Keeping Moving, and a Plea for Your Feedback

OD Total Music Production is being submitted to our sales merchant tonight and should be on sale 3-5 days later – so this week is the week! Here’s what’s happening next…

Why the odd header image? Well, I did a search for Keep Moving in Google Images… and I liked it!

I know nobody likes wordy posts but this one’s one of the most important posts on OD ever, so if we’ve ever remotely interested, informed, or entertained you pleeeease read it all the way through!

OD is very excited. I, Chris, am very excited. OD Total Music Production is going to be on sale by the end of the week (and there will be a nice juicy discount for our opening!), and it’ll mark a whole new era in Oh Drat’s journey.

Honesty Time

It’s the best policy, right? OD has been a passion project for the past two years, and it’s in the last few months that I’ve really put everything I have into the site and pushed things forward. OD Total Music Production is the first thing we’ll ever charge for, and it’s really necessary to keep Oh Drat going. Maybe you’ve noticed and maybe you haven’t, but my standards are really high and I feel like I’ve let the day to day quality of OD slip a little bit in the past couple of months as I struggled behind the scenes to get Total Music Production finished to a standard I was happy with. Now that it’s finished, I feel like I can really devote attention to the site again, help to develop OD team members like Rhapz’s skills and opportunities, and give you guys something awesome.

Before I go any further I need to apologise to Propellerhead and Livid Instruments because I have had the excellent Reason 6.5 and Ohm RGB Slim on the desk to review for waaay longer than is acceptable turnover time. If I was them I’d be… well I can’t think of a pun for Propellerhead right now but I’d certainly be Livid. In depth reviews are forthcoming but for those of you that have run out of patience, both products are awesome.

Change

What’s Changing

First things first, we’re going to scrap the forum. It was an experiment, but it’s safe to say it’s failed because there have been about as many posts as months it’s been up. There has to be a better way to encourage community, and it’s time to try something else.

Secondly, I’m going to put a time out on our weekly video tips for a few weeks. I need to have a good look at what works and what doesn’t (and I need you guys to tell me – see below!) because right now I can’t quite see the rhyme or reason to why some of our videos are popular and some aren’t. I’ve also learned a lot about video production during making Total Music Production and bookmarked a lot more to bone up on, and I want to transfer that knowledge to our free tutorials and really take them to the next level. Please believe me when I say this isn’t some kind of cynical ploy to draw attention to Total Music Production (it seems logical to me that the best thing to do is keep providing free videos as much as possible as they’ll build a buzz!), it’s genuinely a short break to regroup and improve. By the way there’s nearly three hours in the bank already, if you’ve not seen!

Finally, going forward, I want to keep evolving OD to make sure it’s presenting the most value to you guys. There’s really no point in turning OD into a news site right now because at best we’d be a weak version of someone like Synthtopia or Rekkerd, and to be honest whilst I curate the free offerings a lot more, BPB does an excellent job of promoting freebie software. What I really want to do is be unique. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that people will be prepared to support us with Total Music Production, and that we will be able to create more high quality commercial tutorials and courses. I’m also really interested in creating our own commercial sound libraries, template packs, and studio tools, and encouragingly a number of you have expressed interest in purchasing them. I have some really cool ideas about how I can combine both of these and even increase community too. Again, to be clear, this does NOT mean I’m thinking about stopping doing free stuff. OD’s commercial interests will help to provide breathing room so that we can provide regular, and awesome, free content.

We Want Your Opinions

What I Need From You

Firstly, thank you for reading this far! It means the world to me personally that OD has a strong user base, and every time someone takes the time to talk back it reinforces my conviction that this is all worth something.

The first thing I need from you is some help with Facebook. Our Facebook likes are really low, lower than I would expect for our modest readership. I’m hoping this will change soon as OD gets rejigged and I switch to exchanging our OD101 book for a Facebook like instead of signing up with our mailing list, but it would be amazing if any of you guys could share our posts, spread the word, and generally let me know if I’m doing something wrong. I’m even more hopeless with Twitter, and whilst I will mention that the same applies I’m happy for a ‘one step at a time’ approach here. Facebook is my priority for the moment, just so I can measure effort a bit easier.

