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Breck Stewart / Blog

Facebook: Friend or Fan?

First, please join my band profile on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/breckstewart1

I admit it, I am scared of facebook. Why? First, I have to recap how I joined myspace back in 2007. I was new to the whole social interaction thing on the net because before I had been too busy producing, directing and starring in my own movie Utopia X (and the censored version Utopia) not to mention building my very first album Utopia which is actually the soundtrack to both movies. But then, once I had everything done it was time to actually release all this material and most of all, to promote it.

So I started with myspace. I made my first mistake right there. See, when I first signed up I didn't know that there were 2 kinds of accounts on myspace, a personal profile and a band profile. I opened a personal profile because it was the option set by default and it wasn't properly explained that in my case, I should have opened a band profile from the start. So naturally, I always try to use the username "breckstewart" because it's the most logical one being my full name.

It took me a while to get the hang of it but as I browsed more and more, I would see those accounts with a player and then I saw the option for opening a band profile which at that time was buried quite a bit. So naturally, I was a bit miffed because it meant that I had to open a new account again. But since I had spent time already building up the breckstewart account, I felt like I should instead open a band account as well instead of deleting the personal one. But then I couldn't use the same username so I settled on "breckstewart1". Why the 1? Beats me, I still don't have a clue.

But then, I made the same mistake again with facebook. I always had reservations about facebook for some reason. I didn't feel attracted to it and it really changed over time but back in 2007, it wasn't quite as popular or ubiquitous as it is now. But I signed up with an account and I didn't realize then that I would end up making the same mistake as I did with myspace.

I only discovered the option to create a band page on facebook much later. And by then it was way too late to delete my personal account. And to make matters worse, when facebook introduced the option to settle a username for our profiles, I made the mistake yet again to choose "breckstewart" for my personal profile. Then, once I created my band page I had no option but to settle on "breckstewart1" just like myspace.

So now, I am stuck with 2 accounts on facebook. It wouldn't be so bad if that was the only issue but as I was about to find out, facebook has many tricks up its sleeve. At one point, I added 10 friends in one day. I hadn't done this before but for some reason, I found lots of people I wanted to add so I went for it. Then the warning came. I was engaging in "Abusive behavior" by adding friends too quickly. I was really mystified. After all, a social interaction site like facebook thrives on making connections doesn't it?

This is the key right here. Because for FB I had added too many friends too quickly, I was warned and my account flagged. And once that happened, everytime I tried to confirm a new friend request, the warning would come back. And it's scary because FB has the habit of deleting accounts at the drop of a hat without much explanations. If you make a search on google with "Facebook Account Disabled", you'll find more than 42 millions results. Many people are pissed at FB for being discarded without knowing why.

I don't mind that facebook has all those rules and I understand the need for them to a degree. But the way they are implemented is too extreme because those rules are not clearly defined. That makes everything very difficult because I want to obey the rules but it would help a lot if I knew exactly what they were.

Breck Stewart

http://www.facebook.com/breckstewart1

Revolution of the Indie Artist

Hello there, First, I just finished a small tour of performances in small venues and clubs all over the place. That was one month of very hard but extremely satisfying work. I earned enough money to stop for a while even if I could have continued because I'm a true stage junkie, I miss it so much if I don't perform for more than a few days. But now, the simple fact is that I have concentrate on other things and also, have to find new gigs cause it's always a struggle on that front as well. For the last week or so, I've been able to just be home and rediscover my little cocoon. And the first thing I do when I get some free time on my hand is to get on the net and listen to new artists constantly. I've been doing that for a long time now because it is one of the purest kind of bliss I can find on this earth, apart from performing or creating my own music. But with all the chores we have to do on a daily basis to put food on the table in these incredibly harsh times economically, most of us don't have a lot of free time to just do what we want. I have been hitting so many music web sites in the last few days that I lost count. I have listened to thousands of new artists in every genre even if I usually prefer electronic/dance. And I have been truly humbled and amazed at the sheer creativity, passion and yes love I have felt coming from those artists through their music. What I relish about this new digital era is how it totally broke the tight grip the big labels and of course the R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America) had on music distribution. In the 80s and most of the 90s, they totally dictated what artist would get airplay on radio and TV therefore creating these hugely successful artists who totally hogged the financial pie so to speak. So when I first created my different accounts on the net back in 2007 along with my 2 partners, I am ashamed to say that for a second or 2, I felt hesitant to add friends and become fans of other artists by clicking on the option so to speak. I felt like "why would I encourage the competition?". But see, this is where I was so wrong. This isn't a competition. The competitive part of the music industry was solely created by the moguls running it, not by the artists creating the beauty. I have this tendency to really like dancey stuff and I usually stick to that. But this time I made a very conscious effort to give the chance to every artist I stumbled upon and gave a fair listen. And trust me, if you are an artist and were requested to become my friend, it's because I became a true fan of yours and really enjoyed your material. If I don't like an artist's work, I simply ignore it and go on to the next because I don't believe in negative criticism at all. I have to be honest here, even after all this time, as soon as I get even one tiny bit of a harsh review, I fall apart and get depressed for days. The reason is simple really... My art is my life. It is so inexorably linked to my soul somehow and that will never change. So it's like someone saying nasty things about my baby. It feels hurtful, unjust and cruel to me even if the intention behind it is not necessarily bad per say. But see, every artist wants people to love their music. Isn't that the point? And what good would it do to write something negative about an artist? It's only one opinion really and who is qualified enough to actually say what is good music and what isn't? I'm certainly not and even the most reputed critic is only one voice after all. Music is the connection baby, the connection of love... You can also find me on these links: Breck Stewart - Official Site: http://www.brecktewart.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Breck-Stewart/34085759958 Breck Stewart on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/breck_stewart Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and long live the indie revolution!

