The Business Plan:
Turning Realities Into Dreams
BEFORE I delve into the meat of my business; get down to the nub of my discourse...
this week has really taken its toll on me. I will get to more music-related avenues very soon; I want to lead with one issue: the death of Robin Williams. Everyone has paid tributes to the peerless comedian- a man with no equals- and how saddened they are by his death. Most will be able to detail and assess their feelings with more eloquence and clarity; for me, Williams's suicide marked something of a shock- an earthquake whose tremors stirred deep-seated feelings out of my brain. Having battled through- more like put up with- clinical depression for the last 15 years-or-so, there are times when it worsens- the fluctuating nature means no two days are the same. Having attempted suicide several times- the actual number is alarming- I identity with and are burdened by suicidality- as we speak in fact. Few would think to look at me. I barely smile or laugh naturally (or without 'provocation') when about others- but have to project an air and personality that is at least quasi-buoyant and cheery. In the pub industry- as well as office work- you need to connect with people; make them feel confident and looked after- they are not there to guess your state of mind; make you feel better. When that heartbreaking news filtered through the airwaves, it kicked me in the face- everything became crystallized and trained. Those not aware of the complexities of depression may say- William's suicide- is the act of a selfish man- he has money and fame; why would he want out? Apart from it being the most insulting thing you can say; suicide is not selfish- it is the hardest decision anyone will make; it is the bravest thing anyone can do. Eager to escape the terrible suffocation of his predicament, he stopped the walls from closing in- the U.S. legend decided to put the lights out; let the genie out of the bottle. The final moments must have been a turbulent torment of what-ifs, loved one considerations and salty tears- thinking about it is excruciating. I will not dwell too much on Williams's death; only to say this: the same sort of depression rules the music scene. Most people have no idea what a near-death experience is. It is not a situation where you almost die; it is when you are unconscious- from an operation or accident- and see a white light and heavenly glow- hence the 'near-death' part of it. It is just something that annoys me most (aside from all white van drivers, children, and people who add an 's' to the end of Marks and Spencer, Tesco and WHSmith). My issues aside, a lot of musicians struggle with horrible depression- it is something that not only can define their songs; it can take their existence. I will be running a half-marathon on behalf of Mind- in a few weeks- to raise money and awareness for a cruel and insatiable illness- something a lot of your favorite musicians sleep with each night. A fundamental and ever-present danger, it would be a false equivalency to say 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger'- as you read, some of the most adored musical minds are withholding their darkest and more disturbed thoughts. What I want to do- and will explain more below- is highlight how wide a problem it is; how things can change- with some planning, cooperation and mutuality; steps can be brokered to lessening the prevalence (of depression). From the likes of Kurt Cobain; through Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke; down to Morrissey, some of the most fascinating and talented songwriters have lived with- and died from- the grip of depression.
In 'real life', depression can disrupt and grope normality and routine- put everything on the back foot and cause huge problems. In music, it can have some positive sides. When feeling that low and alone, many musicians regress to the songbook- channel their pain and feelings through the medium of song- transform pain and depression into something redemptive and inspiring. Art does not always guarantee freedom and a therapeutic support; if Robin Williams's death has shown anything it is this: even if you have an extraordinary gift; it does not stop the eternal footman snicker when he takes your coat (to paraphrase T.S. Elliot). This pissed me off royally- why should people so wonderful and inspiring have to suffer so harshly? In my own life- not suggesting for a second I am 'so wonderful'- there are a number of different burdens. With the considerate cocktail being added to by generalised anxiety disorder, chronic insomnia and various neurological issues- things are less than fun. Throw in severe money worries, singledom and growing stresses- and you have a less than desirable situation. I have my own coping mechanisms- most not doctor-recommended- but I know full well how difficult things are. Having accepted this lot, ambition and desires are the best things I can hold onto- planning the future and trying to siphon my restlessness into music and writing. Unfortunately, the desire to review has practically evaporated- it is exhausting and it seems like I am going through the motions a tad. I will continue to do it and support musicians for a few more weeks- when I will only publish one review a week- but writing things like this make me tick- putting dreams into motion and looking at wider horizons and bigger things.