Next up, I really want your opinions on a few things. For ease’s sake, I’ll bullet point them:

  • What’s the best thing we’ve ever done?
  • What’s the weakest thing we do?
  • Would you hate us eternally if we started looking for advertising and sponsorship to help us continue?
  • If not, what would you most like to have advertised to you?
  • What do you like about our free video tutorials?
  • Do you care about our assignments?
  • Do you enjoy our software reviews – and would you find video reviews of software interesting?
  • Anything else? Anything at all?

Lastly, your support means absolutely everything to us. I can’t stress enough that I’m not in this for the money, but needs must and in order to keep OD going I do need to stop being such a hippie and accept that I can’t give everything away for free and still provide a quality site. A purchase of Total Music Production, when it’s available this week, will give me huge amounts of faith, help OD to grow, and, of course, you’ll have what our early bird testers have confirmed for us is an amazing course. Similarly indicating what else you’d be prepared to buy, be it more tutorials, sound packs, merchandise, and so on, would be a tremendous help – and if you have any thoughts about advertising, or even advertising requests, I’m all ears. Hey, maybe you’re a billionaire playboy and you’d like to be a benefactor? …no? Okay ;)

Please get involved in the comments below with your thoughts, it will REALLY help us out. If there’s anything you’re more comfortable discussing in private, you can get in touch with me over email – chris@ohdratdigital.com

  • stanmcner

    personally, i think your site is an amazing, almost OUTSTANDING resource. your production tipps are phantastic (for example: i loved the chopped vocal melodies tut)…but sometimes it´s just the same thing as for certain bands: no matter how great they are, people just don´t get it. at least, at a certain point. and no one gets why:-( apart from that, i have the impression, that facebook posts (in general) already lost most of their earlier power in gathering people´s attention. at some point, it just became to much, and some people (at least of my friends) are just fed up with liking or “fb-officially” attending concerts and parties. and i hardly still look through everything that shows up on facebook anymore. but i already think, that oh drat provides much more interesting content than most of the widely known top dog sites. the dubspot blog, as an example, seemed much more appealing in the earlier days, as of it´s almost “undergroundy” approach. and giving tipps for certain aspects and styles, that weren´t covered anywhere else. same thing for most of the danny j lewis tuts these days. but many of your postings are equally great (at least!). same for the reviews. don´t know…maybe building a niche between the technological aspects, product reviews, as well as of leaps into some of the more “trendy” or desperately seeked, but mostly undocumented waters…something like: 90s house or slow-house programming, recreating those blawan drum sounds, aspects of post-dubstep/experi.hip hop production or synths (shlohmo, lapalux, 123mrk…like that in operator: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SILwS1HpNbQ). but i think, it is already an AMAZING, AMAZING SITE:-)!!! keep up the good work!!

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Many thanks for your response Stan, it really, really helps! It looks like tutorials on getting a certain particular sound are quite popular and I can definitely see the appeal – the reason I’ve shied away a little so far is that they quite often seem a bit ‘begging’ – but I think with a bit of thought I can pull something special off… perhaps a lot of thought, but I’ll make it happen! Thanks again for all your support, really!

  • Rhapz

    Thanks for the shout-out bro. From the first article I read from Chris on another website that led me here to becoming a member of the OD crew, I must say that he honestly is one of the more harder (if not the hardest) working people aiming to provide free, affordable, AND quality music production help to anyone who wants it.

    Chris and I frequently talk about what we can do as a team to bring you guys the best home music production website that we can and everything that was stated above is true. This isn’t about money; its about fostering a community of people with a love for music and taking their talents to wherever one would like to take them. Yes, this website was started by Chris, but its success depends upon what the community wants from it.

