30 September 2008
In the first of what I hope will be a regular monthly feature, let me bring some summertime into your life. British Summer Time is the new album from Sundae Club, and it's available for free download. I met the guys from Sundae Club at an ExileInside gig a few years back, so I was intrigued to see this album get a free release.
Hamstall Ridware from the band says: "It's a timely and spacey trip through the gates of a '60s airport with a Viscount sitting ready on the runway to transport you, the lucky traveller to rural Gloucestershire (the song Pies); to the industrial Midlands of 1950s Coventry (The Doddler) and 1970s Birmingham (Honey Bee); to the Far East of India and China via Germany (The Travel Trilogy) calling in on a New York apartment with flimsy walls (New Neighbours) and back home to Blighty. It's not so much Downtempo Lounge as all-tempo Departure Lounge."
Regarding the strategy of releasing the album for free, he adds: "The production costs of our first album 'Technostalgia' were high because we decided to use expensive packaging, so it took a fair few sales before we broke even. We decided to release this as a free download but invite donations in a Radiohead format. In fairness, about 60% of the people who have downloaded it have donated (donations range between £1 and 12) so we're already in profit... Except that even MP3 production costs aren't free really are they? You have to factor in the cost of the studio, equipment, time, music lessons etc etc! The idea is to assess demand for a 'hard' version of it and press-up another nice CD or even vinyl if we think we can sell enough."
For other acts looking to promote themselves, Ridware has some tips on what works. "Passing the word around on our mailing lists and blagging slots on radio shows [work well]," he says. "MySpace and Facebook once you've sorted out all the kids who just want to collect 'friends' and crap studios offering their services etc... We're featured in the US as incidental music on a web-based American Football show and there have been a few spin-offs from a track we wrote for a French singer who sold 450,000 copies of an album with one of our compositions on it."
The album's fabulous and I recommend you whizz over to the Sundae Club website to download your copy [broken link removed] today!
If you've got any tip-offs for future free albums for this blog series (only legal stuff, please), why not drop me a line?