Lots is up

So I know I haven’t been doing blog entries lately.  I’m not really sure why.  There’s been a lot going on.

First off a couple weeks ago the Kaiju Temple comp came out.  Its a soundtrack to Joe Badon’s Terra Kaiju comic which is included with the download.

Been doing a lot of work towards the upcoming QRD which is going to be over 20 interviews with cartoonists & musicians about balance art & fatherhood.  In related news I’m running a Kickstarter to collect all the Father’s Day interviews as an ebook.  Spread the word about it if you can.  I guess I’ll need to start spreading the word about it sometime in the next few weeks.

Working on booklets & press releases for some of the upcoming releases including What Does the Scanner See, Philip Polk Palmer, The Infant Cycle, & M is We.  Getting teady to send out stuff to the usual Silber suspects about some compilations coming out in September.  It’s busy.  But it’s good.

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Signal, Noise, & Newsgroups

Over the past couple of years Facebook Groups have really risen to prominence as a way to get the word out about creative work.  Unfortunately they have also proliferated to the point they are hard to keep track of & many have been so inundated by promotional posts that they are no longer useful.  So I made this spreadsheet to help sort through things.
group-promotion-signal-noiseColumn A is the name of the group, Column B is the URL, Column C is the number of members of the group, Column D is the activity level, Column E tells you the type of group it is & I think that is probably where most people stop with their spreadsheet, but I wanted to take things a bit further.  Just to get the easy stuff out of the way, anything after Column I just shows the actual posts put in a group.

I’ll go from the obvious things to the least obvious things in Columns F-I.
Column I just has the number of posts I’ve made in a group.
Column H has the amount of interaction I’ve had within the group, so I add 1 for every like or comment a post gets.  For mathematical reasons, I always start a groups interaction level at 0.1 until there is actual interaction on the group.
Column G has the amount of trackable action from a post.  What does this mean?  It means the amount of people who actually do the thing you are asking them to do.  If you post that you are doing a Kickstarter & that post gets a lot of likes, that’s not really that important to you, because what you want is backers.  So the only trackable actions would be those times a post generates a sale or a video view or a Kickstarter backer or whatever it is you are pushing.  If you really want to get into it you can make individual links for a group, or you can just use a “best guess” scenario (what I do) where you can assume someone came from a post earlier in the same day rather than a post to a different group a few days earlier. For mathematical reasons I always start trackable at 0.1 until something makes me believe it should be higher.
Column F is where all the math really happens & I call the answer “amplification”.  The formula is # of members x # of interactions x # of trackable actions divided by # of posts.  This measures to me the importance of posting in an individual group.  A group with 1000 members would start with an amplification value of 10 on your first post, if that post generates 2 likes the value goes up to 200 & if it generates 2 likes & 1 trackable action its value shoots up to 2000.  The more posts you do, the more you will realize the true value of a particular group.  You’ll notice most of the groups that have a trackable action have a higher amplification number than there are group members.  These will be the most relevant groups for you.  As time goes on & you do more posts in a group you will start to see which groups are irrelevant for you to do promotion on, which is something that can change if you make a concerted effort to be active in a group before making a post.

In general I’d give any group at least 5 promotional posts before leaving it & I wouldn’t join any group for promotional use that has less than 1000 members.  If you’ve made 5 posts & your amplification number is now under 100, there’s a good chance that your post is just noise & wasting both your time & that of all the members of the group.

Anyway, download the spreadsheet to use yourself & I hope you find it useful.  If you do find it useful, just buy something from Silber to show your support.

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One Response to Signal, Noise, & Newsgroups

  1. lullabier says:

    This will be definitely useful for my new VeniVersus label-adventure. Brian thanks for everything you do!

