According to a survey of highly-intelligent music enthusiasts who have actively purchased music in the past (and also happen to listen to Australian progressive-rock artist Ben Craven), it appears that the humble CD is far from extinct.
Participants were asked their preferred format of choice for Craven’s forthcoming album.
Given the options of using streaming services, downloading digital files, purchasing CDs or purchasing vinyl, 60% of respondents expressed their preference for CDs, followed by 27% for vinyl.
In a surprise twist that will warm the hearts of independent artists, no respondents favoured streaming only, and several suggested Craven boycott major streaming services altogether due to the minimal royalty rates.
Progressive rock would seem then to be one of the few remaining music genres whose listeners appreciate lavish packaging and artwork, and enjoy the tactile response of the physical object, be it CD or vinyl.
First up .. On Friday 5 July I’ll be playing a secret gig at the Junk Bar, Ashgrove (Brisbane) as part of a new duo called ProgAustralis. Tim Bennetts and I will perform the music of Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson and .. Ben Craven! Please head to our website if you’d like to grab tickets, or just want more information: http://www.progaustralis.com
Next! Filling the airwaves on all good Australian radio stations as we speak, is the new track Turn Out The Light by my other band, Frankenfido. It’s a gothic tale of a man beyond redemption, with a loving nod towards 80’s production values. I really had a lot of fun with this track. Check it out at: https://frankenfidosongtraks.bandcamp.com
And finally, a question for you. A new Ben Craven album will be coming out very soon and I’ve started thinking about options for physical release. I’m leaning towards ditching CD altogether this time and going for vinyl only. Of course, a high-resolution lossless digital download would still be available separately. But I’d really appreciate your feedback.
What’s your preferred format for purchasing or listening to music?
1 – CD only (with download)
2 – Vinyl only (with download)
3 – CD and vinyl (with download)
4 – Download only. Who needs physical!
5 – Streaming only. No purchase!
You might remember last year I released a compilation of my music specifically for streaming services (like Streamify and Apple Records).
The logic was:
Get them hooked on the short versions for free.
Jack up the price for the original full-length album versions!
Well, it turns out I had multiple requests to make this collection available on CD as well. You asked and I listened!
The CD version, featuring the stunning artwork of Freyja Dean, is now available directly from my Bandcamp page. Order now and you’ll also receive, absolutely free, a high-definition 24-bit 96kHz download of the collection!
Still not convinced? Just listen to these testimonials:
Definitely worth the investment. I am so pleased with this product. – Willey K.
“The Single Edits” is the most valuable business resource we have EVER purchased. – Rodolph V.
I want to get a t-shirt with “The Single Edits” on it so I can show it off to everyone. – Dugan Q.
While the legitimacy of these testimonials is yet to be determined, the official story behind the CD release is available … below.
Australian Guitarist Ben Craven Returns With 2018 Career Retrospective THE SINGLE EDITS
Australian guitarist/keyboardist/composer/vocalist Ben Craven continues on a mission to bring his music to the ears of progressive rock audiences far and wide. Progressive rock fans who might have missed Ben’s last opus, Last Chance To Hear, will be pleasantly surprised by the concise nature of his 2018 album entitled THE SINGLE EDITS.
THE SINGLE EDITS showcases Ben’s finest moments from his solo output, both rock vocals and rock instrumentals, compiled and re-imagined as single edits. A good bet for radio as Ben takes his greatest moments and edits them timewise into bite-sized chunks of sonic majesty. Although a 24-bit, 96kHz lossless download was released in late 2017, in early 2018 a special edition of THE SINGLE EDITS is available on compact disc, complete with folder artwork and multi-page booklet.
Clocking in at 41 minutes, the eleven track CD of THE SINGLE EDITS features a cross-section from Ben Craven’s album releases and is brimming with fascinating musical ideas.
THE SINGLE EDITS includes several remixed, edited prog-pop tracks from Ben’s first solo album Two False Idols.
On the track “Spy In The Sky Pt. 3” Ben enlists the help of spoken work recording artist and Star Trek legend William Shatner and YES member Billy Sherwood on a track finished in L.A.
