For those of you who have been into Chiptune music for a while, you probably remember the website 8bitcollective.com. Plagued with site issues like downtime and a finicky uploader, 8bc held a special place in my heart, it was an incredibly active portal for free chiptune music. Every submission was downloadable, and its where I learned of many of my new favorite artists, included Smiletron, MisfitChris and Electric Children.
At the end of last year, 8bc went down for good. Luckily, some crafty people took the time to create this: a torrent file of every song on the 8bc database. Just over 18GB, this torrent is massive chunk of chiptune history, and includes some songs that can’t be found anywhere else. And the best part, this torrent is entirely legal under Creative Commons.
For those looking for a new Chiptune fix, check out uCollective, a website started in the spirit of 8bc, with much more attentive developers ;)
[box type=”info”] Zef is a Chiptune artist from Saskatchewan, Canada. His debut release was released through NoiseChannel.org.[/box]
Didn’t Mother Teach You to Share?
I’m going to be talking about the chipmusic scene, and one thing in particular that makes it very unique. In chipscene, artists make music, perform shows, and distribute albums just like in any other music scene, however chipmusic artists exhibit one major difference that distinguishes them from most of the music industry: In the majority of cases; chipmusic artists are doing these things for free.
For those who aren’t familiar with chipmusic already; jump on over here and pick up a quick background on it. For some reason chip artists are breaking the mould and they’re giving away perfectly good music when they could be making a profit on it; I believe there are several compounding reasons for this phenomenon.
Firstly; chipmusic is a rather small niche of the music market (though it’s growing in popularity quite quickly) that is to say, it had humble beginnings. It started off as people simply messing around with old hardware to see what new things they could do with it. Onlookers started paying attention and joining in themselves. Since its very beginnings chipscene has been about spreading interest in this interesting type of music. There were no means for early artists to make a career out of this music, and so the majority of the early scene was established primarily by hobbyists; people who did this sort of thing for fun. Since this scene was founded on the premise of having fun rather than making money it set a foundation that has carried on for years. The precedent this foundation set has carried on the principle, new artists entering the scene can see that those are already established in the scene are giving away their music for free and are actively working towards making chipmusic a community thing. Seeing that this is the way the scene works, new artists adopt these principles as their own.
One other possible contributor is that most of the materials involved in making chipmusic are free or very inexpensive. Most people have access to at least one old gameboy or NES, and most of the early software for making chipmusic was created by the musicians themselves and was given out freely. As it stands, most new chipmusic artists can get started for next to nothing.
All of these things helped to form chipmusic into the community that it is today. In this community you find the pros helping out those who are just starting, you see artists sharing tips amongst those who in any other context would have been their direct competition, and you see artists teaming up to use their music for the common good in compilations such as Chip In: Japan!.
The fans love it too of course, they get a lot of their music for free, but they also become willing to support their favourite artists through “pay what you want” releases. I’m certainly not saying that everyone needs to give out their music for free, what people do with their own music is their business, but what’s important here is that the precedent stay strong, that new artists can see that this isn’t a dog eat dog scene, but that it is a fostering community of artists helping each other to produce better music.
I’m Chris Penner, but I go by the alias Zef, and I encourage you to share this blog post around, and, if you’re an artist, to begin to share your own music for free too. To support this principle I’m releasing my new album Blackout (and all the source files) as a pay what you want download, grab it for free if you like, or donate a bit of cash which I’ll be lending through kiva.org, a wonderful organization that helps people in third-world countries get back on their feet; I highly recommend you check them out! In fact, I’ve made a chipmusic team for chipmusicians and fans alike to show the world how much they care; join up and start lending HERE. Just remember that the chipscene is about more than just music, it’s a community.
Champions of Chip. There’s more than a good handful of us out there, promoting Chipmusic with every fiber of our being. Because we love it. Because it’s fun. Because it gets us free beer at shows. (WUT?? That’s just as legit a reason!!! ;3 ). This Friday Freakout is dedicated to one of the most, well… dedicated of us that I’m aware of:
This crazy, awesome woman attacks Chipshows armed with nothing but her iPhone, working her way to the front of the stage, throwing elbows, dragon punches, flaming ninja stars, WUTTEHFUKEVAR IT TAKES to get in place to document the entire show in video. And then afterward she uploads them by sets/gigs/artists to her Youtube account for all of the chipworld to see in 720p (that rhymed! heheh ;3 ). She’s more or less providing awesome live video coverage of a substantial portion of the East coast chip scene, which is something that nobody else is doing (one of her very reasons for doing it actually).
Did I mention yet that THE WOMAN IS AWESOME!?!?!
Also, her latest spin on the project is what she’s calling an “Evolution” series. Basically, she’s taking a handful of Chipartists and chronicling their journies (via her live footage) from where she first encountered them to their gigs at Blipfest 2012 this Memorial Day weekend. Currently she has that happening for Chipocrite, Kris Keyser, and Danimal Cannon, but I believe she has plans to do that for a few more before Blipfest rolls around. In other words, STAY TUNED, FOTHERMUCKERS!! ;D Seriously, if you’re a chipfan and haven’t checked out her project by now, this is a great time to do it! =D
And this is the part where I’m just gonna flat out say THANKS A MEGACRAPTON, EM!! There’s more than a few of us out there who LOVE chipmusic but don’t have access to many live shows (due to location, being broke, a combination of the two, etc). And you do a damn good job of bringing some of that to us. SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, YA CRAZY BROAD!! ;D We <3 you very much for it!
ALRIGHTY THEN. So you may’ve noticed references to my Fb group Chiptunes = WIN \m|♥|m/ here and there in mah posts on videogamedj.com (I’m a shameless plug whore, YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! ;3 Also, if you haven’t made it by yet, CLICK THE DAMN LINKY LINK ALREADY!! :P ). You also may’ve noticed references to the Chip compilation that I’m releasing via said group. Well, LEMME DROP ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE ON YOU RIGHT NOW:
In other words, yeah, this is the cover art for the compilation. And yes, that’s all you get this post.
IT’S CALLED A TEASER FOR A REASON!! DON’T BE SO GREEDY, YA PECKERWRINKLE!! GEEZ!!
ALRIGHT. FINE. BE A GREEDY PECKERWRINKLE!! Art and the knowledge that there’s 50+ tracks on this bad boy (51 tracks to be exact ;). 51 AMAZING chiptracks of a mix of both well known & loved artists and some spectacular up and comers.
In other words, 51 TRACKS OF AWESOMETASTIC CHIP BADASSERY LOVEBEERSEX FTW BOOYAH!! 8)
Yes, I’m a madman. Yes, you may/will/have no choice but to love me for it. DON’T WORRY. I CAN HANDLE IT.
The only question is… CAN YOU? ♥ ♥
P.S. STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES (read: PROMO VIDEO COMING SOON 8)!! GET EXCITED, BIZNATCHES!!!!!!!!111!1!1!1onehundredeleventeen!!! \m|♥|m/