Archive for the ‘Free Music’ Category

Sep 28

Black Tape For A Blue Girl + Michael Plaster of SoulWhirlingSomewhere

Black Tape For A Blue Girl, the “Bike Shop” vinyl EP featuring Michael Plaster of SoulWhirlingSomewhere. Limited edition 12” at Kickstarter. Free download for all!

Watch the video and read more about the EP at Kickstarter Download the mixes of the tracks at Bandcamp

Hi — This is Sam from Blacktape. You haven’t heard from me much lately, I was back east for ten days, and I’ve been busy finishing up the four tracks on the “Bike Shop” vinyl EP. These are four brand new songs, only one of which will be on the next Black tape for a blue girl album.

I’m asking for your support to fund this release.

I have to say that this is something about the new record business that I really enjoy: I can write & record songs in September. And make them available for you to hear in September! In the old days, there was such a long delay between the creative spark and when the CD finally came out. Now I can put the songs up on Bandcamp for you to hear immediately, while they still feel amazingly fresh to me… and then in early 2016 you can get the vinyl. That’s very cool, if you ask me!

I’m also excited about recording with a first generation Projekt artist, Michael Plaster. We’ve been friends for 20 years, we’ve worked together on all his Projekt releases. It’s been forever since he’s had new music for all of you. Please Sennd Help came out in 2001, it was PRO121. This EP comes out 200 releases later, PRO321!

Alright, so let me tell you a little bit about the EP.

I’ve been working on the new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album (these fleeting moments) and I’m about two-thirds through writing it. Last Christmas I recorded guitar parts for a new song; about a month ago I wrote the lyrics and that became “bike shop/absolute zero.” I was reflecting back on my last few relationships: thinking about the good parts but also kind of wondering how they fell apart, and how it took so long to recognize they were over.

I’ve worked with Michael Plaster on his Projekt releases for over 20 years; I’ve always loved his voice and emotional delivery. As I was writing “bike shop,” I kept thinking, “Damn, this would be a great song for Michael to sing.” It has a similar quality to his lyrics: looking back on a past relationship with some joy and a bunch of sadness. I waited until I recorded my guide vocals, and then presented it to him ready to go. “Here, this is happening! Would you like to be the singer?” Michael said, “Yes,” which was very exciting to me!

I had the idea of doing it as a vinyl single and we talked about what might go on the B-side. Maybe a new version of an old Blacktape track? But knowing Michael was the vocalist inspired me to write three more songs really fast — like in a week! These songs sprung from little bittersweet memories.

For the most part, things didn’t happen exactly the way it goes in these songs. Yes, there’s a real bike shop and a real cabin. And I did get dumped on the phone (ouch!). But there’s nobody named “Vega,” and there’s no real canoe, and I wasn’t getting relationship advice from Dennis Hopper! : ) Yet the songs capture intimate and personal stories about relationships and love.

The three additional tracks give you the back story on “bike shop.” Think of it as diving deeper and hearing more about a character you will meet in a song on the upcoming album.

I was back in Brooklyn three weeks ago and I recorded drums on two of the tracks with Brian Viglione (of Violent Femmes and The Dresden Dolls). I love how quickly the “Bike Shop” vinyl EP has gone from idea to something you can listen to!

Scott M wrote on the Patreon page: After hearing just a few lines of “bike shop,” I could totally see why you wanted Michael Plaster to sing it. He achieves in each song just the right combination of sadness, joy, frustration, weariness, and acceptance. The video is well-done also. I hope the Kickstarter funds!

I want you to hear this new music! Go to Bandcamp and download the entire EP for free!

These are rough mixes; they’re almost done though not mastered. That’s part of what we’re raising money for: mastering, manufacturing, and paying Michael for his participation.

You can make this 12” a reality.

If you like the tracks, hopefully you’ll go to the Kickstarter page and chip in three dollars. Or even more, ’cause there are some cool premiums that you can pledge for.

Whatever you give, you’re supporting art — and that’s super-cool of you!


About the release: 150 gram custom color vinyl (yellow with black flakes) in a limited edition of 500. Color album jacket and b&w lyric sheet. Kickstarter pledge copies will be signed by Sam and Michael.

The track “bike shop/absolute zero” will be included on the spring 2016 Black Tape For A Blue Girl album, these fleeting moments; the other three tracks are exclusive to this release (though I’m thinking of working with my female vocalist on an album version of “she’s gone”.)

These fleeting moments is a return to the ethereal darkwave/darkAmbient sound of the early 90s Blacktape CDs. The tracks on the EP are a bit of an anomaly from the others I am recording; these are sparse and sensitive acoustic guitar pieces with Michael’s vocals.

Jul 16

SomaFM streaming radio premiere of Steve Roach’s Etheric Imprints

Friday July 17 @ Noon Pacific / 3pm East Coast

SomaFM streaming radio premiere of Steve’s Etheric Imprints —

Etheric will not be up for streaming at Spotify, etc, but you’ll be able to hear this mesmerizing introspective electronic / ambient music on THE DRONE ZONE. There’s a chat window that Sam will be participating in, typing in answers from Steve.

See you there!

