#HowWeListen – Jon Bartlett / Kelp & Megaphono

January 28, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Who are you?
Jon Bartlett

Where are you based?
Ottawa, Canada

Where do you work? What do you do?
Artist manager at Kelp Music (formerly Kelp Records) and director of the MEGAPHONO festival. I manage Andy Shauf (and his other project Foxwarren), Lido Pimienta, Kacy & Clayton and Trails.

We also run a showcase music festival called MEGAPHONO, this year’s edition runs February 7-9th, 2019. We’ll have about 50 international and regional music industry delegates in town to hang out and hear 80ish regional artists play shows all over Ottawa.

What are you listening to?
I just came across that Kadhja Bonet album Childqueen last week and it was a mind-blowing and truly wonderful surprise. Noname’s new record Room 25 is great. I have listened to the Zuider Zee reissue Zeenith more than my fair share over the past year. The Beatles White Album reissue lives up to the hype.

How do you find new music?
Sometimes I just let Spotify run after an album plays through and once in a blue moon, the algorithms work their magic and find some gems. I pay attention to what local stores like The Record Centre and Birdman Sound are carrying, watch friends’ feeds for recommendations, pay attention to show listings and emails from promoters of bands coming through Ottawa/Montreal/Toronto. I hear about new music from the artists we work with and their teams, and listen to good ole fashioned radio…campus-community stations like CHUO and CKCU and also CBC. I am a dinosaur type of person that still prefers to listen to albums front to back, so adjusting to the streaming universe has been difficult. I love the buffet but I miss the user interface and layout of Rdio.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
Streaming first because it’s in my car / office / phone but a lot of vinyl at home (somehow I won the battle and got to put the turntable in the dining room). CDs in the car sometimes, but rarely.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Music is always on everywhere we go, at home and at work, unless we’re listening to the news. Life has a constant soundtrack, though some moments of silence are nice once in awhile.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I’m emailed albums a lot, or bug the labels we work with to send streams of other albums they have coming up when something piques my interest. It’s always a privilege to get to listen to things long before they’re released, definitely my favourite part of working with our artists…hearing songs come together from the demo stage to the final version on the album. That’s the magic for me.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
I really hate the way the algorithms take over…my son loves to DJ in the car, so Spotify thinks I’m a massive Imagine Dragons fan, and a good chunk of my “new releases” are garbage. The fact that singles aren’t identified as such drives me bananas…I’ll spend five minutes trying to find an album to play, only to have to do it again when the song’s done. Like I said, I miss Rdio….it had a nice mix of algorithms and friend interaction, and more often than not, music I cared about seemed to bubble up to the front page. I can’t believe one of the DSP’s hasn’t come up with something better over the past three years since Rdio’s death. That said, keeping tabs on what’s coming out, getting to sample a panoply of new releases in one click…it’s pretty nice.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Save the album to my Apple Music or Spotify profile; add it to my Discogs wish list or just buy it on LP in a store.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
I try to. The “college radio music snob” part of me still likes to start sentences with “Have you heard this band yet?” There are small groups of email chains with certain friends to keep tabs on what each other is listening to. But a lot of word of mouth, I’d say…

Anything you want to “promote”?
I guess the latest management project is the Foxwarren (ANTI- / Arts & Crafts) Self-Titled LP, so go give that a spin.

#HowWeListen – Joe Thompson / Hey Colossus

January 21, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Who are you?
I’m Joe.

Where are you based?
Street, Somerset, South West England. North of Cornwall and Devon, beneath Bristol, a mile from Glastonbury. It’s a village. It’s where Clarks shoes come from. Yes, the village is called Street. I assume once upon a time it was, indeed, just a street. Now it’s way more, it has a Subway.

Where do you work? What do you do?
Shepton Mallet, I’m a postman. I also play music in a too many guitars band. We’re based in London and Somerset and Bristol and Nottingham and Watford. We’ve been going since 2003. We’ve released a lot of records and played a fair amount of shows. I’ve been a postman for ten years, I recently received a little badge to celebrate this fact. I’m tired.

