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Post #1: The Technical, The Musical, 150%, and 2015

In this post I indulge in some computer-geekery, I talk about promoting on Facebook vs promoting on Twitter, and about having or not having fans in the industry Continue reading


Post #2: Light Up A Candle For Christmas

Sharron-Idol invites you to PARTY to the sound of her Xmas track in several versions on 1 EP. – It is the Season of Good-Will; so PARTY, get on down, and chill. Continue reading


Post #3: *Divine Social*– In Depth

Unusually for me, a more in-depth pre-release look at my coming EP *Divine Social* – due for release on Tuesday 28th October 2014 on Ice Recordings. Continue reading


Post #4: What’s With All These Releases Lately?

Tweet You may have noticed that my release-schedule has become rather well-populated lately: In September I released *Tributes*, after a rather long blank-spell stretching back to my Midsummer release of my last album *I’m A Person, Not A Genre’*. This … Continue reading


Post #5: How To Create An Icon for the Windows Task Manager in Windows 7

Create a desktop shortcut to call up the Windows Task Manager with single click. (Operation accomplished in Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit in the example given.) Continue reading


Post #6: *Divine Social* EP by Sharron-Idol to be Released 28th October 2014

Another brand new musical experience from talented musician Sharron-Idol; this time consisting of deity & divinity mixed with social media & – of course, music. Continue reading


Post #7: Half-Fiscal-Year Audit Reveals Good News

It may be premature at this juncture to announce a profit. – Let’s say my business is far from in deep shit, although some changes are required nevertheless. Continue reading


Post #8: ‘Throwing My Support Behind Becky Hill + MNEK’s Forthcoming Release…

When I hear something which moves me I feel moved to recommend it: It may at first appear out of character for me to do so, but I’d like to recommend Losing… Continue reading


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The Technical, The Musical, 150%, and 2015

As you may have noticed; I’m currently promoting mainly on Facebook. I also promote as a secondary promotion on Twitter too.

Let me just say here that I really can’t be bothered to hunt down appropriate pictures for this article: You’ll just have to be content with it as is.

People say to me “Don’t waste your funds promoting on Facebook who rip you off; promote on Twitter instead – where the musicians are.”

That’s all very well said; but studying the web hits on my CD Baby & iTunes pages clearly shows that only around 1 in 100 visits is referred by Twitter, whereas at least 1 in 2 are referred by Facebook. Yeah I’m paying to promote on Facebook, and I have a registered fan base on Facebook too. – I have no registered fans on Twitter as such, and I’m not paying to promote on Twitter either. IF the response to my tweets was greater then I might consider doing so; but I’d require a vast improvement in performance if I were to do so; and to all intents and purposes I just don’t see that happening.

(And yes; Facebook are, overall, a rip-off to some extent – but they are also quite effective. I know a number of internet-marketers with flourishing businesses who will back that statement up.)

Also if Twitter is “…where the musicians are.” then they’re very unlikely to become my fans as they’re too busy pursuing their own career and rightly so. OK I’m a fan of Becky Hill, yet we each have our individual separate careers, and after seeing her on BBC’s The Voice 2012 I got to know her to some extent over Twitter… But that is a special scenario. Also I’m a fan of Aria Taylor too. (We nearly met in 2014: I was in Salisbury, and Aria was sightseeing at Stonehenge; 6 miles away. We’d arranged to meet up but we lost contact via our mobiles due to a bad signal at Stonehenge – hence the meet never happened.) I wrote and published a tribute song to Aria Taylor, as well as one to Becky Hill too: They are both on my mini-album entitled *Tributes* which was published in September 2014.

Anyway yeah – having fans in the industry may be a good thing; but it’s not something I’m going to go out of my way to get: If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t happen then too bad. We entertainers/musicians/singers etc are producers of material more than consumers. Whereas the general public are likely to become someone’s fan by default, we in this business are more likely to form a beneficial association with one another, and possibly collaborate.

What I’m getting at here is that it’s a completely different ball-game, and being “where the musicians are” for me says that I maybe stand a chance of getting into a collab, rather than of gaining fan or fans.