May 15

What’s cooking at Projekt? -and- music industry thoughts -and-

If Projekt’s webstore was a cafe, we’d be excited about how much you are enjoying the specials we’ve added to the menu. The top-2 sellers in May are combo packs featuring our latest releases. It’s nice to see people picking up the new menu items! You can see many more new titles here. We also have a great selection of day old items; they are still amazing and tasty just not the current flavor. And then we also have the 20-4-$45 box, it’s sort of like the last few bottles of the cherry soda that was the rage two summers ago, but are now forgotten at the back of the cooler. Still delicious, of course! The 20-4-45 box has been a big seller, there are just 10 left! Quite honestly, I am not sure how much longer I can torture this webstore/cafe metaphor, so I’m going to move on… : -)

Here are the Top-5 sellers for May:

1 Steve Roach: Skeleton CD 2-Pack Experience the beauty of 100% pure analog modular sequencer-based music. There’s a worldwide analog modular synthesizer resurgence in full swing. Pioneering electronic musician Steve Roach taps into the zeitgeist on Skeleton Key. This 2-pack gives you the Skeleton album, plus a 2nd CD with 5 tracks from 2004 that inspired the album, and 3 more analog sequencer tracks recorded after Skeleton was completed. 2 Dirk Serries & Stratosphere CD 2-pack Two drone ambient albums from these Belgian artists. Dirk Serries is the creator behind Projekt’s highly successfull 90s act VidnaObmana, and Stratosphere is the project of Ronald Mariën, Dirk’s long-time friend and soundman. 3 VNV Nation: Resonance 6×10″ Vinyl & CD Box Set (Preorder, Expected Early June) Years in the planning, this album features many of the best known VNV NATION songs, performed purely with orchestra and voice. No other studio instruments were used as the goal was to be as authentic as possible. This is the album that VNV NATION have always wanted to make. This vinyl edition contains the exclusive bonus-track ‘If I was’ on the 6th 10” ! 4 Dirk Serries: Disorientation Flow Serries’ second album on Projekt is a suitable follow-up to his warm and welcoming now-sold-out 2014 release, The Origin Reversal. More than a critically-acclaimed re-boot of his classic vidnaObmana sound, this is ambient music that flows from its discreet origins of sonic purity, washes of harmony, and languid textures. Unfurling with seductive deliberation and orchestrated with just a handful of effects and electric guitar, this album is again fully improvised and recorded in real-time. (Limited edition of 300) 5 Stratosphere: Aftermath The second Projekt release from Stratosphere (a.k.a. Ronald Mariën), is built upon layering shimmers of guitar and bass-generated tones and drones. The album’s core seems inspired by post-rock, drone ambient and the work of Fripp & Eno, yet it speaks its own expressive voice.  (Limited edition of 300)

Rounding out the top-10: 6 Dirk Serries: The Origin Reversal (now out-of-print) 7 Erik Wollo: Blue Radiance 8 Steve Roach: Skeleton 3-Pack, LP + 2 CDs 9 Steve Roach: Skeleton Keys – CD 10 Steve Roach: Skeleton Keys – Vinyl

Four days remaining on the As Lonely As Dave Bowman MONOLITH Kickstarter

120 amazingly supportive people have chipped in $3659 towards the Kickstarter for my electronic / space music album MONOLITH. You can listen to the whole album for free, right now, at my Bandcamp page. My goal was to fund the physical album (success, thanks!), I also hoped to have my music heard. Please feel free to grab your copy, even if you don’t plan to donate to the cause. Why am I ok with this, but not with torrents or Spotify? Because *I* get to make the decision how and when my music is heard for free. That gives me back my agency, and I appreciate that.

The crowdfunding campaign is almost over. But there’s still time for you to grab the limited edition CD, the über limited edition plexiBox version, or the recently added MARCH OF PROGRESS Tshirt.

If you’ve already backed MONOLITH and want to add on a shirt, Kickstarter makes it easy to change your pledge, details on their FAQ. If you don’t want to add the shirt, don’t do anything. You’re really wonderful for backing in the first place!

On Monday, there will be an interview posted on Italy’s OndaRock website (I don’t know if you’ve noticed how much support Projekt receives in Italy’s press, but I honestly think we get more reviews in Italia then all of America. It’s nice they still have magazines that appear on newstands that feature our kind of music.) I’ll link to the full interview when it’s posted; I’ll share a sneak preview with you here.

Many of you enjoy my longer blog posts when I write about the state of the music industry. While this interview is mostly about my music and MONOLITH, there are a number of questions about my views on where the industry is at today…

OndaRock: Regarding Spotify, what’s the situation nowadays, after years and years of “resistance”, from your point of view?

Sam: As the Borg say: Resistance is Futile (laughs).

I think that ethically artists should be properly compensated for their work. But Google already won that war. The battle is over. The tech companies have demolished the little guys, and the majority of ‘customers’ will pay hundreds for their iphone and hundreds a year for their internet connection; but won’t pay for the music.