    Lastly, this course really is awesome. As an intermediate music producer, this course WILL take you from knowing absolutely nothing to having a good understanding of how to make good, quality music every time you sit at your computer. And aside from the initial cost of the course, everything you need to get professional sounding music is free within the course. And yes, its applicable to just about any music making program/method/etc. that’s out there so it truly is a course for everyone.

    Sorry if I said too much bro, but we all want OD to be successful and I think we have the community to do so. Thank you all for support and we look forward to seeing you all grow with us.

    -Rhapz

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Amen Rhapz, it’s great to know I can count on your support!

      • Rhapz

        Always got ya back fam, we got this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/YusufCemLale Yusuf Cem Lale

    I ll keep it simple
    what you do is awesome forget about people at fb or twitter focus on the website and forum
    and make some money ads or whatever u cant give everything free
    u deserve to earn some money from this because you re good at it

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Thank you Yusef!

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.bedo.54 Al Bedo

    What I like most is that your free videos are a double whammy,
    1: Free
    2: Well detailed and to the point

    I like the fact that you give your viewers some credit and dont spoonfeed us with a 5 minute intro about what setup you use etc , I like the tut to be that, a tutorial

    if you want to generate massive hits on youtube just do a video on how to do anything dubstep ( especially the wobbele bass) , or a Skrillex style vocal using Melodyne ( I think thats the name of it) and sit back and wait for the dough to start rolling in

    re: advertising, if thats what it takes to keep you guys around then go ahead and do it , id rather see you make a living out of this than spend all this time and energy and have to fold and you only legacy be the cool videos for eternity on youtube.

    what Id like to see more of? how about some reviews on products that you find interesting or worthy of our attention ? Be it software, hardware, gadgets etc Im always on the lookout for new and exciting stuff ( as I msg’ed you a while back) and I am sure others feel the same way too

    best of luck

    Cheers

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Thank you Al! We’ll have to find that line between obscure and cliche when it comes to video tutorials, I thinK! I’m just about to listen to your assignment entry over a coffee – looking forward to it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/al.bedo.54 Al Bedo

        Did it compliment your coffee? or too chill?

        • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

          It was a five minute of tranquility in the midst of a hectic day!

  • wut

    what the hell is “OD Total Music Production” you never even explained what this actually is…

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Ah, perhaps this was a failing! Total Music Production is a video course taking you through music production from basic to advanced. We’ve spoken about this quite a lot in the past, and seeing as this was directed at readers familiar with us I didn’t retread old ground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.settle Mark Settle

    Firstly, and I probably don’t say this enough Chris – you’ve turned into a tremendously good writer, and your passion shows. This passion is what drives the quality, and shines through in the work you do here, and for me.

    Advertising – it’s the only way to go. Your course will bring money in (I’m buying one when it’s available), but ads are the very best way to monetise your content. To get ads, you need traffic, thus I feel that you absolutely must report the news. Granted, there are bigger and more popular sites out there, but your visitors will want their info from a single source. They may still go to other sites, but when that same story pops up with the OD name in the same social feeds, people will come. An constant flow of fresh content is so important to get traffic.

    Which brings me to Facebook. Since starting DJWORX, Facebook has been a massive driver of traffic. People still apparently read the extract in the Facebook feed and comment there, but right now Facebook is vital. Twitter surprisingly is considerably less effective. I will continue to use it of course, but it’s become less useful as time has gone on.

    Keep up the good work sir. As you know, I’ve seen the lowest of the low times, but still believed I could make the best DJ resource out there. I believe in you Chris – onwards and upwards. I’ve got your back.

  • Tim Court

    What’s the best thing we’ve ever done?

    I really like the whole pocket tips, theyre very handy
    indeed, I think the best videos are the ones where you show how to do things
    that are quite easy to do wrong if that makes sense? I’m not too much of a fan
    of the explanations but I can see why
    some people might find them useful, for example the ring mod video was a good
    video I just don’t think the content is that universal.

    I don’t think you have a weak point, all of the content on
    the site is beautifully presented and the quality of the content is great!

