Selling your CD or your soul

There’s been much discussion on the internet in recent times about the merits or otherwise of self-releasing your record or signing with a record company. Most aspiring musicians probably won’t have the luxury of that choice, in which case the only way you are going to get your music heard is by self releasing it and either uploading to the likes of Bandcamp or getting the CDs printed and distributing them yourself.

Never believing I’d actually get any record company interest with this album, I initially decided to self release it, inspired in part by the wonderful self promotion, music sharing model that Matt Stevens is currently following to good effect. In order to build an audience for his material, Matt even goes so far as to encourage his listeners to upload his music to torrent sites, the very enemy of the traditionally minded musician. This is a brave new world indeed.

So I printed the CDs for WAHDID, produced audio samplers, put videos on Youtube, free track download on the website, advertised it on Facebook and then sat back and waited to be deluged in the rush by all those prog fans wowed by the prospect of Bob Dalton, Steve Thorne and all the other great guests playing on the album.

Guess what folks?

I barely raised a ripple of interest. So what do we conclude. 1)The album is crap?, 2)Prog fans don’t like new acts? or that 3)I didn’t spend enough time schmoozing the right people and spreading the word?

Well based on the fact that I ended up with serious interest from 3 record companies, and the great initial feedback, I’m inclined to think the album wasn’t a stinker. The jury is still out on point 2), and 3), yep, guilty as charged.

Self release is great, you get no interference, you get full creative control, and you get to keep all the money. The big big problem is you will need to sacrifice every waking hour, sending off promos, posting endless updates on Facebook, Twitter ’till your friends unfriend you for spamming them, not to mention the costs in printing, packing and posting of all those CDs.

But guess what there are tens of thousands in the world doing exactly what you are doing too. You need to know the right people, you need to know how to get them interested in what you have, and you need a whole lot of effort….and that’s the reason I’ve handed the job over to a professional. I’ve handed over the bulk of the revenue too, but it’s not about money for me. I can earn far more for less effort in the day job, but what I really really want is for people to hear my music, just a little recognition, a little virtual pat on the back from as many people as possible to say, ‘really enjoyed that album’.

When Age Has Done Its Duty will be out on F2 Records later in August.

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One Response to Selling your CD or your soul

  1. the meek shall inherit the earth Thursday 6th October 2011 at 15:31 #

    I listened to a track on the Prognosis Sampler ,
    bloody hell brilliant , searching now to buy the album in Europe , Belgium
    any idea

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