New Music from Me

Sort of a break from my normal posts. If you’ve liked any of the music I’ve created over the years, well … this blog post is for you!

I’ve been working on a new album full of songs – 11 in all. And here they are!

This video features my song I Drive a Pacer. It’s about fixing up and cruising around in an old AMC Pacer. Purposefully silly!

Like this song? There are 10 more just like it! You’ll find songs about robots, getting older, regrets, God, headaches, and erasers. Mostly in a rock/alternative style.

You can find it on iTunes and at Bandcamp.

Enjoy!

Does your library Spotify?

I follow Ellen Forsyth, a really smart Australian librarian, on Flickr. Yesterday, I saw this image in her photo stream (see the pic in this post).

Feast magazine has created a Spotify account. Here’s what the magazine says about it:

We are excited to announce that Feast is now on Spotify! Join us at sbsfeastmagazine to listen to the new additions to our profile: a Greek-themed playlist to match our Global Roaming story on life in Lesvos, and Christmas songs from around the world to get you in the spirit while you whip up festive goodies. Old favourites abound in ‘Char Time’ for tunes while you grill, and ‘Celebrate: Diwali’ to channel your inner Bollywood star are still online as well.

What a cool idea! Can libraries do this? I bet so. Spotify (huge music streaming service, for those not familiar with Spotify) allows users to create and share playlists of music.

A library could easily set up some fun playlists. Some examples:

  • seasonal or holiday-based music
  • theme-based music for new books or movies
  • a playlist connected to a major event (i.e., summer reading)
  • literary-focused music playlist
  • or just have fun with staff favorites

What do you think? Has any library done this? Please share!

Pic by Ellen Forsyth

 

Library Time – a song and video from my Library

The short version: My library wrote and recorded a song, and here’s the Youtube video for it! You can also:

 Longer version: Why did we do this?

Earlier this year, my library remodeled the kids area of the library and rebranded it the Kids Library. Part of our grand opening included some of our YA staff writing a song, and library staff performed the song at the grand opening (I played drums! Video here).

Our Marketing Director liked the song so much that she sent the “library band” to a local recording studio to have the song professionally recorded.

Then we decided to go all out with it. I did a number of things with the song:

  • registered the song with the Copyright office.
  • set up a CDBaby account for the library. CDBaby allows us to easily get a song into iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc for purchase.
  • yes – we’re in iTunes!
  • the library now has a Soundcloud account.
  • and we made a music video for the song. Because these days, EVERY new song needs a Youtube music video, right?

What’s our goal? We simply want to share the song on our website, with our community, and with other libraries and librarians. The nice thing about the song? It’s very library-focused. So if other libraries wanted to use the song as opening theme music for their kids events, it might work well.

Difficulties along the way. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, mainly with CDBaby:

  • CDBaby is pretty strict with band names. We couldn’t be “the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Band.” Apparently, you’re not supposed to mention brands or corporations in band names or album art. So the library band’s name is “The Literaries.”
  • CDBaby has two pricing options for songs – a basic one and a Pro version that includes ASCAP or BMI registration for broadcast royalties. Again, because this song was a work for hire by an organization, we couldn’t easily register the song. You can only sign up for ASCAP or BMI as an actual person/songwriter (not as an organization).

So – watch some of us (including yours truly) be a bit goofy and have some fun in the video. Listen to the song. If you think it might work for your library (or if you just like the song), please buy it!

Equipment for my Library’s Makerspace

M-Audio USB 25-key keyboard controllerMy library is putting the final touches on our fledgling makerspace/digital media lab. It opens December 8, assuming all the details fall into place! I thought it might be interesting to do a few posts on our plans – to share equipment ideas, policies and guidelines, and planning – in hopes that someone else will find it useful.

We are calling it the MakeIT Lab. Our goal is to allow customers to use computers and digital technology to make stuff, including:

  • edit and manipulate photos
  • create digital art
  • create and edit videos
  • record music, podcasts, and oral histories
  • transfer videos from old formats to newer ones
  • scan photos and documents
  • and make cool stuff with our 3D printer.

We’ll let customers do this inside the building in the lab, and outside the building by checking out a Media Bag. We’re placing the 3D printer in a very public area with signage about the MakeIT Lab in hopes that it promotes the rest of the makerspace just by … being cool (fingers crossed on that).

This is very much a pilot project for us. We have a starting list of equipment, procedures, trained staff (still working on that one), and a small room. If it goes well, we might need to expand services – more on that next year!

Here’s our starting list of equipment:

For the room:

  • Two Apple iMac computers
  • Alesis Elevate 3 studio monitors for the computers
  • flatbed scanner
  • Wacom digital drawing tablet
  • MakerBot 3D printer and filament
  • Canon Vixia camcorder
  • Elgato A/D converter
  • tripods and video lighting
  • M-Audio Oxygen 25 USB Keyboard controller
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio interface
  • Microphones (Audio Technica AT 2020 and Shure SM57 mics)
  • Microphone stands and cables

For the Media Bags. These are bags of stuff that you can check out. We do lots of “bag” things, including Travel Bags, Health Bags, and Book Group in a Bag. Each of the Media Bags will have some basic equipment and a Dummies Guide book in the bag. Bags include:

  • Video bag: Canon Vixia camcorder
  • Photography bag: Canon PowerShot digital camera
  • Field Recording bag (for podcasting, oral histories, etc): Zoom H1 digital recorder
  • Songwriters Bag: Tascam DR-40 Portable digital recorder, Audio Technica AT 2020 microphones (2 of them), mic stand and cables.

Software:

  • iLife suite (GarageBand, iMovie)
  • Google Sketchup
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • And probably some other software that I’m forgetting at the moment.

Should be a fun project!

I Won a Prince Takedown Request – or, online video copyright challenges

Every once in awhile, I receive a copyright takedown request for one of my videos. In two recent cases, I challenged the process and ultimately won – which means I didn’t have to take down or change the music bed to my video. Here’s what happened in both cases:

Case #1 – Prince and SirsiDynix. In 2010, at ALA Annual, I was invited to a SirsiDynix party. I went, video camera in hand, and took a short video of some dancing librarians. The song, played by a cover band, was Kiss by Prince. The video’s about 30 seconds long.

I posted a version of this video to my Vimeo account, and last year I received a takedown notice from Vimeo, saying that Prince (i.e., most likely some third party company hired to find his songs on the web?) was claiming a copyright infringement.

Case #2 – INgrooves claims a “free to use” song. Sometimes, I use Apple’s license-free  music that comes with iMovie as a music bed for some of my videos. In my video Busy Day, I did just that. I used a “free to use” song loop. No problem, right?

Late last year, I received a message from Youtube, saying that INgrooves was claiming the song was theirs.

What did I do? In both cases, Vimeo and Youtube have ways to contest the notice. With Vimeo and Prince, I argued Fair Use. With my Busy Day video, I shared that the music was already covered by a license. Both Vimeo and Youtube have pretty clear ways to argue your case.

In both cases, just by following through with an appropriate response, I was able to keep the video up with music intact.

Why share this? Because you might have to do the same for your organization or your personal video account at some point. If that happens, here’s a really simple tip (which I plan to start doing) – in the video description section of your Youtube post (I’ll use Youtube as an example), mention where the music came from. Be specific about it, too – where you found it (with a URL), if it had a Creative Commons license, if you wrote and performed it, if it was a loop-based creation, if it came with your video editing program, etc.

Do this as a reminder to yourself. Then, if you ever receive a Copyright notice or a takedown request, you’ll know where the music came from!