Advertising Results

I recently ran an advert on Facebook. Ok, yes, Facebook is evil, but it was £7 for a week and the whole idea was so ludicrous that I gave it a go.

Originally, the advert was directed at US-based fans of Christian rock music, but they were so profoundly disinterested, that I started worrying a bit about wasting my money and so broadened out to also include Canadian fans of noise music.

My advertisement ‘reached’ 1,267 people. Which means, it was placed in the feeds of that number of people. Not that they saw it at all, just that it went into their feeds. Of those, 22 people interacted with it some way. 15 of them clicked ‘like’. One of them liked my page (more useful). One of them actually shared my promoted post!

So I went to his page. He shares everything he sees. Which is mostly about cars, guns and war. His 13 facebook friends probably have him muted.

Of the 15 people who liked the post, I ‘invited’ all of them to like my page. Two or three did.

Facebook does not tell me how many people clicked the link through to my shop. However, Etsy gives me statistics on views.

31 people found my shop via Facebook. I can’t say how many of them came from my advert, but I think having 17 views from Canada is possibly unusual.

I’ve also been promoting this round of commissions through blog posts (like this one), twitter and Diaspora. Etsy also is a traffic draw. Over the last 30 days, there have been 224 views of my shop, which may or may not mean it’s been seen by 224 people. 29 People came via twitter and 3 from my blog. Views peaked on Friday, when my shop had 60 views.

16 people actually got as far as looking at a listing. One person favourited the listing. Nobody commissioned me.

It’s worth noting that only nine of my facebook visitors came from the non-mobile website and the rest were mobile users. this may be a reflection of the growing importance or the mobile web. Or there is the tiniest possibility that it’s more strongly related to the facebook mobile UI. Users complain frequently that it’s impossible to use and they keep clicking on adverts accidentally. But, if it looks like clicks to advertisers, why would facebook fix it? It’s not like their users are their customers.

I think it’s clear that I just wasted £7, spending it on ineffective, annoying evil. It’s like selling your soul to the devil for a subway sandwich.

I started this project nearly 10 years ago. Before crowd funding sites and before patreon. Both of those models are potentially well-suited to this project. Indeed, in many ways, they’re both better suited than my model. If I had done crowd-funding, I could have made naming tracks rewards for sponsorship, which is more or less what I’m doing now, but with a model that makes a bit more sense and guarantees that people will actually end up with the album at the end. If I had gone with Patreon, I would not be wedded to the one-minute-of-noise format I’ve chosen, as subscribers would be supporting my output more generally. It would, however, create pressure to make and post tracks frequently enough that I didn’t feel guilty for taking people’s money. Through sponsorship and reliable posting, there’s a potential I could grow my listener base.

This is not a good time of year for doing this sort of project, which may have performed better before Christmas. Every time I do it, I worry I’ve exhausted my social capital. People who commission me are usually only one degree away. Once in a while, I’ll get somebody two degrees away. Alas, my original, foundational hope that people would hear their friend’s commissions and want one for themselves has not come to be.

On the other hand, I started this before my PhD, something which did force me to take along break from it. I do it when I feel like it and pause it when I don’t. I have a lot of control over when I’m not working on this project, which is something I needed towards the start.

I’ve got another advert about to run on a porn blog. Will anybody commission me from it? Probably not, but at least this one will result in a new piece of music, so I don’t care.

This is an advert right here. Have you noticed it? Have you ever clicked through? Have you ever wanted to commission short bursts of noise for the same amount of money I spent advertising that possibility? Go for it! Order now for this Valentines Day!

Send me your dick pics

Friends, Romans, countrymen, send me your dick pics! It’s for an art project.

You might want to encrypt them first. It turns out the UK’s government has the world’s largest of dick pics. Not because civil servants are extra-randy, but because they’ve intercepted them. From people’s private webcam conversations. Which is another way of saying they’re all stolen. Which is another way of saying: those dick pics are yours. You took them (or other intimate pictures involving your own anatomy) to share with someone special and now they’re in the mitts of Davey Cameron.