I have all these amazing ideas, sensational plots and perfect plans; but when I get to writing them down for your information and edification I kind of hit a brick wall. – That isn’t good and it just isn’t me: I’m meant to be a producer and an entertainer. – When this blog was a technology-only blog; in the days before I was a professional artist, I used to sit down and the words and ideas just gushed from my fingers, through the keys, and onto the screen. _ I entertained then and I’ll do so now too. (There are still many technical-type-articles on this website. There used to be over 500, but some were deleted in 2010 because they were no longer relevant or were outdated, and some were lost due to technical errors around that time.) I don’t know what it is but these days I have to really think hard and plan for ages before I can come up with a decent article. – Anyway; here goes nothing: -

So I’m still creating and theorising. I’m producing prototypes of new ideas and fine-tuning them; all with the eventual aim of utilising them for your entertainment. I’m coming up with new systems and ways of doing things that pertain to that and will assist me in bringing my creative potential and abilities to you in greater measure and with less difficulty too. – Even things which you’d think have very little to do with entertainment… (The next few paragraphs are a bit computer-geeky; so be warned.)

For instance back in 2013 I was working using a single homebuilt computer – a good one; 3-cored AMD Phenom CPU, 8GB RAM…blah… – as my main computer, and storing backups of my work on an ancient box which was hardly ever online. That seemed ideal at the time; but you may remember the incident in 2013 where I dropped a screw whilst I was doing computer maintenance and was offline for a week afterwards – with limited access to important files in the meantime.

I had to ensure that that situation couldn’t happen again; so I bought 2 essentially almost identical old computers, did them up (Including all the extras I required for using them with audio programs.), and filled their hard drives with identical data: ‘Same operating system, ‘same programs, ‘same data… Basically I had a main and a backup computer: If one went down then use the other and repair as necessary.

I’d broken up the ancient “musicomputer” I’d been using as a second, mainly offline, computer and storage facility previously; and I now backed up both current computers to a USB drive. (The backup computer backed up its identical synchronised contents directly to a schedule, and the main computer connected to the USB drive via the Ethernet connection to the router – thru the router to the backup computer – and to a different partition of the USB drive. The program I used was Paragon Drive Backup: It’s free and it’s very versatile.)

But I realised the drawbacks to this straight away: If the backup AND the main went down at the same time I’d have to get backup running before I could access any backed up files to repair main, plus if I neglected to perform regular manual backups I was always in danger of losing data should something go wrong.

To cut a long story short; now I create using main with the assistance of backup… (2 computers is so much better than 1 when producing – or anything else – if you use them right.) I store the file to main which then automatically synchronises with backup. Backup automatically synchronises with an online data center in America within 24 hours, by encrypting all new data and sending it for storage. Also I have the USB drive scheduled to back up everything every week.

That way I have 2 working copies of everything, + 2 backups: 1 online and instantly retrievable, + 1 backup of each computer’s data on USB drive. I also have a laptop and usually a spare machine or 2 lurking around somewhere. If anything goes down I have a system in place to instantly use another machine and/or restore data with minimal inconvenience and relatively quickly.

[Computer geek talk END]

Of course it’s not just music-creation I do on the computers: There’s also oodles of secretarial work, such as manually notifying my PRO electronically every time I am about to definitely release a new song, also registering recordings with databases such as Music Brainz. Then there is income and expenditure accounting (“Doing the books”), related legal work,  inventory maintenance, promotion + publicity & performance management… Honestly the list is endless; and into all that I input not just the standard ‘give it 101%’, but also all my creative talents – seeking new and better ways of coming up with a better product: More entertaining, colourful, glitzy, visually appealing, better-sounding…

It all matters; and the better job I make of it the better off I’ll be because my audience will be better entertained. At the end of the day that’s my goal; the ultimate entertainment for those people who have chosen to be my audience. – After all they don’t have to allow me to try to entertain them. They chose to allow me to entertain them – which puts me in a privileged position and means I owe them my best efforts. Nothing but my very best efforts will be good enough – because I’m not alone in entertainment, and there is always someone else who will give them their best if I don’t live up to expectations. – And besides as I said I owe it to my audience: They could have said ‘piss off’ and not bothered to even give me the time of day; but they gave me a chance and gave me their attention. They expect me to give them great entertainment. I can’t let them down. – If I do I’m a failed entertainer, ‘simple as that. If I give it 150% then my audience will give me 100% eventually. ‘Anything less and I won’t have much of an audience and I won’t be much of an entertainer either. – That’s reality; that’s how it is.