    I think advertising is great as long as its relevant and not
    too intrusive to the look and function of the site. Anything related to music
    would be handy however If I start seeing advertising for icrecream I would
    start to thing WTFC?

    The video tutorials are great, you have a very clear way of
    explaining things and you then normally give away a template to help, its great
    that you don’t say “heres how you do it now bugger off and do it yourself” its
    much more a “heres how I do it and heres something to help but this isn’t the
    only way to do it” also the fact that you can then go and interact with other
    members on the site is

    I have only recently got into the assignments but im now
    hooked, it challenges you to do things outside your comfort zone, I’d never
    done a remix till I started the themetune assignment, I hope you can keep these
    as these are very handy if you want to test yourself.

    Software, it’s a very personal thing in terms of gui and
    workflow so I don’t think It would be that helpful to have reviews as such, but
    say top 5’s of software would be handy,

    If theres one thing I’d like more of its hardware reviews,
    ive noticed you have a lot of gear in you studio and theres so many crap
    product reviews out there it would be great to have a proper polished oh drat
    review for everything ever, but that’s unlikely to happen any time soon …also
    in terms of merchandise I personally would like stickers and tshirts, I could
    quite happily spend a day stickering my local city with oh drat stickers ( ooo
    and a coaster would be good for the studio nothing like a good brew while you
    track)

    I think you guys at oh drat do such a fantastic job! Keep it
    going, I for one shall deffo be purchasing total music production!

    Tim

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Thanks Tim (I hope you’re enjoying the M50s!) – another really valuable and detailed response :) Everything you’ve suggested has gone on board, and I’ll look into those coasters!

      • Tim Court

        i am probably enjoying them too much if that is even possible, my mug feels lonely without one ;)

  • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

    Mark, as always your support and advice is hugely appreciated. A thousand thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/PG13ispanthergod Paul Gaeta

    First off, OD has been a really awesome site since day one and very supportive of Circuitree / Panther God and for that I’m very appreciative. I think half of the battle is about consistency of posts and a long term outlook which I think you have. The sites that are successful have typically been around years before they really take off. So have patience and enjoy the growth one person at a time. As far as monetizing the site, well, you gotta do what you gotta do! I’ve really enjoyed the interviews, and reviews of tech stuff. I think that doing some paid tutorials and sound libraries is a good idea but highly competitive. I’d be happy to help with any of that if you ever felt the need. I think the trick is finding ways to make your time more valuable and make the most of your time on the web, because i know how frustrating it can be to want to push a site and not have the luxury of time to do it, because you’ve gotta pay the bills. One idea I did have is what if your advertising came from your readers? Make it cheap enough that people can promote their records or sell their merchandise. If you are picky about how the ads look then you can keep the site looking clean too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1242730128 Richard Matheson

    I love the site, and think that the reviews are great. That’s how I first ran into the site, actually, and I feel that is probably the strongest portion of the site. I would like to see more reviews.

    I also enjoy the videos/lessons. I must say, that while they are just about the strongest part of the site, I do feel that, and this ma be just me personally, Chris isn’t the best presenter? Again, I love the site, and so want to offer honest constructive criticism. The information is top-notch, and the content is better than many online; however, I sometimes just lose interest and go to something else at times…and I’m not sure why. All I can think, and what I keep coming back to, is that I often think, ‘I wish tomcosm or vespers were presenting this…’ I think that, as a teacher, I am AWARE of the passion and everything that goes into this site, but I don’t FEEL the passion while listening to Chris. It’s like the high school teacher who you KNOW loves what he’s teaching, but you can’t EXPERIENCE that love for what he’s teaching. I guess perhaps some are made to create, some are made to share, and some can do both.

    That’s my only quibble, and I hope that it came off as constructive criticism, as that was the intention. I do love the site, or I wouldn’t be spending this time to give my feedback.

    Best wishes, Chris!

