Saturday, 25 April 2009

Do You Want To Be a Musician?

Do you want to make it into the music business, but haven’t got a clue how? Well now there is an opportunity to use SL as an educational tool to do exactly that, with the help of a real life expert. Bones Writer (his avatar name) is a real life musician with 30 years of experience in the music world; Bones is a sessions player and has backed many real life top showbiz names. I am delighted to say that Bones has chosen to help budding musicians, and experienced ones too, to bring their music into SL, using it as a platform to further their musical careers. Lilly Bracken (no relation to me as far as I know!) contacted me the other day to tell me about a sim called TRAX, which is owned by Bones. Lilly sent me a note card explaining just exactly what TRAX is, and reading it, I was instantly intrigued.

TRAX is a musician’s ‘dream come true’!! Bones and his SL business partner, Tangle Giano have thought of every concept to help musicians use Second Life (and ultimately first life), they offer a service to put their customers’ careers in the music business into a great starting position. And not only musicians, also TRAX can be used for people to listen to music, follow their favourite artists, book musicians, and buy live music in SL. As Bones states in his press release ‘TRAX is a Live Music Resource Centre. A place for venue owners, agents, musicians (old and new), and everyone else to learn, listen, book and buy Live Music in SL.’ I would say that Bone’s sim is probably the best music production, educational place in SL, he and Tangle have covered every aspect of the music business and offer their expert advice free of charge.

Bones very kindly took me on a tour of the TRAX sim, and the whole place is amazing. There are many listening booths for musicians, which you can rent for a small monthly fee. The press release states ‘Rental Booths for Musicians. Each booth includes 3 - MP3 Songs of your choice streamed from our server or yours (Included in Rental Price) into your booth, A Link Button to your Google Calendar so everyone can see where and when you are playing. An intercom for anyone to send you or your agent messages for easy booking, A Picture of the artist with Bio and Landmark to the Booth and a place to sell your BW Music CD when you are not online. TRAX takes 10% of sale price of your CD in your booth or in our TRAX Stores if you choose to have us sell your CDs for you. Recommended CD price is 2,000L.’ So you see, if you are a completely new person to the music industry or an experienced one, who wants complete support in getting your music out there, TRAX is the place to be.

Bones and Tangle offer advice on musical instruments and equipment, giving landmarks for various places to go, including sims to get your avatar looking like a real superstar, for getting that professional promotional set of photographs taken, tip jars, booking agents and some of the most popular SL venues that book musicians for live events to stream providers. There’s even a bulletin board with ideas submitted by other musicians etc.

One of the greatest ideas is the opportunity to produce your own SL CD. Bones states ‘BW Music makes the first true SL CD. Production is available to all musicians with original and/or cover material. The CD plays your music for everyone in SL including landowners & non-landowners. When played, it downloads the mp3 songs to the CD owners PC allowing for use in an iPod or mp3 player. On the CD are a buttons to retrieve Lyrics, Album Notes and a URL Link as well as a stop button. The easy to use CD Menu makes it simple for everyone to play any of the songs on the CD. It comes with case displaying the artist’s own Cover Art and a sales board to rez at your performances for easy sales. *If you have included cover songs and want to sell your CD you must agree to the terms of the BW music contract.’

Bones and Tangle supply instructional videos where you can learn how to stream a live performance into SL. People can also watch videos regarding installing and running various live streaming software applications, which enables people to play live in SL. Also included are video instructions on live ‘jam’ software that allows up to eight musicians to play live together in SL.

Bones, Lilly and Tangle took me around TRAX explaining each part, which was truly awesome. In the main building there is a stage where people can do a ‘sound check’ before a gig to test their stream and make any adjustments required to get a better sound etc, if need be. In the centre courtyard there is a live performance area where various events are held. Bones showed me how he can convert the area in the blink of an eye. He is an astonishing builder/scripter and while I looked on, the area was instantly transformed into a long catwalk to host a fashion show. Tangle also plays a main part in maintaining the sim with scripting and software management. As a really nice contrast to the music orientated sim, Lilly has a gallery there, she is a gifted artist in real life, bringing her paintings into SL for everyone to enjoy. Lilly also builds furniture and does a lot of the interior decorating and clearly has an eye for smart interiors.

I asked Bones about his own music, which he says is a mixture, including Jazz, rock and blues, and I was able to listen to two of his real life tracks. I can only tell you that this man is brilliant, writing all his own stuff and playing all the instruments, it was an honour to listen to his music, which is wonderful.

There is so much that TRAX has to offer, that I feel that I have only scratched the surface of this very interesting and educational service that Bones and Tangle are offering. It’s a really unique opportunity for people who wish to start a musical career using SL as a tool, and something that in real life, would take a considerable amount of time and money to achieve. I would like to thank Bones, Tangle and Lilly for inviting me along, it was a real pleasure to meet them.
Janey Bracken

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