For many, the term ‘marketing’ can have an unsavory connotation – especially when applied to their own work. If this describes you, it’s time to reevaluate. While there are plenty of entities that use marketing as a means to questionable ends, we have to remember that marketing is merely a tool. Rather than look at marketing as a way to ‘control and manipulate people,’ think of it as a way to optimize the presentation of your work and ensure that it gets put in front of latent superfans. Previously, we looked at how to establish a series of themes and aesthetics that make up your ‘brand.’ Truthfully, that only covers half of the equation. The other half deals less with the nuance of identity and more with logistics. Now that you have a good idea of what to put into the world, we’re going to postulate how you plan to put it out there.
In the early years of ChipWIN, I knew very little about chiptune, but I knew I loved the community, the shows, and my soon-to-be-hubby, so I wanted to help! I’ve sold a few Girl Scout cookies in my day and I’ll talk to anything that sits still long enough; not to mention that I have an unhealthy adoration for spreadsheets and data, so I decided to dive in and become Maven of the Merch Booth!
And that’s what we’re talking about today, chip children; Brandon and I want to pass on our knowledge about…
Photo by Aspyn Oakes at ‘Freq.Fest’ in Los Angeles, CA.
This month, I wanted to shed some light on a really cool and inspiring Atari ST creation I came across this week. Set free to the world on January 24, 2018, ‘Escape Return’ is both a digital and vinyl release by Swiss artist, STU. I listen to a lot of music and, friends, this one really captivated me.
Album art created by DAN from Bleepstreet for ‘Escape Return’.
This month, I wanted to review the recent release by Michigan native, CZOFT. ‘Stratocracy’ was released on October 25, 2017, and features carefully crafted compositions created with lsdj. Featuring 15 tracks fully constructing within one Gameboy DMG-01, the album was released by Utah record label, Catskill Records (the same folks who host Catskill Electronics, a site where Gameboy composers can find their fair share of arduino boys, flash carts, sync components, etc.). This article with contain a review of a new record that I really love, and also share sound design tips straight from the artist for those who want to learn more about lsdj, as well.
Cover artwork by CZOFT, layout and design by Catskull Records.
Originally I had a different idea for this weeks’ article, however after a discussion about how I created the CD for the latest chiptune compilation, I decided I thought I’d write about my own method. When I created the last compilation for Superbyte all those years ago, other than the artwork, I had no idea about the logistics required. It’s because of this, it set me back £40 ($52.81) for 100 inkjet CDs with cardboard sleeves. This time around for the Square Sounds compilation I had more knowledge in the area and in doing so I managed to create 25 b&w thermal heated CDs with a pearlescent cover and plastic case for just £20.
Shortly after seeing how successful this was, it made me realise that independent artists could easily produce their own merch on the cheap; it just requires time & the knowledge.
Disclosure: This charity album is my own project. However, after discussing it with Brandon we decided it would be fine to promote, as all of the proceeds are going to charity.
Back in 2014 when Chip Bit Sid had just started, Superbyte was well into it’s 4th event and waspopular as ever. I had been getting sucked into the chiptune community, had made a lot of friends, and was building a lot of traction with the blog. It was at this point that I decided thatI wanted to sell a compilation, but with all the proceeds going to Barnardos, a charity that helped abandoned children. I immediately got a lot of artists who wanted to give a track to the cause and I got into making a physical CD to sell at Superbyte. Sales werebetter than expected, making over £220, with some of the money being given by the Superbyte group themselves! It was a great project which made me feel proud of the chiptune community as well as what I’d managed to achieve!
Fast forward to this year and Square Sounds Toyko is happening. I’ve managed to scrape the money for a holiday in Japan and, with some cash left over I decided it was time for another charity album called, ‘Chip To Be Square’. This time however I decided to team up with people from all over, with the money going towards Special Effect, a UK based charity which helps the less-abled play video games, by modifying controllers as well as utilising eye control.
Since the release of ‘Chip To Be Square’ on Bandcamp (02/09/2017)we’ve raised a bit of money (as now £60), which has shown what the chiptune community capable of as well as how big its heart is. As the album is still fresh, below are a few choice tracks off the album to entice your ears; to people who are waiting to buy the CD at Squaresounds…I’ll see you there! ;)