Michael's "Daily" Blog
12/11/2020 Michael Ballantyne It's been even longer this time but been spending my time really tweeking out the new system and have had some really good results. Have been holding off on releasing songs since I could not dedicate the proper amount of time (or enough time) to it but that changed today with the release of Was It Ever So Good. (Watch video here) Have to admit that it feels good to be back on the radar with plenty of material ready to go
10/30/2020 Michael Ballantyne Well it's been awhile. Spent the last month or so really working on the new computer software trying to get a full and rich sound. Been happy with the results so far but it has definitely slowed down the releases which is ok since I'd rather put out good quality over just quantity. Got several songs that are "finished" so hopefully I will resume with releasing songs again every month in December and continue on for the next few years :)
09/17/2020 Michael Ballantyne Played the Submithub game again this week with Who Are You and actually had some positive results. Got some recognition and added to a few playlist. Decided to get some feedback this time and although most of it was worthless some was helpful so will continue with that. I think they have to take it a bit more serious when they have to write something back to you which is good and who knows, might meet a few cool people like that too.
09/11/2020 Michael Ballantyne Nothing but distractions this week but did have Who Are You come out today. I think this is one of my better songs and I hope it gets some plays. Might have to do a little extra pushing for this one. Didn't do much for Said it before and it shows. Once again I don't have a video ready for this one and that kind of bugs me. Got to get back on track with being prepared
08/30/2020 Michael Ballantyne Well it's been awhile but over the last few weeks I really feel that I'm back to where I was before the computer crash, at least on the production side. Still about 2 months behind with the material I lost but the music is actually sounding better with the new software. As far as the music itself goes haven't had much success with Said it before this month but Don't turn your love away seems to be having a slight gain in listens. Just makes me happy that a few people are actually listening and enjoying my music
08/09/2020 Michael Ballantyne Since there is not enough abuse and rejection in my life once again I threw Said it before up on submithub. To my surprise I did get one approval and placement. Always amazed when I get a positive result from there but have to give a huge shout out to Rock Era Magazine for including me on their playlist. Good to see there are still a few people out there that appreciate good old guitar rock
08/07/2020 Michael Ballantyne Been busy working with the new computer and setup. Drastic improvements over the last 15 years since I updated my software. Still the same program more or less but much faster and sounds a lot better so that is a good thing. Just been working to retrain my ear to the new gear. In other news Said It Before came out today. I like this song so I will give it a push and see how it does. With computer crashes and looking into the beat making world I kind of forgot about releasing my music for awhile. Glad I can preload these in for release.
07/26/2020 Michael Ballantyne Still waiting for my Steinberg key so I can unlock Cubase. It's suppose to be here tomorrow so I will be looking forward to getting back to recording. Actually got about 4 or 5 songs to record right off the bat but really can't wait to see if my Nuendo programs open up. That will be awesome if they do. I'm not expecting all the setting to be good but just being able to open the files will be a good thing. Also ordered a midi pad controller yesterday. If this works for drums it will be a game changer. It's exciting to be stepping out of 2006 :)
07/21/2020 Michael Ballantyne Took the leap of faith today and bought Cubase. Of course I need the license key to use it... which comes in the mail so it might be awhile before I can actually activate it. Everything says it will open up my Nuendo projects so I hope that is the case. I suppose at the very least when I get the key if Cubase won't open my Nuendo projects I can download the free trial and just do a ton of exporting. Other than not being able to run Cubase yet I've got my studio all set up again and looking good. Once again I can take sound from anywhere and route it to anywhere and that's a good thing. Also wrote a cool new bass line song today so really itching to get back to recording
07/19/2020 Michael Ballantyne Got the cable I needed today. took a few hours to get everything to "play nice" with each other but it is all working great right now. I loaded in Studio One that came with my presonus I/O and gave it a try. It seems ok and is pretty easy to use but it won't open my Nuendo projects so will probably buy Cubase. Comparing them online it seems like Cubase will give me more options that might help me out. When it comes down to it I just use it as a glorified tape recorded since a good portion of my recording I hit with one take (thousands of hours of practice to do that :) but Cubase looks like it might have a few features that could help me out.
