2016: Show Data

Total amount of shows: 541 in 9 years. Average of 60/year

  • 2016: 91 
  • 2015: 81
  • 2014: 86
  • 2013: 77
  • 2012: 66
  • 2011: 68
  • 2010: 39
  • 2009: 28
  • 2008: 5

Cities:

  • Manhattan: 28
  • Brooklyn: 18
  • Philadelphia: 11
  • Chicago: 5

States (+ a foreign country):

  • New York: 48
  • Pennsylvania: 12
  • New Jersey: 8
  • Illinois: 5
  • California: 4
  • United Kingdom: 2

Venues:

  • Music Hall: 4
  • Bowery: 3
  • Market Hotel: 3
  • Irving: 5
  • Studio: 6
  • Webster: 8

Most seen:

  • Knuckle Puck: 15
  • Pinegrove: 9
  • Brand New: 8
  • Modern Baseball: 7
  • Kevin Devine: 6
  • Sorority Noise: 6
  • blink-182: 5
  • Julien Baker: 5
  • Petal: 5
  • Real Friends: 5
  • Have Mercy: 5

A Year in the Life of a Retired Kid Blogger

PropertyOfZack was laid to rest a year ago today. Since then, most things have changed for me. I moved back to New York, I shed several jobs and responsibilities while gaining more, I bought a house, I moved in with my partner, and I even started liking seltzer (but not LaCroix - yet?).

Towards the end of my stay in Philly, the majority of my activities were singular, while everything I noted above has involved positive outside forces and collaboration. 

Graduating college was rewarding in a finally kind of way, but I was stuck beyond that in a job that was cancerous and a studio apartment that was isolated. I had no plans to leave, but an opportunity pulled me away and I’m very thankful to have jumped into something new.

Every month or so, someone will ask me if I miss running the website. The answer never waivers from “no,” but I do miss the community of people around it from Jesse and Adrienne to very excited Twitter followers. It does, after all, seem crazy that a website that primarily existed because of blink-182, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and Kevin Devine bowed out the year before each of those bands released new music. But that’s life.

While I still tweet endlessly, it felt like a noticeable internal change has taken place to be able to be less public, which is something that was beginning to take a real strain on me over the final year of the site’s existence. And that has been healthy for me. 

I did and do love the website though. And I was and am proud of all that was accomplished despite hardships, mistakes, internal and external ignorance, and arthritis. 

I hope more music blogs pop up in the next year.

I hope I write more.

I hope you all listen to the great music I’m lucky enough to be involved in. 

And I hope my wrist stops hurting. 

22 and Arthritis; RSI and Adjustments

I have arthritis.

Since June, I have been dealing with an unfortunate amount of pain. There was a day in June, right around my graduation from Drexel, where I was working out of the Jade Tree office and felt a sudden unbearable pain throughout my wrist and hand. I could barely type or scroll on my keyboard and Magic Trackpad and beyond that, I could barely move my hand. That pain came on all at once, not over time. For the next few days, I tried to be smarter about pushing myself "too far," but I failed that goal most of the time. Even when I could take meaningful breaks from work to rest my wrist and arm, there was still pain. And there's been pain every day since that first one.

In August, I received an MRI at the University of Pennsylvania that showed signs of tendinitis. I began taking continued measures to lessen the amount of work I did per day, but still, little helped. Following my MRI, I began going to physical therapy in October. The therapy helped quite a bit, but unfortunately never lasted. I hoped that going away for around a week over holiday break to a cabin in the woods of Oregon would give my arm and wrist a long enough break to truly recoup, but I was wrong. The pain returned stronger than ever, so I decided to see a specialist.

After taking an x-ray, he confirmed that a surgery I had when I was 15 (before having a second surgery at 17) on my wrist from a soccer injury was in the 5% of surgeries that go wrong. That failure has left me with arthritis in my wrist, which is causing inflammation on my tendons directly above my wrist. There is no cure. To fix the arthritis, a doctor would cut out part of my bone and leave me without 50% of the motion in my wrist. Something I cannot comprehend. A pain relieving shot would likely rupture my tendon, which would also require surgery and is not a long term fix. I can take anti-inflammatory pills, but only for a small subset of time because they can cause kidney damage. Which is a shame, because they're helping.

