I am happy to say that the single has surpassed the view target. I was hoping that before I returned to uni it would reach 100 views. It was on about 65 views and after sharing it again it went up by over 100 views within about 15 minutes, which took me by surprise! Hopefully it will continue to rise!
Here is the video for ‘Blood Like Cream’ by the American band Red Fang. This is a band who are a huge influence on our music and this is an example of a band recently using a video to promote both their new release and their upcoming tour – with great success. As I wanted to get our release heard and get more people coming to our shows I knew making a video would be an effective way of doing this. I wanted to give off a feeling of mystery and uncertainty with this video so I made it short and made it all happen in one place. I also added the changing colour effects for more confusion. My idea was that making it short and weird would make people wonder what was going on and as a result keeping their eye out on anything else we post. Here is one short promo video I noticed that had that mysterious vibe:
I think people were taken by surprise as we haven’t made a video before and didn’t tell anyone we were doing this one. So I think this got people interested and drew more attention to the single release. I also added an annotation on the video which directs viewers to the full song on YouTube to maximise the chances of people listening to it.
When thinking about the gig, I had a few ideas in mind. Here are some examples of what I based the event around:
– these unplugged shows are what inspired the idea to have candles and really try to set a mood. The friendly audience interaction approach is something else I took from these performances.
– these events where bands play in front of smaller audiences and have no need for security or barriers also inspired me to do something like this. The first example here was literally just a band taking their gear out into the desert and people would hear about it through word of mouth and turn up for free. The second one is more planned and people pay to go but they both have that same personal, up close vibe where you are able to talk to the band and look at their equipment etc after they have played. The event I planned was closer to the first in that it was free of charge and people heard about it through word of mouth. Those generator parties in the desert (first link) happened 20 years ago and people still talk about them today because they are unique and it’s a ‘you had to be there’ kind of thing – this is why I wanted to try this approach.
Well, after a lot of planning and preparation this gig finally happened. We decided to do a small, intimate gig instead of a standard pub or club gig. We wanted to do something different for our audience.
Originally, I was planning on doing a gig at the Hornblower pub in Newport but it was fully booked up so I had to think of what else I could do. I thought of the different venues in the area but as this was for the single release I wanted to think of something we hadn’t done before. After looking at the band Kyuss on YouTube I was reminded of their infamous ‘generator parties’. This is where they would take generators out into the Californian deserts, set up their gear and play through the night with a small audience watching, drinking and generally having a good time.
Although this wasn’t something I could do, it did influence my thinking…
I got in touch with the owner of the place the band and I usually practice. This is a small unit on an industrial estate. My idea was to hold a gig/party here where everyone could come down, watch us play, have a drink and get a free CD. This place, known as Mirage, has a particular vibe about it that I knew would work but I wanted to enhance that mood even more. So, I turned the lights off and filled the place with candles and fairy lights. We had tried with just candles at a practice beforehand and there wasn’t enough light, which is why we added the fairy lights on the night.
I set a status allowing the first 20 people to ‘like’ it to come to the gig.
I then set up an event page, where people could get more information and I could keep them updated.
We arrived at 9, set everything up and people started showing up at 10. We started playing at 10:30. We played for an hour, had a break and then played another half hour. We then socialised with everyone who was there for the rest of the night, allowing people to join in with our jams afterwards.
We had excellent feedback that night on our playing, how we set the place up and the CDs (which everyone got one of).
I am now glad that we did this instead of a gig in a pub as everybody who came down was there for the music, where as at a pub not everybody wants to hear it. It was an amazing experience and I, the band and everyone who turned up had a great time. It is also something we consider doing again in the future, perhaps the next time we have something to release.
Hopefully I will be uploading pictures of this event soon, but for now, I just have one… this is near the end where we swapped instruments and were having a freestyle jam.
It is the day of release! The whole EP has been put back on Soundcloud with the single ‘Haze to Hide’ available for free download! You can also download this from our Reverbnation page or straight from our band profile page on Facebook.
The current model allows artists to sell music directly as well as go to a distribution company directly. In the old model, artists would have to find a record label that will then sell to a distribution label who will then go to retail. The internet and digital downloads have enabled less well known musicians to promote themselves and although they would have less income than artists on a major label (who have direct contact with iTunes and Spotify etc), they can do quite a lot for themselves.
Some musicians have started to use apps on smartphones to their advantage in that it can update people and provide special features that consumers may not get elsewhere. It is the internet however which holds the most power as a promotional tool. For some retailers and distributors it can be problematic as they have to expand their ideas and spend more to get an artist noticed compared to the past where physical formats were the only place to get music.
Within the musical scene I am part of, releasing physical formats is still a route most artists go down. The most widely used method I see is 4/5 track EPs on CD format . As well as getting your recordings onto a CD and selling (or handing out) at a gig near enough every band will also put their music online. In 2013, revenues from online music were higher than CD and vinyl together with 55% to 45%. There is no denying anymore that doing this is going to reach a larger audience and get you more recognition. Most artists will use Soundcloud, Reverbnation and have something linked up to their Facebook so people can listen that way too. Even professional artists use social media sites to promote their work.
The band I’m in now recorded a 4 track EP and put it online (Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Facebook) but no physical copies were made. So, to give it another chance I have taken it down from the internet and will be using one song from it as a single, which I hope will be able to boost the EP when it is re-released on 21/12/13.
The reason I chose to use a single to boost the re-release is because of the growing trend in the popularity of singles. In 2012 album sales fell 11.2% as single sales hit a record high. With streaming and playlists becoming more popular, singles have taken priority. My hope is that the single will gain enough popularity that the rest of the EP is then listened to. The physical copies of the single will be for those who attend the release gig, also on 21/12/13 and will then become available on request afterwards. However, the online release is the most important as most music these days is being bought or downloaded digitally. I imagine that after this re-release is done and we have recorded something new that we will make more use of merchandising as a promotional tool. This will include stickers, t-shirts and more.
The physical copies of the single ‘Haze to Hide’ have now been put together. We will be writing a few things on the inside of each one including the names of the artwork designer and the studio we recorded it in. These will be handed out for FREE at the gig we are playing on the 21st of December – the day of release.
These are just a few examples of the type of artwork we were going for. When explaining what we wanted to the friend who did the artwork for us, we told him to look at these sort of albums. They all belong to the same sort of genre as my band. He managed to pick up a book in his local library that was full of this style of art. We were incredibly happy with how our artwork turned out and look forward to working with the artist in the future.
Here is the final artwork:
This was first shown to the public at 6:45pm on the 11/12/13. I chose to do it then because I know a large amount of people are using social websites at this time (after work, school, uni etc).
Like the promo video, this artwork has been shared around Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and has had all positive reviews. Here’s a few screenshots of it being shared…
Below is the teaser video that we made ourselves. This was shot using a Samsung Digimax S500 camera and I did all of the editing myself using Windows Movie Maker. This video is on YouTube and has been shared around Facebook and Twitter. It was first shown to the public on Sunday the 15th of December at 3pm. I chose to upload it then because I have noticed that Facebook and other social websites are at one of their busiest times on Sunday afternoons.
Here are a selection of screenshots that show the video being shared:
Things are starting to come together for the re-release of my band’s first EP. We have some ideas in mind for the slightly different type of gig we have planned – but more on that at a later date.
The physical copies are in the making…
Head on over to the Networking Music page to see a couple of design ideas for the CD’s.