(Don’t worry about this too much unless you happen to resemble a ham. He’s probably not personally seen them. Anyway, if you haven’t done anything illegal, you’ve got nothing to hide. Aside from your dick pics, if you have some completely unreasonable notion that you should be able to control the distribution of these pictures and resent third parties taking copies of them mid-transit. Like a terrorist would think.)

If you would like to send me your dick pic, but prevent it from falling into the hands of spads, feel free to encrypt it. To be extra-secure, you need not send me your decryption keys. I will not decrypt your images because, despite me asking for photos, I don’t actually want to look at your knob.

I’ve been commissioned by one of Tumblr’s popular porn blogs to create a minute of noise. And what better to use than actual sexy images? Oh sure, some people might suggest using sexy sounds, but still images have a certain quiet grace to them.

There is a type of harsh noise practice called ‘data bending’, which is very easy to do. The image is played as if it were a sound file. This method of music make would allow me to turn your dick pic into something that’s completely unrecognisable. Especially if you send it encrypted!

This is conceptual, but it seems reasonable to make an ode to dick pics out of dick pics. And hopefully we can all learn about encryption in the process. One of the best ways to encrypt a single image is GNU Privacy guard. You can also use this to encrypt lots of your different forms of communications. There’s a brief introduction to it in this Lifehacker article.

So please send me your GPG-encrypted dick pic, but not any of your keys. Also, let me know how you would like to receive credit for your contribution.

You too can commission romantic or sexy music. Order now for this Valentines Day!

Back Catalogue

As a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve put some of my back catalogue available for download.

In the case of my first album, this is the first time this work has ever been available in a high quality format.

When I put out my 3rd album in 2005, the original pressing was only 50 CDs. But now, thanks to digital distribution, anybody can get a copy!

And, of course, my latest album of Christmas music is now kind of unseasonable, but free (with the expectation that those who can afford to will make a donation to a listed Charity such as Crisis).

Some of you may be wondering what happened to my second album. It was called Virtual Memory. It had two tracks on it instead of one, because there was a duration limit per-track on sound was an example of ‘data bending’ – that is, taking a data file and playing it as if it were an audio file. The source was the virtual memory for my operating system. Mac OS 9. I added some reberb and a drum machine to make things a bit more interesting.

The first several minutes are epic harsh noise with an incredible beat. And then it carried on for the rest of the album. Why I thought this was a good idea is kind of lost in the mists of time, but I think I was probably being kind of a dick.

As to my next album, I am working on Shorts, which will be made up of the 1 minute long noises pieces that you commission! I only have eight left to go to meet my original goal of 45 pieces. If you want to have your name on the album, time is running out!

Or if you want to publish the album, get in contact. A wide variety of people have been involved in this project over the years and I’m optimistic about the album’s reach.

Music commissions make great gifts. Order now for this Valentines Day!

Facebook Advertising

Some readers may remember my advertising spree last winter, in support of my short commissions. I’m carrying on with the noise project again. I have a goal of putting out an album when I reach 45 noise shorts and I am currently on #36, so there’s just 9 to go! Check out my shop to order one.

For me, doing the promotion is part of doing the project. With my Christmas album, I tended to do facebook posts for every song I put out, so it seemed natural to kick off the latest (and possibly final) round of noise music commissions via a post to my facebook page.

Looking for a really unique valentines gift? Why not bespoke noise music?

Posted by Charles Céleste Hutchins on Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Due to the temporary benevolence of facebook algorithms, a fair number of people actually saw the post. Then these same algorithms alerted me that this post was doing very well. Was I interested in promoting it, say to US-based fans of Christian rock?

I LOLed. Although, it was an idea that suck with me. When I lived in Berkeley, the guitarist/song writer for Sixpence None the Richer was my next door neighbour for a year. He turned out to be a very nice chap. We went for coffee many times and when we talked music tech, we had a very large number of interests and issues in common. While I tend to have more secular views, there’s certainly nothing in my music that has religious baggage either way. Are we not to ‘make a joyful noise unto the Lord’?

Alas, I don’t think facebook advertising is ethical, because of its data collection and tracking, etc, but it’s also very cheap. Bless me, for I have sinned. I gave £7 to Facebook, in exchange for 7 days of showing my posts to Americans who probably knew what the Dove Awards were before living next door to a many-time winner.