07/16/2020 Michael Ballantyne Nobody in the retail world still carries the thunderbolt 2 cable. Nothing is ever easy with this stuff so will have to order it online. Meanwhile while my recording is halted I have written a few new things and have got a lot of yard work done :)
07/15/2020 Michael Ballantyne Got my stuff today. Pretty much everything I need except for one cable. I ordered a thunderbolt 3 cable and I need a thunderbolt 2 cable. I should have seen that since I did get the adapter for them but the wrong cable. The stuff sure looks nice but isn't going to do me any good until I get the cable :(
07/11/2020 Michael Ballantyne Taking a leap of faith and making an order for a new Apple Macbook pro and a presonus I/O. Still doesn't feel like the perfect system probably because 1) it isn't and 2) I still have to deal with my software issue and trying to find something that will open my old Nuendo files. Online says that Cubase will open them up so maybe that is the answer since it's the same company. The new Nuendo is like $1000 which is half of what it cost 15 years ago but it seems like and always was overkill for what I am doing. Cubase is only audio and that is all I need... and is a third of the price
07/10/2020 Michael Ballantyne We will call this day one of seeing how far in the past I've been living. Looking at new computers and audio recordings systems really shows me how old and dated what I've been working on is. However it does amaze me that I am having such a hard time finding a system that worked so seemlessly as my old one did. I'm sure it's out there but definitely not an easy find. The computers are nothing special but the software and I/O's have come a long way since my last upgrade in 2006 :)
07/09/2020 Michael Ballantyne Bit of a sad day today. My faithful computer of 15 years finally processed it's last byte. Fortunately I did a back up a few weeks ago so the loss is minimal in data but there is no use trying to revive that machine since it was still running windows XP. Just going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade the whole recording system.
07/03/2020 Michael Ballantyne Don't Want To Go came out today. My first piano based release. Will be interesting to see how this one does. Decided to release "Said it before" next. It's a very 2000's pop rock kind of song but does carry a very different message :) Other than that just been working on getting my beats together. I have 15 ready to go which should be enough to get going and be consistent for a little while. Plenty more to go but just have to do a lot of recording :)
06/26/2020 Michael Ballantyne Diving more and more into the world of selling beats. It seems like a lot of work but a pretty straight forward path to getting into it. I've just been doing a lot of mixing to get about 10 songs ready to go so when I do launch this (hopefully next week on Beatstars) I will have material. I also saw that I can release these song like I do my normal ones. That is going to really give my accounts a workout but hopefully people just find me for all sorts of reasons and listen. Decided to release my latest song Said It Before as my August release. It's such a poppy song but still relevant since I am still dealing with the jerk I wrote it about... just makes me smile everytime I hear it :)
06/20/2020 Michael Ballantyne Started learning about the world of selling beats this last week. Really didn't know too much about this business but it seems right up my alley. Basically would eliminate the lyric writing and singing part of what I am doing and just let me crank out music which is what I really love doing. I definitely enjoy putting a full song together and will continue to do so, lord knows I've got a lot of finished songs but I've also got a few hundred unfinished/unrecorded songs that I'd love to do something with... and this might be it
06/13/2020 Michael Ballantyne Haven't been online much recently but been working a lot on music. Started putting down tracks for the new piano song I wrote. It's gone through many changes but with constant editing it's sounding really good. It's always weird when I come up with a new part that I get so excited about and then I listen the next day and even though it sounds good I land up throwing it out because it's "too much." That's always a tough one especially when there is technically nothing wrong with it. Sometimes less is more and even though you worked hard on something it goes with a click of a button... but that's life. In other news I got Happy Birthday on a few Spotify playlists. Kind of a disappointing showing. I got over 7000 plays but hardly any likes. Most of the plays came from two cities so they are bogus plays. I know it all looks good on paper but I'd much rather have 5 or 6 real plays and people liking (saving) my music than just a bunch of fake crap
06/05/2020 Michael Ballantyne Wrote a new piano song today. It's pretty complex in some parts. So much so that I haven't been able to play it correct yet but I can hear it. This is one of those songs that if/when I get it I will be a better player because of it. I also hear many layers in it. Most of my music can be duplicated on stage with 3 or 4 people. This one won't :)
06/03/2020 Michael Ballantyne Still on my mixing kick. Since November I've been doing pretty good keeping ahead of my "release a new song every month" campaign but felt a little rushed on my July 2020 release. Once I complete this round of mixing I will be good to go until sometime in 2021. As always I'm going to not put everything out since things do change and I write new songs all the time that I find myself wanting to release sooner rather than later... much like "Said It Before" the one I just wrote and recorded. Still liking that one so it's release might get bumped up in the rotation.
