When you buy a Brass Band CD, what do you want on it?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by DocFox, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    This really isn't "off-topic" but it really didn't fit any other category.

    Having probably the largest all Brass Band Radio station in the world I depend on a lot of things. First I depend on the find people who give donations. Second, I am very grateful to bands who donate their CDs. Lastly, I depend on the voting system.

    Any track that is played on the station a listener can vote it from 1 star (please remove the track) to 5 stars (the best of the best). That way I am not choosing the tracks by myself. The listeners have a much greater input.

    But to keep the playlist fresh, I occasionally have to buy some CDs. I think I own over 700 Brass Band CDs.

    I was browsing through some CDs lately and was amazed that CDs I bought 5+ years ago were still being touted as some of the newer releases. That is OK, bands do not put out CDs all the time unless they are Black Dyke, etc.

    I came across a CD that had only 9 tracks. The primary track was Lovatt-Cooper's Within Blue Empires test piece of a few years ago. 22 minutes and 16 seconds worth. I thought, how often would you want to listen to that piece that you would buy a CD of it? I have heard the piece twice. It is interesting and definitely a test piece.

    But if I were going to do as Chris Helme says on the Sunday Bandstand show on my station "sit back, and put your feet up and relax and listen ..." would Within Blue Empires be at the top of the list? or even on the list? I know it would be voted off the station is a hurry.

    (As I am typing this Brighouse & Rastrick is playing The Lincolnshire Poacher -- quite a contrast).

    Now I imagine many CD sales are done at concerts and contests. They are purchased by the audience for the music and a way to support the band. But that would not keep World of Brass, Midland CD and others in business if that was they only way someone bought recorded music.

    I would be very interested to know what you look for in a CD before purchasing.
  2. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Music that we want to listen to again and again. Decent contest music, not the bland concert / bandstand stuff that many CD's contain just to sell to Joe Bloggs (or American tourists).
  3. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Ian, does that mean you would buy CDs of contests or contest pieces and or serious works such as (I will name a few in my collection that got totally voted off the station):

    Vienna Nights - Black Dyke
    Portrait of August de Boeck - Brassband Buizingen
    Respighi's Church Windows - Norridge Citadel Band
    Pictures at an Exhibition - Britannia Building Society
    (that's enough)

    Whereas, the top CDs on the station, which blah blah, are voted on by the listeners.

    Patron's Choice CDs
    Best of CDs
    Musical Reviews
    Hymn of the Highlands
    Movie and TV Music (which I assume you would list under "bandstand stuff")

    Longer Tracks include:

    Seize the Day
    Overture of 1812
    Procession to the Minster
    Procession of the Nobles
    William Tell Overture

    One last thought (I know I am long winded). Would you have bought a CD from a good European Band that had 20+ minutes of Within Blue Empires, and 8 others tracks I didn't know from a good European band that was on sale?
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Speaking as someone with a very large collection of recordings, mainly now on cd, I am looking for discs that do not duplicate reprtoire that I already have. As I am only choosing music for my own enjoyment, I tend to go for more serious and extended repertoire, although good concert discs such as those by the old Sellers and YBS bands are still of interest.

    I enjoy single composer discs , particularly if they show how the composer has developed his writing style, and have discovered some gems by stepping into the unknown, especially with some of the Scandinavian bands. I should also say that some of my favourite recordings have been bought secondhand from ebay.
  5. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    I have not ventured into this world. I use eBay for lots of items, but never CDs. I guess I pay royalties for my radio station (a vast majority of internet radio stations do not -- counting on a significant number of stations broadcasting illegally to give them "cover") and nothing prevents someone from buying a CD, importing it to iTunes or digitally copying it, and reselling it on eBay. They are breaking the law -- but it is more of a moral issue than a chance at being caught. You can do this at no risk unless, of course, you have a high sense of morality.

    You play in two Salvation Army groups. Every time someone copies a CD from either group, it takes at least potential money away from the groups.

    Now the problem is on eBay; you do not know if the person is selling the CD because they are tired of it and do not listen to it anymore, or are selling a CD that was illegally copied.

    I, of course, buy CDs mostly for the radio station. So like you, I look for tracks I do not already have. Right now I have three versions of Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission on the playlist. But all three are different. One has a cornet playing the solo, one has a clarinet playing the solo, and the last one has bagpipes playing the solo.

    Peter, thanks for the idea. I guess buying on eBay is not my moral dilemma, but the seller's problem. I have no idea why the person is selling the CD. I could sell some 50 to 75 CDs from my collection that I never listen to anymore. Some were bought on a whim because they seemed interesting. Some I listened to quite a bit, but other CDs have taken their place. Perhaps I could make enough money selling on eBay to buy new CDs. It is an idea.
  6. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    I asked this question for somewhat selfish reasons. I am always trying to get a feel for what people and brass banders especially would like to hear on All Brass Radio. I have a large following, so I am not really trying to get a bunch more listeners (a lot more would cost me much more in royalties) and I make no money from the station. In fact, I lose a lot each month.

    But I do this primarily to promote banding and to have a pleasing station.

    I may have asked the wrong question originally! A better question might be "What was the last Brass Band CD you bought and why did you buy that CD?"

    Now I buy mine mostly for the station, and I buy in spurts to save shipping. I have purchased five CDs in the last month. I average 1 or 2 a month and have 1 or 2 donated a month.
    Here is what I bought:

    Of Gods and Kings by the Foden's Band
    The Way We Were by the Cory Band
    Forever Shining by the Black Dyke Band

    The three above are fairly recent releases by top bands with good mixes of tracks that I don't already have 5 copies of! It keeps the playlist fresh. Tracks are voted off the playlist by voters, and I replace them with new tracks.