Ardour Screen ShotAfter suggesting that I turn the post into an advert and taking my money, Facebook promptly declared that my advert was against their guidelines. The image, a screen shot of the Ardour program that I use for music-making, contains too much text. I made an appeal and they relented.

I’m still on the first day of this experiment. So far:

  • 2 Christian rock fans have clicked ‘like’ on the post (a cost of 50p each)
  • 6 people have clicked through to view the shop.
  • 0 people have clicked through to either sale item.
  • 0 people have made any orders.

I’m paying £1 / day for this little experiment, so the week-long advert will cost as much as 1 sale. I have a feeling this is not money well spent, but I can see why advertisers do pay facebook. If I had been less ridiculous and, say, paid to attract the attention of Canadian fans of noise music, it’s possible to speculate that the novelty of seeing ‘bespoke noise’ advertised to fans of the genre might actually gain me listeners if not orders.

Music commissions make great gifts. Order now for this Valentines Day!

The Holiday Rush Is On!

If you’re like me, you’ve barely started your Christmas shopping. I know it’s naughty to put it off so long, but sometimes it takes me a while to think of just the right gift. And sometimes I need deadlines for motivation. And, this is really a bit of a personality flaw. I was on a first name basis with the person responsible for assessing late fees at my uni when I was 20.
If you were thinking of getting a bespoke noise music for a Christmas gift this year, fear not, fellow procrastinator! I can deliver two more noise pieces in time for the holidays! If you want a physical disk, be warned I send them via first class post from London, so I can no longer guarantee arrivals of physical disks in time for Christmas for anyone overseas. It will probably get around England in time.
If you are ordering a digital delivery gift and aren’t sure how to give it, you could try burning your own disk or using other physical media such as a memory stick. Or I could generate a QR code you could put into a card.
Don’t delay too much longer, as I need a bit of time to make the piece and to do my own Christmas shopping!
Noise music doesn’t end with Christmas, so if you need to give a gift in January or for Valentines Day, I’ll be here to help. I’m working on some exciting plans for noise in 2015!
Bespoke noise music makes a great gift. There are only two order left in time for Christmas! Get yours in NOW!

Do you love noise music? Do you have fashion? Drop me an email if you’d like your image to be in forthcoming posts about noise and fashion


I decided this weekend that what would really be a good idea would be a photo of my puppy wearing a Holiday jumper and headphones. It turns out that it’s really difficult to put things on puppies and then get them to sit still. Especially if they’re teething. My pinkie got caught in a futile attempt to prevent the jumper from being shredded and the headphone cables now need to be re-soldered. I hope that professional photographers that work with puppies are well-paid, because they certainly deserve to be.


I got one photo that came out more or less ok, and adding to my frustration, graphic design is also really hard. Really, my creative skills are almost entirely musical in nature.
Finally, I decided to give up and instead give my dog a nice long walk, as a thanks for (sort of) putting up with being made to wear strange things. As we went by Hackney’s medieval tower, I noticed they had a ‘Santa’s Grotto’. Aha!

Noise Advert!

My graphic design skills are still rubbish, but it helps to start out with a really good photo.
Sonia’s dad is involved with the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, which runs open days at the Tower and both her and I have volunteered there, so we chatted with the elves and gave mulled apple juice to queuing families, until finally there was a lull and no children were waiting. Father Christmas turned out, fortunately, to love dogs and was happy to pose for a photo. (It also helped that he didn’t notice that the puppy was actually chewing on his beard at the moment this was snapped.)
If even adorable puppies want noise music, maybe your friends and family do too!
I have an idea for some puppy themed, music, actually. He likes to race around my living room for a bit, and while doing proper tracking on a webcam is somewhat difficult, detecting pixels that have changed massively from frame to frame is kind of trivial. So I could have a sound process controlled by the paths chosen by an excite-able puppy. It would be fun to do and make his excesses of energy something other than distracting – at least for one piece!
Do you want to give a gift of puppy-generated music this Christmas or Hanukkah? Order now to beat the rush!