Music can help and soothe a lot of anxious and darkened minds- it does not ensure safety and life. It was then I decided Psychoacoustics had to happen- I will go into more depth very soon. It is not designed to pad my bottom line; grow my wallet- I loathe and detest the faceless billionaires like Zuckerberg and their ilk- if I could find a way of weening myself off of Facebook, I would. Social media sites are becoming means of profit-making; monitoring people's activities and personal information- there is no cooperative or reapportionment. For all the benevolent and caring people out there, the tycoons and wealthy are not pulling their weight. Aside from (Psychoacoustics) making it easier for musicians to record; others to meet; expanding possibilities and caring for musicians in need- there is a social element, too. The likes of Facebook and Twitter and seriously limited. Every time a so-called 'improvement' is made, it equates to a lick of paint- a font is changed; a small tweak made. No ACTUAL improvements are made; things that will make the service better and more economical- the sites are riddled with limitations and pointless aspects. Chocked full of adverts, banalities and boredom, people are sucked in because they become addicted- we spend hours aimlessly staring and posting anything that comes to mind. I am as guilty as anyone, but know full well the likes of Facebook will die down soon enough; people will want a lot more; Zuckerberg is not going to make useful amendments- just see himself grow wealthier and fatter. The social element of Psychoacoustics is geared towards music and connections; negating the traditional status updates- it is designed to help musicians connect; people to find great sounds; make charitable endeavours easier- ensure people can link with relevant contacts a lot easier than ever. One of the big problems- when it comes to music-sharing particularly- is the lines of communication. Whether it is a song, album or review (being shared), often your 'friends' will pass it on (or one of them) and then that's it- it sits like a turd not going anywhere; limited amount of people will see and hear it. That seems insane: why is it so hard to have your work shared? Why do people not take the trouble to help others? It is one of the downfalls of the 'social media age'- that clandestine and lackadaisical lack of community (and stretching beyond compartmentalisation). I will give more depth soon- with less of a socialist rant- and explain my ideas- for now, another qualm is on my mind...
My second small point- that leads to my second business idea- is the growing digitlaisation of music. It is an exothermic fire that is singeing the wooden foundations of record stores and physical musicianship- the basis and history of the music industry. When I walk into HMV- for anyone under 21 it is a shop that sells music- I am like a child in a sweet shop filled with naked women- I run straight to the vinyl section and frantically leaf through. I love everything about music hardware- the eye-catching and stunning album covers; the range of vinyls, CDs and DVDs- all the colours, photos and sights. Without hardware, music wouldn't exist; with electronics and the Internet it is impersonal, intangible and spectral. You cannot take an iTunes download in hand; flick through the sleeve notes and marvel at the album cover- take a CD out and carry it around with you. Before I champion the necessity of music hardware- and get to the nub of my point- I will say one thing: music hardware needs solidifying and galvanising. The cassette was a dreadful and stupid idea: so flimsy and fragile, half of my cassettes were eaten up in my stereo within the first minute. The frustration of rewinding a tape- to get to a particular or song- is insanely backwards; the fact that cassettes are less developed and intelligent than vinyl tells you why they became extinct. Vinyl is solid and historic; impractical to an extent, as few have turntables in their homes. You cannot deny the beauty and lure of a vinyl- the designs take your mind; the size is impressive; the feel of the record causes shivers- the CD seemed like the natural step forward. Hmmm... true to an extinct, but there are huge flaws and issues- the CD is only half-good. It is a great size and shape; it is mobile and well-known- its limitations are glaring. In addition to it being a bit slight on the capacity side- you can record on both sides of a DVD; why not a CD?- some musicians are needlessly putting out double albums. I am not sure why a CD can not hold more data; it has been out for decades yet has not improved or changed- we can cure cancer but not this?! Digital avenues are limitless and unconfined- you are not restricted to how much you can put out; cost is not such a huge issue. The biggest and more irritating problem with CDs is their frailty- it is like handling a newborn baby. If you drop them on a carpeted area- a CD not a baby!- they have the potential to scratch and break; vinyls and cassettes are not this pathetic. The number of times I have accidentally dropped a CD down; picked it up- only to discover a long scratch running it. If the tried-and-tested repair system does not work- wiping it on your jumper; giving it a quick polish- then you are screwed. Nothing in life is more disappointing than hearing a song- or multiple tracks- skip and jump; it is like nails on a chalkboard- just thinking about it makes me want to kick a kitten through an electric fan...
All the boffins that have moulded the inner workings (of the digital revolution) have paid no attention to the latchkey kid- imparting wisdom and ensuring it survives. How hard can it be to reinforce a CD (so it is near-impossible to scratch)? The fact that technology and music hardware has reversed since the early-20th century tells you all you need to know- if people can't be bothered to improve it, no wonder so many are turning to digital- and more dependable- areas. The bad thing about this is that a domino effect is created. Suppressing the desire to go to the local HMV means they close down; the record shops start to shut and disappear- it puts good people out of business. In addition to seeing the erosion of music hardware, artists are suffering too. So much music can be downloaded and purchased for free- fair equity and financial apportionment are not taking place. I love that I can go to YouTube and iTunes; find any music in the world- play it with the click of a button. I would hate to see the day where the last of the vinyls and CDs disappear- it could be the theme of a quirky Indie film; a Nick Hornby-esque novel; the tableau of a Michel Gondry music video. The trouble is, it's going to happen- we will live to witness a day where record stores and physical products are subsumed and overthrown by electronic monsters- we are slowly being sucked into the machine; becoming disconnected from personal relations. In tandem with social media, online music-sharing takes away a key human element- the face-to-face interactions and bonds. When visiting HMV recently, I purchased a few albums; got chatting to the guy behind the counter- we shot the breeze about music and the best out there. When I play a song on SoundCloud, there is no human there to talk to; I cannot share my feedback directly (verbally) to them- I am afraid that we will forget the necessity of reality and tradition. I may sound like an old man- albeit a 31-year-old one- but I adore music as much as anyone; want to preserve and protect out heritages and monuments- make sure we do not bulldozer over them. In addition to digital music being accessible, easy and cheap; it also makes it easy to connect with a wider online community- we can share music so readily; filter it across the world with ease; find new fans and favourites. My job as a blogger and reviewer is only possible because of digital music and social media- I have met so many great people this way; I would not change that for all the world. I feel we can retain both; strike an equilibrium that sees the continuation of hardware and digital; keep the status quo frozen and capped- do not allow iniquity and entropy. This thought process and idea got me thinking about a second business venture- a record label that would not only represent a wide range of artists; it would funnel products back into music stores- and more besides. I shall go into more depth when necessary; hopefully you will stay with me...