I can keep fighting like some lost soldier out on an island in the Pacific, or I can decide what is possible with the new overlords in place. While 90% of the audience have moved on or moved to free, the other 10% feel a connection to their favorite artists and to supporting their art. And that’s great. But us artists need to do the work to reconnect and be part of the change. Some of the darwave artists I worked with — while great people — have their heads buried deep in the sand! They think that if they keep wishing, it will be 1996 again, and they’ll sell thousands of CDs again. But reality says that ain’t happening. So you have to be realistic about today.

You know, thinking about this, reading Thich Nhat Han helped my thinking alot: Suffering is failure to see reality as it is. You can’t fight reality. Reality is an illusion. The idea about being “fairly paid” is an illusion that we created that once worked. But now we have to see the new reality, in order to get away from our suffering.

Something to think about, while you’re out on the weekend: Where do we each bash our head against the wall, rather than accept reality as it is?

Tsu, the Tidal of social networks, pays you for posting. Article at Macworld

I, for one, am excited by the prospect of a new social networking site evolving as a replacement for Facebook. I’m on TSU at and you can join by clicking on my profile link. TSU doesn’t squelch who sees what I post. Unlike Facebook, there is no algorithm designed to make TSU money by getting me to pay to be seen by people who have already signed up to be my friends. Furthermore, TSU will pay us a microscopic payment for views and clicks. Yes, they will pay YOU when people check out what you post. There’s a lot of griping and screaming online about TSU being a scam or pyramid scheme. I don’t know if I buy that. It seems to be a new experiement at a new model. One that’s not about making investors money, at the expense of users.. What I know is that I am over Facebook, and the way they have ruined the social networking experience. I want a site that works like Facebook did 5 years ago: a site that lets you see my posts!

Some say, “Not a lot of people are on TSU, so what good is it?” Well, what good is having 6000+ followers on the Blacktape Facebook page, and less than 300 of you see what I post?

Will TSU succeed? I don’t know. I hope so!

My plan is that once the MONOLITH Kickstarter is complete, I’ll take a one-week Facebook Sabbatical. Only pop in to let you know what’s happening at TSU (or to promote my showing of Edward Scissorhands, the events section of Facebook still functions properly!). I am hoping TSU can have some of the spirit of MP3,com or Myspace or Facebook in the early days, before they each started sucking.

Martin Bowes of Attrition is on TSU; he’s been on for 5 months. Hey, Mr Early Adopter! : )

Visit my page and join:

Have a great weekend. Sam

MONOLITH Kickstarter: Free Bandcamp download:

May 05

Black Tape For A Blue Girl May Update

Hi there. Here’s an update on what’s going on with Black Tape For A Blue Girl:

As you might know, I created a Patreon page for my music. Patreon is a crowdfunding site where you can pledge monthly support. To date, 92 patrons are donating $676 to assist my creations. An anonymous donor pledged $50 a month just this week. Wow!

In exchange for your support you get exclusive access to my music as I’m creating it. Today, patrons are receiving my first draft of the new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album; 14 demos, a first listen to a sequence of the tracks I’m working on. Some pieces will stay, some will go. None have vocals yet. It’s work in progress; I think that’s pretty cool to hear.

If you’d like to hear it, join my Patreon with a pledge as low as $2 a month. Everyone who joins this week will get the stream, even though you haven’t been charged anything. Patreon charges your credit card once a month around the first.

MONOLITH, the electronic space-music album from my solo-project As Lonely As Dave Bowman has reached the $3000 goal at Kickstarter which means this album is going to exist! 102 people have pledged $3045 to the campaign, and there’s still two weeks to go. Things aren’t over yet; Kickstarter is now a place to pre-order your copy of this 300-piece limited edition release.

My campaign was based on an interesting question: Can I give away digital downloads of an album at the same time as I’m attempting to crowdfund the release? Will people care about my creation enough to make it happen?

And the answer is an awe-inspiring Yes you will!

I’ve received a number of emails this week that say, “It’s not just the stuff, Sam. I want to see you succeed and keep making art.” That’s pretty incredible, and feels really good.

Part of my goal with Patreon & Kickstarter is to connect to people who enjoy my work. I see new names pledging at the upper tiers; that’s fantastic! I like knowing I’m creating music that matters to you, and that perhaps one or two of my past albums have been beneficial in your life when you needed someone / something there. That makes it all seem so much more worthwhile!

At the Blacktape Bandcamp page you can download the new As Lonely As Dave Bowman MONOLITH album and also the 2007 POD album, both for free. I added my 2011 ambient/drone release The Passage, also for name-your=price.

Hopefully you’ll make a donation there, or even better, at the Kickstarter page. When you pledge at Kickstarter you get an additional 37 minutes of Dave Bowman music. Plus I get to stay in touch with you via updates on the MONOLITH project.

I’ve mentioned that 2015 is the year I get back to making music; I’m really active with that and I appreciate that you help make it happen.


Apr 20

Monolith Kickstarter and Free Download

Help fund my electronic space music CD. Free Download for everyone. Über ltd plexibox edition too.

Hi, this is Sam from Black Tape For A Blue Girl and As Lonely As Dave Bowman. I’m trying something different here: I’m giving you a free copy of the full album digital download at the same time as I’m crowdfunding the physical release. Let’s see if we meet the $3000 Goal?

