Case Studies/Pocketclock Music

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experimental, pop, music


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Pocketclock Records are an independent music label based in Melbourne, Australia, placing a focus on experimental pop.

When I found Creative Commons, it reinforced that idea and allowed us to stop working in the traditional way: In some ways I think by licensing the music under CC, for me, serves more to say “It's actually OK to give this to your friends” than anything else. — Rowan Mcnaught, Pocketclock Music


Pocketclock Music is a small, independent record label based in Melbourne, Australia. Established in 2003 to represent the ‘sound of young Melbourne,’ Pocketclock’s focus is distinctly experimental pop. Pocketclock is currently home to the artists Talkshow Boy (TSB), Poland, and Pompey, and has had previous associations with Lakes, Oh! Belgium, and Cine-milky/Sienmilki. Each featured musician offers free downloads on the site under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 licence, alongside the occasional promotional video. Pocketclock also provides artists with a mobile recording facility to ‘convert your sound to golden impulses,’ and has supported several local mastering/editing and production projects.

Talkshow Boy (aka Adrian K-Sahara) is a 22 year-old musician who hails from Melbourne. In his own words, ‘He plays intense and complicated electronic new pop songs about love, being tuff, and how people act towards one another.’ In November 2007, TSB released a new record TESTOSTERONE. Over 19 tracks, TSB ‘pushes the romantic, aesthetic and political agendas to the sounds of cute majorchordal breakbeats, tiny melodic cut-ups and anemic blastbeats.’

Poland plays primitive DSP pop music with ‘loops as long as your arm’ ( Informed by the folk and pop traditions, Poland takes her influences from outsider music, house, abstract jazz, video games, and storytelling, amongst other places. Poland’s self-titled EP consists of four tracks, culminating in ‘Random Pop,’ which featured on Brothersister’s international experimental pop compilation titled A fifty gallon drum of savage customs fresh flesh and random pop.

Also featuring on the Brothersister release with the title track ‘Fifty gallon drum,’ Pompey pitches himself as a ‘young man making noisy, polyrhythmic pop and sounds, steeped in arch sentimentality and linked in ways to environmental sounds, girl groups, primitive music, 'studio'- as-instrument, etc.’ Pompey has three releases, all with Pocketclock Records: the thirteen-track Fifty gallon drum (2007), Pompey by the ring of rocks (2005), a single 18-minute track recorded live in Pompey’s house and made for listening whilst cooking or driving, and Pompey vs. Vesuvius (2006), an EP of 40 minutes and 16 tracks.

News of the label’s latest releases can be found here.

License Usage

Pocketclock releases are available for download under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 generic licence. Site visitors are able to obtain individual mp3 tracks or zip files of the entire record for free. Direct donations to the artists are encouraged through PayPal.

Choosing to offer Pocketclock releases under a ShareAlike licence, founder Rowan Mcnaught was inspired by the creation of a ‘sort of paper trail,’ as he explained in an email interview with Rachel Cobcroft from Creative Commons Australia in November 2007:

‘When I find music I like, I tend to track backwards into its progenitors to find more of it or work out what it is or what I means a bit more. I’d hope that asking anyone who used any of the music to attribute it would have a similar effect.’

Rowan reflects that whilst he is unsure of outside sampling of Pocketclock music, he is aware that the players on the label actually take bits and pieces from each other’s music to remix and reuse.

‘The ShareAlike component is really just because I think CC licenses are such a friendly alternative to the way things usually seem to go. It’s a bit too big and weird, huge sample clearance fees, hazy infringement rules (what is it, three notes? Two seconds? I don’t understand). So it makes sense to keep up the license if someone uses it. I’m just quite grateful for the alternative.’


Pocketclock founder Rowan Mcnaught first found Creative Commons when he became unhappy with pretending to be a traditional style label.

‘It was thoroughly unrewarding trying to sell records just to be able to keep putting new ones out, and it seemed I’d be happier just sharing everything online: by not spending up I could just keep putting out music I liked and a few people could find it.’

Whilst he admits to not being very cluey in relation to traditional legal code, Rowan reflects that he was really impressed with the Creative Commons licensing scheme:

‘We are inevitably for small fry, limited appeal type music, and of course the Internet caters for, and even nourishes, that. When I found Creative Commons, it reinforced that idea and allowed us to stop working in the traditional way: In some ways I think by licensing the music under CC, for me, serves more to say “It’s actually OK to give this to your friends’ than anything else; I’m not so worried about anyone misusing the music.’


Cover, Pompey vs Vesuvius,