The first strand of my two-prong pitch was for an all-encompassing and multi-leveled business: Psychoacoustics. It is the name behind a business that consists of multiple facets.
Idea of the site:
There are quite a few music websites at the moment, between the iPhone, Facebook and the Internet. Most of them offer roughly the same things- music sharing, free downloads and Internet radio access. There are a lot offering the same things, and quite a lot of things are not being considered. The idea of Psychoacoustics, is to pull all the existing qualities of these sites together, as well as offering new features and great networking opportunities- for free. The plan is to top Spotify, iTunes and the biggest sites- by offering what they do, plus much more besides. Specific areas and pages on the site will be named after musical figures, albums and events. For instance, a lyrics section will feature Bob Dylan’s name and be themed around here. It is sort of like a music Disneyworld- different zones and characters. This makes it more interactive and interesting (than most music sites) and is engaging.
By accessing www.psychoacoustics.info (website currently under planning/construction), you will be able to access the site. From there, there will be a home page. On the home page is a main design. It is an animation of a studio, called Psychoacoustics. It is designed like Abbey Road, and there is constant movement on the page. There will be a bank of about 200 different musicians, who will walk into the page and interact with each other; leave and enter the studio- keep the user amused. The icons and animation will be colourful and interesting- better designed than most of the music websites out there.
There is a chat/Skype option where you can interact with any of your contacts or friends. This can be done via a Facebook-style message service, or Skype. When you add contacts- like Facebook or Twitter- you can chat with any of them at any given time.
Your personal inbox; you can mail your contacts, as well as any musician or venue.
This is a bespoke, specialist search engine. It is similar to Google but responds to questions and searches effectively- returning only relevant websites. It can record audio, so if you were searching for a song title or name of song- it would be able to locate it. The search engine is able to answer specific music questions and ties together information and resources from Yahoo, Google and Bing.
This is a diary of important music events and updates- specific to the user. Excoriating the labyrinth of music sites/diaries, it is a bespoke service that gives you up-to-date alerts- based on your favourite musicians.
You will be able to create a playlist or jukebox of up to 2,000 songs.
You can create your own avatar, and enter all of your information. It is similar to Facebook, but more detailed- you can upload photos, videos, and designs. I will go into more detail later, but on your personal profile, is all of your information, favourites, and links. The profile works like Twitter and Facebook but more in-depth- with fewer faults. I have described the social side of things in a previous mail.
1. Studio and Rehearsals:
This is an animated studio and rehearsal rooms (about 3 studios with control rooms and one rehearsal space). Unlike sites where there are a list of features, you access the features via icons: so for instance, you would click on a T.V. or a guitar to access the relevant feature. The tab on the interface is red, and will consist of different shades of red. The specific names and designs for each feature are to be decided, but are as follows:
Here you can pitch ideas for music videos to bands, acts and labels. You can protect your idea and sell it for money (or use it to gain points and exchange for a reward in the future). There is also a music video store, where you can access any video from any song- search by genre, artist or time period. Also, there is a software where you can put ideas into and create videos through animation, film (or various other techniques) and apply them to your own songs.
Here you can view any album cover, and search for it like the music videos. The features allow you to design covers using animation, photography or a photography edit- where you can mix and edit images and merge together to create incredible designs. From here you can publish them or share- or pitch ideas to bands looking for ideas.
This is like Instagram where you can upload photos or designs and edit them- using hundreds of options. Here too you can search for photographers and view images, websites and famous images (from music history).
Music video player:
This utilises YouTube, where you can view music videos for free and have a favourites list- or share the video to social media.
On this page, you can take any song- from rock to classical- and dissect it. You can see what notes are played, and what instruments are used. This helps when writing songs and can help you learn (easily) about music. Also, you can take sections of various songs and mix them together; edit the sounds to create new songs.
Here there are guides, links and ways to set up your own record label, festival, or music magazine. You can interact with others online, and get funding in order to set up your own business- then network on site to attract users and business. You can invent new music ideas and instruments; design them on this page and pitch them.
There is a software where you can design and broadcast your own podcast and radio station. Broadcast over the site or YouTube, play your own songs and broadcasts- get fans and followers as well.