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Thanks for your honesty Richard! My presentation style is something that I’m always trying to improve on, and it’s one of the reasons I’m taking a couple of weeks off the video tips so that I can try new things. I think at the moment my style is coloured a lot by my face to face teaching, and with a blank lens staring back at me instead of a person there’s nobody to feed off, so things come off a little sterile. Thanks again – I’ll improve, promise sir ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1242730128 Richard Matheson

        Of course, Chris! Maybe that is what it is, as the two people I did mention are not physically ‘in’ their videos. I do think that in tutorials it is a bit of a distraction to see a person when we’re trying to focus on sound and the DAW. That may be what it is. So as it turns out, it’s actually probably nothing to do with you, but just the fact that someone is present in the video.

  • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

    Thanks for your suggestions and offer Paul, it’s always good to see you about :) Everything you’ve said is now on my ‘things to think about’ list!

  • Paulski1983

    I love the site. It has a clear sense of “personality”. It is obvious that somebody takes a lot of care and attention regarding the content. The pocket tips are fantastic and the assignments, while I haven’t attempted many of them, are a great source for a little inspiration.
    The only little gripe I have is with the way I had to set up a Disqus account in order to comment on posts even though I had already registered as a site user.
    But other than that I love the content and I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us.
    Keep it up!

    • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

      Thanks Paul!

      As far as commenting goes, it’s definitely something we’re looking into. You can just provide an email address and alias to post as a guest on Disqus, but more unsettling is the fact that we’re getting legitimate comments placed into spam automatically by the system – Disqus are looking into it now, but we’re always open to changing things up…

      Thanks again!

  • andiskin

    Numero 1) I can’t think a specific favourite, I just like the whole package really.

    2) What’s the weakest thing we do? Nit picking here but the video’s sometimes feel a little long?

    3) Adverts? It’s hard to tell. I wonder if I’d view the site differently had I come to it with adverts. Maybe the reason I like it so much is that there isn’t any clutter. But like many have said you gotto do what you got to do, I don’t think it would take too much away from the site. Be weary though, I can’t imagine you’ll get much control over what comes up.

    4) Which adverts?) Music production special offers

    5)What do I like about the videos? Genuine, accessible, not elitist, something for everyone

    6) Assignments? I love the idea of assignments, I think it’s one of the bets things you’ve come up with. I personally don’t have the time to do them very often, but if they were a bit less often I’d put a bit more into each project. I think the key is explaining clearly how to post your result or ideas. I’m sure lots of people have had a go but not posted anything on the site.

    7) Sorfware reviews? Not looked into these as much, but I’m sure they’re very useful.

    I think the key to any successful site like this is community. And a community always takes time to grow. It can’t be rushed. I think you’re making the right steps for things to grow. You’ve created a brilliant base which will continue to develop. All in all I’d say stick to what you’re passionate about. Quality will stand the test of time and try not to worry too much about the rest.

  • Rhapz

    Good to see so much positive and constructive criticism from the community! Don’t worry guys, all of the goodness is coming soon! We’ll take care of you properly here at OD so keep any feedback that you have coming! (a Facebook share or a twitter re-tweet to some homies new to the music making game if you could spare would be nice as well ;) )

  • Project Tempo

    I only stumbled onto the website recently by way of djworx, but I’m really impressed with the tutorials and have learnt lots of little things just from them. The reviews are good as well and the overall package is really well done and obviously a passion.

    Adverts don’t bother me, as long as they don’t become the center piece, I noticed someone mentioned specific soundset designs, but maybe some guest tutorials from current named producers on how they got their sound might work?

  • http://www.ohdratdigital.com Chris

    Thank you so much for your detailed response Tazz. As I said, it really means the world and I won’t lie – I’ve been refreshing the page to check for comments for the past hour! Everything you’ve said has been taken on board, and we’ll definitely look into creating some of the tutorials you want. Total Music Production has extensive sections on compression (as well as other effects) and sound design, but I realise that not everybody has money spare to purchase tutorials. We need to figure out a way to provide tutorials like this without either cannibalising our only income stream or providing cynical pseudo tutorials which are just seen as squeezes to paid stuff. It’s a head scratcher, but we’ll figure it out with everyone’s help!

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