Birnam CD

Birnam CD (like Greentrax) have been one of the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards longest running sponsors. They’ve have been supporting us and sponsoring Album of the Year since 2003. We always look forward to Martin’s ‘witty’ speech or song. If you have any CD pressing needs they’re the company to go to. Read more about them below. If you haven’t voted in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards you can VOTE NOW!

Birnam CD were the second recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Birnam CD have been meeting music users need since 1986 and taking all musicians through the many transitions that have happened since,

We asked Martin Hadden of Birnam CD the following questions.

What is your principle company activity?
Music Services, including:
CD / DVD / Vinyl pressing & packaging; Media Promotion; Promotion of artists to Festivals; Online Services (Downloads / streaming / online CD/DVD sales); Graphic Design

When and where did the company first start trading?
Started in 1986 in Fountainhall, Scottish Borders

What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
My first job within “Scottish Culture” was when I joined the band Silly Wizard in 1976. I was told that there would be lots of free beer in the dressing rooms.

I have worked in Scottish Culture, covering all areas of Scottish and Scottish-made Music, from the age of 19. Apart from the promise of free beer, I really can’t remember what made me want to do so. I didn’t really think about it, just jumped on board!

Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
Successfully managing the move from being a cassette duplication company to becoming a CD / DVD replication company. Appointing Mike Garden as graphic designer, enabling us to add the very highest standard of creative design to our range of services. My son Calum joining the business in 2008. He takes care of our social media presence and handles the digital services for our clients. The redesign and launch of our new website in 2012.

What are your company’s plans for the future?
To broaden our range of services to offer even more opportunities and assistance to artists and labels. We will do so by expanding our present promotional packages and by introducing new schemes to further help our clients in spreading the word about their music. To keep abreast of new developments as music delivery methods change.

How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight award?
We will fly to Las Vegas, hire a pool table and see what develops……….

Either that or go for a curry in Dunkeld.

Decisions, decisions…..

Birnam CD
Station Road
Birnam, Dunkeld
+44 (0)1350 727 158 (general)
[email protected]

Have you been to the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards before?

Tickets are going fast for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Aberdeen Music Hall. As usual it will be a great fun night with loads of Awards and fabulous music.

How many awards have you attended? Have you been to them all? I would love to know :) Tell me in the comments below.

Buy your tickets here

Is the CD dead?

CDAs someone involved in the commercial side of Scottish traditional music as well as the charitable sector I often ask myself “Have CDs had their day and is everyone buying/streaming downloads from iTunes, Spotify etc? Or do CDs still have a place?”.

I watch my kids listening to Spotify, choosing 1 track from an album and then moving on to another track not really interested in the artist’s other work. They don’t even listen to my albums (!) just pick a track here and there (if I’m lucky and the tune is about them!).

As a musician I love the CD (or LP or cassette) as it is a chance to showcase my work of the time – show where my brain is at and what place in my music I’m at. When I listen to a CD of Lau or Karine Polwart the album tells me what is happening in their lives at the moment and how they’re reacting to it. They’re telling a story. Also what about classical music, downloads and young people. This music is definitely not bite sized and skipable quickly over – it’s to be listened to! Are album’s being consigned to history?

What’s the answer? What can we do? Commercially this new model of 1 track at a time doesn’t really work for Scottish music. We’re a minority niche and therefore never going to sell millions of units which you need to make any money out of downloads and even more so streaming. The commercial sector needs income to survive. How can we embrace this new digital age and compete with 69p downloads?

Obviously the music is not going to go away – there are more people playing it than ever in Scotland. I wonder if we not have to consider the music we make as a way to get performance opportunities and rather than a profit making business they’re promo packs designed to get gigs – calling cards. But I suppose they’ve always been this as well! We just have to keep raising the prominence of Scottish music across the world and make the public look to buy it – somehow…

Simon Thoumire

Have you read about Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail project?

Fèis Rois started its innovative Ceilidh Trail project in Ross-Shire in 2000. This cultural tourism initiative gives aspiring young musicians the opportunity to develop their performance skills and to experience life as a touring artist. This successful model has now been adopted by six other communities acrossthe Highlands.

In 2012, in addition to running a local Ceilidh Trail across Ross & Cromarty, Fèis Rois also piloted a national Ceilidh Trail across Scotland. Fèis Rois offered summer employment to 17 young musicians who gave over 100 performances to almost 8,000 people in communities across Scotland. Throughout July and August 2012, Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trails visited venues in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Caithness, Orkney, Dumfries & Galloway, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Dundee, Angus, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Fife, Perth & Kinross, Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Western Isles and the Highlands! The project enhanced the visitor experience to Scotland with performances taking place everywhere from Stirling Castle to Skara Brae and the Callanish Stones to Kellie Castle.

The project brought traditional music to the heart of many communities throughout the peak tourist season.

Feis Rois are nominated in the Community Award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards alongside Scots Music Group Inspire Project, Glasgow Irish Minstrels Branch of Comhaltas and Tiree Music Festival. Vote now in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2012

Glasgow Irish Minstrels Branch of Comhaltas music session

Just back from St Roch’s where the Glasgow Irish Minstrels Branch of Comhaltas host their music lessons. They’re nominated in the Community Award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards alongside Scots Music Group Inspire Project, Feis Rois Local and National Ceilidh Trail 2012 and Tiree Music Festival.

There was a great recital from BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award finalist Paddy Callaghan who was joined by Johnny Canning on fiddle for the last set. Here’s a couple of photos.

The value of social media

People often say to me that social media – eg FaceBook, Twitter has been bad for trad music. I don’t agree. Yes the way that everything disappears on social media is not exactly traditional and I suppose if traditional music had relied on social media there would be no traditional culture as it would have disappeared down someone’s wall and been forgotten.

The marketing possibilities are amazing though. A YouTube video of a session in a corner of Scotland can be seen worldwide in seconds, a song can be shared across the web and learnt by lots of different people. In terms of the Trad Awards folks can hear about bands and organisations through FaceBook, come along and vote and look up and down the category and learn about 3 other great acts in the category which are only a click away.

Over the years we’ve had votes from Alaska and Uruguay and I often wonder how these guys would have heard about Scottish traditional music without the web and social media. So please share away the Trad Awards link and get all your friends to share it too and let’s link up the social world with Scottish traditional music.

Vote Now in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

First Blog!

It’s always a very exciting time as we’re about to launch the names of our 2012 Nominees. It’s a great list of musicians and organisations that have contributed to the last 12 months of music. The whole country contributes to the list as well. There are acts nominated from all over the country.

I say this every year and I’ll say it again. The strength of the Scottish trad music scene is present in the amount of bands that have not been nominated in this years list. We’re so lucky to have so many fantastic musicians, bands and organisations that contribute to the continuing and sustaining of our tradition.

I’ll leave just now and get the site ready for the nominations on Wednesday 31st October. Good luck everybody!!