On here you can sell songs to T.V. and film companies and productions.
I will explain more on the registration, but when bands and artists sign up they can create their own website and include a wealth of information- making it easy to promote and get fans.
This is a sound library with thousands of sounds, effects and mixing options.
If you are a D.J., here you can mix tracks, scratch and broadcast your own set- via the site- and promote your gigs.
This is a software where you can record vocals, instruments and effects- and then send your songs to fans or broadcast the tracks online. There is software for tuning instruments too.
Recording and Production:
This allows you to record songs professionally and easily; provides every technology a modern studio would. You can record vocals and instruments, mix and layer them- create a professional sounding track. From there you produce the tracks and broadcast them; burn them onto C.D. It allows for album covers to be printed and gives links to sites (where you can buy C.D. cases and additional software).
Rehearsal and Live Room:
These are simulations of studio spaces, where you can play live or rehearse. Via Skype you can jam with the rest of your band (or solo) and be seen by contacts- have your performance saved and shared. There are options for recording. There are guitar, drum, piano, vocal and orchestra options where you can simulate any guitar or piano etc., and get the most realistic sound possible. Unlike software (where it is flattering), here you have to know how to play. Like Wii it reacts to touch; you can simulate yourself playing- as if it were real. From there, you can either mess around or record the sounds; join with others or your band members (and jam together). You can tune the instruments; it is as good as the actual instruments. The same can be done with vocals where you can record as many tracks as you like- and access different mics, and effects. It is able to work with recording so you can record full songs and albums using this. it is not to replace real life but act as an easy way to share and record demos (for when you are in the studio).
2. Bar and Venue:
The venue is downstairs of the studio- the bar upstairs. It is animated like the rest of the site and acts as a portal for socialising and broadcasting. The tab for this is green and appears with different shades of green on the interface.
You can access tens of thousands of digital stations from around the world and stream them live- as well as access archive broadcasts and songs.
There are links to all music magazines and publications, in addition to music websites.
It will act like PledgeMusic- where you can donate to get album made and respond to pitches. Artists can offer rewards or treats, and get a % of funds raised. You can network and swap/record vocals- the user is able to write as well.
Due to revenue coming from advertisers and labels, the site can pay royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded-means that songs can be downloaded free, but artists get paid.
Food and Drink:
Links to music venues- as well as music bars and cafes- anywhere in the world. You can get alerts of anything local to you; any events that are happening- then you can share them on the site.
Leagues and Competitions:
There are various leagues for new bands and directors etc. that are updated (and points are given to the winners). These charts reflect download amounts, most hits and popularity- there are leagues and competitions for new and unsigned bands.
Music Fantasy League:
This is like football fantasy, but you choose a 5-piece band. You have to choose at least one drummer, one singer- you can choose from any musician from history. There is an option to select 2 songwriters as well and an album and song. There are various points awarded to each- depending on how many times they have been downloaded and mentioned- and an overall league (that updates each week).
Read and Write:
You can publish blogs and reviews of bands and gigs (and albums); publish and share them- in addition to being able to publish gig and album reviews.
There is a dating website and connection site for musicians, as well as a chance to connect and promote music charities. There are event postings and updates (for your local area) that expands internationally. You can tie all of your contacts and friends in from other social sites (into this one).
Once you have created a profile you can search for potential band members or venues. When bands or acts register- like a dating website- you answer various questions- such as favourite music, bands and albums. If you are looking for someone, you can either type in a search- and the site matches people for you- or you can click on a map. From here you can click on any country or city (and search for any member located in that area and contact them). There are sections where you can connect bands and venues; labels to acts; band members and bands together. If you make a successful match, you gain points that can be exchanged.
This links actors to bands- looking for people for music videos. The user can join actors together, who can share links and tips (with regards to music and best contacts and agents).
I have explained all of the social side, but the site works more like Twitter where you can ‘add’ any band or musical act- and follow their progress and updates. There is a LinkedIn style site too where you can connect with employers or contacts- build up a network of fans and followers which gives you greater opportunities.
You can broadcast live shows and gigs; stream concerts here and share them.
3. Living Room:
This tab will appear in shades of yellow. The living room will consist of a sofa, chairs, jukebox- a notice board as well.
Like Spotify, you can download any track for free and either play them- or create your own playlists and sections. You can compile songs into albums (and burn a C.D.), or share songs via your phone or social websites. There are links to Spotify and iTunes; music apps too.
Promotion and Distribute:
You can listen to recommended music- depending on your mood- or find any new music (depending on your tastes). You can then share them via social media, or you can promote new bands and artist-, and share acts with promoters and venues, as well as labels. It works like ReverbNation but more in-depth and gives tools to find new music- ways to share and get your own voice heard easily.
You can have a playlist of up to 2,000 songs, and play them- whenever you like.
You can view information about every band, artist or album released. It is like Wikepidia where you can find out anything about music- it gives info about bands, videos, links and merchandise. In turn, this allows you access to new music, old music (you may have forgotten about), and access any information whenever you want.
