Latest Posts


NI Musicians lets Drink & Chat

NI Musicians lets Drink & Chat

Recently I wrote a Facebook post about musicians, producers, engineers, managers & everyone in and around music in NI getting together for a meet up to have a chill, drink & chat.

To give you a bit of a background as to why I’ve chosen to do this, over the past year I’ve interviewed over 30 prominent musicians, engineers, managers about music provision in NI from multiple organisations. I had a fantastic amount of information, I also had surveys from over 100 musicians and as I was getting ready to release the materials all but 4 of the people I interviewed wanted to retract all that they’d said both good and bad or remove the critical elements from their interviews in case they lost work. (I fully respect & understand their decisions) Though it’s become clear people are intimidated around voicing concerns when discussing  music organisations.

Rather than do any investigation into music provision, I thought it’d be better to just provide a place for people to get together and network. It’s very easy to point out faults and criticise it’d be more useful to just provide some sort of active event to try to help people out! So…

I’ve had a massive response to this and am now in the process in trying to pull something together. What I don’t want it to be is some sort of gig, I don’t want people to have to attend a gig and watch artists or “support local music”. It’s nothing like that. It’s an opportunity to meet up with like minded people who work in a similar area and have a chat about what you do and ask questions to people that might have a bit more experience than you to learn. Nothing official nothing branded. Just hey we’re going to have a get together and chat.

I’m trying to work out exactly how many people would be interesting in going, if people think it would be worth booking a venue such as the black box or just turning up to a venue? It’ll also probably be a Monday or Tuesday as that’s pretty much when we’re lighter in terms of work as musicians maybe not so much the engineers & producers.

So anyway… I’d appreciate it, if you are interested in having a meet up every few months that you’d either send me an email to saying who you are, what you do and if you’d be interested in attending. And joining the Facebook group I’ve created and it’ll probably make it an easy way to stay in touch. Don’t worry I’ll not add you to my artist mailing list J

I’m also thinking in and around the 1st week in March, this means that if any songwriters make a connection etc… you might have a gig that week at the Nashville festival where you can invite some people to check out what you do live & maybe build on some working relationships!

Hope this can help some people!



Taylor Swift is right… an unsigned view point

So this isn’t a post for musicians, it’s probably a blog giving a little insight into my life as an unsigned artist. What I’m going to write is simply my opinion as it stands at this current point in time.

First of all Taylor Swift did a cool thing going public with her opinion on the payments (or lack there of) for the first 3 months of Apple’s service. I’ve been following the events on other music blogs & via media outlets. The real power has probably come from the lack of support from labels both independent & major. In short for anyone that doesn’t know what’s happening – Apple are starting a streaming service next month, and wanted to give access to ALL of the music on the platform completely free for the first 3 months.

As an unsigned artist I’ve dodged and negotiated this mentality for many years. I’ve typically found it with “promoters”. I’ll not name any promoters, but here’s an example of what happens all too often.

I’m contacted to play an event that’s charging 5 – 15 per ticket. I’m asked for a price, the promoter tries to haggle me down & I stick to my price which is a set price and isn’t unreasonable at all. I’m constantly aware of the promoters overheads so I set my price accordingly, so as to make sure there’s a sufficient return for the promoter if the event does well enough. I promote the event, but I don’t see the promoter do any promotion. Then a week before the event I’ll get an email saying it’s not selling as well as they’d hoped at this point, though it’s still doing OK and they expect some walk in traffic. They would like to know would I consider dropping my fee to ensure I don’t disappoint the people who’ve already bought tickets. I get to the event, play the gig to a decent number of people (always around 50+ lately around 100+) and the promoter talks about how hard it is to work in this industry, how he/she doesn’t have a big budget and they didn’t turn over the amount of people they’d hoped. And, if they pay me the full amount they might not be able to continue doing their night which helps support music.

The above is a common occurrence. Even if it’s not as direct as that, it’s implied all the time. The answer is simple though. It’s not the musicians job to worry about your risks as a promoter. We provide a form of art and you as a promoter believe you can sell it. We charge a fee for our time and you run the event. The risk isn’t on us, we’ve already taken the risk of spending up to 10k on an album. It’s time we started making a return.

The same applies to Apple. If they want to start a business generating revenue from product that isn’t theirs, it should not be their decision to give away our music for 3 months for FREE. “They’re offering a platform”. I’ve heard this about Spotify.

Here’s an example of my payment from Spotify:


Spotify state that their average payment is 0.007 per play. Well I’ve received 0.001 and as I’ve looked into it, I’ve discovered quite a lot of unsigned artists have also. I know some other friends & musicians are doing fantastically well out of Spotify, receiving Millions of plays and they are getting the full royalty rate. The issue for me is the lack of consistency. Spotify state that they pay 70% of revenue to the rights holders, but there are a lot of people disputing this currently.  I for one am not receiving the same rate as I have previously with a lesser volume of plays. The argument that they are offering a platform? Ok so I have 23k plays … my demographic says GB… Well that’s massively useful… whereabouts? Which county? Should I just spend 1 million on advertising to all of the UK or can you let me know which county in Ireland I should be visiting. Now in America I get the state… California … lol This isn’t useful for an independent artist. I can’t afford to advertise all over San Diego, San Fran, L.A etc…

Apple & Spotify are businesses: 
If you want to start a business selling a product you need to invest in that product. If I sell T shirts, I need to buy the T shirts before I can sell them on. If I am ASDA, I need to buy in product before selling it on. Apple and Spotify are just the same – they are resellers. Why should it be the musician that takes the hit? Why should we take the risk? We’ve already taken the risk in investing in developing our music, which they see as ‘Product’. We’ve developed it, nurtured it, recorded it, mixed it, mastered it, sometimes scrapped it & started the whole process again.

I really advise people to buy from me directly whether that’s digital or physical. I don’t care about charts & I am a working musician. I go out, write songs, record them, sell albums and play gigs. I do this and gradually have built myself a starting career. I don’t think I’ve broken 1k on Itunes for sales & that’s fine. But if Itunes are streaming my music & giving it away for free, how can I as an artist compete with that?

We as artists need these revenues to justify being able to continue to work. There needs to be a revenue stream to enable us to keep creating music. I pay everyone that works for and with me via direct payment or royalty share. If there’s no royalty to share, but people are still listening to your music, how do I create more music? Obviously people (23 thousand worth of plays) were interested enough to listen to the Album. How can I continue to do so?  How can I afford to spend thousands of pounds on releasing music if the avenues for getting that music out there offer exposure rather than payment. Let me tell you… my experience & exposure bank account is Full to the fucking brim!

I’m hearing people saying the Taylor swift thing was an Apple publicity stunt… It kinda doesn’t matter either way as long as they are no longer giving music away for FREE. If you’re at all interested in music, please support artists. I don’t mean LOCAL artists I mean ones you think are worth their salt.

Fair play Taylor, Well done Apple for wising up!