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From bedroom recording to chart success?
August 30, 2007 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Make a single, make a video and unleash it on the internet to see if you can make money. The Schema began as a project to get a single out in 30 days from one man's bedroom on a tight budget. Despite the massive popularity on YouTube, will "Those Rules You Made" succeed in making any money?
posted by edd (59 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not from me it won't. Maybe from others it will. Only time will tell. I think that about covers it.
posted by tellurian at 6:44 AM on August 30, 2007


Sounds like Steely Dan if they were a post-New Wave eighties band.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:48 AM on August 30, 2007


This and a time machine will make him a one-month sensation on MTV circa 1988.
posted by DU at 7:06 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've bought worse. I'd be inclined to buy it just to reward them for the effort.

Naturally, I'll then discover that this is all a trick and it's really a million-dollar viral from Capitol Records.
posted by bovious at 7:14 AM on August 30, 2007


Ah, it's nice to see that someone has posted this on Metafilter, although I'm braced for the imminent torrent of withering criticism that's inevitably on its way. I'll take "Sounds like Steely Dan if they were a post-New Wave eighties band", though, for the time being. Be gentle, I beg you. It was just a frivolous project.
posted by rhodri at 7:14 AM on August 30, 2007


I'm pretty sure the critic bots that now infest this place are also a frivolous project. You at least made something. You are already ahead. It's not my cuppa but it will be somebody's.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 AM on August 30, 2007


rhodri, are you involved in this somehow?
posted by arcticwoman at 7:26 AM on August 30, 2007


That's a very nice way to put it, srboisvert, and I am inclined to say I agree.

The supposedly hunky guy who takes over from the supposedly dorky guy at the end looks just my dad, circa the year I was born. It kind of creeps me out.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:29 AM on August 30, 2007


nm rhodri, I read the other link. I see that you are the schema.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:30 AM on August 30, 2007


Guh? "Sounds like Steely Dan if they were a post-New Wave eighties band" is only a bad thing if you don't like Steely Dan or post-New Wave eighties bands.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:34 AM on August 30, 2007


It’s not a bad song. I never buy singles, though. rhodri, perhaps you have a future in the custom ringtone market.

What’s with the Trystero symbol at the end of the video? It’s funny because I just finished The Crying of Lot 49 last week, and now I’m noticing references to it all over.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 7:41 AM on August 30, 2007


It cost £500 and took 10 days to make from first meeting to delivered, finished product...shot on an Aaton LTR using Fuji Eterna Vivid 160T stock. Focus puller: Alex Meaker. 1st AD: Maud Young. Neg dev & TK by Todd-AO London. With thanks to Fuji, ProCam and the Borough of Westminster...

So when they say it only cost £500, they don't really mean it only cost £500.
posted by billysumday at 7:43 AM on August 30, 2007


If it makes money, it will be because of the "look at us doing this" hype, not because of the music.
posted by DreamerFi at 7:43 AM on August 30, 2007


Trystero: Nothing to do with me, I'm a literary ignoramus. The director of the vid, Alex de Campi, calls her vid company Lot 49, so that'll be why...
posted by rhodri at 7:44 AM on August 30, 2007


So when they say it only cost £500, they don't really mean it only cost £500.

I've got the cheque stubs to prove it.
posted by rhodri at 7:45 AM on August 30, 2007


Sorry, I'm forgetting Westminster Council, add £300 to that.
posted by rhodri at 7:48 AM on August 30, 2007


I've got the cheque stubs to prove it.

In that case, the film stock, processing, color timing, camera and grip rental are all about 1/4 or even 1/8 the cost it is in the U.S. Yes, everyone worked for free, the rentals were favors, and perhaps you received grants or free film stock. It's just sort of disingenuous to say, "Look at what we did for so little!" when in reality one couldn't make something for so little without a bunch of favors/free stuff.
posted by billysumday at 7:51 AM on August 30, 2007


Well, sure, billysumday, but that's the same way El Mariachi got made. Making it cheap by calling in every favor you've got outstanding is making it cheap.
posted by cortex at 8:13 AM on August 30, 2007


It's just sort of disingenuous to say, "Look at what we did for so little!"

Point taken, but I wasn't ever saying "look what we did for so little"... If I'd had an amazing idea that I could have done with my cameraphone and cut together in iMovie, that might well have been equally as likely to get 250,000 hits on YouTube. But I didn't have any ideas at all. The point wasn't trying to get a broadcast quality video for peanuts, the point was trying desperately to get a video done within the timeframe, period. I'd rather it hadn't cost me that much. Fortunately, yes, I found a friend of a friend who agreed to work for free, and I got some discount on film stock.
posted by rhodri at 8:15 AM on August 30, 2007


On the other hand, I have one big complaint, rhodri: if you're going to set up a Magic Glasses gimmick like that, play it fast and to the hilt and show off every good line you can. As it is, the video sort of set that up and then left it danglin' and twitchin' in a way that made me want to go watch Right Now instead.