There are tables and graphs that show music trends, sales figures and stats (relevant to you)- these are updated daily.
These are all of the charts from home and abroad- updated weekly, with links to all of the songs featured.
Search engine and lyric finder:
The search engine is also available here but is a lyric finder- where you can type words or lyrics and it finds the song. The user can input audio or video- if you are unsure of the song or artists- and it will find out for you.
If you have spare lyrics or ideas, you can pitch them (and trade them with artists). You can earn points for anything that is bought from you, and pitch (and find ideas for) songs. Also, you can pitch music: if you have no lyrics you can match them and collaborate with people on site- then join your music and lyrics together. From there you can create songs together (and share them).
Music Notation and languages:
There is a software where you can learn music (and translate your music into musical notes), so it makes it easier to write music. There is a link to a language site where you can learn any one of 30 different languages (for free). This makes it easier to communicate with international contacts and write and sing (in a different language).
4. Bedroom and Kitchen:
This tab appears as different shades of purple. The bedroom has a bed, wardrobe and table; T.V. etc.- the kitchen is a smaller room connected adjacently.
You can access all of your updates, information and messages here- and directly from your personal profile.
This allows access to dozens of music T.V. channels, archived videos and shows- in addition to relevant T.V. shows and performances.
There are links to music teachers, studios, websites, bars and venues- everything anyone could want.
You can chat with anyone; share ideas, stories, gig reviews- ideas for photography and videos etc.
5. “Red Cassette”
This is a specially designed shopping site. The animation is designed like a large Rough Trade store- the tab will be a specially designed one.
Search by genre, period or artists and you can find music from them to buy. It pulls together Amazon, iTunes and all music websites, so you can compare prices for the album- it gives you the most choice imaginable.
DVDs and Merchandise:
You can search for DVDs and merchandise from any band. This gives you links to shopping sites and band sites- so again you can find the best deal.
You can purchase band and festival tickets; music books, apps and instruments. You can purchase gift cards too.
There are links to shopping websites and info for independent stores; with website and address details.
This tab is in shades of black and grey.
Different registrations. For casual user, browsing, solo, band, promoter, venue, label and other. They ask for different details and different lengths- but all very simple and easy.
It allows a simple log in and a feature where you can log in to all of your music and social accounts (at the same time).
7. About Us:
This tab is going to be detailed in shades of orange.
There is information- fake of course- of how it was set up in East London (in 1969), and the story behind it. There is a ‘mock’ Vevo-style video documenting the history of the studio and its founders. It is comical and is also like a guided tour.
About the site:
This is a serious description of what the site aims to do and how it will evolve.
Press and links:
This displays any links to relevant sites and partners, plus software sites- so you can create your own music website.
8. Music Player:
This tab will be in shades of blue. This ties together all of available and your downloaded music- so you can play it on-going (and create smaller playlists).
9. Advertise With Us:
This tab is in shades of pink.
This is a separate page where all adverts from sites and venues can be displayed. This means it doesn't interfere with your profile or browsing- but can access it any time from this site. Advertisers and sites pay to be published on the site. There are contact numbers and an online form if you want to advertise or subscribe.
This tab is in shades of whites and grey.
This details all e-mail and phone contacts (for every department).
Up to 6 different contact email and phone numbers- depending on the query
This is the address of the H.Q. (and map).
This gives links to the Twitter and Facebook sites- YouTube too
Provide feedback on the site.
If you have any ideas for futures or designs, then let us know and will take into account.
FAQ and Troubleshoot:
If you have trouble with any part of the site there is support. Also, there is a FAQ segment- if you have a question it will be answered. The user can report abuse or any issues (day or night).
Designs and Features:
As well as a detailed profile, on top of everything there is a points system. For every event you promote (or song you share), a certain amount of points are awarded. When certain amount of points are accrued, you get a reward. These will (mainly) be cash prizes which will increase in amount. For 100,000 points, a ‘Fantasy Package’ will be awarded- where you can meet any musician or have any experience you want (paid for by the website). The profile will be displayed like an album cover, where there is track listing- relating to each section (1-10)- and details of everything you have done. There are graphs displayed that represent your progress and updates.
Avatar and animation:
When you register you can create your own avatar- to give it the feel of a video game. You can personalise and update it as much as you like. As I said, each section is named after a musician or album- to include everything from The Doors, Bohemian Rhapsody and Abbey Road. There will be animated forms of musicians (interacting in each section) and great designs- to give the whole site a feel of a game or as I mention, a sort of musical Disneyworld.
The idea is to raise money to improve the site constantly; give royalties to all musicians (whose music is downloaded). I want to top iTunes and Spotify and have everything (included) any music lover or artist could ever hope. As a singer- who is curious about my vocal range- there are tools for that; recorders- and I will be able to locate a band easily.
Access and use:
It is available on P.C.; it can be downloaded to iPhone or your T.V. This means that anyone, anywhere can access and use it (any time). There will be a virtual keyboard to type; the user can have access to a touchscreen- so if using it on T.V. everything is a lot faster.
