From little acorns, oak trees grow. A chance meeting on the sunny island of Lanzarote in 1990 has led to a great musical and business success story. Stuart Bull (one half of the founding team) was playing guitar to a blues backing track in a tourist bar Kim Waller (the other half of the team, and an aspiring guitarist) watched him perform and was suitably impressed. Later, Kim approached Stuart to make a backing track for his own personal use, which he did. Kim then discovered his playing improved in leaps and bounds. This gave the pair a great idea....
A mere six months after their original meeting, Kim and Stuart formed Total Accuracy. They produced full-band CD backing tracks of original blues and rock styles for guitarists to practice and improvise over. This was later expanded to include classic rock, pop and blues songs, coming complete with full guitar tablature and two versions of each song on the CD. One is complete with the guitar part - to hear what it should sound like - and one professional backing track where the guitar is missing, so you can fill it in.
Total Accuracy went on to become the world’s foremost producer of backing track driven tutorials for guitarists, winning awards and becoming the market leader in just eight short years.
“In 1998 we made a conscious decision to create our identity on the web” says Kim “the concept of a library of licks and riffs explained in a video download format seemed to be the most engaging form of tuition after private lessons with a pro”
Hence the rebranding of the company as Lick Library to identify with a library of resources for guitarists on the internet. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, becoming the benchmark by which other tutorial methods (the Licklibrary DVD catalogue), and other educational websites are measured.
“Our mission is to provide the best possible experience for musicians of all levels to learn their chosen instrument, benefit from the wisdom of world class tutors, interact with other musicians worldwide, and on a global level be able source a wide range of entertainment and resources based around streaming media, such as product demos, live gigs, and of course shopping for any educational material.
A central component of this business model is streaming media, which for the educational content is far more engaging than reading TAB, and for elements such as product reviews adds a whole new dimension to the experience.
We chose to upgrade the media streaming for all the tutorial content as we feel it is important to engage our users by having the best streaming media delivery available. Many people still believe internet based video to be a few jerky images, so when they see a 700k stream from our site they quickly realise that it is a remarkable experience, and they understand that video on the internet is a viable user experience today. It is now possible to watch lessons for a wide range of tracks from Hank Marvin to Steve Vai streamed in an ‘online TV’ format from our server.
Other spin offs such as live band performances, interviews etc are are obvious additions to the mission statement for this online community and education centre. In some ways it is a traditional TV style concept, but with the added attraction of being able to watch what you want, when you want.
The latest reinvention of the site sees us launching many new community features... my personal favourite is a Lickspace area where users can upload video material of themselves, and with the forthcoming addition of bass and drums as new categories in the licklibrary community we expect this to become a hugely popular meeting point for musicians to share and showcase their talent.
Licklibrary TV is the first broadband TV channel for musicians offering this level in media delivery. Site members have an ‘all access’ pass to a great site containing a continually expanding archive of guitar tutorials, technique tips and products to make them better guitarist.
A manufacturer has the opportunity to demonstrate their products in a way that will make it more interesting and enjoyable for the audience. Anyone browsing the site has the opportunity of seeing and hearing how a particular product performs in streaming video format, which is far more engaging than a sterile magazine advert.
As for the future… well, we’ll just keep on providing a great service to musicians and improving our service wherever we can and whenever technology allows. Until somebody invents a hologram of Eddie Van Halen that teaches you guitar solos in your front room, in my opinion Licklibrary offers the best educational methods out there whether online or on DVD.
Discover more at http://www.licklibrary.com
Smokehead, our story...
Picture the scene. Islay’s Whiskey Festival is in full swing. It’s the middle of the night in the little town of Port Ellen and the many yachts in its bay are jumping.
Conceived on one such yacht – to the strains of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water – Smokehead has always charted its own course, which is so often the path to greatness.
An independent, boisterous and some would say rebellious spirit from the off, Smokehead spoke a different language from its peers; a lively, emotive tongue that struck a chord with the more adventurous and fuelled their appetite for a break from the norm…from mediocrity.
No platitudes or half measures here. With its immense character, explosive personality and unashamed delight in its peaty Islay roots. Smokehead challenges convention and upsets the status quo, preaching a philosophy of earthy expression, throwing caution to the wind and living life to the absolute full. Hardly surprising then that with each year, the cult following of fanatical Smokeheads continues to grow.
Join in the celebrations, stimulate your senses and indulge your passions. The time for compromise is over.
Discover more at http://www.smokehead.com