Live Music Music

Landmark Award

27/02/2017

Birnam CD receives Hands Up For Trad’s Landmark Award

We’re all very chuffed here at Birnam having just become the latest recipients of a Hands Up For Trad “Landmark Award” in recognition of us having navigated our way through the ever-changing channels of the music business for over 30 years.

We’ve been on the go since 1986, initially as “Birnam Tapes”, Scotland’s first real-time cassette duplication facility. “Birnam Tapes” offered Scottish-based artists the option of small-scale music production at a time when the possibility of releasing independent self-financed albums was just beginning to nudge into the outer edges of a working musician’s budget. The deeply-ingrained and seldom questioned edict that you had to be “on a label” to release an album was still prevalent, but musicians were becoming more confident about doing things for themselves rather than handing over control of their music (and, often, their careers and finances) to others.

The word got around pretty fast and we were soon churning out batches of cassette albums for a wide range of artists from all over the UK.

We began to receive increasingly regular requests to supply albums on CD. It was clear that CD would soon be the new standard and we needed to respond, so we struck deals with a couple of major European pressing plants. In a highly sleekit move, the name of the business “Birnam Cassette Duplication” (once the transition was complete) was seamlessly abbreviated to “Birnam CD”.

As our list of clients grew, we were repeatedly asked if we could help with other aspects and tasks that need to be taken care of once an album is completed so we are now “BIRNAM – CD / PR / DESIGN / ONLINE”. We don’t just offer CD, DVD and vinyl pressing and design for packaging, we also offer a full graphic design service for tour posters, flyers, social media graphics and other band merchandise, downloads & streaming, online CD sales (worldwide via our own shop and Amazon), physical distribution and – most significantly in recent years – music promotion.

Of all the additional services independent musicians need, PR may well be the most vital. We introduced our range of media promotion packages about 5 years ago, to help artists get their music heard more widely, and it has organically grown to become a hugely significant part of what we now do. It’s extremely satisfying to see a top-notch independently-released album we have promoted be named “album of the week” on a national radio show or gain a 5-star press review. In response to very positive feedback and encouragement from the artists we have worked with, we are now expanding the range and scope of our PR services to reach media hotspots and audiences internationally.

Martin will be participating in the forthcoming Trad Talk event at the Tolbooth, Stirling on Sunday 11th March. Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/trad-talk-tickets-31941761669

Uncategorized

BIRNAM CD TURNS 30 YEARS OLD!

11/02/2016

 

BIRNAM CD TURNS 30 YEARS OLD!

 

We ‘re finding it a bit hard to believe, but 2016 really is our 30th anniversary year.*

In the spare room of a farm cottage near Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, “Birnam Tapes” made a very humble start in 1986, armed with a reel-to-reel tape recorder + ten cassette decks. Our first job was to produce 250 cassette albums for the Scottish folk trio “Blackeyed Biddy”.

The independent music scene has grown substantially since then and we’ve grown with it. After a couple of name changes (Birnam Cassette Duplication, Birnam CD), we are now “Birnam CD Limited” and, to kick-start 2016, we have already made and delivered a total of 16,000 CDs just for clients launching new albums at January’s Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

And we have a great list of top-notch projects lined up for the months to come.

So, as we look forward to what is a special year for us, we would like to thank all of our clients, both past and present, for having entrusted us with their creativity, both musical and visual.

We’ll be looking back as well as forward in the coming year and, from time to time, posting some images from our early days right up to the present.

* To put this into a bit of context, the year we established the business was the same year that:

The UK & France announced plans to build a Channel Tunnel;

Argentina, helped by Maradonna’s “Hand of God” goal, went on to win the World Cup in Mexico;

Desmond Tutu became South Africa’s first black Anglican Church bishop;

The M25 was officially opened

and

Matt Groening created The Simpsons.

Live Music

Mairi Orr’s Album Launch

25/06/2015

Mairi Orr’s Edinburgh Album Launch

 

On Saturday the 20th of June, I attended the first launch concert for Mairi Orr’s debut album Jenny Does Burn along with Martin and a very eager friend of mine. I say that it was Mairi’s first launch concert as the singer held a second on the 28th of June in Glasgow. The concert we attended was in Edinburgh at The Voodoo Rooms, a venue I had never visited before, but one that I fell in love with straight away. The concert was in a cosy room covered in dark drapes and illuminated by candles burning from each table as well as tiny lights dotted around the coverings. It was a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Mairi and her band elected to do a straight run-through of the album for their live set. Opening number The Drover gently lulled the audience into the evening. Don’t You Wed Another Man Maggie took things up a notch with its fast-paced brand of bluegrass. Title track Jenny Does Burn told the tale of the last woman to be burned as a witch in Scotland to an oddly charming tune, given the subject matter. By the end of the set, and subsequently the album, Mairi had very effectively demonstrated her grasp of a variety of genres with no song sounding like the one before it.

Following rapturous applause from the audience (and then some), the band returned for a rendition of Dirk Powell’s take on traditional song Moonshiner. Feet were tapping, hands were clapping, it was a great concert from start to finish.

Mairi’s debut album Jenny Does Burn is available now from Birnam at our own shop, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It is also available digitally through prominent platforms such as iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play.