#LiveFearless with Bodyform

Live Fearless Ribbon

This year Bodyform re-launched its #LiveFearless competition which aims to bring women together by inviting them to share what scares them, and what empowers them to overcome those fears. Royal Holloway University London (RHUL) Feminism Society is excited by the opportunity to get involved and asked for self-defining women to take part in a video discussing what fearlessness really means.

A group of us got together to chat about what Live Fearless means to us individually and the conversation that grew was both inspiring and fascinating. What stood out most was that each of us experienced varying levels of fear and needed the necessary courage to overcome it.

As students we are intensely familiar with nerves, anxiety and the major consequences these can have on a person’s life, given the pressure that young people are put under in relation to career aspirations and academic success, amongst other things. At the same time, we are lucky enough to have grown up without facing the fears experienced by young women living in countries at war, or in cultures where they have limited rights and far less freedom than us.

The conclusion we came to is this:

Fearlessness is a relative concept.

We talked about times when just getting out of bed in the morning feels like a major achievement, or when minor things like hurtful comments from other people or a fear of being judged seem to control your entire life. Each of us have our personal battles and coping mechanisms. By talking openly and candidly about them we’re hoping to support Bodyform in a bid to encourage women to take inspiration from each other and share their own stories of facing their fears – whatever that means to them.

The campaign asks women to share a picture or video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with a short caption summarising their story. The comfort we found purely through making this video and confiding in each other has helped begin to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and other types of anxiety or fear by encouraging women to support rather than criticise each other.

We want to create a sense of community similar to the incredible worldwide support we received for our recent #UglyGirlsClub project. It’s crucial that we maintain this community, using the modern power of social media to bring us together and help each other through rough times.

I’m personally a big fan of the #LiveFearless campaign and what it stands for. Having struggled with anxiety since my first year of university and knowing so many people with similar experiences, I think it’s a brilliant way to help women take strength from each other and find the courage they deserve.

Bodyform’s Live Fearless campaign is a fun and engaging campaign with a very important message, that could become something much bigger and help make fewer people feel alone in their fears.

Watch our video below and share your own story with Bodyform at http://bit.ly/1Ruc1aA to help create an online community of inspired women and become part of a fantastic cause. Upload a picture or video of your fearless moment for the chance to win the grand prize Trip Around the World. Plus, weekly £100 ASOS vouchers can be won. You can also post your entry to Twitter with #LiveFearless and @bodyformUK.

Bodyform LogoProduct of the year logoBodyform Roll.Press.Go pack shot

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Qtrax – The New Company Trying to Give Music Away for Free.

Illegal downloading of music is somehow mildly taboo in society as a whole, which seems odd to me given that between groups of friends, young people especially, everyone I know is doing it. We are all constantly looking for the easiest and cheapest way to access music, as it’s a huge entertainment factor in our lives that appeals to almost everyone. Itunes used to be the main contender; gradually knocking out programmes like Napster, which The Guardian claims, started the ‘music revolution’ despite being created by two teenage boys. Despite the emergence of illegal sites like LimeWire and Legal ones like Spotify, Itunes is yet to die a solid death, probably down to the fact it’s designed specifically for Ipods and so many people who own one stick with the simplest process. Itunes also allows the user to actually own the file, transfer it to other locations, copy it and send it to others. Spotify is slightly flawed in that when you download tracks you can only play them on that programme and no others. Although it’s highly popular, particularly having recently set up a connection between phones and laptops to play your saved lists anywhere, Spotify remains a product that you have to pay a subscription to in order to download tracks. It has also been criticised frequently by artists complaining that the site reduces the value of music and how much people can earn for their work. But a new company is beginning to get noticed, claiming to ‘give away music for free’ whilst allowing artists to make a satisfying amount from their material. If someone could actually pull off something that difficult, it would be incredibly successful!

Qtrax was actually created in around 2006 but is experiencing a comeback having signed new contracts so is starting to make more of an appearance in the media and has only just been reviewed by The Telegraph. Its manifesto is centred on providing free music and downloads to the consumer but with a huge focus on fair profit for the artist – something that Spotify has experienced problems with. Taylor Swift for example, a hugely recognised artist, recently removed all music from Spotify and publicly announced her refusal to work with them based on the lack of profit being made from music. If Qtrax can actually pull off their claims, they could have an enormous advantage over Spotify and Itunes.

I decided to try out Qtrax for myself in order to review it authentically but before I’d even started downloading it I was faced with the big issue that it’s not yet compatible with OSX meaning only Windows users can download the programme. Already the company are eliminating a massive target audience, although I assume it’s a work in progress, similarly, their website mentioned Apple Store and Play Store apps that are to be released supposedly within the first quarter of 2015. Spotify is already very easy to access, both for listening to and downloading music on your smart phone, so if Qtrax genuinely gets round to following up it’s plans it would instantly become more accessibly to a larger audience.