Do you love noise music? Do you have fashion? Drop me an email if you’d like your image to be in forthcoming posts about noise and fashion

Noisy Week

I’ve posted TWO noise music commissions this week and sent a third to the patron who commissioned me. I’ll post it as soon as she gives me a title.
The first one was in honour of the birthday / retirement of Paul Berg from Sonology. One of his former students organised a large number of short commissions, which were compiled together in something they called ‘The AC Jukebox’, titled for the software that Paul developed. I talked a lot about the piece on my podcast, where you can read the notes of how it was assembled and some reminiscences on having Paul as a teacher.
The next piece I posted was commissioned by Lauren Redhead in honour of her friend, Caroline, who had a birthday. The party was last night and I have not yet heard how it went down as a gift, so here’s hoping it was well-received!
This was a digital piece and since it was my first digital piece in this series, I went a bit overboard with the processing. I wrote a SuperCollider script to generate 10 short source sounds and then used other scripts to manipulate the files as if there were images. I set up a lot of batch processing to go through them. I like this processing method a lot, and so will have more to say about my scripts shortly. I’m calling the suite of tools autoglitch!
Lauren told me that Caroline likes harsh noise, so this piece is a lot of glitching with no reverb. It’s dry digitalism! I did have to run it through a short SuperCollider script to remove DC bias, which was very helpful to make it speaker safe without changing the perceptual sound. You can give it a listen on my podcast.

Making that piece created a load of weird, glitchy images, which are also nice. The ideas that lead to this piece and this way of working are very much from talking to Antonio Roberts, who had lots of helpful suggestions and who posted his own tutorials on glitch art. His stuff is great.
As for the piece awaiting a title, I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but I will say that the commissioner had a bit of a poppy sensibility, so I used some compression and faux plate reverb.
If you’ve got a friend with an upcoming birthday or want to give something really original for the holidays, consider giving the gift of noise! If you order now, delivery is guaranteed in time for Hanukkah or Christmas!

Do you love noise music? Do you have fashion? Drop me an email if you’d like your image to be in forthcoming posts about noise and fashion

What is a commission?

When you commission me to write a piece, of music, you essentially pay me to write one minute of noise music. After I write it, you get to come up with the title. You are then a patron of the arts, causing new art works to come into being!
Afterwards, you get a copy of the music, which you are free to share with friends (under the terms of a Share Music License). I retain copyright of the work.
This makes a great gift – you can title the work to honour the recipient, or have a dedication attached. Your friend gets a copy of the piece of music and has their name tied to the music. So If you title the piece, say, ‘Happy Birthday to Susan Jones’, that would be attached to the music as the title, whenever anybody listened to it. (If Susan Jones feels overwhelmed by this, it can be re-titled.)
And I will do my best to try to make sure that people do listen, by posting it to my website and eventually compiling all the commissions into an album and publishing it.
Let’s say you decide to do this, how would it work?

The Process

  1. If your delivery date is less than two weeks away, please contact me before ordering. Depending on my schedule, etc, I will probably be able to accommodate you, but it’s a good idea to make sure!
  2. You would then order the commission and I would get to work making it. Do you want a physical CD posted to you or not? When you order, check that you’ve picked the right item in the shop. One comes with a CD. The other doesn’t.
  3. Within a few days, I will send you via email a link to a high quality audio file.
  4. After you listen to the file and decide on a tile, you would send me back the title and dedication.
  5. If you ordered a physical CD, I would then post it to you via first or second class post.
  6. If you would like an MP3 with the correct metadata (including title, etc), I can send that to you via email.
  7. I normally would then post the MP3 online to my website. However, if this is a gift, I’m happy to hold off until after you give the person a file or disk. Or post it right away so you can link them to the site. Whichever works best for you!

Who might this make a good gift for?

Do people really like this?

All my customers have been happy so far!

Will it arrive in time for Christmas or Hanukkah?

Yes, if you order soon!

Music commissions make great gifts. Order now for this holiday season!


