Before you consider joining us, I would like you to take a minute to understand what Hong Kong Rocks is.
Where do we come from?
I (Oliver) started off in 2009 by uploading some casual live photos I took at the Wanch to my Facebook profile. I took more and more over the next years and in 2013 moved to a Facebook page since I did not want to bore all my FB friends with the photos. This grew further until I started to take videos in 2016.
But Facebook does not like people to upload videos that contain copyrighted content (even cover music) and sent me take-down threats. Also, there is quite a share of people who simply are not (any more) on Facebook. So I decided to move the videos to YouTube, but then the videos and photos were separated, so I created this website to keep them together. At that time I had already written a specialized photo gallery software that allows me to very easily post photos in batches by date & time for my dive photography.
In late 2018, Gaz Jones, a professional photographer, started to take Live Music videos as well and opened his own YouTube Channel. I felt that it was not really meaningful to spread our efforts across several Social Media pages and YT Channels and offered him to join me. I modified the website to always clearly indicate who shot what and in early 2019 Gary joined me and his live music photos and videos are now published on this website.
Why are we doing this?
Live music photography is fun because:
- It’s challenging. Taking decent photos of singing & jumping people in a dark environment is impossible with cellphones. You need to have a good eye, good timing and reasonable equipment.
- Musicians (mostly) want to have their photos taken. It’s not like street photography where you feel you creep up on your subjects. It’s not like studio photography where you need to pay for a model or make appointments. Musicians like to feel like rock stars, will share your photos among friends and are generally very thankful for what we are doing.
- We like live music. We like to take photos. We like to have a drink. Here we can do all at once. We take our camera with us when we go out Friday night. We shoot some photos and post them online. That’s basically it.
- We are not doing it for the money. Sure, if someone offers money to get exactly what they want, where and when they want it – and are willing to pay for it – we are happy to do it as work, but we are all fully aware that this is not a field of photography that we can make a living with. We are not shooting the Kardashians in a stadium in LA. We are shooting small indie bands that play in front of a dozen people in Wan Chai or LKF.
So what is Hong Kong Rocks?
It’s nothing else but a platform for live music photos & videos. The idea is that more content from more photographers creates a stronger pull for people to come and look for the photos and ultimately for musicians to want to have their photo & video taken. But most of all, it’s to promote live music in Hong Kong.
How far did we come (status Summer 2019)?
The fact that this is not a business does not mean we don’t take work hard on this. We have grown quite a lot over the years. We have a logo, name cards and T-Shirts. All our posts are automatically cross-posted to Twitter & Reddit. We have an Instagram account and a Spotify playlist. The website automatically indexes every post by Event, Venue and Artist. We have band pages that automatically shows their event history, YouTube song list and Band descriptions. Our photos are featured in newspapers and global online portals. (Update: We reached 1’000 Subscribers on our Youtube Channel in Early 2020)
Over 10 years, this page showcased 10’000 photos and 850 videos. With 240+ bands shot over 530+ gigs in 25+ venues, we have developed into THE directory & archive for Hong Kong live music. Being shot by us has been described as a ‘rite of passage” for Hong Kong bands. We have been asked more than once by festival organizers and musicians for band recommendations.
It would be great to have more photographers join us! Specially if they contribute more diverse content, such as Cantonese bands, Venues in Kowloon, a different range of Music and picture styles.
On the website, I am working currently on more features such as easy ways to buy photos & videos and an App for photographers to let bands and fans find photos via a QR code easily.
I am also planning to eventually publish a book and have set up a photo ranking page for that.
If more photographers join, I want to improve the intro/profile pages for us.
I am not charging anyone for this. I am doing this because I am passionate about it, not because I am trying to make money of musicians or photographers.
Who should join?
- You have been shooting live music for a while now and want to continue doing it
- You have more than one photo to share per gig
- You want to show your work to a larger audience but you don’t want to spend time & money on building a brand, website, YouTube channel etc all by yourself.
If you join us, what are your obligations?
Not much, really. If you don’t want to shoot or share something, you don’t. If you do and you want to me to publish it on this website, you send me the material and I upload it. You don’t need to take videos, only photos is fine.
Once you send material to me for sharing, you implicitly allow me to post them on this website and Instagram and the videos on YouTube – all with a Hong Kong Rocks logo and a reference to your name next to it. The title photos of gigs at the Wanch are also uploaded to their website. The other channels receive links to this page.
You allow the bands that you shoot to use the photos (with the HKG-R logo) in social media. See the “Free/Unsolicited shooting” section on our rates page.
There must be some more requirements, no?
Well, if you send in a single blurry cellphone photo in 640×480 resolution and expect me to publish it, I won’t. So there are some quality & technical minimal standards, yes. But no obligations. You don’t sign contracts. This is not a company, a pyramid scheme or a cult. It’s a collaboration platform.
Also, there is no work for you to publish on Hong Kong Rocks. I do that for you. I add the logos, events, venues, artist descriptions etc. All I need from you on top of the media are the artist’s name, the venue name, the song titles for videos and a decision which one should be the title image (preferable a Landscape format one). You can share the media with me through any cloud service such as Dropbox.
Lastly, we cannot take videos of DJ performances and upload them on YouTube. The copyright regulations on YouTube do not allow 1:1 recordings of original music, only cover versions.
What rights do you have as a photographer?
- You keep the full copyright for your photos
- You can of course still publish whatever you want on your own pages/channels/wherever. While I think that it makes more sense to have everything in one place only, I won’t tell you what to do with your photos. They are yours finally. It’s your decision how much you want to strengthen the platform or your own Instagram page.
- You can determine your own rates in case you want to do paid shots – or shoot for free.
- Requests for paid shots go out to all photographers on the website at the same time – including myself. Anyone can reply to the customer, who then decides who gets the job.