OK I don’t want to give you so much to read that it makes your eyes sore; so to end up I’ll give you a little insight into what I’m cooking up for 2015: -

In 2013 I established a repertoire by releasing 6 releases, and then said I would be maturing as an artist and concentrating on quality rather than quantity in 2014. In 2014 I released 7 releases… Actually if you count the freebie releases into the total, in 2013 I released 10 – and in 2014 by the end of the year I’ll have released 8.

In 2015 there’s no rush. – But I have an EP already recorded which I plan to release in January 2015. I’m getting all the promotional campaign sorted out currently.

The EP is called *Brochure*, and it’s created to help make the post-Christmas depression which a lot of us feel more bearable. This EP will bring hope, expectation of better things to come. It’ll help to add extra colours and lighten the mood somewhat. – Of course I say that and that is the intention; but this is art, and everyone sees different things in a piece of art. What will you see? Well I’m always in two minds about lyrics, because lyrics do all the talking and the music comes second or has joint importance. – So in the first track I let the lyrics talk with the music. In the other four tracks the music does the talking.

I used to be of the opinion that people would think I was a bit second-rate if the majority of my tunes were lyric-less. – Well call me old-fashioned if you like; but I believe that a piece of music, when properly created and well executed, can say a million times more than words alone. They say a picture paints a thousand words. – To my mind a musical piece should either be a picture in itself or should conjure up images in the mind of the listener. Even the brain-dead can play this game if they can be bothered: Music is an international language that talks to and through emotions. With the right movements, and the correct intonations within those movements, any and all communication should be possible by means of music – regardless of spoken language or amount of grey matter/level of cranial activity. Of course it’s not quite as simple as that but one is allowed to dream.

On that note I’ll bring this article to an end. – Enjoy the rest of 2014, as well as – of course – 2015 too.

Peace. – X

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- A lot of people these days are allowing their computer to become infected by malware, written by criminals, which turns their harmless PC into a spambot amongst other things. Spambots are infected computers which roam the internet seeking places where they deposit spam, in the hope that some halfwit will actually buy the product advertised in the spam. - Unfortunately a few people do buy it; which is why spammers will never stop spamming.


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Added to that; some people try to hack my blog, and they make it so obvious that I'm forced to permanently block them.

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This is, in a way, an important article; and I want people to see it, read it, and take note – hence the reason I’m paying to promote it on Facebook; particularly via my Facebook fan page. I’ve tried not to ramble on too much, and to get to the point. If no-one reads it then it might, in a way, appear that I’m trying to disappear; which is in fact the last thing I want people to think.

I suppose I’d better start by saying that this is a difficult article to find the right kind of illustration to go with it. – So you’ll have to just read and not worry about the lack of pictures… Oh all right then, if you insist; but it has nothing to do with the subject material as such…

My photoshoot set in Idol City on Habbo Hotel... I did say it had nothing to do with the article didn't I?There was once a time, not long ago, when artists and other companies could stay in touch with their customers and fans without penalty of any kind on Facebook. Indeed Facebook became such a viable platform for doing so that it virtually killed MySpace and all the musicians and others migrated over to Facebook. As a result Facebook became huge and MySpace became, well, dead.

But Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook controllers noticed this and wondered how they could further commercialise this to their advantage. – That’s fair enough: It’s their business, and the objective of any business model is to provide product and to make money in doing so. A business either grows or it shrinks. Unless one can come up with new ideas and implement them successfully the business will die, or at least fade, as happened to MySpace. MySpace did react to their predicament, but it was all too little too late: If a ship is sinking and the passengers have evacuated into life rafts and maybe have been picked up by another ship; mending the damage on site of the near disaster and righting the vessel – even going as far as kitting it out with all the latest finery – won’t get the original passengers to return, come back on board, and finish their journey. – They will have sailed off into the sunset with whichever vessel picked them up, or drifted on the tides for ages until rescued. They won’t sit there waiting in a lifeboat a few hundred feet to the starboard of a vessel that is slowly sinking and listing to port just in case everything is put right eventually.

So Zuck and the Facebook crew came up with a way to get the new ‘passengers’ who had joined the Facebook ‘cruise’ to part with their buck and to pay their way – in the hope that they’d make Facebook richer in doing so: ‘Standard business practice. The problem is the way in which this new money-maker was implemented as well as the scheme itself: Coming up with the lame-duck excuse of

“[We’ve decided that] our users are getting bombarded with unwanted adverts; so to remedy this we’re going to charge advertisers to bombard people with unwanted adverts in order to alleviate this.”