Really really really the wrong bicycle for touring

I took most of this week off. I went to the New Forest with my puppy, my wife and a couple of bicycles. She rode my touring bike and I rode my delivery bike, with a dog trailer attached. The kit I was carrying definitely outweighed me. Fortunately, the New Forest is only slightly hilly.
It is full of wild horses! These are not like the wild Mustangs of Nevada, but are sort of fat, large ponies that mill around and eat, but they very nice looking and unafraid of people. This is probably because the term ‘national park’ in Britain means an area where you are allowed to build houses and have farms and it not actually a park as I know the term. Although the new forest does have little pockets of land that have trees on them.
We were staying in kind of an odd cabin. Upon arrival, it became clear that the ‘kitchen’ was a bit of an optical illusion. It had lots of kitchen cabinets and a cutting board and a tea kettle and a surprisingly large supply of wooden spoons, but was missing some details like a sink or any kind of cooker. It turned out that a microwave and a tiny oven were located in an outdoor shed that had a combination lock and no lighting. Which is how I came to be standing outside a shed in the pouring rain checking if a ready meal was done. I very strongly suspect that the cabin was registered with the local authority as a shed or something. As there was no kitchen, then it obviously isn’t meant for human habitation, right?
After returning from the fun but slightly shambolic holiday, it was time to prepare for Thanksgiving. One of the advantages of being abroad is that all the shops are open as normal, so its completely reasonable to stroll into a shop Thanksgiving morning (or even evening) and get what you need. My menu this year was:

  • boiled brussel sprouts
  • sweet potatoes
  • garlic mashed potatoes
  • nutloaf
  • roast carrots and spuds
  • american-style stuffing
  • mushroom gravy

My mother in law got very enthusiastic about everything and contacted her American friends for some recipes and so turned up with a wild ride with sausages, a green bean casserole and cranberry sorbet. She had a bit of a comical adventure trying to find ingredients, not realising that ‘frozen orange juice’ meant concentrated. Also, she read that an American cup measure was half a pint, and so was using British pint, which is significantly larger. I’ve never seen so much cranberry in my life.
My wife also made some lovely pumpkin bread and my friend Irene brought rice pudding. I made a pumpkin pie, which went terribly wrong and will not be mentioned again.
Around 12 people came over and fortunately, I made enough food that nobody left hungry. It was a lovely evening, at the end of which, I was too tired to move.
Now that this little break is over, when my hangover wears off, I will quickly be back hard at work at making noise commissions. I brought my recorder to the New Forest, but I learned that English forests are extremely quiet in November. The horses made some nice sounds, but my dog was acting strange and untrustworthy around them, so I didn’t get any recordings. Indeed, I was so exhausted from pedalling such a heavy bicycle that I barely took any pictures.
In my home country, this weekend has been taken over by a million holiday sales in shops and finally with ‘Cyber Monday’ which is the big day for online sales. All of it filled with desperate searching for the perfect gift for friends and family.
My dad is really hard to shop for. He doesn’t want much and what he does want, he just buys for himself. However, he is interested in arts and culture. A few years ago he had season tickets to the San Francisco Symphony and even managed to get me an introduction to the conductor!
For people like my dad, noise music commissions make fantastic gifts. The physical CD from the commission can be wrapped up for under the tree or other exchange. It’s something unexpected, with cultural capital and his name attached as the honouree of the actual piece of music. It’s a great conversation piece. The music is short, so he can store it on his phone and play it for his Square Dancing buddies before the dance starts.
Do you have somebody like my dad in your family, who is hard to shop for, but loves a good conversational started and has an interest in arts or music? This would make a thoughtful gift – something they’ll mention for years afterwards. Get a commission today and the CD will arrive in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. The price goes up after Cyber Monday so get it now!

Satisfied Customers

So far two of the comissions from this round have made it out to their final recipients. What did these folks have to say about it?

David is an American artist. My other commissioner was Dan, a British researcher who does computer analysis of bird songs.

You too could share in excitement like David’s or get to be a patron of the arts. Or, you could pass this joy along to someone else this coming holiday season. Music commissions make great gifts! If you order in November, delivery is guaranteed in time for Hanukkah or Christmas!

Do you love noise music? Do you have fashion? Drop me an email if you’d like your image to be in forthcoming posts about noise and fashion