Hello everyone! I hope everyone out there is having a great summer in the northern hemisphere—and a fine winter down south. It’s time for another update of what’s going on behind the scenes here at Ektoplazm.
First up, last summer I had to close the Ektoplazm t-shirt shop after the manufacturer I had been working with discontinued the service. Since then I have tried several alternatives but none really satisfied until I discovered Redbubble. So, I am happy to announce that Ektoplazm t-shirts are once again available, albeit from a different supplier—which means different garments, print quality, and so on. They aren’t exactly the same t-shirts but based on what feedback I’ve received the quality is comparable so I encourage everyone to check out the new Ektoplazm t-shirt shop on Redbubble!
By request I have also opened a page for Ektoplazm on Patreon, a web site that makes it easy to support content creators, movers, and shakers. For years Ektoplazm has accepted donations via Paypal and Bitcoin but this approach isn’t particularly transparent. Since people don’t know how much it costs to operate and develop Ektoplazm nor how much money is coming in it isn’t uncommon for there to be a shortfall that I end up covering out of my own pocket. Patreon offers the potential for more transparency. Here I will be able to set funding goals and everyone will be able to see how much support the project receives. At the very least, having Ektoplazm’s monthly web hosting expenses covered would be a great first step! People sometimes joke that if everyone who downloads from Ektoplazm chips in a dollar or two I wouldn’t have money problems any more but there’s more than a little truth to that—and Patreon makes it possible. If you support free music and my ongoing work on Ektoplazm 2.0 please feel welcome to make a pledge!
I also have an update about the DMCA takedown abuse issue I wrote about recently. Speaking out against this heinous practice seems to have done some good as I discovered that many of these automated services offer whitelisting for entire domains. I went back and emailed a bunch of the companies that had filed takedown requests and most were amenable to removing Ektoplazm from their scans in the future. Already I’ve noticed a decrease in the number of notices I receive so that’s one less thing for me to worry about.
Now for a word about recent uptime issues: over the last several months I’ve faced several challenges keeping Ektoplazm online for various reasons. Back in the springtime my host migrated one of my servers to a new data center without copying over a huge number of files necessary to keep the site running. I ended up having to spend a weekend scrambling to pick up the pieces and customize the new box to match the configuration of the old. Even after that I was stuck with weeks of smashing bugs and otherwise getting things back to the way they were. I wasn’t very happy with how my host handled everything but I’m not ready to switch just yet—there’s an unusually high amount of risk involved in moving such a high-bandwidth site like Ektoplazm to a new hosting company. The problem isn’t technical, mind you—it’s that many hosts will promise unmetered bandwidth and then find reasons to eject you after you start using it. I’ve had this problem once before in Ektoplazm’s history and don’t want to repeat the ordeal. Though I have had problems with my current host they’ve never had a problem with how much bandwidth we use so I’ll stay put for now.
In recent weeks Ektoplazm has also suffered several extended DDoS attacks. I can’t say too much about the nature of these attacks without giving too much away. Suffice to say I think I’ve found a way to mitigate the threat from most of these attacks but there are no guarantees. Keep an eye on the Ektoplazm Facebook page or Twitter feed if you notice any problems accessing the site; I may have posted an update there.
Finally, a word for my label and artist partners: these days I am only accepting a limited number of new applications with several conditions outlined on the distribution policy. I regret having to make these changes but I am limited in how much I can work on the project at the present time and being more stringent with what applications I accept will allow me to help more labels and artists than I would be able to otherwise. I am trying to devote more of my time to the redevelopment effort. Feel free to hold back as your releases will still be welcome when the site moves to more of a self-serve model. You are welcome to drop me a line and talk about it if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding! And thanks to everyone else for your continued support. That’s all for this time and stay tuned for more great music from Ektoplazm!