Be Integrated Video - Say No to DRM

Well, this one sure took a long time to complete. I started to work on the concept of Be Integrated back in early 2007 but somehow it went on the backburner for a long while before I was able to put my vision on the screen. So many things happened that this particular video and storyline would have to wait until the right opportunity presented itself before getting recorded and edited.

After releasing a succession of episodes from our new MoonDaze TV project, my team at MoonDaze Productions and I decided to take a break from it to actually go back to our primary love which is producing videos to accompany musical songs. MoonDaze TV was a nice distraction but it's all about the music and this is where the focus should be.

So far, there have been 3 clips released from the Utopia album we launched in December 2007 if we count the alternative version for the song Lustful Puppylove. But this new single and video is very special for so many reasons. First, I feel like this is the best song from my album or at least my personal favorite. You can view the clip on many web sites including here on ReverbNation, myspace, youtube and also on my own domain:

http://www.breckstewart.com

We waited to release it as a 3rd single because we wanted to have a strong video to accompany it. But mainly, the song and video were created for a very specific goal. As you may know, I am deeply involved in the fight against Digital Rights Management also called DRM. This technological process was created solely to control and restrict what people can do with digital files by assuming that every customer is a common thief bent on "stealing" or "pirating" various files. But of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

The first time I became aware of DRM and the threat it represents to digital freedom was when I was trying to set up a system where my songs could be sold in digital form in MP3. As I started to learn more about this process, I got truly offended by its intent. It's like a digital lock whose sole purpose is to keep consumers from being able to do what they want with the files they purchased. How despicable is that?

Well, now it's here and our digital world is becoming more and more unstable as a result. Windows Vista from Microsoft is the worst offender of course because those DRM "viruses" were integrated directly into the heart of the operating system so that people wouldn't be able to copy, share or even use Blu-Ray Discs and digital files in a fair manner.

The right of fair use is extremely important in connection to DRM because that technology comes in the way of it. Fair use is a crucial concept because it goes back to the basic right of a buyer who simply wishes to utilize the digital product they purchased in a way that is deemed fair by simple common sense. But this is where it gets muddy. Whose to say how you should use the product you just bought? Is that fair for some huge company to actually decide what you can and can not do with what you purchased with your hard earned money?

This video can be used by anyone to promote the cause of Digital Oppression as I like to call it. I truly hope that by doing this I might make some people aware of this issue which is already starting to affect many of us because let's face it, we will only become more dependant on computer technology as time progresses. I only wish that more people become aware of the potential problems they can have by using technologies that were created to actually come in their way and keep them from doing what they want.

We all deserve the best and sorry but Vista and Blu-Ray ain't it baby... Not with those evil DRM leeches running around inside them.

No Vista, No Blu-Ray

Say NO to Digital Oppression

Shooting new video-clip for Be Integrated

Breck Stewart is casting his new video Be Integrated which starts shooting in a few weeks. He will also direct and edit it like his first Digital Lover. The storyline is about DRM technology which robs the customers of their rights of fair use. Incorporated directly into new operating system Vista from Microsoft, certain MP3 songs on the net and HD or High Definition DVD new formats called Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, D.R.M. or Digital Rights Management is a tool used by big corporations to restrict the usage of Digital files over the net and on physical DVDs and CDs. Breck feels very strongly about this issue and posted a special section on his web site. This oppressive technology was developped as a way to prevent piracy but actually ends up hurting honest paying customers and artists ironically enough. Breck wanted to help the cause because so many people are not aware of it except the most well informed in computer technology and people deserve to know what is going.