Somewhat Relevant – Babadook

babadook
For the last few years it seems like horror movies are really focused toward gore & torture porn & sexy teenagers.  Maybe that’s always been true & it’s just gotten less appealing to me as I’ve gotten older & the guidelines for what can be put on screen have gotten more relaxed.  At any rate Babadook sounded interesting as the creepy kid genre tends to at least not be oversexualized.  But wow.  The guy who directed The Exorcist said something to the effect of this being the creepiest movie he’d ever seen & I totally get that.  If you like movies like Ringu (The Ring) or Absentia where they know the scariest parts should be left to your imagination, this film is for you.  Also worth noting is that the child actor is decent in that it doesn’t feel like he’s acting & is just a kid with moodswings.  Oh, I suppose it’s worth mentioning it is a boogieman story.  Really, if you like creepy movies you should watch this.

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Somewhat Relevant – Whiplash

whiplash
So the main reason I wanted to see this movie was it got some praise from Scotty Irving (Clang Quartet) & it’s rare for him to bother to talk about films that aren’t about super heroes or giant monsters.  It’s good.  You should see it.  My review might spoil some things about it, but my personal view is a good movie can’t really be spoiled because you can see it multiple times.

So the basic plot is a kid goes to a decent music school where a professor tries to make students crack under pressure in order to make good students shine like diamonds.  I think normal people think the professor pushes the line too far in trying to break the kids, even admitting he never actually made a diamond.  But I think that this professor is in the right.  I know a ton of people that have gotten their performance degrees while being nowhere near ready to make it as a professional musician.  It’s a dis-service to tell a person “good job” or “good enough” when they don’t have what it takes.  At that point a person is being robbed of both their time & money as well as wasting the hopeful expertise of the instructor.  Young people especially think they are hot shit & really need to be broken into realizing their passion (whatever it may be – music, art, film, journalism, writing, psychology, video games, religion, anything really) is just a hobby or pushed to the point that they are undeniably good.  Even the people I’m friends with that are good at what they do, I feel aren’t undeniably good & it’s not because they are lazy as much as no one ever really pushed them hard enough.  As someone who is only mediocre at any of the artistic things he works on, I really wish that I had had what it takes to face someone that had pushed me or broken me well enough that I had a comfortable relationship with art either as a professional or a hobbyist instead of this weird space I am in of not knowing how to have my art as either a true career or enjoyable hobby.  But I was too scared of being broken to even let someone show me how to be better.

This movie also addresses the idea that if you want to be truly great that you have to throw everything else away for it.  That the price of even a shot at greatness is your own happiness.  The classic suffering artist.  It’s romantic & at times I’ve thought it might be true & maybe it even is true.  But I’ve personally come to a place where I’d rather be happy than be great & it’s the best place I’ve been in a long time.

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2 Responses to Somewhat Relevant – Whiplash

  1. I watch all kinds of movies, but seldom feel compelled to say anything, as you have said. This movie disturbed me on many levels, which is why I felt the need to comment. J K Simmons is a great actor. He played this character a little TOO well for me, at times. This movie reminded me of many aspects of life that I have dealt with far too often, such as: abusive fellow bandmates, family indifference, and even an abusive Boy Scout leader. Am I saying I am a wuss and can’t take it? Maybe. Watching something on screen that reminds me of aspects of my real life is not easy for me. Yes, I do think it is a great movie, but I will probably never watch it again.

    • I hear you Scotty. It can be too close to home, but I imagine some of those bandmates are who pushed you to be the incredible drummer you are. I always just quit bands when things got hard….

Silber Top of the Pops

I thought some of you might be interested in what’s been popular on the Silber website so far in 2015.  I’m kinda surprised that the newest 5in5 aren’t dominating things, but that may be in part because we’ve been pushing them on Bandcamp & Spotify just as much as the Silber site.  Thanks for your interest in our work, it really means a lot to us.