The logo will depict a gorgeous woman in a black dress. In her left hand is a blue rose; whilst in her right, is a microphone. There is a microphone stand in front of her, whilst we see a spotlight shine (to the side of her face). Thrown in too are going to be drops of rain- overhead and on the other side of her face. She has brown hair and green eyes, with red lipstick. To the side of her is a gramophone, as a vinyl plays. She looks focused but relaxed; enjoying and entranced by the music playing. The main logo will be centred, whilst either side of the logo will be ‘Psycho’ and ‘Acoustics’- in red lettering. The letters will be in a stylised font but easy to read- with the letters bordered in white to give a modern and striking design.
Hoping to have the premises located at either Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden or Soho. Due to the size of the building, it will need to be located in these areas- locales that attract huge amounts of tourists and attention- providing the most possible custom.
Inspired by Café De Paris, the building will be very large and decadent. The premises will comprise two floors; with the intention of each being large enough to contain all the incorporated properties of the business (see below). Hoping to have it opened no later than 2020 (may be short-sighted in hindsight).
8am to 12am.
8am to 12am (when gigs are performed it will be extended to 1am).
9am to 9pm.
Around about 50 in total.
It will be over-18s only: no babies or children allowed. Dress code is not strict and open to the public.
I know of websites similar to Kickstarter that provide funding opportunities for businesses. I hope to pitch a business plan and raise as much of the funding from there. Aside from a business loan, I am hoping to raise as much of the remainder (of the funds myself). I am not sure of the exact cost (of the entire business), yet hope that over the coming few years the entire amount can be raised.
Bar and Kitchen:
As you enter, to the left of the premises is the bar. The bar will be very modern with a wide and long counter- in order to allow maximum custom. The bar logo will be emblazoned above the bar, and will be unique. As well as serving coffee (and tea, hot chocolate etc.) alcohol will be served. There will be a range of beers, wines and spirits- completed with an extensive cocktail menu. The menu will be extensive. There will be breakfast, lunch and dinner options- with a dessert menu. The range will include British, American, Mexican, French, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Australian and Spanish food- from savoury to sweet. The kitchen will be next to the bar, and will serve food from opening through to close. There will be themed dishes and cocktails that will incorporate band names, lyrics and album titles etc.
There will be a large amount of sitting to accommodate around about 100 people. The seats will consist of sofas, leather (sofas) and chairs; together with wooden chairs. It is designed to be a relaxing and comfortable environment; it will not be cluttered or compacted- space and openness is a huge key.
Jukeboxes and Speakers:
This is one of the main features of the business. The music will be the epicenter of the bar/café, and will be a constant. As you enter, there are jukeboxes to the left and right hand corners; to the back left and right corners; over in the the centre will be two digital jukeboxes. It will be free, where anyone can select a song. There will only be allowance for one song per customer; with a continuous playlist being selected. The jukebox menu will be interactive, so you can select a song by searching- or find by genre/decade etc. There will be access to over 500,000 songs, and will include every genre and style. There will be screens in the centre of the room (overhead) that will show which song is next- running order etc.; everyone will be able to hear the music. There will be four speakers suspended from the ceiling- on each corner of a chandelier. The music will not be so loud that you cannot converse, yet will be crisp and true. Using latest technologies it will be possible to blend the sound of music and conversation so that neither becomes too distracting.
As you enter, to the right hand side of the building is a small stage. It will measure 15 by 20ft, and will host intimate performances. At the back of the building will a main stage. It will be 25 by 30ft, and will have a retro feel. There will be a blend of modern, Gothic and American; giving the stage a unique feel. The stage will host larger gigs; whereas in front of the stage, will be an orchestra pit that can host 30 musicians.
The décor will be a main attraction. On the walls will be paintings and landscapes- depicting famous album covers, music photos, band portraits and designs. It will encompass a large range of artists where there will also be canvases on the wall. There will be modified street signs and portraits, giving it a retro and classic feel (all at once). The premises be have white walls as well, where lyrics can be written and designs drawn. The entire interior will mix modern and vintage (with artifacts and designs reflecting this). It will not be like Hard Rock Café where it is a sort of music museum or attraction- it will be subtle and play second fiddle to the key components. Overhead will be several chandeliers, providing a romantic feel. At night these will be on; soothing lighting will bathe the interior.
There are two methods of access: from the ground to upper level. There will be a staircase to the right of the entrance; in addition there will be a small lift- giving disabled access (and allowing transportation of equipment, stock etc.)
This is a store with Rough Trade in mind. The store is split into different sections. There is an extensive store that offers music by genre, decade etc. and has a large stock- similar to HMV’s largest stores. As with the lower level of the bar, there are paintings, designs and artwork on the walls- and ceilings. There is band merchandise and memorabilia; signed memorabilia; musical instruments. The idea is that there is everything under one roof that a musician, music fan or music-lover could want. There is a charming décor that mixes ’90s Seattle, modern-day U.S. and Rough Trade. It is homely, modern and cutting-edge.Besides being an all-inclusive store, there is a profit-share initiative. Schemes will be set up to allow a small percentage of profits to go to independent record stores and local bands.