What are you listening to?
I cannot stop listening to Anderson Paak, Malibu and Venice are works of art. Just waiting for the new one to get released properly. Workin’ Man Noise Unit’s new record on Riot Season. One of the best UK bands. A band is only as good as it’s drummer and WMNU’s drummer swings.

Finally got the ‘last ever live show’, Mission of Dead Souls by Throbbing Gristle, just re-released by Mute. I picked it up from Raves from the Grave, Frome, Somerset. People say Frome is one of the most happening places to live. These people have never been to Frome. It’s ‘fine’, I give it 4/10.

The Wiki record on XL last year was a total monster. It was slept on by most people as it didn’t have any traditionally big tunes, but if you like rap music you should like the Wiki record. I went to see him on a boat in Bristol with my youngest son. 200 people. In your face. What made it become such a regular listen was having the CD with the vinyl, it was played in the car and house for a full year. Top tip there. A download code is no good, you can make CD’s for pennies. Do that and insert it in the vinyl sleeve, don’t be afraid to give people what they actually want, it won’t hurt.

The Rixe record on La Vida Es Un Mus. Who would have thought I’d be buying Oi records in 2018. This thing kills. The French do Oi like the Australians are destroying garage/scuzzy punx, Total Control are never far from the stereo, Amyl and the Sniffers, and The Chats 10” ain’t far either.

I’m convinced Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid 2xLP should be taught to kids at school. Everything from the production to the rapping to the album’s packaging. The new Warthog 7” on Static Shock is pure destruction, cannot wait for them to come over in a few months. Same with the two Uranium Club records on the same label.

There’s shit loads of music, new and old. The new Low record has surprised the hell out of me, I thought I was done with miserable music. I still can’t listen to Nick Cave though.

The Arthur Verocai record from 1000 years ago that Mr Bongo reissued a couple of years ago, this is one beautiful record. The Tin Man 4xLP that came out recently, acid acid acid acid acid. Who doesn’t like acid? From the same world: the Bass Clef 2×12” on Alter. So good. I dreamt I was delivering acid to children at a campsite last night, baffling as I wasn’t getting paid overtime for it. Get the Union on the phone.

How do you find new music?
Word of mouth, youtube people with their channels, reviews – Maximum RnR (Just shut down yesterday. Shame) / The Wire / Quietus), talking with people in record shops, buying from gigs. There are a few labels who I trust so will always check out their business.

I do enjoy the ‘What’s in my Bag’ type shows on YT, be it Amoeba or any of the others. I hoovered up the Crate Digger series, made me buy a lot of records I never would have thought of. I have friends with decent tastes in various genres so I pay attention to what they’re talking about. I live in the middle of nowhere now so I’m quite reliant on social media for top tips. I also get shop mailouts that can be worth a browse.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
Vinyl at home, CD in the car. Streaming is the worst thing. It’s changing things in a way that people are sleepwalking into. It benefits no one. The listener is getting an instant gratification with absolutely no long term reward. The music maker isn’t being rewarded. The people releasing the music aren’t being rewarded. The listener is creating no memories for themselves. There’s a panic to make the first 30 seconds of a song be incredible, there’s no patience anymore.

It blows my mind that people don’t pay for music, paying a few money units a month to get unlimited music through to your ears is not in any way covering the costs of making the music. What are these people gonna look back on? What story is your empty shelf going to tell you? I’m way too many years old now and out of touch. But of a night, when I’ve eaten too much lasagne and fancy having a flashback night, I can pick a record out and relive a moment. Get the Motley Crue out and go back to being 12 years old. It’s the shelf of memories. The bent sleeve. The wine spill on the Lincoln/Hoover split 7” from when David Seaman saved that penalty back in 1998 and I lost my mind, arms in the air, smashing over my glass of red.