And I'm not a big Van Halen fan. Heh.
posted by cortex at 8:16 AM on August 30, 2007


the video sort of set that up and then left it danglin' and twitchin'

I agree - I wanted to see more of the glasses. Who else was hoping the glasses would enable him to see through everyone's clothes? Oh it was just me?
posted by iconomy at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2007


Sorry, I don't mean to be a spoilsport or anything. It's not really a big deal or anything, but sometimes it just irks me (El Mariachi is actually a good example - tens of thousands of dollars were poured into it after it was bought by Miramax to make it more presentable, but everyone says, "he only made it for 6K" or whatever). Anyway, good job. Nicely done with such contraints.
posted by billysumday at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2007


I really don't understand what makes this video - or the storyline behind it - exceptional in any way.
posted by phaedon at 8:24 AM on August 30, 2007


It's like, congratulations, you pressed the upload button.
posted by phaedon at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2007


Antics, phaedon. It's about antics.
posted by cortex at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2007


It's like, congratulations, you pressed the upload button.

Ah, that'll be the withering criticism I predicted earlier on. Well done.
posted by rhodri at 8:43 AM on August 30, 2007


Awesome to see my friend Paul among the singers, and I know he and edith were very pleased to take part. Bit o' class.
posted by bwerdmuller at 9:03 AM on August 30, 2007


Actually, I loved it. But I also love Steely Dan.

I thought the "B-side" was even better.

As to the video, it was very cute. I appreciated the use of real-looking girls, in particular.

Don't give up, rhodri. I think you're great and believe me I have exquisite taste in music.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:06 AM on August 30, 2007


Well personally, I think the whole project is charming. It might be the least pretentious music video I've seen on youtube. And it is a pleasant, well-written and well-produced tune.
posted by Raoul de Noget at 9:11 AM on August 30, 2007


PS: So what did you use to record it?
posted by bwerdmuller at 9:11 AM on August 30, 2007


By the way, rhodri: you're welcome to stop by, should the inclination strike you.
posted by cortex at 9:16 AM on August 30, 2007


PS: So what did you use to record it?

Um... Powerbook. Logic Audio. Trilogy squelchy bass. BFD for the drums. Couple of guitars and bass through a pod, and judicious AutoTune to make my voice not sound quite as shit as it actually is.

Thank you for the kind comments, I consider myself to have got off lightly.
posted by rhodri at 9:38 AM on August 30, 2007


damn it's frustrating how off-handedly dismissive people can be when it comes to music or any of the arts these days. it takes a hell of a lot of craft, hard-work and intestinal fortitude to make music--especially if you're going the DIY route. producing even the shittiest pop song takes a hell of a lot more ingenuity, talent, and grit than most of the smug little socially-stunted arm-chair critics ever expend in a lifetime. the mass production of music has put idiots in the driver seat. projects like this, on the other hand, begin suggesting the shape better alternatives might take in the future. thanks for this post! i'm working on a similar project i hope to start promoting soon. and rhodri: congratulations. you're a pioneer.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:54 AM on August 30, 2007


I'm certainly not a pioneer, but thank you anyway!
posted by rhodri at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2007


piffle. i call's 'em like i sees 'em. exploring new territory, whether literally or figuratively = pioneering, in my book.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:11 AM on August 30, 2007


I don't disagree with your remarks, saul, but I obviously subscribe to a different school of thought than you on this one. To me, "alternative" methods of content distribution - such as the Youtube video - provide an opportunity for unknown artists to produce mind-bending works of art on a tight budget, and a way for those usually operating in a genre of music that is largely ignored by larger labels and entertainment distributors. Dan Le Sac, whom I have no affiliation with, comes to mind. This is a straight up pop song, this is a straight up pop video, and frankly the very fact it takes a hell of a lot of craft to produce a shitty pop song - whether you're in your bedroom or on a fucking lot - makes me feel like praise for this video takes away from all the other shitty pop songs that are already out there, as well as the not so shitty work of thousands of other people on Youtube who probably wake up everyday asking themselves - as this post asks me, for no particularly good reason - will I succeed in making any money?

So to that extent, I see nothing unique here. Maybe every time a band puts up a music video on Youtube, they should create a webpage bragging about the number of hits they got, and ask the public, "but are you going to buy our CD?" I mean, come on. Sorry to shit in your oatmeal, rhodri, but that's how I feel. This post here just feels a little too calculated.