06/01/2020 Michael Ballantyne Been doing a lot of mixing today. Taking all the feedback I've gotten over the last few months and really making sure that my bass isn't too squashed and that my vocals are way up front. Now that I ma listening for all that I have to admit that my mixes are sounding much better so I guess all the expense and frustration I've gone through does pay off for something. Just goes to show that if you keep an open mind you can get better :)
05/29/2020 Michael Ballantyne Happy Birthday came out today. Tried Submithub again and actually got on a playlist. Got a lot of declines as well but the feedback about the song and mix were pretty positive. Doing well on Soundcloud as well. Definitely needs a bigger push so will have to decide where to throw some money but happy that people are liking things :)
05/27/2020 Michael Ballantyne A little more mixing and then listen to things in the truck. One song had exploding bass but the others actually sounded really good. Still missing something to fill it all in. Might just need a bit of reverb but other than the bass issue, which is an easy fix, it all sounds really good :)
05/26/2020 Michael Ballantyne More mixing today and thinking about what will be my August 2020 release. I've got a few possibilities. Several songs pretty much ready to go. I'd like to do something more than a lyric video so maybe that will determine what song I pick. If I can come up with a video idea I might go with that one
05/22/2020 Michael Ballantyne Did some more mixing on the new song today, still really like it. Also started working on the lyric video for "Happy Birthday" It comes out in a week so nothing like being right on top of things :) Definitely not a spectacular video by any means but it is content and gives people that need to see things something to watch... even if it is just a cupcake with a candle in it...
05/21/2020 Michael Ballantyne Put down some vocals for my new song. Right now I'm calling it "Said It Before" It's one of those songs that for some reason I just can't stop listening to. Of course I'm doing some mixing but every once in awhile I write and record something that I just keep playing over and over and over. Doesn't mean it's a hit or anything but for some reason it's stuck in my head... and that's not a bad thing. I think I've finished with my July 2020 release, the piano song "Don't Want To Go" It's mellow but every good rock catalog should have some diversity to it. Hopefully it's not too much but either way I like the songs and they are out there to be heard. Just need to snap a good pic and get the cover art ready and get it out there.
05/19/2020 Michael Ballantyne Worked more on my new song. Fixed some drum parts and redid the bass and guitar parts. Sounds pretty good now. Got all the dynamics set. This song doesn't change too much musically so the dynamics between parts is crucial. Sounds very flat and like something is missing if those aren't strong. In other news jumped back on Spotify after awhile and see that my numbers crashed as hard as the stock market did a few months ago. This was expected and for the silver lining the few plays that I am getting right now are very real and I do like that. Due to my schedule the last few weeks I really didn't push Miss You at all and it's showing. The next release is Happy Birthday and I do plan on trying to get that one out there. Need to start working on some sort of video for it soon...
05/18/2020 Michael Ballantyne Started recording my new song today. Sounds a little rough but you can't expect perfection right out of the box sometimes, especially when the song is only a few days old. I always see rushing a song to recording as not only a time to get things down but to keep working on it. I can always hear more once I have the basics recorded. Still not a ground breaking song by any means but it is one of those fun stupid songs that just gets stuck in your head :)
05/15/2020 Michael Ballantyne Been a little preoccupied lately and haven't been doing much on the music front but today I wrote a song that really makes me smile. Definitely not breaking any new ground with this one but it sums up some issues I have been having with a certain individual. I've wrote one or two songs like this in the past and it's amazing how it instantly clears my brain up and gets me back on track. Wrote this song lyrics and all in about 10 minutes. I've written a lot of crappy songs in 10 minutes but it's always exciting when you get a good one like that, can't wait to record it...
