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Where do we go from here?

January 2, 2013

Is it down to the lake?

Step one was to write and record an album…check

Step two was to put on a show and get that album out to my friends and family…check

Step three… get that album and my name out to more people and build a fan base

Here’s the downside of the reality: I’m not a young hipster, I don’t have a PR budget, there are thousands of solo artists and groups out there trying to do the same, not everyone will like my music

Here’s the upside: the internet allow me to make communication and connections, I have friends who have helped me create some promo material, I have friends who have given me some good advice and tips, I’m not a young hipster, some people will like my music

What do I do now that I’ve got those boxes of shiny albums all ready to be shipped out and an online store ready, willing and able to distribute bits & bytes around the globe at the mere click of a mouse?  Maybe in future years I’ll read this and smile at the naivety…maybe other independent artists will read and learn from my mistakes. Or maybe some of this will work?

Video

Let’s start with video. Video is powerful and it works for the artist 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Back in October I spent a day getting a promo video produced by a friend with expertise and patience. It’s edited and will be used for one of the singles I’m going to release (more on that later). It was shot in hi-definition, will be rendered in cool black and white and should be broadcast quality. This cost me almost nothing. I pulled in some favours to get the chap to shoot it with his cameras and lighting (he is a good friend of many years so it wasn’t too hard), another favour to get the location (an empty dance rehearsal studio) and a few candles & props bought in a hardware shop. Oh and lunch for the gang on the day of the shoot.

The show we did for the album launch celebration was videotaped also and properly recorded. That gives me some great material to use. First I’ve started putting individual songs onto YouTube here’s one.  The full show is up there now on YouTube in lovely 1080p hi-definition and I’ll be sharing it with fans who have bought the album as a “thank you”. Anyone who buys/bought the album will get a lower-resolution downloadable version too.  Fans should feel a connection and that they’re getting something special in return for their support.  The full show lasts just over 45 minutes and it cost me €200 expenses for a cameraman to bring 4 cameras to the gig and to operate those cameras with an assistant.  I already had editing software on my studio computer so it cost nothing but time to edit.

With video, CD quality tracks and the internet at my fingertips here is where I’m targeting:

Radio

Wikipedia threw up a page of information on radio stations in Ireland. I spent an evening going to each stations website gathering contact information an presenter names for the key shows on each station: the breakfast show, the afternoon show, the drive-time show and then looking for “Irish Music” shows.

Doing some internet searching for “Irish music shows” has revealed shows around the USA and UK who will play contemporary Irish music. I’m emailing them for submission guidelines and to make that important first connection.  Skype makes “phone-in” interviews and performances a possibility now for independent artists.

Through the next year I will take 3 songs from the album and release them as ‘singles’. Most radio shows do not want full albums. The first single might be ignored by most, the second will have a familiar name and hopefully by the third they’ll play it.  Cost?  editing the song down to under 4 minutes is free in my own studio, I’ll be pulling in a favour to have a simple CD sleeve designed (I’ll reuse the artwork from the album) so printing 50 inserts will cost less than €40,  50 clear PV sleeves are €5 and 50 CDs will cost around €50 if not less. Add on a bubble-envelope and postage at €1.50 each and you’ve got a single out to radio for around €250.

I hope to be able to appear on some of the regional radio shows and if I have my way I will locate intimate acoustic gigs in those major towns so that I can try and make new fans while ‘on the road’. This will be tricky as I’ll have to find the gigs which, based on past experience, isn’t so easy.

Blogs

Earlier this evening I got a little disheartened when going though a long list of music blogs that clearly have no interest in an unknown middle-age singer-songwriter.  Upon reflection that’s a dumb attitude to take. Just as I will not fit many radio stations I will not fit every slot in the ‘new media’.  I’ve found a handful of blogs that might be sympathetic to this struggling artist… I’ll start there. The blogs will get a different track to the three going to radio because I’ve got a track with an interesting backstory (a hook for the blogger), a photo of me and Elvis (this might be the clincher), a professionally produced live video with excellent musicians and a link to a free download of the album version of the song.

TV

I hadn’t considered TV until it was suggested to me by someone with a good bit of mileage in the business of music. There is only 1 Irish TV show I know of devoted to music so I’m going to have to be creative here.  The promo video (mentioned earlier) might get onto a magazine or light entertainment programme and the live video will hopefully convince someone that a handsome bunch of musicians can be gathered for an appearance to mime to my latest single.   What the hell… someone has to get onto these shows eh?

Timing

I’ll have little control over the timing of all of this. All I can do is hope some of the stars align. At least when the year is out I can say I tried…

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