Kickstarter pledge: Bandcamp download:

With your help, this 73-minute album will exist as a 300-piece limited edition audio CD packaged in a DVD-sized digipak. Up to 100 of these will be in the über-limited plexibox edition.

Unlike my work in Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Dave Bowman is full-on electronic music: droning space, wordless drift with long suspended passages. Covering Bowman’s journey to the Monolith near Jupiter, the album touches the edges of isolation and glacial solitude, with a discernible warm human core. MONOLITH‘s epic expanses, asteroid flybys, serene ambient moments, vast open textures, and warmer hues of sparse remoteness are barren, yet without leaving the listener abandoned. Think of it as drone insulation rather than drone isolation.

But I don’t have to tell you about the music. Listen to the whole album right now!

Visit the Bandcamp page for your copy. Download it and listen without paying anything. I’m hoping some of you will drop by Kickstarter and donate three dollars or more to support the physical CD. And perhaps you’ll pledge one of the limited edition physical versions.

I appreciate that!

Every sponsor at Kickstarter gets MONOLITH (ADDENDUM), a 37-minute download of additional tracks. That’s 110 minutes of music for as little as three dollars!

Whatever you contribute, you’re supporting art — and that’s super-cool of you!


PS: Here’s a 30-second YouTube clip from Saturday’s session in the studio with violist Grace Young.

Feb 19

Four Songs From Five Years Ago (New Music)

Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s patrons at Patreon are listening to four never-before-heard unfinished tracks from 2009/2010, from the 10 Neurotics era. You can join them by becoming a patron. Or if you’d prefer to dip your toe in the water, check out one track from the set (featuring Brian Viglione on drums) for free; listen to Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s “Time (October 24 2009) – Mix 12” at Soundcloud.

Jan 31

Digital freelease: What if Projekt had put together the soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey?

From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.

Digital freelease: What if Projekt had put together the soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey?

In the next couple of weeks you’re going to be bombarded with ads and news articles about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. While I’m not expecting much from Hollywood’s mainstream idea of what is erotic, this did give me a fun idea: What if the film studio had contacted Projekt to put together the soundtrack? What would that sound like?

I went through the Projekt catalog and pulled tracks both cinematic and soundtracky for this compilation that’s available for name-your-price at Bandcamp. You could also go buy it at iTunes, but you certainly don’t have to; that’s for people not-in-the-know.

I had a lot of fun putting this imaginary soundtrack together. I think I’ll do more in the future. What would Projekt’s version of the new Star Wars soundtrack sound like? Blade Runner 2? The rumored new X-files? I think we’re going to find out!

Enjoy Projekt’s freelease of Fifty Shades of Grey (music for a sensual evening) at Bandcamp.

Aug 19

A free sampler from Black Tape For A Blue Girl

The Collection (pay-as-you-wish) by Black Tape For A Blue Girl

Given (1. the waterfall 2. the illuminating gas) Across a thousand blades (2007) All my lovers Knock three times (skinny kinda mix) Tell me you’ve taken another (‘09) Remnants of a deeper purity Fortune presents gifts not according to the book The turbulence and the torment Again, to drift (for Veronika) Tear love from my mind love it, share it pinterest google

Hi, this is Sam of blacktape. I’m really happy that somewhere along the way you discovered my music. Getting reconnected with so many of you over the last year has been incredible, amazing and inspiring. I put together this collection for you. It contains many of the “hit” songs we’ve recorded over the years, some introspective album tracks, as well as our cover of a Dead Can Dance song.

If you like the music my bandmates and I have created, please… share the link below!

The Collection sells for $5 at iTunes, or get it for free at blacktape’s Bandcamp page. Ten songs spanning twenty-eight years of music. Thanks so much for your interest.

Please share this link with your friends:

Aug 07

Free electronic / ambient sampler at Bandcamp

Free sampler at Bandcamp

Summer 2014 Electronic & Ambient Sampler Stream or download at our Bandcamp store. Projekt has been very active with a number of amazing new albums in the electronic and ambient genres. I created this sampler to give you an overview of these albums; see which ones excite you! Ninty minutes of music from Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Steve Roach / Kelly David, Mercury’s Antennae, Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig, Byron Metcalf / Mark Seelig and Sam Rosenthal.

Please share this link with your friends:

Copyright © 2014 Projekt, All rights reserved. Cover image by Kentleigh (a.k.a. rebel28) Projekt Records; 732 South 4th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19147

Aug 04

ProjektList#140804, Sam’s thoughts (continued). News, links + griping about the record industry .

Grab your cup-o-joe, and dive into today’s email list from Projekt Record’s Sam Rosenthal…

Good morning! I want to start right off by saying Projekt is doing fine, my life is pretty great. Some people translated all the griping on last week’s list as some coded message that we’ve reach the end of days ’round these parts. Nope, not the case at all. I have a nice life thanks to all of you! I work for myself in a really lovely house from 1907, with my cat by my side. My son is here half the week, and I take breaks to make him lunch and be talked at about Minecraft. Almost every day I get on the phone with one of my favorite artists: Steve Roach! We’re always brainstorming great new things for you, working on album covers and promotions that keep the music flowing. I get to work with many other talented artists; and I just finished the bi-annually royalty payment mailing! I guestimate Projekt has paid $500,000 in royalties over the last 30 years. It’s a pretty sweet, gig, all things considered.