05/07/2020 Michael Ballantyne Still working on the bathroom but all the tile is done and grouted so just a matter of putting it all back together now. Not much on the music front going on but hopefully when I'm back on my normal schedule sometime next week I'll get back to cranking out the hits :)
05/05/2020 Michael Ballantyne Did a lot of mixing today. Ran "Don't Want To Go" through the bandlab mastering program and it sounds really good. Usually I don't hear much of a difference when I do the mastering like that but I did hear a slight difference this time so it sounded good before and slightly better after. Either way I'm pretty happy with it and will start all the extra stuff I need to do to send it in for release. I actually got a real spotify follower so that is encouraging. 1 real follower means a lot more to me than 14 fake. I am going to really make a push to get more real followers. In my mind that is success and how you keep going.
05/02/2020 Michael Ballantyne Checked my Spotify Account today and saw that I lost the 14 followers that I gained recently. Just solidifies the feeling that the latest company I used for promo is a bunch of BS. Yes I got a far amount of plays but not a single follower from the big playlist I made it on and the ones I obtained from the smaller one all disappeared at the same time. I have no desire for fake plays and fake people on my account. I don't know why people want that other than just having a bigger number but I'd much rather have a smaller number of real people listening and enjoying my music rather than a big number of plays that doesn't mean anything. I think if you need that there is something wrong with you. Of course I'd much rather have a lot of plays from a lot of real people but that is what I am working on this for.
05/01/2020 Michael Ballantyne Miss You came out today. Got the normal non-response to it but that is what I expect. It will be something special when someone actually listens to one of my songs on release day. Didn't do much promo for I See Rain but I am going to give this one a push. It's a more mellow simple song and maybe that is the avenue I should be pursuing... We will see
04/30/2020 Michael Ballantyne Did a lot of mixing today, well not many moves on the board but some critical listening and those minor tweaks that just seem to pull it all together. My July release is all but ready to go so that's a good thing. Also came up with some pretty cool guitar parts to my new piano song What have I Done. I am a little more than biased to it but I still think it's going to be a really good song, hopefully someone will get to hear it :)
04/28/2020 Michael Ballantyne Still working on the bathroom remodel so music production is pretty much on an every other day schedule. Did some more remixing on "Don't Want To Go" It's getting really close but still something a little off on it. Hopefully just a few more tweaks and it will be ready to go. Still haven't shot or done any kind of video for Miss You which is coming out in a few days. It won't be the first time I didn't get a video out on release date but it is the first one that I don't have completed (or even started) I do have the old video featuring Bob Popp (who the song is about) but I'm a little concerned that the general public won't get it and will think it's just some dudes slideshow. Bob's birthday is this weekend and it's always a bit sad, like the song says... miss you brother
04/26/2020 Michael Ballantyne Got emails that Happy Birthday is all loaded up in the stores and streaming platforms set for a May 29th release date. It always feels good to be a month or two ahead. I suppose if I had a team behind me I'd be scheduled a year out but since it's just me doing everything we take what we can get :) Getting back to the near future I've got Miss You coming out in 5 days and I still don't have any kind of video for it. That isn't entirely true since I did put a video out a few years ago when I wrote the song. It's still on Youtube Miss You but not sure if that should be the official video since it is a different mix of the song.