Consoles and screens:
This will incorporate everything from the Psychoacoustics music website: http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2013/10/. There will be about two dozen consoles arranged- within the middle of the floor. These allow direct access to the website. As mentioned, the website aims to make it simple to create music, music videos; collaborate online and distribute music. It incorporates all of the best features of the major music websites, and offers so much more. People will be able to access the website through the consoles. There will be two large walls which will display music videos, or can alternatively project images from any of the consoles- for instance, if a music video has been created it can be instantly projected.
Dominating one half of the level will be the studio. It is a medium-sized studio that will offer all the benefits and technologies of the biggest out there. It will encompass a studio, rehearsal room, control room; plus a lounge and bedroom. There will be an in-house engineer, producer and representatives- they offer rates that are very competitive. The hope is that is will appeal to new bands but drag in big names and established acts.
Garden and Tranquility:
In the centre of the level will be a small garden. There will be a water feature and plants; aimed to relax and inspire. There will also be a balcony, that will provide a small garden and seating.
There will be chandeliers on this level, but a more toned-down feel. There is impressive lightning and a warm and relaxing vibe. Again there will be leather chair and sofas- located near the consoles.
I am still in the initial stages, yet see everything in my head: the look, the sounds and smells- and all besides. I am open to idea as there are many whom would frequent a place like this. What do people want? What needs including?
The final arm of the business would be a charity. Set up under the Psychoacoustics name, it would be situated in London- in the bar/cafe venue. Designed to raise money for musicians, it would be a small office consisting of 9-10 employees. The money would be generated from donations and performances- at the bar. In addition, profits generated from the website and bar would be fueled into the charity- they in turn would go to musicians. The money would go to bands and artists (struggling to raise funds for recording and music-making). Anyone unable to afford equipment- and the means to record- would be given chances. A website would be generated where people can donate funds; contact the charity and apply for help. Events and concerts would be held to generate awareness and funds; in addition to campaigns. The biggest aim is to work with charities like Mind to develop better understanding of mental health issues. So many musicians are plagued with depression, anxieties and various psychological issues- not a lot is being done. Working with charities, it is the aim to make awareness a key- piloting TV adverts and campaigns; making depression a big a concern as cancer. We would have musicians acting as 'ambassadors'; lending their voices and stories to the cause- historical and legendary artists and new acts. This all goes in hand with special events which will be planned every year- bringing musicians (and those affected) together. Designed to provide help and support, the charity would get in contact with the venerable and affected- making sure they get the support and help needed. It is something very close to my heart, and will be a way of bringing depression into the light- destigmatising it.
Although a lot of my words are a rederivation of previous posts, the impetus and necessity- of the goals- is unwavered and redefined- new events and urgency has pressed me to go into action. The record label would be called Acoustic Vinyl. Continuing that 'acoustic' theme, the record label would be based in London- hopefully in the East End. Most labels have an edict and ethos: they represent certain genres and artists. This label is boundary-free and acts an Indie endeavour. The idea would be to represent artists from all around the globe- every genre and form of music is considered. The goal is to embrace and represent the best and most ambitious music out there- enforced by my endeavours as a reviewer. So many of the acts- I have assessed- are unrepresented and in need of backing. Baffled by the lack of attention- that comes their way- I struggled to speculate why record labels have not jumped on them. The label would also produce its own records and released- like Third Man Records. With designs of having a studio available for all the artists- in east London- the label will have ambitions to grow and compete with the biggest out there. Working in tandem with Psychoacoustics, acts would be able to play at the bar; awareness would be raised (to get the acts seen and heard) and give a home to those worthy of wide acclaim. The record label will have an interactive and multimedia website: including artist biographies, videos, updates and music- it will give a huge overview of what the company stands for.
In addition to other endeavours- purulent and honourable alike- my own music has been gripping my brain and sleepless nights. One thing I discovered a long time ago was that I was probably made for an animated comedy- I am the sort of guy that can mimic every voice I hear; have an insane about of sounds and accents swirling around my head. Normally- for people who afflicted thus- they can biodegrade their burden through the medium of TV. Unable to get my- frankly paradigm-altering (well, good anyway)- animated comedy off the ground, I have had to focus my vocals to music. Being obsessed with the human voice- lyrics and wordplay too- it has manifested itself across Marriage: The Beautiful Revenge. My band- Death of the Sweetheart- has just me, alas. I am looking for London-based musicians to come along for the ride- be part of a Queens of the Stone Age-cum-Steely Dan type music band. Somewhere where impunity and infidelity ranks alongside partnership and... oh screw it- I need guys and gals to help me out.
