Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts

Saturday 22 December 2018

Scottish Collaborations: Medici Intersection

In Edina at the Mercat Cross, the great and good gathered -  from all walks of life and it was a great melting pot of ideas. They met near William Creech’s publishing house, in the time of great men such a David Hume, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart, Robert Burns, Alexander Nasmyth, and many others. 

During the renaissance the Medici family provided opportunities for people from different disciplines – artists, writers, scientists, engineers, natural philosophies – to all come together, in a space where they could work together to solve problems. All the labs in England and Wales are commercially driven and are completely privatised. Whereas in Scotland we have  a more cohesive organisation, not driven commercially.”
‘its partly our philosophy of working together, which comes out of the Scottish enlightenment. The enlightenment here emerged in a different way than it did in England and Wales and France and elsewhere, because instead of just having scientists and natural philosophers working together to solve problems we also had artists and writers and poets and we brought them all together in some sort of a rammy.” Forensic scientists Dundee centre, on their multi disciplinary approach. "  
Namh Nic Daeid, Dorector Forensic centre Dundee

Medici intersection

Sunday 29 October 2017

The NATIONAL newspaper

The National was begun in October 2014, after the Scottish referendum vote. We do not have a free press here.
Most of the Scottish press has been and is foreign owned (except for the Sunday Post)
We have no laws to protect Scottish businesses.

The National offers an informed conversation across the broad platform of views and from opposite ends of the spectrum of political debates. As well as some of the best journalists writing in the business today - 
 Kevin McKenna (Herald), Pat Kane (musician and journalist), Lesley Riddoch (Scotsman), Gordon McIntrye Kemp (Business for Scotland), Literature Professor Alan Raich, Paul Kavanagh (Wee Ginger Dug), Cat Boyd, Caroline Leckie, and more.

The National also has memorable front covers.

Thanks National – I enjoy your well informed, sometimes radical, thoughtful, humorous, challenging, academic, honest articles – on the economy, arts, Scottish literature (Alan Riach), politics, humour and more! That are not full of gossip, innuendo, advertising as some other newspapers are. The press still matters because it informs Broadcasting.

Many excellent letters also - one recently suggesting Scotland and England needs a new "Treaty of Union" as the 300 year one is not fit for purpose. This was always a union of convenience and not love. Scotland has been offered and voted for its Home Rule many times. During the Great war 1914, Britain has become heavily centralised.  

Although lots of Scots support our self determination (around 45%) we only have one newspaper supporting independence.
97% of Scottish broadcasting and press is controlled by the British nationalist government. The figures are stark, of TV license money only 55% raise in Scotland is spent here – by contrast 75% and 80% are spent in Wales and Northern Ireland. Its a shocking state of affairs.

If Scotland had a media as diverse and representative as Catalonia, we’d already be independent.” Wee Ginger Dug
 All the other devolved nations have their own public broadcaster, the British state is expert at suppressing others they rule, they've had centuries of practice at it..... We have to choose now - the 'money-driven capitalist system of Westminster' OR the kind of Scotland, more compassionate and caring, we want to build from the local level upwards.

The animosity will be reduced once England understands Scotland’s resentment at the historic overlordship of its affairs by absentee landlords, American tycoons and paid servants of the Imperial war machine (…and oil money used for Trident and useless aircraft carriers)  

Excellent series this week on “THE GREAT OIL SWINDLE – by Alex Russell” in the National,

(Scottish Questions is dreadful – other MPs speak over it.  David Fluffy Mundell tells lies – one is over the tiny amount being given to Aberdeen – 2 million! )
When the truth is that Scotland’s Oil and Gas has been stolen and squandered by an incompetent Westminster.  In fact Scotland back in the 70s had as large an oil field as Norway – yet through extreme mismanagement only a half has been recovered compared to Norway.  The McCrone Report which stated Scotland would be one of the richest countries, was kept Top Secret for decades. It’s a shocking scandal.  Instead of the money going to Scotland it has gone to the multinational Oil Companies and into the UK government coffers for London infrastructure and for Trident.

“The total UK Government take from the North Sea Oil and Gas is of the order of 400 billion – but that figure is approximately a half of that obtained by Norway for similar production volumes. Logically, that might mean the take of oil companies has been disproportionately high due to Westminster mismanagement.
Now the UK government is asking tax payers to foot half of the bill to decommission the installations. They will be leaving rusting protruding legs with little red flags attached to alert fishing boats and nuclear submarines – to save these mega rich oil companies money. Never mind all this rubbish is far removed from London.