I guess people can do what they want but I’m not gonna be sitting back in my grandad nappy at 80 years old, piss trickling down my inner thigh, trying to remember what I streamed in 2018 in an effort to get a memory related contact high. Shelf of memories please. Minimalist living is a depressing fad. Let my great grandkids deal with chucking it away when I’m gone, it’s part of the deal. The vinyl binning circle of life.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Home in the living room, in the car on the way to work.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I guess I don’t apart from when websites preview a new song from some forthcoming release.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Apart from Youtube I don’t. I’ve never downloaded anything apart from rough mixes of the music I’m involved with, which either comes via WeTransfer or Google Drive. It sounds fine, for what it is. I still run a Nokia phone. I don’t wear headphones when out walking, the world makes better sounds than any album. I’ve never looked at Spotify, my 70 year old dad does. My sons listen on Youtube and Amazon. I can’t handle it. It depresses me too much. The house being silent while all the people in it sit with their headphones on is the grimmest noise.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I have a box of around 100 records by the record player that I consider my top 100 (or so) records of the moment. I run a strict rotation system.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
No one at work gives two fucks what I listen too. I judge them though, harshly. They all take the piss out of me for not having a computer phone as they play the morning music through bluetooth speakers. 80’s pop, 70’s rock, indie classics. It’s as bad as the radio in the same playlist filler fashion. I don’t allow The Who though, you have to have rules. It’s surprising how often The Who are almost played. It’s kinda like someone’s paying vast sums of cash to get them onto internet playlists.

Anything you want to “promote”?
I want people to get back into directly supporting artists and labels and shops. We’re gonna miss them when they’re gone.

#HowWeListen – Spiral Stairs

January 14, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Who are you?
Scott Kannberg aka Spiral Stairs. Founding member/guitarist/occasional singer from 90’s heartthrobs Pavement. From 1989 to 1999, Pavement released 6 critically acclaimed full length LP’s and relentlessly toured the world. In 2010, they reunited for another successful worldwide tour and the 30th anniversary is coming in 2020, so fingers crossed. If that wasn’t enough, I also have 5 solo records, 2 as Preston School of Industry, and 2 as Spiral Stairs (3rd Spiral coming in 2019).

Where are you based?
Currently living in Merida, Mexico. It’s in the Yucatan. Moved here a few years ago from Los Angeles with my family. We had been in LA for 3 years, but felt we needed a life change. Hopefully, moving back to the states next summer. And then back to Australia at some point.

Where do you work? What do you do?
I still make a living through music. I’ve been managing the Pavement catalog for years as well as my own music. It’s a hustle. In Merida, my wife and have been also flipping old colonial houses. It’s so cheap down here. But it takes forever to get something finished. Red tape.

What are you listening to?
The Kelley Stoltz Que Aura record. Straat LP. Jim Ford. Beefharts Sun Zoom Spark box set. Bryan Ferry’s Horoscope demos. These turned out to be on the Manouma record from 93 or so. Roxy Music live at the Wembley Pool circa 75. Great bootleg with most of the Siren Songs played live. I am also obsessed with the first two Nick Lowe records. I’ve been getting into his older stuff as well. Trying to track down the G W McLennan solo records. Only heard a handful of tracks from those records, they are so good. At the moment, it’s been hard since all my records are in storage back in California.

How do you find new music?
Online mostly. I belong to a bunch of fan sites on Facebook that take me in weird directions. But I like old music mostly. I’ve been reading a lot of music books. The John Peel one was great. Also the Jon Savage 1966 book was killer. And the Van Morrison and Roxy Music bios. And Simon Reynolds Glam book. And Dylan’s Chronicles took me in so many directions.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
If i had access to my records, I’d listen to records. And my cds. Unfortunately, i only listen to stuff on my computer here. Or my phone from stuff i’ve downloaded from iTunes. I surf the YouTube a lot. I don’t have Spotify. I don’t really agree with it. I think it’s killing music. It’s definitely killed making money in music. The only people making money now are techies (and the advertisers). And all they listen to is fucking doof doof. So there you go, robots who design robots listening to robots. The future is bright. But i do understand that it’s the way most people listen to music. On their location device.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
At home, or when i’m out exercising. If i do listen to the few vinyl records i have here, i do it on a portable record player i got in Japan in the 90’s. Still sounds great.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Occasionally, i’ll get sent a pre release. Last one was the Mark Eitzel record, not to be confused with Mark Kozelek.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Ads. Of course it’s easy. Too easy. Finding out about bands was always fun. There used to be a mystery to it. Now, you can find out everything, see what they look like, see if they’ve been accused of sexual assault, see what their political leanings are. All on the internet.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
ITunes playlists. Or surfing through the YouTube.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
My Twitter feed, or Facebook feed. I’m not really one of those kind of people who instagram what record i’m listening to, but i am in the early process of doing a podcast where i alphabetize my record collection. Lots of stories there.