RSI was something I've been aware of for years as a nerd and heavy computer user. What sucks is that I was dealt and extra bad hand (literally). I have been taking some precautions to try to help along my RSI:

  • Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard: Per Marco Arment's recommendation, I bought a Microsoft product! The keyboard is funky, but very ergonomic. It is certainly better than using a normal Apple keyboard, and I use it full-time at my desk now.
  • Logitech MX Mouse: Per Cortex's recommendation, I began using this MX mouse in replace of my Magic Trackpad. The difference was massive, as a trackpad now tends to criple my hand, which saddens me.
  • iPad Pro: A laptop is now unbearable for me to use. Like I mentioned above, a trackpad is now a non-starter for me, which is still strange to believe as someone who used to hate mice. This caused me to wonder if I could 1) truly do my day-to-day on the run work on an iPad Pro and 2) see if it would not criple me like a laptop does. So far I'm happy with the results and will be keeping the Pro and selling my formerly beloved Retina MacBook Pro.
  • Switching iPhone Sizes: This sounds silly, but using an iPhone 6s Plus is hurting me. The extra stretching, etc is causing me frequent pain. While I don't know if going back to a 6s Minus will help, I'm going to try it. Maybe I'll even try the rumored iPhone 5se if downgrading to the 6s doesn't help.

The quick mental math for the items above equals out to expensive. And the truth is, this all has been. But I hope it continues to be worth it in some way. It's been incredibly shitty to be dealing with chronic pain for the majority of every single day for over six months now. The worst part is, I'll likely be dealing with this pain for the rest of my life.

Let's hope the adjustments help.

The Cue and IPR Sheets

Before we can get test presses (and then the actual pressing) made for any Bad Timing release, we have to send a cue sheet and an IPR sheet. What are those? A cue sheet can differ slightly from sector to sector within the industry. For example, ASCAP says a cue sheet is "a document that lists all of the musical elements of an audio/visual program,” and that they use "cue sheets to determine to whom it distributes performance royalties." That's not all that much different from what a record label does with a cue sheet, but there are a few slight variations per record plant. Bad Timing uses AtoZ, a music broker that makes our vinyl at GZ - the same plant Pirates Press uses. Below is a screenshot of a blank AtoZ cue sheet.

It's pretty simple. We fill in the artist(s) performing on the vinyl release, the title, the catalog number (“selection”), the speed (33RPM, 45RPM) and if we want any spacing between tracks. The spacing is important to get right, as the individual that masters your vinyl side will often make (or not make) transitions. If you are pressing a double LP, plants often have A/B and C/D side cue sheets. Next is the IPR form.

Intellectual Property Rights. Do you have them? Do you? This is a pretty simple form. What's the album title? Are you selling it? Yes, okay, well that's retail. Do you own the entire master? If not, just say no - it's okay. Etc. Easy peasy.

Plants tend not to move forward with test presses unless both the cue and IPR sheets are filled out. The cue sheet is their North Star and the IPR form is their waiver of liability. I am typically the one, between Thomas and I, that sends new releases to the plant. I always send our masters with CUE and IPR sheets.

Vinyl’s Demand and Slipping Supply

Marc Hogan wrote a piece for Stereogum towards the end of July that got a lot of buzz, and rightfully so.

Vinyl right now is at a point of multiple paradoxes. One of the biggest involves the manufacturing side. For all the headaches caused by pressing delays, the backup at the plants is a sign there’s demand for more records, not fewer. It’s a matter of supply and demand, and the problem is too much demand. While that isn’t economically ideal, it’s surely better than the alternative.

The title of Hogan’s piece, and the main focus of it, is “Have We Reached Peak Vinyl?” The discussion of peak vinyl isn’t as much of an interest to me as the discussion over supply and demand. If the production times for this current “peak” were cut in half, manufacturing times for vinyl would still take two or more months when all is said and done. That’s a frustrating reality for a portion of the industry that is booming.