Monday 23 October 2017

Edina Footsteps

My Royal Mile Meeting Places
Its strange how time loops meet….
I am my own journeyman…making my travels back, back to my roots.

Edina 2017, is not the Edina of 1787, it is 240 years ago when Burns ventured there, and yet much remains. I have it easy today on the train – by contrast Burns travelled through the Lowlands for several days on his horse. I travel over small bridges and under tunnels, the corn reels are all harvested and dotted on the golden autumn fields. For my visit the sky was calm with clear soft blues.

Burns had sold his share of the farm to his brother Gilbert. And his first book of poems had recently sold out.
‘I was so fortunate, the Earl and Lady of Glencairn welcomed me on my first visit to Edina to his grand home, Coates house, and encouraged my work and not only this, they encouraged others including the Caledonian hunt to subscribe. He introduced me to Henry Erskine, the Duchess of Gordon and importantly William Creech – the publisher - who would publish my Edinburgh Second Edition in 1987. My dearest existence I owe to the noble house of Glencairn.” Robert Burns.  

It’s another year and it is now late September and the festival is past. I want to be here when there are no festival frenzies.
So time spreads its wings and flies onwards to horizons new.

Later at dinner I met a couple from San Francisco who had been in Edinburgh in 1977. After I went to listen to live music - Inn on the Mill, Oak folk club, Sandy Bells pub Forrest road.   

The early morning sun shone across Arthur seat, and from my fifth floor hotel window I can see over to the Bass rock.
I walked down to St Mary’s street, and visited Kilberry, makers of Highland Scottish chanters, and chamber pipes where we talked of the very talented Martyn Bennet and his incredible Grit album concert. I stopped for lunch at a nice small café. At the Canongate Kirk I saw the graves of Adam Smith, Agnes MacLehose, Robert Fergusson and other famous names, and I thought of my time at college there – right at the heart of so much history. Back in the 18th century Edinburgh 800 people lived in huge tenements, and the wealthy lived higher up and there was no sanitation and a great deal of disease. But it also meant a great meeting of minds at the Mercat Cross each day, beside where the Parliament used to meet.

I walked back up the high street, photo’d the statue of the enlightenment giants Adam Smith (Economist who also wrote the Theory of moral Statements of Human Empathy’ and campaigned against slavery) and of the great philosopher David Hume. 

I went to visit the Old Parliament Sq and the impressive Signet library – where lawyers were strolling back and forth. I met and had a nice chat with a very charming Norwegian. He was there to film, about the Norwegians who were trained in Scotland during the war. I told him, unlike Norway, Scotland had no oil fund, he asked where the money went – good question! After I stopped at the National library.

(There are many Unionist and Anglo/Scots labels and statues here though, and no statues or women, that jar with the grand stories of Edinburgh's rich and enlightened past. They tell of the suppression of Scotland culturally and economically, in particular the Great Tyrant Henry Dundas who annoyingly sits astride St Andrews Square.)

It is now late afternoon and the sun in the west was shedding late light shadows down the high street, shedding perfect light. In Edina with its small hills there are always grand vistas and dramatic light and at Calton hill there are the city’s historic skylines.

People still sell their wares in the Edinburgh streets – tartan hats, and scarfs and other trinkets. And I wondered what Burns would make of it all now……

There is much to discover on Edinburgh’s historic high street – Literary journeys, Publishers, Libraries. Edinburgh was once a Publishing capital of Europe and led the way with education for all.

Saltire Society
Signet library
National library
St Giles
Advocates library
Anchor close

Thursday 27 November 2014

Music Today 2014

Today the successful artists generate money via - 60% Tickets, 20% tour merchandise; 10% Publishing; 4% misc; 2 to 4% Record sales. 

Adele is an exception and her 21 album of 2011 sold 30m. Her managers handle books and publishing - they are the quarterbacks and the artist is the CEO.

Over saturation is also a problem according to Adele's manager, 'The Internet content is everywhere; we're at saturation point which cheapens it. Sometimes you have to say no!  Being a gatekeeper to these opportunities is key.'

Not doing nothing but also not standing still either. Once an artist becomes a product of value, that's where the sales are.
The next step for music now is the transition from sales to streaming.   