Anything you want to “promote”?
New Spiral Stairs “We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized” out in March. All PSOI and Spiral records have now been re-released digitally as deluxe editions with b-sides and extra tracks included.

#HowWeListen – Jen Pomphrey

January 7, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.
Jen Pomphrey CoFounder Byta
Who are you?
Jen Pomphrey

Where are you based?
Melbourne, Australia

Where do you work? What do you do?
Co-founder of Byta, I work on all aspects of design and front-end development

What are you listening to?
My album of the year has to be Lost Friends by Middle Kids. I can’t stop listening to it. The songwriting is great and I have luckily been able to see a number of their gigs lately and they are such a tight band. I am also totally on the bandwagon of loving the BoyGenius EP. So good.

How do you find new music?
I used to find a lot from blogs but now seems to be more via social media from the likes of Tone Deaf, Consequence of Sound and Pilerats. I still check in on Pitchfork for some good writing. Likewise I also really enjoy Spotify curated playlists. The Discover Weekly playlist tends to through up some real treats and I frequently check in on my new releases playlist that is curated from other bands I listen to.
Away from the digital realms, I find a lot of new music from going to gigs, music showcase (Melbourne Music Week was great for this) and also festivals. I had only causally listened to Big Scary before I went to Laneway Festival in 2016 but since then they are a solid favourite.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
I listen to Spotify pretty much every day, mostly due to the nature of my work making me desk bound. I have CDs for my car that are mostly gifted to me by friends who no longer have CD players but think I would like their collections (pretty much all of them are right, though I have some duds) then at home I listen to LPs, since getting my own house it has been fun to go crate digging and find what treats I can get for $5. My collection is slowly growing!

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Mostly during the day at work, where I listen on headphones from my computer. Otherwise, I listen in the car, from CDs, the radio or hooking up my iPhone.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Pre-release on blogs or first listens on the radio mainly, Triple J do a lot of first listens, so I will hear a lot of them when I am in the car.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
I get frustrated with ads which definitely led to me paying for Spotify because I use it so frequently. Similarly, I find it frustrating when I listen to a track forget to bookmark it and then can’t find it again.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I create a lot of my own playlists on Spotify, favourite things on Soundcloud and try to bookmark articles about new music that I like.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
A lot of friends ask me to make them playlists. So I set up public playlists on Spotify a lot for those situations. Otherwise, I send over links to blogs etc. Then more frequently I just drag them along to gigs with me.

Anything you want to “promote”?
I am also super excited for Angie McMahon to release more material. She has a small handful of tracks about now so go have a listen if you can. Likewise, Jack River is amazing and I think she is going to go somewhere. Give her album Sugar Mountain a listen.

#HowWeListen – Jason Reynolds

December 17, 2018 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Stax Museum

 

Who are you?
Jason Reynolds

Where are you based?
Atwater Village, Los Angeles, California

Where do you work? What do you do?
Most recently Warner Music Catalogue, handling global marketing & product development.

What are you listening to?
Lots of vinyl left over from my time in the office, now that I have time to listen! Old Stax Records releases, Blue Note jazz… Plus Jawbreaker vinyl, after seeing them play live recently; The latest from Spiritualized ‘And Nothing Hurts’ is still on high rotation; Primal Scream ‘The Memphis Recordings’ album (2-CD edition with the bonus tracks); Burned CDs of an audience recording of the recent LA Spiritualized live show; pre-release digital of the 2019 Mercury Rev ‘The Delta Sweete’ Bobby Gentry covers album; Terry Callier 2-LP ‘The New Folk Sound’ reissue; Craft Recordings ‘Stax ‘68: A Memphis Story’ CD box; Plus old cratedigging finds by everyone from P.i.L. to Etta James to Billy Holiday to Otis Redding to the Tindersticks.

