Exclusive Interview Series: The internet and the music industry – iBurn

As part of a new series of interviews EspyRock commander-in-chief Michael Hughes, who is currently writing a dissertation on the effect of the internet on the music industry for the University Of The West Of Scotland, will be getting the views of artists on the internet’s effect on the music industry. The interview series will cover what is currently going on with the band at the moment but will also feature a questionnaire ranging from topics as to illegal downloading, social networking, technology and the future of the industry.

Next up in our series is Irish based alternative metal band iBurn. Having released their self-titled debut album in the middle of 2010 the band are actively promoting their effort as well as preparing for a brand new album around August of this year.

Being that we are new to iBurn we fired the band some questions to get to know them and to help you get to know the band a little better. Follow on for the views of guitarist Dave as he talks about the band’s debut release, their influences, recording in France and also what other Irish artists to keep an eye out for.

Follow the band on Facebook and if you like what you hear below then pick up a copy of their debut album right now from their store.


Interview

For those who haven’t heard about the band could you give us a little back story to iBurn?

We were formed in June 2000, shortly after myself and matt left our previous bands, we decided to get back into it as quick as we could so we booked studio time with Kallaghan and recorded the debut album that August, we recruited Mark Norris on guitar just before the album recording, then finished out the live line-up when we got back, currently its myself (Dave) on guitar , Mark Norris on guitar, Matt on vocals, Niall (shocks) on bass/vocals and Marek on drums.

How did you get your name?

I’m not entirely sure haha, it just came at random when we were trying to think of names to call the band and it just stuck.

You released your self-titled album last month, what can you tell us about it?

So far the reaction has been great, people seem to be really enjoying it. It seems people still have a soft spot for groove metal with some melody, which is great; it seems that today’s scene is all about technicality and heavy for the sake of heavy.

Who are the main influences to the band which reflect in your style?

Where do i start? We try to keep the music as varied as possible as well as the influences, Pantera, Deftones, Tool, Incubus, early Machine Head and Korn would be the ones that come to mind straight away but there are so much more.

iBurn ArtworkWhat was it like to record your album in France?

France was a blast; it’s always awesome to record with Kallaghan. We wrote the songs in 2-3 months and recorded the album with a drum machine then had Guillaume Dupre (ex eths) record the drums, it was a very unusual way to record an album or even put a band together. Kallaghan is a great producer and straight away knew exactly what type of sound we were going for; we were done recording in a week.

For anyone wanting to pick up the album, what are the key songs do you think that would win them over and what is it about those songs?

I would suggest checking out ‘Family Tradition’ ‘Rotting My Bodies Strength’ and ‘Found A New Way’ I think those songs cover all of the bases of what were about and where we are going musically.

We don’t really a lot from Ireland these days for bands breaking out, are there many other bands that you perform with that we should keep our eye on?

There are a lot of hardworking bands in Ireland that are making a lot of waves at the moment, Hero In Error and Red Enemy are ones that come to mind straight away. A new band that I would suggest checking out are called Spittin Bones there’s a lot of grooving going on in that band haha.

Before you get on stage do you have any rituals?

Not drink! We found that out the hard way; one or two is fine to loosen up but after that it leads to disaster; any professional band will tell you that.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Video games and WWE haha. Most of us have families so that does take up a lot of time too but when it comes to music all of us write and record whenever we can , song writing and recording is our favorite thing to do as a band so we do that as often as we can.

Please feel free to add anything you would like our readers to take on board, thanks!

Cheers, please feel free to visit us online at www.facebook.com/iburnmusic and check out our music, our album is available on iTunes and physical copies can be bought from the bands Facebook page too. We hope to have a new album out by August of this year and are really looking forward to playing in the UK as soon as possible.

Internet and the music industry

The biggest issue with the internet for artists is of course illegal downloading and there has been a rapid decline in value of the industry as the internet expands throughout the world. Several artists I have spoken to have stated that it has become part of life and that now selling albums is no longer a profitable business; money is solely earned from touring. What are your views on the matter of illegal downloading?

I’d agree there but illegal downloading is no longer a new issue. There is a generation of listeners that have never paid for music and don’t know any other way to get it, that’s just the way it is.

Do you feel that any of the current methods such as watermarking or streaming based models which have users paying a fee to stream music will take off and help stop the illegal sharing of music files? Or do you see any strength with the idea of giving away your music for free, having it shared around the world and again relying on touring to make money?

I don’t think it will stop it but it will definitely help bring some money in from music again. Giving away some music for free is a very good way to get your music out there and reach new fans but ultimately the main source of income is from touring.

