Pussy Riot Prisoners Released

pussy riot 2AP is reporting that Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have officially been released from prison, following an amnesty approved by Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were imprisoned in 2012 for staging a protest performance at a Moscow church.

Their story, and particularly that of Tolokonnikova, who went on two hunger strikes before going missing for several weeks in the course of a transfer, has drawn international attention to both the injustice of their imprisonment and also to the conditions of Russia’s prison system.

The amnesty for the prisoners (a number of unrelated prisoners were also released) is widely viewed as a public relations move in advance of Russia’s hosting of the upcoming Winter Olympics. The newly-released punk rockers made it clear that they share this view.

I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics”particularly for the Western Europeans, Alyokhina said. But I don’t consider this humane or merciful. This is a lie. We didn’t ask for any pardon. I would have sat here until the end of my sentence because I don’t need mercy from Putin.

She said she would have refused the amnesty and stayed in prison if she’d had the choice.

Punk as hell.


More like this:
Pussy Riot Members Receive Amnesty, Will Go Free
Pussy Riot Member Reportedly In Serious Condition, Family Denied Access
Pussy Riot Declared Guilty Of Hooliganism, Receive Two Years In Prison, Remain Punk As Hell

Parents Get In Free At Warped Tour This Summer

Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman has devised a new marketing strategy for the world’s largest traveling festival that may add a significant boost to their overall ticket sales. This summer, parents taking their children to Warped Tour will be given a free ticket in exchange for helping their teens experience Warped.

Recognizing the value of happy parents is not exactly a new idea for Warped Tour. In year’s past the festival has hosted a ‘reverse daycare,’ which offers parents an escape from the chaos of festival grounds, as well as a number of other amenities. This latest move, however, is certainly the largest. By letting parents know they can not only watch over their children, but do so without paying extra money for something they themselves have little interest in, Warped Tour organizers are raising the likelihood parents will be willing to allow their teens to attend the traveling festival. It’s no longer about dropping your kids off at the gate and hoping for the best because now parents can enter without any cost to them and see the culture their child will be apart for the following twelve hours.

If you are interesting in participating in the free ticket program, simply escort your child to the tents outside the festival grounds marked for tickets and claim your pass.

Now that warped Tour has hopped on the free tickets for parents bandwagon, do you think other tours should follow? Comment below and let us know.

#FreeTicketFriday Returns!

The holidays may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean the season of giving is over. This week #FreeTicketFriday returns, and fans will be given the chance to win a pair of tickets to the US-based concert of their choice*. All you have to do to enter is:

1) Follow @OurStage on Twitter

2) Retweet the #FreeTicketFriday tweet (posted at 1pm EST on Fridays).

That’s it! Once you retweet, you’ll automatically be entered to win a pair of tickets. So who will it be? Taylor Swift? The Killers? Ke$ha? Let us know who you’d choose in the comments, and don’t forget to enter every Friday at 1pm EST.

* = some restrictions apply. See official rules for details.

Warped Tour, Feed Our Children NOW! Ticket Giveaway

Warped Tour and Feed Our Children NOW!, an organization which helps coordinate food drives across the country, have teamed up to offer charitable Warped Tour attendees a shot at free tickets. All you have to do to enter is donate to Unite The United or Feed The Children NOW!, and get friends to do the same. You can check out all the details after the jump. (more…)

Spotify Extends Free Trial Period

According to Hypebot, the music streaming service/app Spotify will be extending its free listening period in the U.S. If the service followed their European model in America, listening times would be cut by at least 10 hours per month.

To the relief of their non-premium users, this morning’s announcement stated that Spotify will extend their free period indefinitely: “We’ve been so overwhelmed by the US response to Spotify that we’ve extended the honeymoon for unlimited free listening.”

The news is unexpected since the combined income of advertisements and Spotify Premium memberships – making up just 10% of the company’s revenues – only covers a fraction of their operating costs, which include paying artists and rights-holders for every stream. As Spotify moves to extend free service in America, it will also be launching a huge funding campaign with a $3.5 billion valuation. To date, the company has raised $100 million.


Press Shuffle: Trading Fours

Jazz musicians pride themselves in creating their own unique style and color. They spend many, many years crafting their musical identity and work hard to keep it fresh. In this vein, traditional instrumentalist and composers began exploring outside of their national and musical borders for inspiration. It’s been more than half a century since greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis reached out to the world and brought its music to prominence in our country, and contemporary artists are still tapping into this enormous resource today. Fortunately for us, we’ve got the Ernie Ball Jazz Channel here in OurStage and it’s chock-full of original instrumental tunes that are constantly pushing the boundaries of genre. We’ve gathered a select few to showcase the variety of the style, and highlighted some of their outstanding features. There’s no need to be a music buff to enjoy this playlist; the only prerequisites are open ears and an open mind.

Dean Taba

Penguin Scramble” – Dean Taba: Starting straight off with a head that screams of contemporary north east jazz, this track jumps into a quickfire succession of instrumental solos. Each player gets their moment in the spotlight, and serves as a great introductory tune to what modern quintets are all about.