How do you find new music?
New artists – it used to be primarily from friends talking about new records on Facebook. Though that seems to have died off for the most part now – that was how I discovered Phoebe Bridgers in the last year. A lot of people I trust were talking about Idles, so I tracked them down. Every now & again I will go to Pitchfork to see if a record is worth me investigating, once I have found out about it. I am on the digital servicing list for 1 indie label group, & find out about some newer releases there. Then I am also signed up to email lists for a few other indies (Sub Pop, Merge), so keep on top of at least what is released. Ditto following Domino on Twitter. That involves finding out when a new album is out by an older act (for example, the new Catpower album, on Domino). I do have a few club bookers, & music biz people that may recommend new artists, plus I always find tips from the folk at the Rough Trade Shop in London are good ones. Plus this time of year I go through a lot of the year-end lists to see if there is anything essential or that sounds great!

I also listen to the radio in the car – KCRW in LA and stumble on things there. That is where I am using Shazam most frequently – to find out what is playing on air. More often than not though, the Shazam “what is this? I don’t think this is something I’ll be thinking about buying!” To each his own, as they say! Sometimes listen to the Seattle radio station KEXP online, which I feel I should do more.

I confess though, I am not as interested in that much ‘new’ music now. A lot of what I listen to is just new records by older acts I cut my teeth on (for example the Primal Scream ‘Memphis Recordings’ album). With current music, I am not sure I am interested in hearing just 1 song by a new artist – I still listen to albums for the most part – and find a lot of new acts just not sustainable over a full length, or that interesting (see Shazam comment)!!

Older releases – discovery is via lots of bios & music books, that lead me to tracking down records. James Carr (the greatest soul singer ever!) was a notable discovery that way. I have a stupid list in my head of artists & albums that I need. Sometimes I am in a store, digging through the soul section, & find something that looks interesting, & may look it up on Allmusic for some background, to see if it’s worth buying. I have discovered some great albums that way – like Millie Jackson, & Spencer Wiggins. Also general recommendations from friends. I collect a few label’s catalogs (Stax, Blue Note), & have paper lists printed out, marked up to ID the titles I still need (I’ve bought multiple copies of LPs more than once, thinking I didn’t have them). So I am discovering new (old) music by just buying & listening, based on the weight of the catalog & rep of the label. I’ll always point to the fabulous Candi Staton FAME recordings as something that I tracked down because of the label, & those albums are some of my favorites now.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
Vinyl is probably the primary medium, in my living room at home. I used to have a turntable in my office too, which was where I’d listen to most music. Being in LA I spend a bit of time on the road, & have a 15 year old Volvo station wagon, which has both a CD player & a cassette deck! So, lots of CDs in the car. I recently cleaned out the majority of my CDs, & was left pretty much with my favorite records, & a ton of greatest hits & boxed sets. Though I was surprised – and kept CDs – of some things that are just not on streaming services in this country (for example, much of the Super Furry Animals catalogue). Online – if it is just 1 song I want to hear or revisit, I will normally Google it & listen on youTube. Full albums I will stream on Spotify. I don’t subscribe to any digital services, & don’t really follow many playlists. I do love streaming though – the fact that a world of music is right at your fingertips & instantaneous is fabulous.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Right now, at home on the stereo & in the car. From my laptop for digital – sometimes with an external bluetooth speaker. I have an old vintage turntable & receiver in my living room for vinyl. I actually wish I could hook up a CD player, though I’d like it to be a vertical one (which I don’t think exists) so I could just hide it away on the bookshelf underneath. I don’t have a Sonos-style digital set up. I also go on a decent number of roadtrips out of LA, so there are a lot of hours to listen to music. Since my car has just a single CD player (not a multi-disc magazine), it does mean I am more inclined to listen to an album multiple times, as the disc just re-starts, & gives more opportunity to have a deeper dive, instead of possibly dismissing it quickly as it didn’t grab me on first listen. I am very definite in my music listening – usually consciously going to listen to something, with a purpose, rather than having it as background.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Mainly digital files I get via email (& DL from Dropbox or similar), from friends. More often than not – if it’s something I really want to hear – I download it into iTunes & burn a CD to listen to in the car. I always have so much music to listen to, I rarely listen to things pre-release unless it’s something I am eagerly anticipating. First listens on radio/NPR if I am really keen. The aforementioned indie label group – I get serviced all their records, but maybe only DL & listen to 10-20% of them. Though honestly now, again I have so much music to listen to, unless it’s top shelf or my favorite artists, I often don’t get around to listening to a lot of new records until *after* release date.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Well, my iTunes library is a mess. Lack of space on my laptop means much of it is spread over various external hard drives, which are not plugged in constantly. I’d appreciate an easier way to consolidate/find all those songs & files if I do choose to listen to something from back catalog. Promo music services are a bit clunky. But again, it’s DL -> burn CD a lot of the time. I rarely listen in the PlayMPE or Promojukebox players themselves. I do get huge numbers of emails with music in them, & barely click/listen to any.

