Viewing posts from the music category

Free music can transform your marketing

If you read my last blog post on how to get free images online then you will recall I mentioned some useful sites that could be used to make your blog look much more engaging and exciting, without worrying about costs.

On a similar thread, this week I’m focusing on a number of websites which offer free music. Perfect if you’re creating a brand video or podcast and want to ‘jazz it up’.

ID-100157158As a rule, using someone else’s music or sound effects without permission could violate their copyright and you could face a hefty fine. However, that’s where Creative Commons licensed content comes in. You might think this only covers images, but under the terms and conditions of this licence, there is also a wide variety of free music downloads that have been authorised by the artists themselves.

One of the sites recommended by creative commons is, Jamendo.  This site can used to discover new music by searching for artists, as well as most-downloaded, and most-played. When you find a song or artist you like, you can then download the track or album. The site has a collection of more than 350,000 tracks for you to browse through. As well as downloading from other artists you can upload your own music and licence your song(s) under the Creative Commons law.

Another site I came across is Freesound. This is great for if you’re recording a podcast and need to break up your content with music. This site has some interesting sounds you can download. One of my favourite is the “hungry stomach” sound – you never know when this will come in handy!

Amazon There’s a good selection of free music to download at Amazon. You can see the all the free music downloads by clicking on a genre or sorting by popularity, release date etc. You can play it from the Amazon Cloud Player or download it to your computer anytime you want.

Happy listening!

Image credit courtesy of Stoon



Susan Boyle’s Party – PR genius or a PR fail?

For a number of years I have heard people say “no news is bad news” so is any news good news? It has been a phrase I wasn’t sure I agreed with up until quite recently when I read about the ill-fated Susan Boyle’s Tweeting mishap on Twitter.

Twitter has quickly become a channel used by individuals to source information on companies and individuals and sometimes becomes the centre of unwanted news and fun poking. Susan Boyle recently made national headlines over a #hashtagging failure resulting in an innocent tweet about her latest album party turning into a rather different online Twitter party. The ‘Susanalbumparty’ or ‘Sus anal bum party’ unintentionally sent out the wrong message to fans on Twitter. This generated a lot of controversy and quickly ‘trended’ worldwide with people talking about it mainly for the wrong reasons and their own amusement, but has it affected her reputation or has it been a great ‘accidental’ PR stunt?

The media is always quick to judge claiming it is a PR stunt or just unprofessionalism. However, whatever the reason it’s obvious to see it works. We can be pretty sure that particular tweet would not have created quite as much attention if it wasn’t for this witty and amusing mistake.

In my opinion I would describe something as a crisis if a business’s reputation was actually at stake. I don’t believe Susan’s reputation has been affected by it so why call it bad PR? Surely a company’s success is monitored by the media coverage it receives and the sales that generates. And so, when people engage creating more awareness and publicity it helps promote the brand, or in this case an album even further. On the other hand, when some brands have already experienced negativity and criticism it can have terrible consequences on their reputation. For example, McDonalds and its infamous Twitter campaign received far too much bad press and raised issues that the company was dearly trying to avoid. A campaign originally designed to get people to talk online about their favourite burgers, ended quite badly when activists took the opportunity to raise their thoughts and issues on the poor quality of food and hygiene in McDonalds.

It is important to stress that each organisation may receive different reactions from the public and the media, so each case has to be reviewed individually. As long as there isn’t any permanent reputation damage all in all I think it can help grasp the public’s attention and in turn (accidental or not) make it a successful PR campaign and yes increase sales.

I guess the answer to my question is; it depends on how a company measures success. For example, let’s take Susan, yes she probably will be laughed at for a while and be the topic of conversation in offices, and social gatherings. However, she still has an impressive singing career and will probably sell more albums now than ever before. And so, with all that in mind on this occasion I think it’s hard to call it a PR failure.

If you like a nice social media fail, feel free to have a look at the top 12 Social media disasters of 2012, and let me know who would come first on your list?

Elton slams Roy Hodgson live on stage in Harrogate

Yesterday, I went to the first ever open air concert staged in the Great Yorkshire Show Grounds in Harrogate. My wife and I went to see Elton John, he was brilliant, performing more than two hours of his back catalogue including the majority of his biggest hits and some of his other more select album choices. I wasn’t sure about attending the event as I like his music but I didn’t know what to expect really – I am more of a dance music fan. As it was the first concert of its size in Harrogate, I was interested to see if he and it could pull in the crowds, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, Elton had been ill the week before with a respiratory illness and he even had to cancel three gigs which was worrying but then he appeared the day before at the Queen’s Jubilee in London.