Please understand that grumbling about the state of the music industry is only one aspect of running Projekt. I’d speculate that thinking about this ¢rap occupies only 5 – 10% of my time! There is a lot of great stuff going on here; otherwise, I would have stopped doing this a loooooong time ago. – Sam

Download this great compilation, your soundtrack to today’s elist. It’s a pay-as-you-wish Projekt electronic / ambient sampler. Ninty minutes of fabulous music, available for download or streaming at Bandcamp.


Previously, on the Projekt eList…

On last week’s list (read here) I discussed the changes at Facebook that mean you’ll no longer see posts from the bands and artists you “liked;” and offered a chart of just how little income Projekt’s earn via Spotify. The most important bit of information (to get you up to speed for today’s list) is this:

At Spotify, on 6 months of Black Tape For A Blue Girl sales, the average per stream payment was $.00523 (before my distributor’s fees)…. If you average 13 tracks per album, and an earning of $155.39 for 2285 albums, that’s 6.80¢ per album. Hmmmmmmmmm? A cup of coffee or a beer is worth $4; an album is worth under 7¢ ?

This is the point that a lot of us artists find hard to believe. Today’s generation of “music fans” find it okee-dokey that an album is only worth 1.75% of what a beer costs at a baseball game!

and now a brief commercial interruption, before we begin… Available for pre-order at Projekt:

Android Lust: The Dividing 10th Anniversary 2-LP | $25

Expected Early August. EMOTIONAL INDUSTRIAL. 10th Anniversary edition of Android Lust’s critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Dividing. Released only digitally and as a limited edition clear vinyl, this version features brand new remixes from Collide, Gregory Stewart (Z Marr/Combichrist), I, Parasite, Inertial and R010R. Spiritual Front: Vladimir Central Ltd Ed Vinyl 12″ | $35 Expected Late August. A superlimited edition of 200 hand-numbered and signed (by Simone) copies. Special screenprinted vinyl (print on Side A, music on Side B). Including an insert and sticker and containing two new, exclusive songs.


picking up where list#140728 left off…

Now, I am sure you are not one of the people arguing that music should be (almost) free; I know that you support artists with your hard-earned dollars and your purchases of Projekt releases. But for the rest of these people: seriously?! Albums don’t just magically appear out of thin air. It takes a lot of time and effort for all of us to create this work. And while most of us love doing it, we certainly don’t mind being compensated for our effort. Voltaire crowd-funded nearly $54,000 at indiegogo for Raised by Bats, and he spent it all (and more) making the album! Artists pour hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into their creations.

When people consume these albums at a rate of 7¢ per unit, how can an artist ever hope to recoup their costs, let alone earn enough to live off? This is where the internet and streaming has brought us.

This is not healthy for society. Our society consumes a lot of art. Somehow, people have to decide that art is worth supporting. If nobody was listening to music, then I’d agree that we shouldn’t be paid. But clearly the music is being listened to… People want to hear music and watch movies and play games. Yet many don’t want to pay a living wage for it.

Most artists earn less than fast food employees.

And let me just say, Don’t give credence to the “but you make your money touring” meme. That’s an excuse to let somebody else pay the bill. Yes, U2 grossed $750million on their last tour. But — surprise surprise — Bono didn’t share any of that with us. 🙂 Black Tape For A Blue Girl loses money when we tour. Most Projekt bands lose money when they tour. A few (Voltaire, Steve Roach) make a profit. But the idea that most artists make a living touring? That is a false meme, designed to muddy the waters.

Where does Projekt’s digital income come from?

I pulled a report for one year of Projekt’s digital sales via our distributor, eOne.     #1 – 58% of Projekt’s digital income is from iTunes    #2 – 18% Amazon    #3 – 7% emusic    #4 – 5% Spotify (average = $.00485 per stream, 206 streams earns a dollar)    #5 – 4% Google Play    #6 – 3% YouTube (average = $.00089 per video played, 1123 plays equals a dollar)

Please note that this doesn’t include Bandcamp; their income does not come to us via eOne, because Projekt works direct with them, Bandcamp would be #2 on this chart, ahead of Amazon! Thanks so much for supporting Projekt directly; I really appreciate that! BC take a 12% fee, vs. the 33% that goes to iTunes+eOne. It’s better for Projekt and the artist when you buy at Bandcamp.

I’ve changed my mind (again) about Streaming music

Back in September 2011, I was completely anti-Spotify. No way! I didn’t want Projekt music up there! But then in late 2012, I saw the writing on the wall. “Everyone” was migrating to streaming, and many label owners told me that Spotify was their third biggest source of digital income, with no decline in their iTunes sales. It was extra found money, they said. It wouldn’t cannibalize download sales, they said. I figured I needed to play the game for a while, at least long enough to get good data to make a decision. I put up about 75% of Projekt’s music at streaming sites in early 2013. I didn’t announce this, I wanted to see what would happen organically. Would people discover the music? Would it find a whole bunch of lost Projekt fans? And would sales increase? I didn’t include every album. I really can’t get behind giving away the music that’s still selling at iTunes and Amazon and Bandcamp.