    Musicals by the Household Troops Band of the Salvation Army

    This is a fairly recent release by the HTB. All musical compilations. Many I didn't have before.

    War Memorials by the Tredegar Town Band

    This is a very fresh CD. Lots of new and a bit more complex tracks. I have been introducing more "serious" music lately and evidenced by the voting, the listeners seem to like them (but not all!). All hymns and pop tunes are tiring and long test pieces do not seem to fly either.

    What have you purchased lately and what motivated you? Or if you like, you can suggest a CD you think I should consider for the station.

    Thanks to all!

    Jim the Brass Banding Yank :rolleyes:
  7. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    I'd just like to make the point that I prefer to buy CDs of more extended/serious works (e.g. Test Pieces) rather than 'light'/short pieces/arrangements/ditties, but if I'm listening to the radio, I prefer hearing shorter, more varied pieces. I'll put on a particular piece of music to suit my mood but if I'm listening to the radio it's because I want variety. (NB interesting that you have three versions of Gabriel's Oboe on the playlist yet none of them is played by an oboe!).
  8. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    If I could find a brass band that has recorded it with an oboe, I would be delighted! Do you know of one?

    What you said is basically true for the station. If a piece is over 6 minutes long, it needs to be a well-known or well-played piece. Most of the listeners want variety, but NOT the equivalent of a "Brass Band Top 40" station. If I play extended/serious works they are things like (I am repeating myself, ugh):

    Elsa's Procession to the Minster
    Respighi's Church Windows
    The 1812 Overture
    Hymn of the Highlands
    Occasional Overture, Op. 38
    Mars, The Bringer of War

    Most are 9 to 15 minutes long. Voting on the station would agree with your assessment. Some shorter tunes (and compilations) with a mix of longer tunes, more complex tunes. Test pieces always get voted off, even shorter ones that I think are likable (some test pieces are not all that musical).

    Since most of the Brass Band CDs are what Ian calls "Bandstand Stuff" ("Patron's Choice", "Best of", "Black Dyke Gold", etc.) and the more serious CDs are often on sale, how many "Joe Bloggs and American Tourists" are there to buy CDs?
  9. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    For me the biggest factors are 'new' repertoire and quality

    Struggling to find a way to say this that doesn't sound really snobby but I'm not going to spend money to hear compositions/arrangements, or a band playing, that I don't think are very good.... and I prefer not to hear them on the radio either!
    Slider1 likes this.
  10. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Alex, my goodness that is a strong statement. I know you listen to the station every so often (he recently sent me an email) and the radio station is self-regulating. Band bands and unwanted tracks get voted off. I must have 40+ CDs in my collection I do not put on the station because the tracks have been voted off. The station has been shifting to longer, what I would call "more interesting" pieces. But there are still lots of arrangements.

    It is hard to find original music outside of test pieces. Most of the more interesting pieces are arrangements of classical pieces for Brass Band. One of the reasons I bought War Memorials by the Tredegar Town Band because the music was so interesting.

    As for the quality of the bands. I do not play just Championship and 1st Division bands. Part of the station's mandate has always been to PROMOTE brass banding. People tune in all over the world. Last night I looked before I went to bed and I had 9 point listeners from Japan! A point listener is simply what it sounds like, some point listening. That could be an individual, or iTunes (and therefore 10 people listening via iTunes) or ByGrace radio, InTune Radio ... you do not know how many actual listeners are actively listening. Whew!

    So, I want to promote brass banding, even the lower bands, and entertain brass banders. A very tight line to walk. So I play some 3rd and 4th division bands and "bandstand" tunes to interest people. I let the voting determine the mix. It works well for the most part.
  11. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Oh you shouldnt of said that, you'll start him off !
  12. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Too late!
  13. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Ian, I promise to be nice. Besides, Alex sent me an email and wants to donate some music.

    Is that my only legacy, long-winded defenses of my positions. Well... maybe :rolleyes:
  14. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    That was very very nearly succint ! go on, keep it up and see how much longer your keyboard lasts !
  15. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Like I said, I struggled with how to word it, because I know how quick some people are to judge on here, or to jump at any chances to try and have a wind up :rolleyes:

    And I totally understand your point about promoting banding and not just playing the top sections - its a great idea, and I've had a few pleasant surprises along the way listening to your station, so thank you for that. However, your post was asking what we want, and my answer was honest.

    (and I'm a she btw... :) )
  16. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Sorry Alex,

    The first rule of written dialogue is never to assume gender. My apologies. Yes, I agree, the answers here have been quite honest. Most have suggested more serious music. When I first started the station 11+ years ago, almost all the tracks were "bandstand" tunes. I never put up anything over 5 minutes long and tried to stay under 4 minutes. That is how the voting seemed to go. I had only about 330 tracks, so the playlist flipped often and it would get boring.

    Now 10 years later, the top voted tracks are always things like Overture of 1812, Procession to the Minster, Overture From The Bartered Bride, Hymn of the Highlands and even Black Dyke playing Mars from the Planets. These are now top tracks whereas a few years ago, they would have been voted off.

    The listenership base has exploded in the last two years. I have been buying more serious music, and I think both those new to brass banding like hearing these pieces too which helps me promote brass banding. Of course, new listeners like the bandstand type of music and learn, I believe, to appreciate the longer and more serious pieces.

    Winding me up on this board is an Olympic sport. People love to do it. I was a college professor, so I tend to explain anything that may not be clear or self-evident. And my academic training is well ingrained into me to back up the points I do make.

    I am what I am. This board is populated mostly with nice people. There are few who have gotten frustrated with me and called rather impolite names (just look at the "Trump, Who Saw that Coming...." thread in the Off-Topic section). Most of the time, winding me up is in good fun.

    And Ian, really like my new keyboard :)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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