- sounds like exactly what it is: -

  • A pointless scheme – from a customer perspective – that will do nothing but financially penalise advertisers and other users who RELY on the exposure they are currently getting from the spreading of their message.
  • A snide and badly presented scheme to part users with their buck in order to ensure that Facebook’s’ profits increase to cover the loss in company value incurred by their falling share price since flotation, one that smacks of scam and dishonesty due to the way it was presented.

And the upshot of all this is that the ‘passengers’ notice that the crew have created a weakness in the ‘hull of the Good Ship Facebook’ and consequentially they start jumping overboard and manning the life-rafts.

All this business-like-talk isn’t really getting to the point I’m trying to make here; but at least it’s set the scene: I’m sorry that I was rather long-winded in doing so.

The long and the short of it is this: Once upon a time I could advertise anything on Facebook and everyone would see it. Now I have to pay to advertise anything on Facebook, as when I just post something about 20 to 40 people actually see it. Why? Because Facebook withhold it until I pay them, and the more I pay Facebook the more  people see my post.

- Now the above is fine IF I am quite rich financially and if at least 1 in 10 people respond to my adverts by purchasing or reposting/’liking’ my post. This scenario throws up 2 problems though: -

  • I’m not “quite rich”; that was a while back and unfortunately for me it didn’t last.
  • A 1 in 10 response-rate is the very best response-rate anyone can hope for in a scenario such as this.

- So for Facebook’s new model to work fully in the customers’ favour the customer has to be both rich and lucky. – That’s me out on both counts: I DO pay a little for advertising though, and it does have some effect, although to a limited extent. As my fan-base grows I’ll have to pay more to reach all my fans, and unless every fan of mine on Facebook purchases every release I sell as a result, I’m just going to end up out of pocket; or with a large fan base and no money to live on.

So as you note I’ve seen the weakness in the hull of the Good Ship Facebook myself; but does that mean that I should start heading towards the life-rafts ready to abandon ship? No. To do so would be disadvantageous to me and disloyal to my followers. I have fans on Facebook who have indicated by becoming my fans that they want to hear from me, to listen to my releases, to read my spiel, etc.

The good thing is that there is another option: That smaller vessel which has been following us all the way from port is my blog; the very place in which you’re reading this article in full. On my blog I can post anything I want and have anyone I want read it, provided they are one of my ‘passengers’ or regulars. If the Good Ship Facebook starts sinking then there is room on my blog; The, for all my fans and more. On my blog I’m the captain and I say what goes. – In this way I have a much better chance of creating a tailor-made positive experience for my followers, and it costs me what? Financially around $250 a year I would estimate. (Many hours annually in terms of time, but we’ll leave that out of the equation as it would be the same in terms of time if I were communicating solely via Facebook.) – I can reach ALL of my audience here for less than half of what I spend on Facebook to reach half of my audience. – In other words it costs me approximately 75% less to communicate via my blog – this website – than it does to communicate via Facebook.

There is one thing missing though: A lot of my fans are hanging out on Facebook only and never even visit this website. Possibly many of them don’t even know about it this website because I haven’t paid Facebook enough for my messages to reach them.

So here is what’s going to happen in future: I’ll be posting mainly on this website from now. I’ll be notifying my Facebook fans of my posts on here by means of Facebook, but the posts of these notifications will only appear on my page and in my feed. I won’t PAY for people to see them; so my fans are going to have to LOOK at my page and my feed sometimes – which they won’t mind doing if they truly are my fans. – Either that or be a ‘passenger’ on this ship as well as the Good Ship Facebook.

My ship is a commercial ship too; but the difference is I OFFER you the chance to purchase, rather than making it almost pointless being a ‘passenger’ if you don’t.

Music Trek - The Next DimensionOf course I want your money: I’m a business and I need to make an income; but if I realise that you don’t actually NEED my website any more than you actually NEED Facebook – You could always go elsewhere, there are plenty of places… – then I’ll have more chance of keeping you on board my ship than Facebook will. Facebook is too big anyway: It’ll eventually no longer be able to support buoyancy and sink under its own weight. – I’ll still be floating: I’m a much smaller vessel. I’m also not saboutaging myself by creating weaknesses in my hull.

I look forwards to welcoming you aboard.

If you feel that there are any improvements I could make, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for reading.



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