Other streaming – I do like the convenience in general. I always thought streaming was perfect for ‘less engaged’ listening. I don’t really need to play a lot of back catalogue – I have already shed a lot of those records/CDs from my collection – but if I suddenly feel a need to listen to, say, Depeche Mode – it’s there! I don’t need to go out & buy a release like that. The ads on Spotify I tolerate, though they haven’t hit me hard enough that I am compelled to subscribe to the service yet. There are holes in what is up on Spotify for sure, especially for UK releases in the US, which can be a bummer, especially when you are thinking of listening to something on a whim. I never usually listen to Soundcloud for listening, only for promo purposes (which is just a track or two).

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I don’t! It’s usually just what’s in the stack. My vinyl is all carefully categorized (by genre & labels in some case) & alphabetized though.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Not as much. When I was in the developing/new artist world, I used to do it a lot. Often at the time it was just uploading digital files to Dropbox & sending on the link. Nowadays I sometimes talk about things on Facebook, or mention in conversation. In the end it tends to be a very ‘analog’ process (I don’t make playlists of things to share on Spotify/etc).

Anything you want to “promote”?
I do have a few solid recent favorites – Courtney Marie Andrews I found out about 5 or 6 years ago, very early on, via Damien Jurado. All her recent albums are great, & it is super seeing the job Loose has done & the recognition she is getting, especially in the UK. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on Sub Pop from Australia are neat – seen them a couple of times live now & enjoyed it immensely (need to listen to the vinyl in my pile!). A reminder of a lot of the bands I grew up with living there, such as The Go-Betweens et al. I worked on some fun releases in my time at Warners – The Replacements ‘Maxwell’s Live’ album is one that stands out – I felt that it all came together so well – the recording, the packaging, the show. People responded with glowing reviews (and then there were those cardboard stand ups too!) The Flaming Lips vinyl reissues turned out nicely, & getting ‘The Mushroom Tapes’ out on LP for RSD was cool. Another band that has been a constant in my work life for 20+ years – Luna – we recently put together a new 2-LP compilation of an expansive set of their cover versions, called ‘Lunafied’ which is fabulous. And it goes without saying that the Spiritualized album was my favorite of 2018. I also highly recommend the biography by Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, called ‘Siren Song’ – a stellar read & a fun reminder of how great it is to be lucky enough to work in the music business.

#HowWeListen – Marc Brown

December 10, 2018 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where we interview artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

 

Who are you?

Marc Brown

Where are you based?

Gothenburg, Sweden

Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m the founder of Byta https://byta.com

What are you listening to?

New Skee Mask, Cloud Nothings and Daniel Avery LPs. New Mary Lattimore is beautiful. Plus a little Gill Scott Heron and as always some early Guided By Voices for good measure. Been revisiting Palace Music again recently, since Drag City records are now on streaming services. Honestly though, still listen to Ride The Lightning a least once or twice a week.

How do you find new music?

Via friends, like it always has been but now it happens online. I found out about Rolling Coastal Blackouts via @wichitarecs insta. Lots of Facebook. Used to like Spotify’s Discover Weekly but that got pretty predictable pretty fast. Four Tet’s playlist is exceptional. Plus always try to remember to scan Mix Mag’s “Best New Techno”. Jay from Sloan’s “the Jaylist” too.