The website, I have to admit I was seriously impressed by, having recently attended a workshop day on social media and website building in businesses a lot of simple but brilliantly effective elements jumped out at me. The site is a vibrant shade of purple so let’s be honest, grabs the attention straight away, it’s funny that if you go to any of the other pages they’re quite plain, whereas the homepage works really well – it’s obvious they just want to catch the attention and initially draw people in, as most companies would. It’s incredibly clear and well laid out, the font is large and key words are particularly identifiable with no chunks of text – reminding me of tips the careers service gave me on CV writing when I flailed ineptly at them. I’d swear the Qtrax site repeats the word ‘FREE’ about fifty times and the aims that the company prides itself on so much are very obviously highlighted in a little scroll shaped text box like a biblical manuscript. The company’s philosophy is ‘Artists and Songwriters need to be much better compensated for creating the music that millions enjoy’. Which in my opinion sounds great! – Particularly if they can provide free downloadable music whilst doing it. Their plan is to allocate artists an Equity Stake, which technically makes them co-owners of the business and sharers of any profit.

As for the actual programme, which I asked my housemate to download seeing as I have a Macbook, we both agreed the layout is nicer than Spotify, similar to the website, clear and easy to use, bright and attractive, it’s generally just a good experience. Its main downfall was the lack of tracks available; some more obscure artists were on there but it seemed to contain only half of the work of most, which was a disappointment. But if they are in the process of building up it’s efficiency, this could be just a short-term problem. We were sat with another friend whilst exploring it and it was interesting to find each of the three of us had a very different prediction for the future of Qtrax, taking bets on where it would be in six months time. Jack suggested it would be impossible to tell how well it will do until Spotify make some sort of comeback move to bounce back against Qtrax’s claims and reinstate itself as the top contender. Cassie was quite against it, insisting that the business model was flawed and could only make headway if the plans change, as they can’t sustain giving away music for free whilst appeasing artists. Personally, having read so much recently about the flaws beginning to emerge in Spotify, I can’t help feeling it could be on the way out, leaving a prime space for a new company, with careful development and if they can get artists on board and make enough money through advertising, I think it has potential.

It’ll be interesting to see how Qtrax expands over the next six months or so and who’s verdict was closest, but I definitely recommend checking it out even just for a few free tracks! http://www.qtrax.com/

 

The Fun and Games of Creating a Recording Studio from Scratch

Early this summer, my Dad asked me to help him out with some work (vague I know but that’s exactly how it was pitched to me). Bored of an empty Egham and long days working at TKMaxx, I was game for anything so agreed to attend some meetings with him. Meetings, for him, it turned out meant long afternoons in the pub – a steady supply of cider and a pretty magical pine nut salad was enough enticement for me!

Once I’d been introduced to people and had a little explanation I found i’d ended up ina team of people helping a guy in his twenties take his first steps in setting up a recording studio. The whole plan was majorly exciting to sit in on, finding the owner, Tom, had links to producers of bands like Massive Attack, Adam Ant, Newton Faulkner, One Direction, and Katy B to name but a few.

Our first session mostly involved Tom and I having had one too many ciders and close to despair over spreadsheets that made no sense to either of us with our lack of business knowledge. However the following week I was invited to the studio to look around; set in a beautiful garden at the back of Tom’s house with top of the range equipment, ‘Dragonfly Studios’ seemed ideal for any client.

From this point onwards I was sold, the project instantly became a thrilling ride into my first experiences in the industry I aspire to be part of. We talked through mixing and producing in detail – I probably learnt more about making music that day than the rest of my life put together! So far marketing and press is well underway, having been given the task of gathering contacts I’ve had chance to work with some really interesting people and editors of independent music magazines. I’ve also learnt how to conduct myself in the work environment, what to look for in advertising partners (mostly that they aren’t out to grab all your money and actually have a passion for music!) and had a chance to use my semi-creative mind for designing logos, flyers and cards.

Overall it’s been incredibly enlightening to learn the fundamentals of setting up a business in the music industry but most of all working with a team of wonderfully enthusiastic people who have both informed and inspired me. I have gained very relevant contacts who will remain crucially helpful for the rest of my career and have already taught me enormous amounts. Although this is rather a tangent, I found the whole process so inspiring as well as getting a basic feel for working in the music business (albeit from a different angle to the journalistic one I am aiming to graduate to), I felt the need to share it with likeminded people.

For anyone interested to see what I’ve been up to – www.dragonflyrecordingstudios.co.uk