All the music on THE SINGLE EDITS was superbly played and written by Ben Craven. Essential for Ben’s growing fan base, THE SINGLE EDITS is the most compelling musical statement yet from prog-rock sensation Ben Craven.
Ben Craven: The Single Edits CD Tracks and Times
01. Critical Mass Part 2 (Single Edit) 03:27
02. The Remarkable Man (Single Edit) 03:53
03. Ready To Lose (Single Edit) 03:37
04. Aquamarine (Single Edit) 03:21
05. Spy In The Sky Part 3 Feat. William Shatner (Single Edit) 03:17
06. Great Divide (Single Edit) 04:33
07. Nobody Dies Forever (Single Edit) 02:56
08. No Specific Harm (Single Edit) 03:30
09. Captain Caper (Single Edit) 04:17
10. Golden Band (Single Edit) 05:12
11. Revenge Of Dr Komodo (Single Edit) 02:35
Ben Craven – The Single Edits – Artwork by Freyja Dean
My opinion has always been that making music freely available on streaming services is an admission that music has no financial value.
Music is not free to produce and I rely on sales to justify releasing more music. Streaming, however, becomes the complete consumer transaction. Physical and digital sales are eliminated as income sources by a minimal streaming royalty rate.
Yet, the market has spoken. Streaming is here to stay. And I cannot afford not to be ‘discoverable’ on streaming services.
So perhaps I can make it work for me.
Ordinarily my albums are designed to be listened from start to finish as each track segues into the next. Not so this time. The Single Edits is a digital-only collection of single edits from three albums, compiled especially for streaming. Each track stands by itself and is ripe for cherry-picking.
It is my hope that this collection will act as a gateway into the Ben Craven musicverse. For instance, someone who discovers the 3-minute version of Spy In The Sky (featuring William Shatner) might also be interested in seeking out the complete 18-minute suite on CD.
Or, if you enjoy the 3:30 edit of No Specific Harm, you might find yourself unable to live without the full 11-minute version on vinyl.
Or maybe even you might just want to download the collection in lossless high resolution audio from Bandcamp instead.
To celebrate the release of my album Last Chance To Hear back in March 2016, I held a launch party at the Caxton Hotel in Brisbane. A small room was booked upstairs and everyone was invited.
I had no band at my disposal. Even if I had, the rehearsal effort required would have been the equivalent of going on tour. I briefly considered playing a solo acoustic show but thought it would be more fun to present a virtual band performance. Armed with backing tracks for drums, bass and occasional keyboards – plus the disembodied voice of William Shatner – the show was billed as Ben Craven & Friends.
With a handful of cameras and audio feeds, the entire show was captured for the high-definition blu-ray release, First Chance To Hear. The audio has been remixed in 24-bit stereo and 5.1 surround. Some of the lighting and camerawork is not completely perfect, so I’m calling this an “official bootleg”!
First Chance To Hear marks the launch of a new record label imprint named Cleanskin Records. Here in Australia, a “cleanskin” is a wine sold under a different label by the winery. It could be for reasons like excess stock, an experimental blend or wanting to supply directly to the public. Similarly, Cleanskin Records exists for musical projects outside the realm of big releases and big marketing budgets, such as live shows and high definition surround remixes.
All copies of First Chance To Hear will be burnt on-demand, numbered and signed by the artist (me)!
View the trailer here:
Blu-ray disc and 24/96 stereo audio download now available from Bandcamp!
Technical specifications: Duration: 96 minutes (approx)
Video: 1080p 24fps HD video
Audio: 24-bit 96 Khz LPCM stereo, 24-bit 48 kHz 5.1 LPCM surround
Media: Duplicated using high quality Verbatim recordable BD-R. Region-free. Backup for personal use is encouraged.
On Wednesday 26 October I was honoured to accept the award for the “Best Instrumental” category in the 2016 Australian Independent Music Awards!
The MusicOz AIMAs are one of the last remaining opportunities for recognition of independent musicians in this country. And a huge shot in the arm for me – my style of music is independent at best. What this means my friends is that prog rock can still be a thing!
And of course, worldwide, there’s good old Bandcamp, selling both digital and physical. If you purchase the CD/DVD from here, you get an immediate digital download to tide you over until the postman arrives!