I still check records via local promoter’s gig listings a fair amount. If I hear about a new record or band I Youtube it first. If I am going to check something out digitally I prefer the visual element instead of Spotify (only service I subscribe to) which gives me zero vibe around the band/artist. Even if I can’t hold it in my hand I still want some sort of visual context.

I still check P4K reviews but purely for the score and solely out of habit. I read longform articles about music but never reviews. Used to buy and read Sonic Magazine here in Sweden but not sure if they even publish the physical magazine anymore? Good Spotify playlists though.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?

My stereo and records have been in storage since 2016 so I listen 100% digitally. I ripped then sold all my CDs back in London anyway so when someone gave me a CD last year and I had no idea what to do with it.

Have not bought a record in a record store in years. Plus, no record player means no mail order vinyl either sadly.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

When I was a radio plugger it was pretty easy to listen to music 8-10 hours a day. For some reason now I can’t seem to listen when I work. So pretty much exclusively listen to music when walking. Aside from when I am watching live stuff Youtube.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?

My artist and label friends send me a lot of early records via Byta, PR types usually via Byta or other “watermark promo services”. Otherwise, I’m not in a rush to hear everything right away so generally happy to wait until it’s on Spotify.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

Listening only digitally it’s pretty noticeable how ephemeral everything actually is now. Most of the time it’s not a problem but other times it has weird effects. For example someone passed me a private Soundcloud link of that last Ariel Pink record and I remember liking one track in particular but didn’t register the name. Cut to listening to the album on Spotify and slowly realising that song disappeared at some point. Was it on the private streaming link but then not on the actual release or did it get pull off Spotify after release?! Either way I can’t find the private listening link again so it’s like the song never existed! One point in favour of physical advances, or ripping a stream depending on how you see things.

I basically only use iTunes to listen to the odd record I own though which doesn’t exist on Spotify, say a couple of Built To Spill albums or Dre’s The Chronic.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Short answer is I can’t keep track. I stream anything I receive via Byta because I can actually find it in my account. Seems all the downloads (Watermark Services, Dropbox, WeTransfer) I receive get moved to a folder to be added to iTunes at some point in time yet which never comes.

I like deleting my Spotify app and re-downloading things again over time to avoid listening to the same records over and over. I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally,

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally.

Anything you want to “promote”?

My friend Nicholas Faraone’s band Barbarisms, Silver Jews vibes. VBoys live. Both are from Stockholm. I know of zero new Gothenburg bands.

Private Sharing Links Update

December 4, 2018 Byta Announcements, Features


Announcing Byta’s Universal Links

Byta is the audio platform for everyone working in music today. From the newest of artists to the largest record companies in the world.

We make this possible by ensuring everyone can privately share their music the way they want, with share settings they control.

To further that goal we are announcing Universal Links.

Think Private Soundcloud Links but without the ads, better streaming security and the option to allow downloads without recipients needing to log in. Simple as that.

As part of this upcoming release we are updating the names of each type of Sharing to better reflect the unique properties offered by each type of private streaming link.

Direct:

Each trackable link is sent directly to one or more users via their email address

For Users Of: File Transfer Services or Watermark Music Promotion Services
Best For: Higher security releases, where you are targeting certain people and/or sharing pre-requested music direct to individual recipients

Universal Links:

Your Universal Link is sent to you via email, pass to others for further sharing to their contacts

For Users Of: Private Soundcloud Links
Best For: The perfect one listening link solution when sharing single tracks or albums more widely, instead of sending a Soundcloud link for streaming and a separate link to download the audio file

Protected Links:

Your password Protected Link is be sent to you via email, pass to others and audio will immediately appear in their contacts account once they click on the link and login

For Users Of: Watermark Music Promotion Services or Box / Dropbox Password Protected Shared Links
Best For: Passing a link in email or over chat yet need to retain the same level of tracking and security offered when sharing a Direct Streaming Link

Mailchimp:

Your Mailchimp embed code is sent to you via email, for pasting directly into your Mailchimp campaigns

For Users Of: Mailchimp for their music marketing
Best For: Anyone who is looking to embed and track audio in their Mailchimp campaigns as well as managing one contact mailing list

Users should start to see the new Share page dropdown options in early January.

