“Home-made Music is the online meeting place for the global creative community”

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It’s been over-cooked and half-baked for so long that some good old new fashioned home-made music- make, bake and shake that Home-made Music- might be the recipe many have been waiting for.

After less-than-satisfactory experiences with music companies and their working operandi- and their broken business models- Welsh singer-songwriter Ben Semmens, below, and I have decided to try and redefine today’s DIY music world into something that’s more DIYAOEY- Do It Yourself And Own Everything Yourself.

 

What do we have to lose? Some egg on our faces if we fail? Sometimes, failure is an open road to success. And eggs are there to be cracked.

This new adventure and venture into the unknown comes after knowing full well how dysfunctional and divided the publishing and recording sides of a music companies are where incompetence continues to being rewarded and recording deals are so one-sided, they have more catch phrases than the most contrived pop song. The emoji of the Silent Scream comes hurtling into mind. Loudly.

All this, and too much more is something I should know about having served my “apprenticeship” at PolyGram before that music company morphed into Universal Music where I stayed until jumping ship onto EMI Music, which private equity fat boy Guy Hands, below, and his Terra Firma “terrarists” turned into the Titanic.

All that, however, is part of a very hazy, dopey past that should be left in the Too Hard basket under “Lessons Learned” along with so much more that seemed relevant at the time- MTV Asia with its own version of Send In The Clowns, all those “360 Degree” deals that never worked, Nokia and its supposed quest to “save the music”, all the talk of streaming music today with absolutely no thought as to how this service affects the sales of music via downloads, The Television Karaoke Competition Years, and everything else that never ever looked after the interests of the new artist. 

Let’s also not forget the idiotic wastage of money pumped into the China market based on the mantra that here was “potentially the largest music market in the world.” Twenty years later and millions of dollars spent on self-serving agendas, this “potential” is still to be realised.

For my friend and writing partner Ben Semmens, despite a voice that every music executive who hears it chants that he should be “signed up”, and a strong catalogue of original songs, he has never been approached by what were once known as “the majors”.

These days,  these “majors” are playing in a minor league with old school executives hanging in there by twiddling thumbs, keeping heads down waiting, and waiting for their golden handshakes.

As for Ben’s musical career, the so-called “indies” haven’t exactly been banging his door down with offers either. Then again, what can these “indies” and the Mork and Mindys actually offer this boyo from Wales other than a pocketful of mumbles that are sometimes promises? Nanu Nanu.

Speak to Ben and he’ll tell you how grateful he is that none or this ever happened- especially, not after seeing the total uselessness of signing a publishing contract- as did I who should have known better- with Universal Music Publishing for one of our songs- “Home”. What fruit has this borne? Nothing.

Ironically, and which shows other opportunities out there, Ben’s career received the greatest support from a racing club- the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The HKJC took a punt and brought him to Hong Kong to perform at their Happy Wednesday nights, and also used “Home” as the theme song for its 130th Anniversary Celebrations. Other than that, “Home” gathers dust at Universal Music Publishing while they share in the minuscule royalty fees for “administration”, while doing nothing to promote it. That would be asking too much.

Another area of the music business Ben doesn’t wish to revisit is the fan-funded ways of getting a record out. As he says, “Whether Pledge or Kickstarter or whatever, the concept of crowd-funded records doesn’t exactly grow your fan base. It’s just one throw at the stumps and even if you knock the bails off, it doesn’t exactly kick-start your career into another gear. And going to that same well again and again for funding is a bit of a con. It’s asking fans and friends, and even family, to chip in so you can make a record, and then asking these same people to buy your product. It might work for some and that’s fine, but it doesn’t work for me.”

What does work for us, right here and now, and knowing what we have learnt the hard way is the relevance of that old adage about being the master of one’s destiny.

Why be beholden to anyone, and have guilt pangs about it? It gets in the way of the creative success as you’re working under a very dark Fear Factor cloud.

It’s this understanding to be free of all and any baggage is how and why that long and winding road has led us to this door- the home of our own Home-made Music.

When Paul McCartney wanted to recharge his batteries after leaving the Beatles, and leave the ghost of The Fabs behind, he and wife Linda retired to their farm in Scotland, where his first two solo records were made- rough recordings with Paul playing all the instruments, and finding the non-Beatle hiding inside his music.

Not that we’re Paul McCartney, but the idea to go back to the egg, use our money to invest in what’s needed to make music without being slaves to the system, document each step- the baby steps, the free-falls, the potholes, the safety nets and the bursts of creative energy- and have two very different individuals from two very different corners of the world coming together is what Home-made Music is initially setting out to do.

We’re doing this without expensive and economically unwise bells and whistles of expensive websites etc, but, instead, using all the various platforms already at our disposal- and trying to use them differently.

But this is not about us. It’s an online home to those with their own home recording equipment and making their own home-made music- and home-made anything else that’s creative.

It’s a meeting place for like-minded individuals to connect, inter-act and see and hear what we can achieve together without being muppets to those still out there trying to pull strings, still trying to pull the wool over eyes, and being goofily content with the sound of one hand clapping. Ignorance is bliss.

If a film maker, for example, or DJ, or anyone who would like to do something/anything with our music, take it. No catch. Just share what you do with it- and we’ll share it with others. One never knows which destination is the best one until arriving there and checking out the surroundings.

Anything- whatever- inspires you to create something at your home, send it over to our home. Let’s  create a demand for home-made products.

Products and ideas created by many of us and given to others- much like, From Out Of Our Heads And Into The Hands Of Others- have seldom, if ever, worked. Much is lost in the shuffle along with one-sided contracts and corporate accounting. Look what happened to the royalties owed to Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe.

The Story of Be Bop Deluxe’s Bill Nelson and How His Record Label Ripped Him Off – JAGS HOUSE

Keep things simple, keep things cost-effective and, well, keep things owned at home base. And inter-act with us at Home-made.

Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk

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