And who in their right mind, on a $0 budget, shoots on film?
posted by phaedon at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2007


i think i understand where you're coming from, too, phaedon. i'm just not sure i agree. my radical pro-music promotion and distribution on the web bias is probably showing.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2007


MetaFilter: smug little socially-stunted arm-chair critics.
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2007


and judicious AutoTune to make my voice not sound quite as shit as it actually is.

wait a minnit. i overlooked this detail. i hereby withdraw 25% of my praise. auto-tune is a cop-out. even if your voice is teh suck, you should still belt it out proudly. the occasional off-note never stopped johnny cash, morrissey, or ian mackaye. hell, their stuff was better for it. so, as someone who has instated a personal lifetime ban on auto-tune, i'm afraid i just can't approve of this kind of thing. for shame.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:31 AM on August 30, 2007


rhodrifilter
posted by humannaire at 1:39 PM on August 30, 2007


I mostly listened/watched this to see Ed and Tim, and laugh at their miming. Trouble is, it's a bloody earworm, embedded in my head after two listens. Well done, I think.
posted by liquidindian at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2007


This post here just feels a little too calculated.

Hoho. I've no idea who posted it here. I'd rather they hadn't, to be honest, as I could pretty much predict what was coming. It was a frivolous project. I'm not holding it up to be high art, or competing with top-flight pop music, and making money (obviously) wasn't the point. The feature I wrote was self-depracating enough for anyone to realise that. Ignore it. It's gone. Done. Finished.
posted by rhodri at 5:14 PM on August 30, 2007


Eh, yes, I'm a bit surprised by the response. I've got back in after an evening out, and, while I liked the song I posted it for the interesting article and story behind it over the music.

'This post here just feels a little too calculated.'
I don't know rhodri, and I'm impressed I managed to make the post seem calculated. I'll take that as a compliment.
posted by edd at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2007


I found the video and article modest and charming but as far an pioneering goes, I thought this was supposed to be a tale of caution. The ultimate point is that he's got so little out of it. He's sold 58 units and says (and I agree) that it's not too terribly likely he'll do much better. So it's money down the drain despite the positive attention. Why would any indie musician who makes light intelligent pop spend thousands out of pocket for PR? It would be better to cover your naked body in hundreds while busking and hope you get covered on the evening news.

If this popularity made it come to the attention of a commercial music service and got used in an ad or soundtrack he might recoup some cash, because that one reliable market left -- and for how long who knows. It's a nice song (I heard some Squeeze in there too) and rhodri seems like a nice guy. I too will never understand the casual cynicism aimed at such small fish instead of for an industry that bends a ceaseless parade of guys like this over a barrel a day without breaking a sweat.

I will however agree that Auto-Tune sucks more powerfully than a Dyson. It's worth quoting Neko Case at some length on the subject:

That shit sounds like shit! It's like that taste in diet soda, I can taste it-- and it makes me sick.

When I hear auto tune on somebody's voice, I don't take them seriously. Or you hear somebody like Alicia Keys, who I know is pretty good, and you'll hear a little bit of auto tune and you're like, "You're too fucking good for that. Why would you let them do that to you? Don't you know what that means?" It's not an effect like people try to say, it's for people like Shania Twain who can't sing. Yet there they are, all over the radio, jizzing saccharine all over you. It's a horrible sound and it's like, "Shania, spend an extra hour in the studio and you'll hit the note and it'll sound fine. Just work on it, it's not like making a burger!...Or Madonna! Just hit the note! Don't pretend it's William Orbit being crafty-- we know you're not hitting the note because you have other shit to do. You can do it, I have faith in you. But don't leave the studio before you hit that fucking note!"

posted by melissa may at 5:58 PM on August 30, 2007


If the English pronounce "Schema" like they do "schedule," I'm all for it

SHEMMA 4-EVA!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:07 PM on August 30, 2007


He's sold 58 units and says (and I agree) that it's not too terribly likely he'll do much better.

True--that's not exactly a resounding success, just yet. But then, most early pioneers do die unsuccessful and forgotten despite their best efforts (think of all the poor schmoes who died on the way up Everest before Sir Hillary made it to the top). Not to suggest you'll be forgotten, rhodri, or that you're even 1/10th as much personally invested...

This guy, on the other hand, has had a bit more luck.

But yeah, Melissa May, I'm with you on the auto-tuner. Neko Case's remarks are spot on: It does taste like diet soda. Blech!
posted by saulgoodman at 6:42 PM on August 30, 2007


"Bah," she texts back, grumpily. " Nobody actually pays for music anymore, do they?" Hmm. Maybe that's just how it is. So maybe I am being needlessly downhearted. There's my own artistic fulfilment to consider, after all. I might be out of pocket, but a quarter of a million people had heard my song.