Announcing Generic Links

August 8, 2017 Byta Announcements, Features
byta generic links

 

Byta’s genius comes from the fact anyone can send & receive digital audio any way they want. Any combination of single tracks and/or albums, in any file format with share settings Senders control.

Currently users Share directly to others via our in-app Share page or via our Mailchimp integration. That really isn’t ANY way they want now is it?

In reality HOW people share is as different as WHAT they share, which is why we are launching Generic Links.

From today everyone from the smallest of artists to the biggest companies in the world can create a Generic Link. Easily shareable in email or via messaging services – iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Skype, etc.

No matter what’s being shared – mixes direct from the studio or albums requiring the tightest security possible, they all come in one simple shareable link.

Generic Links: Better For Both Senders & Receivers

We’ve been pretty clear about our reasoning behind Byta’s Short Message. That’s why Generic Links are also the perfect solution for users looking to Share additional details along with their link.

Lastly, Generic Links greatly benefit recipients. Receiving multiple links from different services based on sender’s file type and security preference is all too common and causes confusion. Byta’s Generic Links however, behave in exactly the same way every time, irrespective of security preferences and share settings.

Generic Links are live for all accounts.

Byta, one service built for everyone working in music today.

Announcing Teams Free Accounts + Team Restrictions

May 6, 2017 Byta Announcements, Features
Teams Free and Restrictions
Teams Free Account

Byta is unique in allowing our users to both send & receive from their own personal account.

Team Accounts enable users to upload and share audio between groups of individual users of any size – from 2 to 200, and beyond.

As more and more companies move to Teams we’re meeting users with different needs. For example those who only upload or just login for listening purposes, instead of actively Sharing.

This is why today we are launching Teams Free Accounts together with Team Restrictions.

Byta’s Teams Free is exactly as it sounds, a Free version of the Team Account for users who don’t need to Share.

Team Restrictions

As Teams get larger communication about which albums or tracks are for sharing and in what format becomes even more complex.

Internal Listening, the simple act of listening to new records and new mixes is equally complex for larger Teams.

Now with the click of a button uploaders and Admins may “Prevent Sharing” on any Card as well as apply any Restrictions they would normally add to a Share.

No more swapping Dropbox or Box links, downloading WAVs then importing to iTunes. No more internal Sharing of watermark links via email. No more external Sharing of records too early by mistake.

Teams Free and Team Restrictions – cleaner, faster and more secure Internal Listening.

Teams Free Account upgrades are available on request. Contact us to learn more.

Byta Loves Mailchimp – Integration Update & New Features

August 2, 2016 Byta Announcements, Features
Byta Loves Mailchimp

 

We’ve kept quiet about our Mailchimp Integration since launching it in beta.

Still, Byta is the only service offering senders complete control over the look and feel of their mailouts while maintaining security.

Now finally the last set of changes we have been dying to make are live:

  • Byta reconfirms embedded audio and API connection when previewing from Mailchimp
  • One click importing of your Mailchimp Lists into Byta
  • Email confirmation when adding or editing your Mailchimp API

These improvements and new features ensure securely sharing Byta audio in Mailchimp campaigns is as easy as possible.

Sending is only half of the story

We listen to recipients and consider all features from their point of view. We also educate senders on what recipients want, or more importantly what they don’t want!

Take PR mailouts. Traditionally announcements are sent in Mailchimp and a secure audio link in an email following from another service. More work for the sender, two differently styled emails for the recipient.

Sharing Byta audio in Mailchimp means less email and more consistent styling, which makes reading and clicking to listen is as simple as possible. When receiving 100s of emails a day those numbers add up.

Not to mention recipients have the option to receive audio direct to their own Free Account on web and on iOS.

With that we’re confident is saying Byta’s Mailchimp Integration is the best experience for recipients we’ve ever seen.