Sold out of Fingertips of the Silversmith

So I’m happy/sad to say that we’ve run out of (undamaged copies of) “Fingertips of the Silversmith”. Thankfully, the album is still available as a download from Bandcamp ( and the usual online stores.

I’ll have download cards (via Bandcamp) ready to sell at shows until I decide whether to get more CDs pressed up, or whether to go full-retro and have 45s, 78s, and 8-track cassettes laid out casually across the merch table! ?

New Single & Creative Commons

Our new single “Out Of Reach” is being released under a Creative Commons licence.  Download, listen and spread it around the web now!

Now for the Creative Commons license part.  I promised I’d explain what that is, so I’ll try.  If anyone has any questions or comments, please do leave us a comment on the post.  If you’re not interested in music law, then you might prefer to ignore the rest of this article! Okay, here goes…

Copyright law hasn’t really changed much since the early 70s.  The Berne Convention states that unless explicitly stated otherwise, all rights are reserved.  A copyright law may not require any formalities as a condition for copyright protection.  “All rights reserved” has no legal significance since 1971 when the convention was last revised.

There have been a few technological developments since then, not least in terms of music.  We’ve gone from records pressed onto vinyl, records stamped onto plastic discs, to records… mmm… digitally arranged onto miniscule solid state hard drives that people wear on their shirt while jogging.  Songs can now be sent from one corner of the globe to another in seconds, shared with friends via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  And there are new developments to read about every time you open up your internet browser.  It’s a brave new world out there.  Copyright law, or rather our interpretation of it, really hasn’t caught up with the new realities.

Rather than lobbying to change and update and adapt the copyright laws, the major labels and even some major bands, have been trying to clumsily enforce these ancient laws.  It just doesn’t make sense.  The internet has been the best and worst thing to happen to the music industry.  But rather than trying to sue everyone that crosses their path, the music industry should have gathered together, agreed a standard with the electronics manufacturers and tried to move forward.  They had the opportunity.  They had the time.  They certainly had the money.  But they just didn’t bother.

Anyway, rather than getting into a cure-all for the music industry, I wanted to address just one aspect of the business…  As it stands, our use of music is illegal (or at best residing in a large legal grey area).  The vast majority of music use on the web is.  And I’m not just talking about bit-torrents and file-sharing sites.  Creative Commons licences can address some of these issues.  They have a variety of different licences available, but I’ve opted for one of the more restrictive ones.

The licence is a CC BY-NC-SA licence.  Basically it means that you can share, spread, use and remix the music, as long as you give us credit.  Also, it’s a non-commercial licence, which means that the license is valid until money is being made.  If you want to use the music for commercial gain, you have to come and strike a deal with me.   So under this licence all normal social media usage is legal, while still preserving my right to earn money from commercial exploitation.

So that’s it in a nutshell.

Daithí vs Goliath

It’s been a while since my last confession, but I come bearing good news.

“Fingertips of the Silversmith”, the new album, has been completed.  The artwork is just being finalised now, and it should be sent to the printers this week.  The album was produced by David Geraghty and recorded in Dublin.  I’ll write more on the whole affair over the next few weeks.

Tiger Cooke - Out of Reach

The first single from the album, “Out of Reach”, has been pressed and is on its way to radio stations around the country.

The single will be available for free download from the website shortly, in exchange for your email address.  The song will be available to embed into your own blogs, websites, friendfaces, tumblrs, highballs and anywhere else you can think of.

We strongly encourage you all to share the songs and spread the music far and wide.  (In the hope that if you DO like our stuff, you’ll return to to support us so we can afford to make another album!)  I’m going to blog about this whole complicated business in depth over the next couple of weeks and months, but… in brief…  we simply can’t compete with the budgets of the major labels (nor even the minor labels) to get TV, radio, billboards, etc, so we must rely on you, the listener, to help us spread the music.  It’s a David & Goliath battle, or Daithí vs Goliath if you prefer…  But daunting as it sounds, it’s a very exciting prospect…

ANY small victory, any bit of exposure you see online, on walls, on television, or overheard on the wireless… that’s not just our achievement;  it’s yours.

Music Blogs Vs Rights Organisations

Nialler9, an Irish music blogger (probably the best known here), has just written a blog about a recent development on the music licensing front.  [Here’s the article in full]

For the uninitiated, the general gist of it is…. until now, blogs have been operating in a legal grey area.  Music has been uploaded on music blogs for streaming and download, and no royalties are generated for the artists creating the music.  The reason it’s a grey area is because, in music law terms, all of these developments are very, very new, and no-one really has the whole business-model figured out.  (As any of the major labels will tell you!)

IMRO (and their international affiliates) have not chased music blogs for royalties until now.  Mainly, I assume, because artists (who IMRO represent) recognise that music blogs have provided a very useful function.  They are an invaluable cog in the oft talked about new indie model.  If a song on a blog sets the blogosphere alight then, apart from the immediately obvious exposure,  it strengthens a band’s position when they’re negotiating for deals, tours, etc.  Basically, the blogger gets to blog about songs they like, the band gets valuable exposure and everyone’s a winner  (apart from the copyright organisations!).

€150 is essentially the annual blanket fee that the vast majority of these blogs will fall into.  It’s not a huge amount (and in a way I’m surprised IMRO have made it so low – because rights organisations, like the big record labels, don’t have a reputation for being reasonable).  I’m not sure how much small music blogs make from advertising, but I can’t imagine it’s an awful lot, so €150 could be the difference between them blogging, and not blogging.

Nialler9 had a conversation with an IMRO rep who offered some answers to questions about the whole situation.  The answer that most drew my attention was the following :
“If the music you blog is made available through a link elsewhere (ie. deeplinking) then a licence is not required.”

Now, if this is accurate, then I have to ask what is wrong with deeplinking?

  1. Band uploads songs to soundcloud, youtube, or similar large site.  (I’d recommend soundcloud.)
  2. Band sends links to music blogger.
  3. Blogger embeds songs/collection of songs into post/site.
  4. No-one pays any licensing fees.

Benefits of this method would be two-fold as far as I can see.

  1. No licensing fees.
  2. Bands have all the stats for plays/downloads at their fingertips, from EVERY site.  No guesswork.  You can see exactly how popular a tune is.

This doesn’t help podcasters, outside of licenced radio.  But I think the embedding/deeplinking idea is a good one, and should be explored.

Some comments on Nialler9’s site suggested that artists leave IMRO until they change tack…  but to be honest, I can’t see anyone doing that.  I don’t think any band is in a position whereby they can decide to refuse their royalty cheques – ticket sales are down, ticket prices are down, album sales are down, sites like Spotify have offered Lady Gaga approximately $167 for over 1 million plays, …

The debate is probably going to rage for quite some time, but I’d love to know what people think about this particular idea.