I could try and write a full music review of the gig but it seems we weren’t the only people in attendance as I came across this review from Dave Simpson of The Guardian. He is its music critic and puts it far better than I could when he describes the scene:

Away from the showbiz and flag-waving of the Mall, this 180-minute marathon is about Elton the musician, exploring his labyrinthine back catalogue. There are songs from 1970s touchstone albums Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Madman Across the Water, unexpected gems (Hey Ahab, from 2010’s critically heralded, so-so-selling album with hero Leon Russell), and classics including a perfect Tiny Dancer and a Rocket Man that now sounds wistful for his days of being “high as a kite”.

Candle in the Wind, famously performed at Princess Diana’s funeral, is played without introduction, the song returning to its original position as moving lament for Marilyn Monroe.

I really enjoyed it all, apart from the expensive sandwiches on sale at £6.80 (what’s that all about?). In my opinion Elton certainly still has the (Sorry Elton) x-factor as a musician. How he still does it so well after such a long career is beyond me but he does and he is still a musical genius. However, the real stand out moment that had me aghast was right at the end in the encore when he decided to share his very clear footballing opinion. I don’t want to misquote the great man, so I will let Dave Simpson quote him he states:

The one moment of controversy is comical, when the former Watford FC chairman debates the England team selections, branding new manager Roy Hodgson a “twat”.

It was Elton’s way of clearly demonstrating his displeasure at the fact Rio had been omitted from the England squad for Euro 2012. He also called Hodgson boring and made it clear he felt Kelly wasn’t anywwhere near as good as Rio. Now I am a Liverpool fan and so I should really side with Kelly but I have to admit, I agree with him. Rio is a far more experienced player and would be much better at a tournament of this nature – we could do with his experience. Despite the reports I don’t think this decision is down to footballing reasons at all that said we should back the guy to at least win us one game. I am not holding out much hope though.

I have to say Elton has gone up in my estimations, he is a brilliant musician and I seem to agree with him on football terms too. So I think I will have to drop him a line and join him for a beer as we both have new babies too.

Fancy yourself as the UK’s music reviewer of the year?


Hi my name is Amy and I am new here at Prohibition, so please be gentle with me. Do you read up on all the reviews of your favourite gigs you want to attend? Do you like reading about other artists that you might be interested in going to see? Well you’ve got a shot, thanks to our client Audio-Technica, to write your own review and win some free tickets and lots of new musical goodies!

Audio-Technica is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and to say thank you for allowing the company to grow to the extent that it has, it is running a competition all summer. This forms part of our Sounds of the Summer strategy to help them find the UK’s music reviewer of the year. So let’s tell you what the competition entails. You could see your name in lights and win a whole load of music related gadgets and goodies that will change the way you listen to and record music.

You don’t have to be the worlds leading writer, all you have to do is the following:

  • Upload an image that you took from a gig that you have been to see.
  • Write a review on the gig. This should be around 100 – 800 words.


You could include the following in your review:

  • Who did you go and see?
  • Where did you see the gig?
  • What was your favourite part of the gig?
  • What would you like to hear more of?

What’s in it for you? Well if your review happens to be the one that is picked over at Audio-Technica HQ, you could win this amazing bundle of prizes:

  • Two very special exclusive tickets to Reading Festival
  • A stunning pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones
  • An amazing AT2020USB microphone that is worth £150
  • The lucky winner will also get their review published on the official Audio-Technica social media channels
  • And finally, an exclusive Audio-Technica goody bag of signed merchandise from our artists performing at the festival

imageSo there are a few terms and conditions that you need to abide by, as every competition does. All images uploaded should be copyright free and bring the event you attended to life. You can enter up to 4 times for your shot at winning. The team at Audio-Technica will choose the final short list of the best five, which will then be handed over to the general public to vote.


Head over to Facebook and enter the competition, view other entries to see what you are up against, and of course share it with all of your Facebook friends!

Good luck to everyone that enters, spread the word and get everyone you know involved!