Yep. And a lot of the earliest recording artists didn't end up raking it in either (especially back when hit radio singles were the engine of the music industry), but their contributions were taken seriously and appreciated, and sometimes maybe that's enough. Still, damn--only 58 sales a week later? One of the bands on my label did better than that at a single live show.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2007


"Sounds like Steely Dan if they were a post-New Wave eighties band" is only a bad thing if you don't like Steely Dan or post-New Wave eighties bands.

Actually, several MeFites are currently awaiting their marching orders from Pitchfork.com before they can decide whether they like or dislike Steely Dan and/or post-New Wave 80s bands, and if they do, whether they must do so ironically.
posted by jonp72 at 7:10 PM on August 30, 2007


By the way, it reminded a little bit of the New Radicals (you know, that band that did You Always Get What You Give).
posted by jonp72 at 7:17 PM on August 30, 2007


congratulations, you pressed the "Maroon 5" button.
posted by tremspeed at 8:07 PM on August 30, 2007


Ignore it.

You need to make more of an effort to unclinch your anus when it comes to criticism. I don't remember being the one writing an article in the Independent about this. Those pesky bloggers and their opinions! Thanks for stopping by to feed the animals.

And by calculated post, edd, I actually meant calculated thread, in the sense that this thread could use a little less pace-setting by the relevant peanut gallery of one.
posted by phaedon at 10:05 AM on August 31, 2007


If the English pronounce "Schema" like they do "schedule," I'm all for it

SHEMMA 4-EVA!


My dad says `Shedule'. I say `Skedule'. He corrects me. I point out that they didn't teach me the proper pronunciation in `shool.'
posted by tomble at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2007


You need to make more of an effort to unclinch your anus when it comes to criticism.

I certainly need to stop being riled by tired, weary, unconstructive criticism. That kind of yawning, eye-rolling, "if only they'd bothered coming to clear all this with me, first, they wouldn't have made such fools of themselves" type criticism. Yes, you're right.
posted by rhodri at 4:15 PM on August 31, 2007


'And by calculated post, edd, I actually meant calculated thread, in the sense that this thread could use a little less pace-setting by the relevant peanut gallery of one.'

Pfah, well there goes my compliment ;-)
posted by edd at 5:29 PM on August 31, 2007


Yes, you're right.

Wow, sorry to ruffle your feathers there, Madonna. If only more people moderated the sharing of thoughts on this website to the extent that you seem to think would be more appropriate, imagine what a great place this would be.

I'm tired of your crusty responses in this thread. People don't get to post their own work here; why should they get to comment in threads about it, and get all wrapped in defending their ego? Do you think it's possible to make me feel bad about yawning and rolling my eyes at your work?

Lord. I want to crap on anybody who uses their position at a newspaper to write an article with the headline:

After becoming the No.1 sensation on YouTube can [I] take the charts by storm?


I wish you no ill will, but unconstructive criticism is part of the game. I hope you succeed despite it. But this posts reads to me as, "here's my band", "here's my video" and "here's a publicity piece that i wrote about it all". We all have little babies, but critical analysis is what this place is all about.
posted by phaedon at 5:41 PM on August 31, 2007


I dunno. I'm a long-standing reader / lurker on this site, who avoids getting dragged into pointless bickering by, er, just not getting involved in any of the discussions. But it seems that you're saying that a) you're allowed to say exactly what you like about me and this insignificant little project - which is, of course, absolutely true - but b) I'm not allowed to bat back any of the points that are being made. Weird.
posted by rhodri at 1:06 AM on September 1, 2007


That's the thing. You're not batting back when you refer to my criticism here as "predictable" or involving yawning and eye-rolling. And then saying "Ignore it. Done. Finished." You're essentially pushing the conversation away from any potential critical remarks in the way, say, a moderator would. Except you don't wield said power. And the conversation shouldn't be pushed away from criticism people would like to share, lest we be chastised personally by someone involved in the project - and simply because you decided it was unproductive.
posted by phaedon at 10:30 AM on September 1, 2007


Hey how come this guy gets to post about his "output," but the rest of us have to lay low?

Because he used (or didn't) a shill?

Wank off.
posted by humannaire at 7:37 PM on September 1, 2007


Hey how come this guy gets to post about his "output," but the rest of us have to lay low?

Jesus Christ. Unless someone has some really compelling reason to believe edd and rhodri are good friends, lay off the "shill" bullshit. People whose stuff has gotten posted to mefi show up in threads on a regular basis; sometimes, they're even long-standing members. This is a good thing about Metafilter, not a bad thing, phaedon's valid-but-jerky arguments re: thread moderation notwithstanding.

If you've got something cool and post-worthy that'd you post if not for the prohibition on self-links, post it on Projects. That's what it's their for.
posted by cortex at 7:46 PM on September 1, 2007


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