I know, I know. I’m a capitalist. I like money coming in so I can share it with my artists/friends.

I like paying to keep a roof over my head, and that guacamole I love so much!

2013 turned out to be the year that streaming won the war. Projekt’s digital sales dropped 30% year-over-year as people migrated to free platforms. The first 1/2 of 2014 saw a non-stop series of articles about the record industry taking a big hit in 2013. Why? Streaming. People are growing to like free music.

Hell, I like streaming!

I listen to a ton of music on rdio; albums that I never would have bought otherwise (in one two day period, I listened to the first seven Bob Dylan albums. Another evening, the first four from Depeche Mode. A few nights ago, two early Tangerine Dream albums I’ve never owned but have been curious about). I also stream albums I already own. I was given a free rdio subscription (because I’m in the biz!), but I recently paid for a renewal, rather than mooch another free extension. I use the service a lot, I want to pay…

What I pay will never properly compensate artists for the music I listen to. I know this.

And yet, even with the drop in income at Projekt, I was starting to lean towards an “Oh, why not?” attitude about tracks at streaming sites. If you can’t beat them join them. But last week, I went ape shit and freaked! Why? Tethered downloads! I realized “streaming” is a false term (thank you Fianna Jones and Todd Loomis for pointing this out). When people subscribe to Spotify, those streamed tracks can be downloaded to the listener’s device, and carried with them when they are not online (tethered downloads remain available, as long as they pay their subscription rates).

I’m an idiot, I didn’t realize that. This means “streaming” is absolutely replacing the sales of “digital downloads,” as they serve the same purpose. People can pay $10 for one album at iTunes, or $10 for every album available at Spotify, and they can carry it with them.

Shea commented: A tethered download is essentially a free download with an expiration date. It’s irresistible – what a great deal! It works in the airplane (since you already stored it)! It works in the car in the middle of nowhere. It works on the subway! Complete garbage!

Last week, I changed my streaming instructions with eOne. I left 17% of the label for streaming, essentially one album per artist (plus the entire Voltaire catalog).

Brian John Mitchell of QRD Records commented: “Spotify earnings go up in percentage pretty regularly for me as the overall digital earnings go down. Sigh….”

Yes, big sigh!

Yet another (mostly false) meme swirling around the internet is that streaming leads to sales. I know there are Projekt fans who tell me this is true for them; but they are a minority. For those who try before they buy, I left some music up for “exposure” purposes.

But let me ask this, “If streaming actually leads to sales, why aren’t sales up, instead of down?” Nobody has been able to refute this.

I also ask, “If streaming leads to sales, why doesn’t Spotify have a link to Amazon, with an affliate code so they earn a micropenny with every sale?” Answer: because they know streaming doesn’t led to sales in any meaningful way.

Exposure. If you want to hear music from Projekt’s latest releases, we have bandcamp embeds on all the album pages of the site. And you can hear full tracks from Projekt’s artists at bandcamp.

Spotify Hits 10 Million Paid Users. Now Can It Make Money? read at Bloomberg

Agonoize: Apokalypse Limited 2-CD Berlin-based inferno of hard beats, brutal shouts and thudding bass. $23 Android Lust: The Dividing (10th anniversary 2-LP Vinyl edition) Limited edition on clear vinyl. $25 Ataraxia: Wind At Mount Elo Modern Classical/Neofolk masterpiece by the Italian project. $18 Cocksure: TVMALSV Bridging the gap between waxtrax! era industrial and future sounds of mass corruption. $14 Deine Lakaien: Acoustic II $25 Deine Lakaien: Farewell/Where the Winds Don’t Blow CDS First taster for the new album Crystal Palace. $11 Deine Lakaien: Crystal Palace Limited Box A return to the sonic atmospheres of the early days (1986-1990). $49 Deine Lakaien: Crystal Palace Limited Digipak +3 Bonus Tracks $25 Funker Vogt: Survivor 3-CD Box Collector’s Edition with bonus material and rare, unreleased tracks. $26 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD BOX A unique mix of electro-sounds and medieval atmosphere. $85 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts Limited 2-CD $23 Heimataerde: Kaltwaerts $19 In Slaughter Natives: Cannula Coma Legio The band delves into more obscure ambient territories. $14 KMFDM: We Are Live album features favorites new and old. $14 Lustmord: Kraków October 22 2010 Live limited edition. $24 Pride and Fall: Turn the Lights On EP Remix contest EP with exclusive b-side. $15 Project Pitchfork: Blood 2-CD + Book An interlocked, carefully conceive, powerful dark electro album. $59 Project Pitchfork: Blood $20 Prude: The Dark Age of Consent Wild mix of 70’s NYC punk/glam with a harsh, damaged electronic edge. $14 Sequential Access: Sex Addict Anonymous 13 tracks of pure golden era electro-industrial. $14 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht CD/Book All-new album with 36-page book. $55 Sopor Aeternus: Mitternacht 2-LP $90 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin Limited 4-CD Box Berlin-based group walks the tightrope between cinematic rock anthems and fragile ballads. $53 Staubkind: Alles Was Ich Bin Limited 2-CD $23 The Birthday Massacre: Violet LP Limited Ediition purple vinyl. $19 The Lonely Soul Experience: Path of Blood Blutengel’s Chris Pohl takes us into opulent fantasy-worlds. $19 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Holdrejtek Medieval-influenced ethereal vocals, violin, acoustic and percussion. $23 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Mohalepte 2-CD Re-issue Bonus cd includes three previously unreleased songs! $25 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Of Dreams Forgotten And Fables Untold Re-issue $22 The Moon and the Nightspirit: Rego Rejtem Re-issue $22 Various Artists: Amphi Festival 2014 Who’s who of the electro and gothic scene. $15