Jeannine” – The Soiree Band: Reminiscing to the grandiose days of big bands, this incarnation of the Duke Pearson standard evokes the class and style of mid-century that is so impregnated in the definition of jazz. Laid back and smooth,

Soothsayer Swing” – Chasm: Following a strong blues form yet decidedly jazzy, this song defies genre classification. Self described as “world fusion” (a tag we wholeheartedly agree with), this duo layers an impressive variety of instruments into a continuous, cohesive musical fabric, resulting in a very original piece.

Brazilian Accents” – Kerry Politzer: A style brought to prominence by Stan Getz, this upbeat bossa definitely lives up to its name. The lyrical tone of the saxophone is a must for a song like this, and its melody sways to the beat in a rhythmic, dance-like fashion.

Monsul” – Jorge Diez: With the popularity of artists like Pat Metheny and Juan Manuel Cañizares in the ’90s, the jazz guitar community exploded into a world music discovery frenzy. It was only a matter of time before they discovered a major source of this newfound tone and style; Spanish flamenco. While this track isn’t what many would traditionally “jazz,” it is a clear example of a jazz/flamenco fusion.

Aheste” – Fahir Atakoglu: Tinged with Middle-Eastern harmonies and colors, this wonderful fusion tune brings the early Brecker Brothers recordings to mind, yet is incredibly successful in maintaining its own identity. A personal favorite.

Venus Atmosphere” – Alexis Baro: Distorted guitars and a backbeat-driven drum beat make the presence of rock music clear in the tune. Funky at times, the rhythm section push the song throughout, while the trumpet and sax solos definitely make their presence known.

Have any tunes in particular that you care to share? Disagree with any of the picks? Want a theme in particular to be Shuffled? Let us know by dropping a comment! Listen to previous Press Shuffle playlists over at 8tracks.com.

New Music Biz 101: Quick Artist Website

It used to be very difficult to create an artist Web site.  It wasn’t uncommon to hire an individual or team to build the site for you, since the tools to build the site without a strong background in HTML were nowhere to be found. Today it is becoming easier and easier to develop a site, and  artists without the coding or design background, can still put together something that works great for their needs. Bandzoogle has been developing a solution for musicians to create effective Web sites for some time now but, they aren’t the only company in the game. Nimbit recently released their Quick Artist Websites which offers what could be an even quicker solution than the band camp web sites.

Nimbit recently created a WordPress plugin that instantly sets up a Web site for you, complete with bio, storefront, calendar, photos, videos and more. One of the most powerful things about the site is that it is all controlled from your Nimbit dashboard which allows you to collect fan data from their mail signups every time a transaction is made from a free download or paid download. The ability to update and manage your fan contacts, send messages using the Nimbit fan mail capabilities and update your Web site content all from one place is really valuable for the busy musician.

Although Nimbit offers  speed of set up, ease of use and an all-in-one solution, there is one downside. This product seems to be geared towards existing users of the Nimbit platform, and isn’t nearly as fast if you don’t already have your products setup within your account etc. It’s not really all that fast if you’re not already a Nimbit user and you don’t have the basics of your account setup.

At the end of the day, this is a very cool resource for musicians and something worth looking into. Below is a video demonstrating more of the sites functionality.

New Music Biz 101: Newsletters

Email marketing is still a popular style of getting your music out to the world. Building a strong mailing list is a top priority for anyone whether they’re a hobby musician or platinum selling artists. Once you build a list however,  you need to decide how to send emails to your fans in a way that will engage them and generate sales. One way to do this is to ensure that the newsletter that you email out comes off as professional, includes content that catches the reader’s eye as well as a place to easily access your music.

A simple and affordable way to send out emails to your mailing list is through Mailchimp. Mailchimp allows you to send up to 6,000 emails per month and store up to 1,000 subscribers for free! The system is designed for the visual learner and is easy to use even as a first timer. There are tools to easily manage your subscribers including ways to upload a large list of subscribers or enter them in individually. You can design beautiful looking emails without knowing any HTML code and have the ability to track the results of your campaign with the detailed statistics and reports provided in your account.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your campaign:

  1. Content “ Make sure the news that you’re telling your audience is worthwhile. Sending emails too frequently often ends up with your emails being deleted before they’re even opened.
  2. Subject “ Speaking of having your emails opened, the best way to do this is to create an exciting and compelling subject line. This can make or break your campaign, and has almost everything to do with how many people open your email. Asking a question in the subject line often attracts a lot of attention and inspires curiosity.
  3. Short and Sweet “ Email users are busy and don’t have time to read novels. Make your email short, sweet and to the point. Pictures and other visuals help get your point across without using too many words.
  4. Link to the Right Places “ Make sure you always include links to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. And even if your announcement doesn’t pertain to a new release, always have a link to your online store, or a place where your fans can listen/purchase your music.

Hopefully these little tips will help you get started on creating a more engaging newsletter. Now get out there and start marketing your music and further engaging your fan base!