Most Downloaded Albums
Various Artists – Broken Hearts Broken Sounds
Various Artists – Thirty Seconds of Time
Firetail – Little Droner Boy
Electric Bird Noise – Birth
MWVM – Had Yr Pash

Most Read About Albums
Various Artists – Broken Hearts Broken Sounds
Rllrbll – Bathing Music
Can Can Heads – King Dong Kong
Electric Bird Noise – Unleashing the Inner Robot
Chvad SB – Outside the Shadow of an Aliquot Tree

Most Downloaded Comics
Mecha
Built #1
Lost Kisses #4
Ultimate Lost Kisses #11
Lost Kisses #5

Most Read QRD Articles
Author interview with Erin O’Brien
Label owner interview with David Mench of Waggletone
Guitarist interview with Alan Sparhawk of Low
Gifts for the Touring Musicians
Guitarist interview with Jesse Gray of The Pointless Forest

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Lately

So I had three new comics I thought would be assembled & shipped out last week, but they weren’t.  But I have a good excuse this time!  I was in the hospital with my wife.  I’ve been slow to announce it, but we’re having a baby.  Anyway, there’ve been a few rough spots with the pregnancy & the last set sent us to the hospital for several days & we’re back out trying to re-structure life a bit to face our current set of challenges.  You might think this might put Silber in danger, but to be honest I think Silber is in the least tumultuous place it has been in years.  I’m pretty comfortable with things right now.  I feel appropriately appreciated.  I have some people who like what I do & I have lost the delusion of my own greatness.  Life is good & my art is good & I always thought those two couldn’t be true at the same time.  This really is the best time of my life.  Thank you for being part of it.

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New QRD & New 5in5s

Hello,

It’s been about a month & we’ve got a ton of new stuff for you.

First off we have a new issue of QRD.  This issue I went back to talk a little more with the label owners I interviewed four years ago to get some updates on their take of current events in the record industry.  A mix of people who are hopeful & burning out, so I think a pretty good snapshot of things right now.
www.silbermedia.com/qrd

Second through eighth off are new EPs in our five songs in five minutes EP series.  Analog synths, bedroom experiments, guitar drone, & more from Parties, PD Wilder, Llarks, LD&CO, Kirchenkampf, Sagan Youth, & X-Bax.  We even have a special sale going where you get these seven plus Chvad SB & Black Wedding’s 5in5 EPs for just $6.  Or if you don’t have the money, you can listen to them all as a stream.  Help spread the word about the series if you can.
www.silbermedia.com/5in5

Next is that after several months of silence on the comic front, we have three new comics!  New issues of REH & Walrus plus a re-issue of Zombie Kisses #2.  Subscribers should be getting them shortly.  Not already subscribing to our comics or want more info?  Just follow the link
www.silbermedia.com/comics/kickstart.shtml

Thanks for your interest & support.  Spreading the word about the work we’re doing can be just as helpful to us as financial support, so please let people know about us.  If you’d like to be taken off the mailing list just let me know.

Hrt
Brian John Mitchell
Silber Media
www.silbermedia.com

http://twitter.com/silberspy

Hello,

It’s been about a month & we’ve got a ton of new stuff for you.

First off we have a new issue of QRD.  This issue I went back to talk a little more with the label owners I interviewed four years ago to get some updates on their take of current events in the record industry.  A mix of people who are hopeful & burning out, so I think a pretty good snapshot of things right now.

www.silbermedia.com/qrd

Second through eighth off are new EPs in our five songs in five minutes EP series.  Analog synths, bedroom experiments, guitar drone, & more from Parties, PD Wilder, Llarks, LD&CO, Kirchenkampf, Sagan Youth, & X-Bax.  We even have a special sale going where you get these seven plus Chvad SB & Black Wedding’s 5in5 EPs for just $6.  Or if you don’t have the money, you can listen to them all as a stream.  Help spread the word about the series if you can.

www.silbermedia.com/5in5

Next is that after several months of silence on the comic front, we have three new comics!  New issues of REH & Walrus plus a re-issue of Zombie Kisses #2.  Subscribers should be getting them shortly.  Not already subscribing to our comics or want more info?  Just follow the link
www.silbermedia.com/comics/kickstart.shtml

Thanks for your interest & support.  Spreading the word about the work we’re doing can be just as helpful to us as financial support, so please let people know about us.  If you’d like to be taken off the mailing list just let me know.