04/25/2020 Michael Ballantyne Listened to "Don't Want To Go" in the truck. Somehow lost a lot of the bass on the piano so bumped that up. Pretty much set that this will be my July 2020 release. The more I hear it the more I like it which you would think is a good sign but as always it really means nothing when it comes to putting it out there. I've been getting good reactions to my songs but still feel that I just haven't found the right place or way to get them out there so to quote Sonny and Cher "The beat goes on"
04/23/2020 Michael Ballantyne More piano stuff today working on the new song. Demo is sounding good but now comes the part of what to add to it if anything. Still have to write the words but the more I play it the more words are popping into place and that's always a good thing. Also started really mixing my July 2020 release. I think it will be my first piano based song but still not 100% on that. Haven't listened to it in awhile and I still think it's good so hopefully a few tweaks mixing and it should be ready to go.
04/21/2020 Michael Ballantyne Started a demo on the new piano song now called "What Have I Done" If I don't screw this one up it is going to turn out really good. Going to have to dig deep for the lyrics but at this point in the game that is what it's all about. Think I just need to take a night to myself, get a good bottle of scotch and finish a few of these songs I have been working on. Been doing so much piano work lately I might have to just put out an EP/album of just piano songs.
04/20/2020 Michael Ballantyne Been remodeling a bathroom at my parents house so not too much on the music front the last few days but the nice thing is that when I'm taking a break from the remodel work there is a real piano in the house and it's great to play one of those when I get a chance. My keyboard is great but even with the weighted keys there still is a big difference. The new piano song is really shaping up nice and I am looking forward to making a demo for it. Systems Broken hit 2000 plays on Spotify recently so that's a good thing. My save rate is closing in on 20% so that is amazing. That kind of feedback really helps formulate a more long term plan. My real surprise seems to be Don't Turn Your Love Away. Not getting a lot of plays on that song but the few people that are listening to it seem to really like it. Got about a 70% save rate which is unheard of. Taking tomorrow off from the remodeling and working on music so hope to get something accomplished
04/14/2020 Michael Ballantyne Had a few non-musical days but back at it today. Wrote a new song on the piano and got Systems Broken on another playlist. Pretty excited about this one. About 3000 followers and it says songs say on for about a year. That would be really cool. My listener to save ratio is about 15% on this song so that is amazing as well. Just gotta keep pushing
04/11/2020 Michael Ballantyne Hopefully did the final mixing for "Happy Birthday" today. Had a little too much high end on the snare and high hat but shaved that off a bit and will go check it again in the truck. Sounds good everywhere else so that will be the final test and then I will get it out for my June release. Still need a photo for it so I guess there is one more thing.
04/10/2020 Michael Ballantyne Did a lot of mixing today. Not sure why but I've almost forgotten about the whole aspect of using headphones in mixing. Definitely gives another reference away from the near and far field speakers I use. Of course the truck is always the final test. Since day one if it sounds good in the car it sounds good anywhere. On a sad note I saw that Social Defiance got booted off a playlist. It was a big one and was on for almost a month so it helped a lot. Just have to get it on another one :)
04/09/2020 Michael Ballantyne Focused today mostly on production. The more I listen to my work the more I hear what's wrong with it. I still think it's pretty good in comparison to a lot of what I hear being put out on Soundcloud but that amount of crap out there is astonishing so it's not really saying much. AC/DC Back in Black is not only an amazing album but a masterpiece in recording. When I reference my work against that I really hear the difference and gives me something to shoot for
04/08/2020 Michael Ballantyne Not much production stuff got done today but Systems Broken did get on another playlist. Of course several more rejections as well but have to appreciate the good. Music is definitely subjective, the things that one person loves about it are the same things that another person says is wrong about it. All you can do is keep working at it. Pretty much straight across the board so far I've got a 10% liking ratio which is really good in my opinion.
04/07/2020 Michael Ballantyne Mostly playing around with some new ideas today. No real stats on Systems Broken yet. Getting a little feedback and production seems to be the issue again... although I'm not sure if that response is the "standard" responds when they just don't like he song and want to be nice. I've been listening to music a long time and have trained my ears fairly well and I am definitely not saying that I can't get better, always room for improvement but at this point I'm not sure what they are really looking for.