On Facebook, Fianna Jones wrote: I disagree with you here, Sam. I think that over the lifetime of a song, paying per listen will generate higher revenue than paying to own. I could buy an album once, say for $15.00. After costs, that probably nets Projekt and the artist $3.00-$5.00 in unit profit. I may listen to that album 100 times over the course of the years which I own it. But you’ll never see another cent of revenue on that unit. If I use a service like Spotify, you see revenue every single time I listen to that song, even if I only listen to it for 10 seconds on shuffle. Best rate I can find as an average, Premium subscribers generate .0175 cents per play. So, if I listen to that album (the complete album, so say 10 songs) 100 times over the course of listening to that album on Spotify, I’ll generate $17.50 in revenue, with much lower distribution costs.

I replied: I understand this concept, but sorry, that $.0175 number is OFF! $.00485 per stream is the average for Projekt. 100 streams = 48.5¢. If you listen to a 10 song album x 100 times (1000 streams) you will generate $4.85. I think the math only works for an artist who gets 1,000,000 plays on a track ($4850). It doesn’t add up for fringe musicians.

David Daydodge (and others) wrote: Thank you. Streaming should be illegal until there are fair compensation laws in effect.

I replied: Someday, THE TRUTH will come out. Why are the major labels agreeing to this low royalty rate? The speculation is (a) they got a big upfront payment they don’t pay the artists (b) they have some sort of rigged accounting system, so they don’t pay artists until their # of plays pass a certain threshhold (c) they probably got stock which they will sell at the Spotify IPO.

I was talking about a different problem with the V.P. at eOne, our distributor. He said, “Sam, you’re right. This situation is fu¢ked up. But the whole record business is fu¢ked up. You’re trying to apply logic to the wild west.” And that comment is equally true here. I am making an ethical decision about Projekt artists’ music, even though I know it is mostly a pointless gesture.

On Facebook, Erik A. Ingmanndsen asked: If you feel it’s a pointless gesture (which I don’t) then why do it ??< I replied: Why follow through on a pointless gesture? Because it’s the right thing to do, ethically.

Scott Cortez (of Lovesliescrushing) commented: Yes, take music back and put it in the hands of musicians. Why does everyone feel entitled to take from musicians? No one expects people at Starbucks to give them coffee, a contractor to build your house, a doctor to operate, a portrait painter to paint your picture, or a writer to write shit for you for free or to pay these people fractions of pennies.

Loren Nerell shared this interesting Salon article. “More musicians are taking aim at the rates paid by Spotify and Pandora, and warning whole genres are in danger.”

I realize each artist has their own experience of what works for them; no two stories are the same. I like including comments from other people in the music industry, so you know it’s not just Projekt feeling this squeeze. Let’s read what another small label has to say:

Brian John Mitchell writes: For Silber Records, since Spotify launched I have taken a significant drop in digital earnings & if I could sell every CD in the basement at a loss I would do it, just to clear the space in my house.

My experience with bands I tour with (post rock, drone, metal, punk, slowcore, noise (I’m a little diverse)) is that physical sales at gigs are tough. It’s also worth noting that the rise of festivals modeled after CMJ/SXSW in every city with 100K people in it has made things even worse for young bands.

I do know some people who have generated some success over the past five years & I’m super happy for them. I wish I could say that they didn’t have family members shelling out ten grand per release to finance that success.

As the recent comments have said, all of this is anecdotal & I want to have a positive attitude I guess I must because yesterday I announced that I’m planning 20 releases on Silber in the next few months. At this point for me the music industry is still more fun & rewarding than video games, but maybe less fun rewarding than landscaping….

What about our friends in Greece? 

Hello Sam, My name is Dimitris and I live in Greece. I have to tell you that I really support your struggle for a better Projekt Records. I am not a fan of streaming services and like to buy the physical medium cds or LPs. Soooo I would like to buy some of Projekt records without to pay the double price for shipping from USA. Are there any solutions appart from buying from a record store (I couldn’t find many of your records (or in a reasonable price) here) or paying amazon etc?

Regards, Dimitris    

From Sebastian at my European distributor, Audioglobe: Unfortunately I don’t know which city in Greece you live in, but please note, that following shops in Greece buy PROJEKT titles from us and if they don’t have the title you are looking for, they will order if for you:




Michelle Shocked Releases Silent Album, Names Songs After Music Execs I assumed this article was an Onion joke, but it’s at Rolling Stone. Sorry, this won’t make up for that homophobic rant. Not cool, Michelle.

