Welcome to CerebralAudio, the label that is for people with strong, independent thoughts and interests on music and culture.
CerebralAudio was launched in August of 2015 as an imprint of The CerebralRift website. The CerebralRift is an online publication focused on independent and outsider artist culture that is engaged with the Creative Commons. Over the years it has produced hundreds of reviews of independent audio works, interviews with labels and creators, and spawned it's own podcast: The CerebralMix.
The CerebralMix was produced as a music podcast that promotes the works of independent and outsider creators that produce their works in the Creative Commons domain -- aka The Commons.
CerebralAudio came about as the idea of producing a third form of content that focused on independent and outsider creators working in the commons, under Creative Commons licensing. While the idea had been around for quite a few years to start a label, it didn't come about until the idea emerged that there was still room in the Netlabel community to do something different than the predominant labels were doing.
The Netlabel community arose from the Demo Scene of the 1990's, in which many gifted and talented people would created programs that demonstrated the advanced capabilities of early microcomputers. Many of these capabilities weren't enabled in the computers by their creators, so these people would actually create their own control systems that allowed them to explore the advanced graphical and sound capabilities of these machines.
It was the audio developers that gave rise to the Netlabel community when they started exchanging the audio soundtracks for their works. Over time they developed new and different ways to exchange their music works, eventually adopting the MP3 when it became widely available. Also along the way many of the early Netlabel owners adopted Creative Commons licensing as a way to ensure their works could be freely exchanged.
Many of the changes that occurred over this early period were controversial, with each label operator taking their own position as to how to define their label. However, even with these differences, the majority of labels held to some core aspects of the Netlabel Community:
- Free interchange of the works produced
- Digital distribution
- Independent of the major record labels
These core attributes are still present in many Netlabels to this day, including CerebralAudio.
As mentioned in the introduction, CerebralAudio began as the third piece of a larger project with The CerebralRift publication and CerebralMix podcast. While the idea had existed for many years (since George De Bruin, the founder of The CerebralRift and The CerebralMix had first discovered Netlabels in the early 2000's) he didn't feel that there was a reason to create the label when there were so many others available.
That changed in 2015 when he (George De Bruin) accidentally created a couple of his own works, and decided that he wanted to independently release them. After exploring the available options (such as BandCamp and Jamendo, etc.), and considering he had some ideas of his own about Netlabels, George decided that it was time to set up his own label.
When CerebralAudio launched in August of 2015 it quickly established a few features that were less common in the Netlabel community:
- Accepting payments in multiple crypto-currencies,
- More extensive packaging and presentation of releases
- Large album art images - including back and front covers
- Clear tagging of all media files
- Liner notes in multiple formats
- Multiple hand-created versions of media files (MP3's OGG's and FLAC's)
- Openness to nearly all styles of forms of music
- Focus on high quality audio recordings
- Focusing on all components in the package being Creative Commons licensed
- Focusing on using tools that are Open Source / GPL compliant
While many labels implement these features to varying degrees (some producing excellent artwork with no liner notes, some producing excellent audio quality with less focus on overall packaging, etc.) CerebralAudio wanted to differentiate itself by raising the bar in all of these areas.
What This Meant For Artists
For artist, this meant that they could entrust their releases to be presented in the best possible manner. CerebralAudio's approach to packaging and presenting a work has always been one of collaboration. The presentation of an artist's work must reach the same level as the effort they put into creating their work.
What This Meant For Listeners
Listeners have been presented with releases that are high quality in production, are presented in a manner that is attractive, and will (hopefully) be releases that they will want to listen to time and again for many years.
One area in which CerebralAudio has tried to stand out is in the idea of "free" versus "freedom". CerebralAudio releases are presented and packaged with extensive documentation of their Creative Commons licenses. This means that, within the parameters of the license, users are allowed to use and exchange releases as they deem appropriate.
However, CerebralAudio has also recognized from the beginning that many artists do have desires and needs that they want to meet through their artistic endeavors. The best way to accomplish this is through monetary compensation.
CerebralAudio has taken a position that attempts to find a happy medium between these two ideas: let the audience tell you what the art is worth, or what they feel they can afford. This has involved using a "Name Your Price" component, by which the users are allowed to set the prices they are willing or able to pay.
Over the past several years, there have been numerous changes to CerebralAudio:
- Crypto Currencies removed
- No one used them
- Moved to it's own website
- Added distribution to Spoty, iTunes, Google Play, Deezer, TIDAL and other streaming platforms
- Added "static" videos
- ...and more
CerebralAudio has released over 70 albums by over a dozen artists, released four anthologies, had over 50 artists participate in the label, and attracted artists from the Netherlands, UK, United States, Greece, Germany, and other locations.
While things change, the focus is still on a single core idea: producing sounds for a sound mind -- music that will enhance your environment and your mind.