Editorial: July / AUGUST 2005

From Rags to Riches

Neil Carr
The scene never gets boring does it? When I first came to the scene long before remix64.com and before RKO, there was no real place to be. Haven't things changed?

C64Audio.com had just finished making Back in Time 2 and was developing a great idea of becoming a c64 record label. The main place to talk about remixes and such was a yahoo group. A change was certainly needed and while other scenes had some sort of portal the c64 scene was sadly lacking.

Jan Lund Thomsen noticing a gap created RKO, finally a one stop website for downloads, and a community was beginning to show a form. It didn’t take long for RKO to establish itself as one of the most visited c64 sites ever, and still to this day those clogs still keep on turning and providing the scene with their addiction quench.

Then up pops one man with an idea in the UK and up pops one man with an idea in Germany. It was soon apparent that their ideas matched and instead of becoming two separate sites they’d work together and create one. That site is the one you are reading this editorial on; Remix64.

So, now we had a one stop place to download your mixes, a record label producing some quality CD’s and a community. It wasn’t long that the three sites would gain a better understand and a bond that would bring them all closer to each other. A bold ambitious plan set out to basically interlink everything; it worked!

In the space of a year the c64 remix scene had grown from a couple of scattered websites around the web to a full flourishing community. Then in another bold move Remix64 became interactive. So not only could musicians enjoy a scene but so could listeners who could vote, review and discuss them all in a nice little tidy place.

Later Remix64 became partners with AMIGAremix, which promised to do the same duty as RKO but with Amiga remakes, and Remix64 would be part of the scheme by introducing the same features as they did with RKO.

While all this was happening, a most unusual idea was forming from the C64audio.com stable. What about a c64 gathering with live music, dancing, drinking (lots of it) all in one club? Well, the idea wasn’t so new - there’d been copy parties around for years in fact. The twist of it here was there was no c64 coding or anything. It would be entertainment to the max, but not only that - it would also have celebs in the form of Whittaker, Daglish, Hubbard, Cooksey, Galway, Gray and more.

This was just the start of it and the gathering in years to come would turn into a concert. Who in their right mind would have ever thought you’d see Rob Hubbard in front of a keyboard on stage in front of 100’s of admiring fans? Well, it happened. Not only did we see Hubbard but also Reyn Ouwehand and Ben Daglish play live in the guise of SID 80’s.

With technology improving all the time, who would think of a new idea to entertain us? A certain chap going under the name of Slaygon had a nifty idea of creating a radio station. It initially got few listeners, but it was slowly growing. The impact began when the idea of DJ’d shows was born, first pre-recorded then LIVE. Soon this little idea would grow into a community in itself, with of course the Remix64 crew playing its part as a portal in introducing topical debate to the forums.

The latest baby to show itself, which is very promising, is another Jan Lund Thomsen idea. Remixes to go. With the advent of Podcasting Jan came up with the idea of a c64 podcast radio show. So far the signs are that the idea could grow into another major addon to the scene, and yet again the close links from remix64 provide discussion.

So, who’s the next chap to come up with the next brainstorm? Maybe you?

- Neil

Links to the sites in this editorial:

Remix64

c64Audio

Amiga Remix

SLAY Radio

RKO

The C64 Take-away podcast


Chris Abbott

jamster be damned...

One of the things that frustrates me the most in life is having lots of ideas, and then not having the infrastructure to realise them.

It's especially frustrating when you see a market leader, and you know that you can do better. Indeed, you see the market leader, and you know that a concussed slug could do better! But what chance does one guy have against a multinational?

For the moment, I'll have to accept that. But at least a start has been made. Check out www.logogo.com. Finally a decent videogames section (run by me, actually!) of ringtones that don't demand subscription, and which have been lovingly prepared.

I'll let you into a secret of the ringtone business: when it comes down to it, there are only two major suppliers of ringtones in the world: Jamster/Jamba, and an Austrian company called Sound On Web. They are pretty much the only two companies with the manpower to keep up with the treadmill of new releases. Now, Sound on Web also has the dubious distinction for being responsible for ripping some of my MIDI files off the web and selling them. In their own way, I think they're as bad as Jamster.

However, these companies have found out one crucial fact: quality doesn't count. In the target demographic, it doesn't matter what the quality of your ringtone is, it doesn't affect the sales level.

How do I know this?

Well, as an experiment, I created three ringtones which were replacements for Sound on Web's crap versions of Axel F, Lonely (by Akon), and a version of Brown Girl in the Ring which is being used by Jamster with a dancing bear.

My versions are much better than the versions from the other two companies. In fact, Boz and Kenz farting Axel F at the end of a Z-Show Curry special would sound better than Sound on Web's Axel F (see the URLs so you can do a direct comparison!!).

Did it result in my ringtones replacing Sound on Web's? Well, yes. It might make me some pocket money yet. Did it increase the number of ringtone sales? Well, no, it didn't. They stayed stable. Does this mean that the buying audience is easy to please? Well, apparently, yes.

And you know the weirdest part of all this? The Axel F ringtone I replaced didn't even work properly on four voice phones! (it was meant to, but it was badly programmed with a two polyphony rhythm channel, which is a no-no in a general purpose ringtone MIDI file).

So, the biggest ringtone content creators in the world hadn't even bothered to check if their ringtone worked properly. Now is that sick or what?

Anyway, so. I'm finally launching C64ringtones.com on 7th July, which coincides with an advert in Retro Gamer. I've got my work cut out, though.

Why?

Well, we've established that the ringtone companies frankly don't give a flying toss about the consumer. We've also established that the consumer doesn't trust the ringtone companies: and often with good reason.

My challenge (and I have to accept it), is to persuade people that:

a) We're not going to rip them off
b) That the sequence of events in buying a ringtone is nothing to be scared of
c) That the ringtones are quality, and
d) That the appropriate people get recompensed.

Articles like this are a start, of course.

Basically, these ringtones are aimed at a completely different and much more sceptical and demanding audience than the people who actually buy the ringtones. So I'm fighting a cultural battle to overcome fear and prejudice.

Who would have thought it?

Oh well. Tickets for BITL are on sale on http://www.c64audio.com

See you there! I promise you: you won't regret coming.

This man is a whiz with an angle.
Like this chap, whose second coming is appreciated by everyone!

My Axel F - ringtone sample

Their Axel F

BITL Tickets available


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