Metal Monday: Jack Ketch Q&A

Neighbors to one of the decade’s biggest and most prominent areas for brutally heavy music (aka: the Bay Area), Sacramento is trying to put itself on the map, and death metal band Jack Ketch is helping the city to do just that. With two incredibly strong and heavy releases in the last two years, Jack Ketch is pulling no punches and is out for blood. We chatted with them to see how things were going, and where the band is headed next.

OS: Your album Bringers of the Dawn was released in October, it’s a bit different than 2009’s In Articulo Mortis. Do you attribute this more to lineup changes or a conscious decision to vary your sound?

JK: I think a little of both really. We are constantly experimenting and growing as a band. When we made the lineup change towards the end of 2009 we just wanted to come out fresh. We felt we had so many great ideas we didn’t want to limit ourselves to the old sound and just create a whole new beast. We are not even close to done yet, we just keep on writing and evolving.

OS: You’ve drawn comparisons between your band and bands like Opeth and Between the Buried and Me, whom are significantly more progressive than your two albums. Do you see your band moving more in that direction in future releases? How about clean vocal parts?

JK: Those are two huge influences on us and helped push us in the more progressive direction we have gone. As far as future releases, who knows where we’ll go? We have been working on some more progressive stuff as well as more brutal death metal stuff. Incorporating clean vocals is something we have been working on with some of the newer songs also. We write constantly and have so much depth and options that we can really take this any direction we decide, so it will probably come down to just which songs we feel are the best.

OS: Both of your albums have been released through Transmedia Records. How did you link up with them, and end up being their first release/band?

JK: Transmedia Records is a great start up label and fully supports us in everything we do. We recorded both albums up in Portland, OR at a studio called The Magic Closet. While up there we were referred to these guys in Berkley that were starting up their own label. We talked for a while back and forth about music, the industry and what we were both looking to get out of it. We just felt everyone was on the same page and could really benefit from working together and helping each other out. It’s kind of a family and I see big things for both of us coming in the near future.

OS: You’ve played a lot of shows on the west coast. How long until you start planning shows further to the east?

JK: The west coast is our home and we’ve just been working on building that solid foundation here before we start moving outward. I feel it coming soon though. Moving east is definitely something we are going to be looking to do, but it’s nowhere near the end of the line for us. I just spent some time in Germany last month and talked about maybe heading over to Europe for a tour possibly next year. We were also hit up to play a huge festival in India this November, but unfortunately because of the dates we had to decline. Anywhere in the world is a possibility for us, we are just building up our name and trying to do things the smartest way possible.

OS: The artwork for Bringers of the Dawn is pretty intricate. Is there a story behind it and, does it coincide with the album’s content?

JK: Oh definitely, everything about this album coincides with one another. We wanted to create not just a concept album but a bit of an experience. We put a ton of work into it and wanted to tell a story, not only with the lyrics, but also with the songs and the imagery. Reading through the lyrics it’s a story of an invasion of the Earth with a battle for the survival of humanity. The natural balance of life and the struggles between the perception of what really is good or evil. In the end you’re left to think, is this the end of the human race, or really just a new beginning? There are many more underlying ideas hidden within there also, but that is for the listener to find and decide upon for themselves.

OS: After going through various lineup changes in your few years as a band, do you think you’ve finally settled on a more permanent one?

JK: Well we’ve actually only gone through one lineup change, but it consisted of the guitarist and drummer at the same time. We were surprised how quickly we picked up two new members and got back to things. But that just shows you how perfect this line up is for us. With everyone so focused and on the same page we couldn’t be happier about the current lineup and have gotten such a great response from the new music.

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New Music Biz 101: Free Track Giveaways

Ever since the rise of the independent artist, free track giveaways have been a promotional tool rapidly increasing in popularity. Artists are giving away free CDs, MP3s”anything that can get their music to the masses. However, music is an artist’s most powerful asset, so why not use it to it’s full potential.

A lot of musicians are handing out free music like its nothing, just for the sake of exposure. Although this method isn’t completely ineffective, we think there is a better approach.  If someone is interested enough in you as an artist to listen to your music, you’re going to want to know who this person is and engage them as a potential fan.  You need to connect with them on some level, collect their email address, encourage them to join your Facebook artist page, get their phone number, etc. Bottom line: you need a way to reach out to these potential fans in the future. Luckily, there are a few tools out there that can help you with this.

Nimbit, Topspin, and Bandcamp are a few Web sites that help artists make more out of their free track offerings. They provide online tools that allow you to capture user data with every free giveaway. For example, in order to download a free track from one of these sites, a person must provide their email address. With some of the available tools, fans must provide their name, zip code and email address. This gives artists a sense of where their fan base is located which can be invaluable for touring purposes.

When you’re on the road, use mailing lists or download cards to capture user data. Maintaining fan connections for future marketing initiatives is vital to the success of your future releases. For those who don’t know, download cards provide your fans a unique key that they can enter into a Web site in exchange for a download. The best way to distribute these items is to make an announcement during your show that you have free download cards at your merch table, available for anyone interested in picking one up. This way, not only do you only give a download to those who like your show enough to go get one, but you also got the fan to go straight to your merch table.

We hope this gives you a better idea of how to better utilize your music to your advantage. Let us know if you have other suggestions that we didn’t mention in the comments section.