Wednesday 16 March 2011

*Routes into the Music Industry

I've been following music many years - and very closely the past few. It never ceases to amaze me...! Puzzling over why some artists may receive 'huge critical acclaim' yet not the publics endorsement - while others the reverse! I attend many big event festivals here in Scotland - as well as live gigs by both major artists and up-and-coming artists in Glasgow mostly. .I recently attended Celtic Connections Glasgow, which attracts people worldwide. I try to make the Danny Kyle open mic stage for new artists and the festival club. I've been to many rock, folk and pop gigs here the past years.  

I watched X Factor a bit last season.. and what is there to say! It seems a very limited here-today-gone- tomorrow- route' into the industry. I am just listening to Adele's soul voice singing Dylan's 'To Make You Feel My Love'- who says his songs are depressing (!) they need to listen.... I love Adele's new song 'Someone Like You' and her new album is full of co-writers on both lyrics and music. Yet other young artists I follow can get criticised if they haven't written their entire album? Adele came through the Brit School of music in Guildford - and I've seen her perform on Jools Holland several times - and it occurred to me there is a ton load of 'politics' in music.

*There are several main routes into the industry. 
I Popstar. Firstly the reality route via X Factor, Idol or other tv shows. Leona Lewis, Britney, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson. All hghly Americanised rather artificial shows, where the performers are tightly controlled and artists are signed to major labels and it all feels highly superficial. Artists who come top on these shows are marketed usually to a clear niche market - 10 year old girls often - or the mature granny. It's the gran and granddaughter audience! (the boys are too busy playing video games!)

II Pop Label Route: Justin Beiber, Clare Maguire, Ellie Goulding. Labels pick up young artists via A & R men and online networks. They are then 'groomed' over several years for hit 'stardom' via music magazines and by working with LA writing teams. Sometimes for the huge Tweenie' market - the 10 to 12 year old girls.  Image is also carefully developed.

III Music College. Amy Whinehouse, Adele, Keane, Newton Faulkner.  Through the Jools Holland route and via music college. In particular the Brit School at Guildford and a lot of networking goes on between these colleges and the music industry itself. While of course music colleges get invited to the reality shows too. Clearly a lot of coaching does on here also, but in a more sophisticated and expensive way.
V Folk Festivals. Julie Fowlis, Cara Dillon, Kris Drever, Karine Polwart,  Thirdly the folk music scene, where young artists can perform 'Open Mic' stages and the many low key festivals. The folk artists tend to use smaller labels. With the live gigs bringing more revenues in music these days, this must be good news for the folk scene- although there is still less money in folk as it is often older tunes compare to the royalties in pop/rock music. 

VII Publishing. Many iconic artists have broken in this way - Elton, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, more. Oddly I was thinking many are piano players and the piano is possibly the best instrument for songwriting on. Keys can also be awkward for a band onstage though, when the keyboards can't moved be around in confined spaces and also be often a block between artist and their audience - compared to the favourite guitar. Publishing deals give artists the much needed time to develop their writing and also performing skills.  

V Online. New route. Some artists build a following online through one of the networking sites - simply by putting up a few songs.
VII Rock band. Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, more. Lastly the Rock band route via NME or Q tours etc. Things start through small venue gigging - the 'Breaking' stages at festivals, where the A & R men hang about eyeing up the new talent for the next big thing. Most indie bands prefer to sign to indie labels where they are allowed more creative freedoms.  In today's music world there is now no longer room for mistakes in the public eye the way there used to be, even back in the 90s. Once you are 'online' on Youtube or myspace etc. it is make or break - and things have to be exactly right with image and sound.

And who are the reviewers (myself included) and judges of music? My impression is that some follow what is considered 'cool' 'sophisticated' or 'hip' regardless. I try to ignore the 'hype' - and certainly there are many artists out there who are 'pushed' at us. I've studied and listened to music all my life (and I'm not so young, I have lived through the decades of pop) and I play and write myself. I try to follow my heart in the first instance and I'm a big fan of what works live.
As the genres are blurring more and more - I often wonder as I watch rocky folk bands at Celtic or pop singer songwriters what is the 'real' difference between these routes into the music business. Often it is one of perceptions - and the Jools Holland and rock band routes appear to lead to a wider ranging and longer-term audience.  
PS Sometimes in art the slate need to be swept clean, in order to make way for the new. Towards the end of the seventies we had 'over-stylized glam-rock' - and along came punk in the early eighties to strip things back to basics and renew things.