Vinyl production consists of several steps:

  • Audio turn in
  • Test press approval
  • Artwork preflight
  • Product order
  • Manufacturing and assembly
  • Shipping and delivery

I took a look at the manufacturing turnaround times that Bad Timing has seen from our start a couple of years ago to the times we’re seeing now. They’re eye-opening.

BTR-005/006: Mansions - New Best Friends + The Biggest Lie b/w Tangerine 7″

  • 01/02/14: Audio turned in
  • 01/23/14: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • 02/19/14: Vinyl shipped and delivered

BTR-008: Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried

  • 01/21/14: Audio turned in
  • 02/24/14: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • 04/17/14: Vinyl shipped and delivered
  • 04/24/14: Repress ordered due to high demand
  • 06/10/14: Second pressing shipped and delivered

BTR-012: Knuckle Puck - While I Stay Secluded

  • 08/27/14: Audio turned in
  • 09/26/14: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • 11/07/14: Vinyl shipped and delivered

BTR-017: Mansions - Dig Up The Dead (Acoustic)

  • 09/08/14: Audio turned in
  • 10/13/14: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • 12/03/14: Vinyl shipped and delivered

BTR-025: Kevin Devine, Meredith Graves - Devinyl Splits No. 3

  • 02/03/15: Audio turned in
  • 02/23/15: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • 06/09/15: Vinyl shipped and delivered

[To Be Completed] BTR-029: Pentimento - I, No Longer 

  • 04/20/15: Audio turned in
  • 05/29/15: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • Expected shipment: 10/07/15

[To Be Completed] BTR-036: To Be Announced

  • 07/28/15: Audio turned in
  • 08/20/15: Test presses and artwork preflight approved
  • Expected shipment: 01/18/16

If you read from top to bottom of the timeline above, it’s a big shift over a small amount of time. It’s very worthwhile to note that at any pressing plant you go through a revolving door of Record Store Day push and pulls, heat / work delays, random acts of annoyances, and just general errors or slippages on all ends.

The experience we’ve had at Bad Timing (that also mirrored my time with Jade Tree) is frustrating because of these timelines. It’s hard to pay for and plan a release while managing cash flow over such a long period of time. And beyond that, it’s difficult for bands as well. Vinyl is often the focal point for online label sales for music and in-person sales for bands at shows as well.

Do we delay bands going out on tour until we can release a new album in all formats at the same time, or do we delay the release of the vinyl format if pressing times continue to slip?

I don’t know the answer, but it’s been on my mind for the past few weeks. If pressing times continue to take a quarter of the year (or more) once you factor in shipping and distribution timelines - do we delay our plans for the vinyl or do we begin to move on without it?

Bandsintown Tour Uploader

August 10th was National Day After Warped Tour Announcement Day, otherwise known as "the worst day to be a manager or booking agent" and "the best day to be a blogger." This year’s National Day After Warped Tour Announcement Day was the first time I celebrated not as a blogger, but as a full-on suit. Two bands I manage, Knuckle Puck and Have Mercy, each announced a headlining tour at the same time on the same day. It was a lot, and it took a lot to get there.

One thing that made the launch considerably easier was not needing to individually input 30+ dates for each tour into Bandsintown. How can you avoid that as a band or manager? Use the Bandsintown parser system. All you have to do to have all of your dates uploaded to Bandsintown at once, rather than going through the system one-by-one,  is to fill out the band name, dates of tour, the country, state, city, venue, description and ticketURL (if you have it). Here’s an example featuring Have Mercy. It’s a pretty easy system -- just make sure to export your final file as a .xls, as Bandsintown’s software cannot handle .xlsx or .numbers. Then you:

  • Email: tourinfo@bandsintown.com 
  • Subject: Band Name
  • Body: Bandsintown Facebook Link
  • Attach: .xls parser
  • Tip: Bandsintown usually digests and spits out the dates into a bands profile in just a few minutes, so if you’re looking to announce a tour at a specific time, maybe hold off on hitting send until 5 or so minutes before the launch. 

Download the parser template for yourself.