The global recorded music industry saw a 31% decline in value from the years of 2004 to 2010 but the digital music market has seen a 1000% increase in value over the same period. Do you see the internet’s influence on the industry as the sole cause of this decline or do you believe there are any other factors which you consider an issue?

I wouldn’t see it as the sole cause, I think if the music is good enough people will pay for it. Back in the day you would save whatever you had for that album you wanted, even if you had a friend make a copy on tape. That still applies today, the reason for the decline in music sales? Shit music to be honest, it also doesn’t help that people just don’t have the money these days with the current financial climate.

With such a growth in the digital music market, many artists have already stopped creating physical albums; the most notable is Rob Zombie who stated his most recent release would be his last physical album as the growing popularity of iTunes and Amazon is now controlling album sales. The IFPI recently published findings that 16.5% of internet users in the United States purchase their music digitally than physically.
Firstly as an artist and music fan, do you still buy physical albums or do you download from digital music stores? Secondly, do see the digital music markets as something positive for the industry and your career as a new and cheaper distribution method?

I still buy CDs when I can, but when the physical copy is unreachable it leaves no other choice but to download. I think that having music distributed digitally is the ultimate distribution as anyone that has internet access is a potential customer. For my band iBurn we have released our debut album on most mp3 sites including iTunes but we also have physical copies for those who are interested in having the full package and we plan to do the very same for our next album, the benefit of bands selling physical copies themselves is that they get all of the income from those CDs for themselves and thus avoiding the need for a label.

iBurn - BandAs the digital music stores assist in distribution, other factors that come into releasing an album are marketing and promotion of any sort. What are your views on the ability to use the internet to promote and market yourself?

The internet is an invaluable tool to get your band and music out there for people that don’t have the opportunity to see your band live they have access to videos and preview mp3s, it’s now much easier to show listeners what you are about and interact with them too.

Social networking has naturally become a massive asset in the industry for labels and artists to be able to interact with fans on an everyday basis from anywhere in the world. Do you feel that if the social networking boom hadn’t taken place that it would effectively hinder careers as there would have been no direct route to communicate with fans?

I would 100% agree with that, social networking is a revolution in fan interaction and really bridges the gap between band and fans, this also leads to opportunities where fans can have an input to the bands next album, be it artwork or even musical direction. I’m not sure if it would hinder careers if it didn’t exist but there definitely would not be as much fan interaction which is what it’s all about really.

A big development in recent years has been the hardware and software that has been created for anyone and everyone to purchase. We now find aspiring artists building their own home studios at their computer by purchasing top of line software, sound cards, microphones and such. What are your views on the technology advancements in recent years from software, hardware and even to the MP3 itself? What positives or negatives if any do you see from these advancements?

Technology is the best thing to happen to music and music production, not only is the quality of the recording much better but even the time spent on the recording is halved. Back in the 80s/90s most of the time in the studio was spent watching the tapes rewind, with albums being recorded digitally that is no longer a factor. Pre-production is almost always done by the band itself, so by the time a band gets to the studio to record the finished product; the band spends very little money on it.

While purchasing hardware/software and recording in your own home studio is a method of removing big studio costs and staff costs, recently fan funding in return for incentives has become a new way forward. Recently in the UK bands such as Madina Lake, Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout have used Pledge Music (Kickstarter in the US) in which fans contribute towards the cost of the studio in return for signed albums, special gifts and more. Do you think this method of involving fans more intimately in the creation of an album and offering them incentives to do so could be a way forward to combat the losses through piracy?

Again this is an awesome way to increase fan interaction but at the same time it won’t combat all piracy losses, but i guess if a band these days can break even with studio expenses with that approach and then make money from touring ,then that’s a win.

In the United States from 1999 to 2009 there was a 17% fall in the number of people hired as a musician and in Europe, while not directly musicians, the estimated number of jobs likely to be lost due to piracy in the creative industries will reach 1.2 million by 2015. Do you worry as an artist that you will ever be swept by this wave and be forced to leave the industry you love in order to provide a better living for yourself?

I don’t worry at all really because I’m not part of the wave as such, but if i was employed in the industry i definitely would be shitting myself right now.

When you consider the industry previously to the time before the internet and to now with the internet in full swing, what do you see for the future of the industry?

I’m actually optimistic about the future, I think people will start buying CDs again. Right now is just a cleansing so to speak, that and the economic downturn, when that ends, people will start buying music again but will be a lot more cautious about what they buy so the music will have to be a lot better

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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