04/06/2020 Michael Ballantyne Worked on final mixing of "Happy Birthday" an original song of my that will be my June release. This one is sounding really good to me. Not just the actual recording quality but the song in general. Don't know if the world needs another happy birthday song but at least it's a very different alternative to the standard birthday song we all know. Got Systems Broken on a big playlist. Same one as Social Defiance so in a way that's awesome and I am grateful to be getting any plays at all but probably not going to do too much for my following since it may not be reaching a new audience. It's just starting so hopefully I get a few more placements but happy that someone is listening :)
04/05/2020 Michael Ballantyne Just did a little mixing in the morning. Songs are sounding good and I have definitely been paying attention to vocal levels. It's really too bad I screwed up on Social Defiance since most of the feedback about the song I've been getting is that people like it but just couldn't hear the vocals enough. Lesson learned. I've already fixed it but it's too late for what's out there already. When I actually put out an album down the road it will be a top track. System Broken promo starts today. To start with I've had 68 plays from 39 listeners and 10 saves... which is an awesome save percentage so I hope that carries through :)
04/04/2020 Michael Ballantyne Had "I See Rain" released yesterday. Not sure how this one will do. It's a good rock song and I like it but as I know all too well that really means nothing. Hopefully people that enjoy classic rock will like this one. Started promoting my first release "Systems Broken" again today. It was my first release and even though I did try to promote the hell out of it I still feel that it didn't get the push it deserved since I do think of it as one of my better hard rock songs. Next month when "Miss You" comes out I will give that a real good push and see how I do on the acoustic side of things. My gut feeling it that I'm going to be finding more and more success with my more mellow acoustic guitar/piano songs, time will tell :)
04/03/20 Michael Ballantyne Fixed some of the guitar tracks on "Does Anybody Care" today. Added a second rhythm track and fixed the first (short) solo. Really love it when after a few fixes you just sit back and listen and hear how it's all coming together. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference, it's what takes it from demo sounding to professional I think.
04/02/20 Michael Ballantyne Started recording "Does Anybody Care" today. Sounds pretty good so far. Need to fix the first solo and fatter the guitar up with another track but that can be fun for another day. Social Defiance Is still doing well on Spotify but I have seemed to have fallen off the radar on pandora which is too bad since I like that platform. Maybe the release I have coming up tomorrow will get back on there. Got more rejection on Submithub so I think I'm going to pull the plug there. Plenty of other places to throw money at :)
03/31/20 Michael Ballantyne Not too much accomplished today on the composing front but a good day for small accomplishments. Social Defiance hit 1000 plays today on Spotify which is a first for me and Social Defiance got placed on another Spotify independent playlist at the number 1 spot which is super cool. Definitely gives a little validation to what I am doing :)
03/30/20 Michael Ballantyne Loaded my May 2020 release "Miss You" in today with Distrokid Release date is set for Friday May 1st. Also joined Daily Motion today for video releases. Basically another You Tube but much smaller. Figure it can't hurt to add content to smaller sites since hopefully (but doubtfully) might get a few more plays and dare I say it... fans
03/29/20 Michael Ballantyne Nothing too musical done today. Completed my third campaign on Submithub today for "Social Defiance" and got a big fat ZERO again. I don't want to rule Submithub out yet but out of 50+ submissions I haven't gotten a single positive response. Having much better luck with other services.
03/28/20 Michael Ballantyne Did some cool digital editing on "Was it Ever So Good" today. Just a couple of little tweeks that made a big difference. It's amazing how when you hear a small mistake you not only hear it every time around but wait for it when it's coming up. Modern technology and rock and roll's repetition make that pretty easy to fix. Also added synth tracks to "Does Anybody Care." A similar song to "Was it Ever So Good" with piano and guitars. If someone likes John Lennon they will like these songs... I hope :)
03/27/20 Michael Ballantyne Started my blog page today. We will see how long I keep this up but I do think it will be cool to look back on progress made. Remixed a few songs today trying to get my vocal levels up since that seems to be my biggest problem... not my only but my biggest :) Also trying to finalize my May 2020 song release "Miss you" a song I wrote fro my friend that isn't with us anymore.