 Hrt

Brian John Mitchell

Silber Media

www.silbermedia.com

http://twitter.com/silberspy

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Behind the Scenes

I hope everyone is doing well.  I know I never blog lately.  Still planning to get back into it one day.  Anyway, some things are going on.

You may remember back in 2008 I was doing some stuff helping people with mastering their records & a few other things & after a couple years I let it fizzle out.  Anyway, the past week I’ve been doing a bunch of work on the next ten or so Silber releases (pretty ridiculous to be working on them all at once, I know) & I rediscovered how much I enjoy tinkering with other people’s music.  So I’m offering some services up again doing mastering & mixing for $25 an hour.  I just mastered an album for somebody & with the increase in computer speeds I was shocked to find it only taking an hour!  So yeah, I may be under charging, but I look at it as something I like to do using skills I actually have & it’s better than going back to work in retail (spoiler, this might happen).  Anyway, if you need help or know anyone who does, spread the word.  Here’s a link.

So as I said above, a ton of stuff coming up.  Seven EPs for the 5in5 series will all be coming out more or less at once.  Then a few other releases.  Also some comics (new REH & new Walrus).  & then a QRD.  So yeah, we’re working.  Hoping to bring more excitement to your world, or at least helping you to feel less uniquely alone.

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Homes

So yesterday after two stressful months, closing finally came on the house I’m buying.  It’s a huge relief.  Now a week of trying to get everything moved in & getting my life in an order that makes sense to see if I can work more or less under the new system.  I have been having a real wax & wane over my hopes/plans for Silber in the future.  Some days I’m like, “Heck yeah!  Silber made a little money this week!” & other days I’m like, “What I made in a week, I need to make every single day.”  & I’ve read a couple articles in the past couple of days about people’s art being good instead of great because of spending more time running promotion than working on music & it feels true.  It’s been over two years since a Small Life Form release, three years since a Remora release, & almost 6 months since a comic.  I guess part of it was that the snow let me have time off from my daily grind this week & made me really notice the lack of income & the reality of my lack of output lately.

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New 5in5s from Chvad SB & Black Wedding

Hello,

I announced in the first newsletter of 2015 that Silber was going to have a bunch of releases coming up. I know just a week or so ago I told you about the Broken Hearts Broken Sounds compilation (which has actually been getting more blogging buzz than anything we’ve done in a while, which is awesome) & a new issue of QRD, but we already have new things ready for you.  Our 5in5 series is back with two new installments.  If you aren’t familiar with the series, the challenge (or opportunity) is to make 5 songs with a total play time of 5 minutes.

Black Wedding: Recursive
Black Wedding is a collaboration between Joshua Heinrich (fornever) & Julie Johnson (Grave Concerns).  Their 5in5 entry is sure to please those interested in either new wave or darkwave.
http://www.silbermedia.com/5in5/blackwedding-recursive.shtml

Chvad SB: Outside the Shadow...
Chvad SB is back with his first release of 2015 (this guy is doing a lot this year!).  For his 5in5 entry he’s exploring with his guitar doing music varying from soothing to unsettling.
http://www.silbermedia.com/chvad-sb/Outside-the-Shadow.shtml

What’s next? 5in5s from Llarks, Parties, & PD Wilder.  A live EP from Remora as a trio.  An EP from What Does the Scanner See.  More than that too… it might be a make it or break it year for us.  But aren’t they all?

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in the newsletter previously, but I moved to a small town called Sanford, NC about a year ago & I’m actually buying a house here.  The cost of living is lower & the quality of living is higher & will hopefully end up giving me more space & time to dedicate to Silber.  It’s kind of a little scary to be honest, as it definitely is letting go of some of the Silber dreams, but it is also embracing the idea I’ve had since going to rural Mississippi back in 1997 that if I headquartered Silber some place more reasonably priced that it would take less money to make it work & that the lack of external distractions would cause more work to be done.  Almost 20 years late on the idea, but we’ll see if I was right.

Thanks for your interest & support; as always, spreading the word about the work we’re doing can be just as helpful to us as financial support.  If you’d like to be taken off the mailing list just let me know.

 Hrt
Brian John Mitchell

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