I guess that is part of the aim (of the website and business); to get some people to my cause. Selfish and self-promoting I know, yet I am excited about my songs and ideas- I shall marginalise the shameless plugging in a second! I am so pumped to get 'the ball rolling'- make me stamp on the music world. In a future post, I shall go more into the album tracks- all 15 of them- and try to distill them as best as possible. With vocals, octaves and lyric snaps teasing my brain with a sturdy badinage, I hope to find three to four (hey, five even) players- if you know of any, let me know... Keen to throw a multiple mix of genres into the denigration, I have been inspired by everyone from Duke Ellington to Judas Priest my album is probably going to be less than focused; ambitious in its scope and ambitions. If you are going to go into (an overcrowded) music industry; make sure you hit hard and fast- it brings me back to the physical nature of music. One of the greatest things about starting a band is the physicality and tangible aspect. Pressing the CDs and vinyls excites me already. I have already gleefully designed the album cover- marking me as a bit of a megalomaniac- yet it is not enforced by control and egotism- the draw of creativity and possibility is too gorgeous to refute. With a bold image in my mind- for back cover and inset photos too- I think about the CD; it will be recorded on both sides and feel like a double album. You do not need to turn the CD over; after the last track (on Side A) it flips- gives a vinyl crackle and needle drop' before running to the second side. All of the tracks flow into one another- like the second side to Abbey Road- and I am keen to make as many breakthroughs as possible using traditional methods and forms. The CD itself will have two different designs; one half is vinyl- it will look like a miniature vinyl- the other is clear (looking like glass)- both have distinct lettering and designs on each. The entire album works like a concept; it documents a relationship from the first moments; through to marriage and then divorce- working backwards (at the half-way mark) to arrive back at the start of the relationship.
What I want to do with the album, is to go in hard and fast- incorporate everything I have learnt from new music and put it into my work. Dylan-esque vivid tales- circa Highway 61 Revisited- will come out in Sister, Did You Hear Me Call? Arcade Fire-cum-Disco in Communicator- Judas Priest-via-Soundgarden mixed in Making Up For Lost Time. In addition to original songs, there will be two covers: Avalanche and I Want to Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart. The former is one of Leonard Cohen's most unsettling tracks- a dark and haunting number that never relents. The latter is from The White Stripes' album Elephant. One of the lesser tracks, it shows Jack White as a nervy and try-hard lover; someone who is trying to make impressions on his sweetheart's mother. The idea is to turn the former into some ethereal and transcend- remove the sexiest and violent aspects (without taking out a word) and given it s face-lift. Aiming for the same sort of stillness (as Jeff Buckley's) version of Hallelujah, I am aiming high. The latter I want more wracked and pained. The same vocal strength and stagger the likes of Paolo Nutini and Sam Smith (inject in their work) needs to be seen here. Instrumental moments, layered vocals and stone-cold grooves all lead to the finale: Vanity Mirror. Trying to out-epic the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Stairway to Heaven, it is the most ambitious thing I have written. Most new albums have some standout tracks and great moments- my hope is to match the best of the last 20 years. It may seem unrealistic and a stretch, but the words and ideas are taking shape; the determination is there- if I can find awesome band members, I am half-way there. Music means more than sound and flavour- the textures and feel (physical) seduces me; I love the look of a physical product- seeing everything compounded into a hand-held bundle. I shall not waffle any more; just wanted to present some transparency- and clarify and reintroduce my earlier topic (about digitalisation).
With a few weeks until I run my half-marathon- and raise funds for Mind- I have been thinking a lot about issues like depression, music and how the two intertwine. So few people are aware of how big an issue depression is; what is consists of- how deadly and unforgiving it is. The idea behind charity endeavours is not only to raise awareness in a wider sense- make sure people are protected and given the support they need. Music can provide a terrific creative outlet; it has curative and detoxing potentials; able to lift moods and sadness. Of course, music has limited and confined potential- in order to fully tackle the issue, more needs to be done. It is hoped the charity would provide finance, support and development- help those most needy and ensure they are looked after. In terms of the website, bar/cafe and record label, I am looking out at the music community- supporting and proffering the artists that go unrecognised; that deserve a bigger voice. The website makes music-making and collaborating easier.
Its social media aspect works better than Facebook and Twitter; it concentrates more on sharing and good (than self-obsession); it has fewer problems and limitations- the big two are seriously lacking in so many areas. Acting as a way of connecting with musicians and discovering new joys, the social media side of things will be very different indeed. As I have finished writing most of an album- for a hypothetical band- I am searching for musicians and like-minded people. Determined to put my music out there and seduce as much as I can, I am determined to get things moving- I am finding it hard to get band members. So few websites exist- that join musicians and look at this problem- it is hoped this can be tackled and eradicated. It would be great to hear people's input; what everyone reckons- if they would be interested in what I have laid out. So many musicians are coming through; so many young listeners are passing (over older music); too much music is being sucked into computers- I am hoping to change this and makes some steps. As much as anything, there are gaps in the market; definite needs out there- hopefully Psychoacoustics and Acoustic Vinyl will go some way towards fulfilling these. With all of the above being said, I shall ask one thing:
About the Author:
Gone, but never forgotten...
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