Much less offensive is the 20th anniversary show from Thanatos; available for free for a limited time at Bandcamp. Patrick is joined by William Faith, Tim Larsen, and Eric Polcyn as they perform a set which includes ten songs from This Endless Night Inside. When Pat runs out of free download codes, there will be a charge, so grab yours now. Or stream it for free, whenevs.

Projekt reviews at Sonic Curiosity: Loren Nerell & Mark Seelig: Tree of life Forrest Fang: The Wolf at the Ruins Byron Metcalf / Mark Seelig: Intention Alio Die & Sylvi Alli: Amidst the Circling Spires Erik Wollo: Timelines & Tundra

Last month, I forgot to mention Voltaire’s July Nooseletter. You can watch it at youTube. Voltaire says, “You’ll hear about the Raised by Bats Indiegogo campaign (what went right and what went wrong), the upcoming Legend of Candy Claws book! Find out what movies I will and won’t be in in the near future… and I unveil my secret project with the talented illustrator, Abigail Larson! Hint: it involves vampires, werewolves, demons and every guest artist on the Raised by Bats album!”

Watch Jean Michel Jarre perfrom Oxygene live, at Synthopia!

Why Is Iced Coffee in NYC Getting So Ridiculously Expensive? Ice ain’t free, ya know. Read at the Gothamist. And then tell me why ice + beans are worth $4.50, and an album is worth 7¢. Ok, wait? I made that point already, right? : )

<– Florian with his big Moog! This website has a good introduction to the many great albums of Germany’s Popul Vuh. Or, if you have no time for eyeball-read-read, this video for “Hüter der Schwelle” is a real standout! It’s an unusual Popul Vuh track that sounds a bit like an instrumental version of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs!” (Granted, the track is from years later than the photo, and there’s no Moog in it…)

Eric Wøllo: Tundra ep

Limited to 200, our webstore has 25 copies still available, and then it will be sold out. Place your order today for $10 at Projekt, The Tundra EP finds Erik Wøllo creating fascinating atmospheric and rhythmic instrumental electronic music. This 30-minute 5-song ep features all new, previously unreleased tracks that showcase Erik’s ability to incorporate new and fresh elements into his music while remaining true to his unique style. On “Tundra,” “The Native Chant” and “Swirling Lights” the use of throat singing samples and vocals from Arctic indigenous people add a human, earthy element to the electronics.

Streaming & digital download at Projekt’s bandcamp store. Or purchase a download at iTunes.

Alternate Reality

I watched a documentary a few nights ago. In it, a major label band’s manager asked: What might have happened if the record labels had worked with Napster, before fans discovered the pleasures of stealing music?

Here is my extension on his idea: What if instead of suing Napster in 2000, the majors said, “Let’s turn Napster into a legit download store. We’ll give Fanning money, we’ll promote his site….” They could even have bought Napster, and turned it into what iTunes became a few years later. They could have done this, before all of the trouble began. Would it have stopped illegal downloads? No, probably not. But it might have provided a good groundwork for people purchasing music legally.

Sigh. Major labels = heads up a$$.

I message this Alternate Reality to David Lowery of The Trichordist Blog. He replied: True story: Immediately after the Napster ruling, Pfanning and Chris Castle put together something called SNOCAP which would have sat atop the piracy universe of limewire, grokster etc etc, and legitimized each transfer. They cleared it with all labels and publishers. But none of the ISPs or file sharing services would go along.

Ooops. And I was blaming the major labels for being stupid, when… surprise surprise… the problem was the tech industry. Why wouldn’t they go along? Because they like making money off something they didn’t pay to create.

This is where the problem really lies (and The Trichordist does a great job of documenting it with every post). The real reason Congress doesn’t act to stop piracy and/or get artists a fair royalty rate is because the tech industry is against fixing this problem. They make so much money the way things are, they are afeared that a fix will harm their income stream. Status Quo. Google feeds ads to all these sites. The locker sites sell premium subscriptions. Amazon wants you to subscribe to Prime (and forces labels to give our music away as part of the incentives). Why would they want to change any of this?

America has morphed into RoboCopland. We’re all serfs in the fiefdom of the corporations.

Summer 2014 – Projekt electronic & ambient sampler (pay-as-you-wish) Available at Bandcamp.

You like free stuff? We got free stuff!

Projekt’s new elist is an insightful read on how streaming has affected a great #Goth #electronic #ambient label. #ProjektRecords

Share a variation of the text above on your twitter feed (be sure to include the hashtag). On Tuesday, Shea will pick three lucky duckys (from those who shared), and give you a download album of your choice from the Projekt Bandcamp store. It’s easy! Snap Snap! Spread the word. Thanks.

Well. That was a lengthy look at the backstory of running a record label. I hope you found some interesting thoughts in here.

A few of you asked me to create a (non-Facebook) place where you could share comments about the eList. Your command is my wish! I’ve activated the Comments section on this Blog Post. It requires my moderation (unless you have a customer profile and are signed in, then your comments should post instaneous). I’ll check in regularly. Looking forward to reading your thoughts…