share your field recordings with us, please drop us a line.

 
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cheyenne_h on 07/08/2016 at 11:54AM

Issues With New User Confirmation/Activation

Hi friends! We're experiencing an issue with the confirmation emails not being sent for our freshly registered/registering users. Please send us an email with your username or email address if it's not working properly for you, and we'll help you get it sorted out. Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.

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cheyenne_h on 06/28/2016 at 01:51PM

Not All Music on FMA is Licensed for Video

Some of our music is just for listening. Sorry video-making friends! (image via flickr commons)

Just a friendly reminder.

We know, the FMA is a great resource for all sorts of people - filmmakers, remix artists, people who wanna hear strange new sounds - but we've been getting a LOT of messages lately from confused people about whether or not they can use X song in Y video.

It depends on the license, and how you intend to use the music, my friend! And best of all, you can find out all the information you need on your own. There are tons of resources out there to help.

We have a robust FAQ (complete with webinar!) about which licenses are suitable for video here. But here are some basics:

1. ND or No Derivatives: If you want to use a track from FMA for a video, you are not allowed to use anything with an "ND" or "No Derivatives" clause in the license. You must get further permission from the artist in order to use it for a video.

2. NC or Non Commercial: If you want to use a track for commercial purposes (including a monetized YouTube video, a real estate listing, or a video telling people about a product or service that costs money), anything with a "NC" or "Non Commercial" clause is not pre-cleared for this type of use. If you want to use it for a commercial purpose, you must get further written permission from the artist, and possibly pay for a license to use the song.

3. SA or Share Alike: If you want to use a track that is licensed CC BY-SA "Share Alike" or CC BY-NC-SA, you are required by that license to share your own work under the identical license. If you can't, or don't want to, do this, you must get further written permission from the artist. (Noticing a pattern yet?)

4. BY or Attribution: Anything with a CC license with "BY" or "Attribution" in it means you must give credit to the artist, but that's it. You can use it for whatever you want, even derivative works like videos and remixes. If you don't want to, or can't give attribution in your derivative work (such as a video)... guess what? You have to get further permission from the artist! (Now you're getting it!)

We have pre-screened a lot of stuff and it's tucked neatly in the Music For Video curator page (though this includes NC and SA tracks - so make sure to look for the license you need). You can also use stuff from our Public Domain collection without attributing or getting permission from the artist.

If you need guidance, please consult our FAQs, License Guide or read up on the Creative Commons website before asking - you may find the answer right in front of you!

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