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Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

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Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:08 pm

Hi

I've been making music in various styles for many years, and had releases on labels for my electronic music, but never for my indie/rock songs which I always put online for free, and most likely almost nobody heard them!

For various reasons over the past 10 years, I've been unable to gig, mostly due to quite extreme insomnia and anxiety, and other problems I wont go in to. I now have a chronic throat problem which makes it hard for me to be in loud places and talk much at all.

I've never stopped writing music and loving recording it. The sad thing is that without being able to gig, it seems so hard to get music out there. Will any labels put out your album if you don't gig?

I've been thinking recently, there must be plenty of people like me, who write and record music, but for mental health or physical health, family stuff, whatever the circumstances can't gig or get a band together. I also know a lot of addicts who can't be in situations where the temptation to drink or use is constantly there.

I am not talking about making money here. Does anybody have any advice for me? I was even toying with the idea of a specialised label for these kind of people. It could be quite interesting, what do you think? I know a lot of people who create amazing music and art due to being in pain, mentally or physically and being isolated. Maybe it would be a bit of a depressing label!!

Anyway, any advice very welcome, as it sometimes feels that if you aren't getting your music heard by anyone then what's the point!

Maybe others here can relate or have had similar problems?
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:58 pm

I long ago gave up doing any of this for anyone other than myself really. If a few other people pick something up on soundcloud or bandcamp then that's a bonus, but it's about me and my friends really.

Ultimately there's so little money in recorded music now that I think you'll struggle to get any interest from a label without a live act - for indie stuff at any rate.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:31 pm

Robodelfy wrote:I am not talking about making money here. Does anybody have any advice for me?

I would forget a label - a label is ultimately a commercial enterprise, where making money is quite critical.. and the money nowadays is 99% in live gigs (and, perhaps surprisingly, in composer/lyricist rights, given that your music is actually played live).

One possible way is to find some singing hopeful and see that they gig live with your material. That wouldn't be really listening to you, but at least listening to your music.

If you want to put our your own stuff with your own voice, tough, it's not a totally lost cause. You're not gonna make any money most likely, but you seem to be okay with that - so social media are an option.

First of all you have to have a nice place where your stuff is accessible. A website is still a good option and nowadays there's lots of options which are cheap, fast and easy to create.
Then you use social media to drive people there. There are a few platforms and here's my experiences - ymmv of course.

My experience with Soundcloud is not that good - there's gazillion of crap mixed with the good stuff, and the people who actually listens seem to me mostly interested in electronic music rather than indie. I haven't really given the platform much attention, but the few songs my band has there have never received much attention. A (british) friend's band has published all theirs songs exclusively there, and don't seem really to get much traction either. Besides, the sound quality is crap.

Facebook caters to your friends - which often, unless you are mainly in musicians circles, have their own life to attend to - so while it can get you a handful of listens, it usually doesn't go much beyond that. The medium is also too "brief" for a song - it requires a few seconds before even a very catchy song kicks in in someone brains, and these seconds in Facebook just aren't there. People aren't in the mood for focusing on one thing when looking at FB.

Twitter I haven't cracked at all. While again I never made a real effort, the flow of tweets is so huge that any single one doesn't seem to stay visible enough time - unless you already are known. But maybe I use it wrong.

Youtube is a great driver if you have the time, money and determination to make good videos. It's not fast and, while it can be done relatively inexpensively, it requires a good investment in time, bigger than recording the song itself. It works well tough, with views increasing all the time. We even got played on a russian tv! :D

I find that Instagram is the best platform for directing people towards your work. You post pictures or easy "real life" videos which are effortless to take and make, and if you post good content consistently you get followers quickly - and some of them go check out your music. It has worked so well, and with a very limited effort, that from the fall I'll make a priority to post content at least every three days.

So I would suggest either Youtube or Instagram.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby illegal colors » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:13 am

Robodelfy wrote:I am not talking about making money here. Does anybody have any advice for me?
Yes. YouTube, but live-streaming on YouTube not pre-recorded videos.
Today it's the easiest way to find audience. You can eat potato chips out of a bag and people will watch it. Forget streaming audio. To stream audio you have to be prepared and keep things going. Live-streaming video is a lot easier. Just turn it on and do whatever you want to do. You can play music live, you can play your old recordings, you can answer the door, have a shower, just leave a note that you will be back - people will watch it.

Robodelfy wrote:I know a lot of people who create amazing music and art due to being in pain, mentally or physically and being isolated.
...
I also know a lot of addicts ...
You are sitting on a goldmine.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:47 am

Thanks for the replies

I have done this for myself for a long time, but I feel a sense of something wasted as nobody really hears it, and as the music gets better and I feel is just as 'releasable' as a lot of other music out there, it feels a shame that it just sits there.

I should clarify, I'm not really looking for someone else to perform the songs or to be a songwriter for others.

As for labels, I am talking about music I have created, recorded well myself, either mixed myself or paid to have it mixed and mastered as is the case with the current album. So for a label, there is no money they have to put into it really. I have spent thousands of hours and pounds making it, but I am happy to hand it over just to get it out to people. Do you not think some indie labels might be interested in this? Obviously I would get a cut of sales which would be negligible!

I have seen smaller bands who have releases on some reasonable little labels but never seem to gig.

I know there is no money in record sales, but it's sad that so many like me who find the time and energy to create, but can't live the life of a touring/gigging musician cannot get any exposure.

The music industry changes all the time, I wonder if this could be a place of interest for many other musicians? Maybe there aren't as many as I think in a similar position!

I love to make music, but I cant stand spending all day on social media, trying to do online networking etc. It seems to suck my soul away! I understand you have to be 'active' online to keep people interested, but you have to do way more if you do it all alone. If you get a release on a label, you get to so many people much quicker.

I know there are weird people out there who will watch somebody making toast on youtube, but I dont think its your average person, and its not something I want o contribute to!

Interesting to hear peoples thoughts...
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:29 pm

Robodelfy wrote:I have seen smaller bands who have releases on some reasonable little labels but never seem to gig.

Most of the bands that I can think of in this situation already had a buzz about them before they stopped gigging. They're also usually big music fans who buy releases from the labels that they are talking to so the label owner will know who they are before they approach them with their own music.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:15 pm

Robodelfy wrote:As for labels, I am talking about music I have created, recorded well myself, either mixed myself or paid to have it mixed and mastered as is the case with the current album. So for a label, there is no money they have to put into it really. I have spent thousands of hours and pounds making it, but I am happy to hand it over just to get it out to people. Do you not think some indie labels might be interested in this? Obviously I would get a cut of sales which would be negligible!

Well, you never know, and certainly it doesn't harm to shop around.

However, attention and focus (and working hours) are not free. If a label (which often can be just one person) can use time and effort to promote acts which have a chance to bring it money or a little more fame, it will likely chose to prioritize them. For any business, time and energy are an investment just as any other.

That said, there are labels owners who are a little idealistic, and if your music is good enough to create an audience, definitely worth sending links around. You don't have anything to lose by trying.

And agree that given the stuff that goes around these days, pretty much anything is good enough.. :D
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:41 am

Hi CS70

Yeah I know that labels time is not free, but i also imagine they have a fairly standard format for releasing things, and most money goes into the product, recording, mixing, mastering, artwork etc. these are all the things I would have already done, so its more them just liking the music and being happy to put it out their fanbase and listeners.

As you say, no harm in trying. I am almost completely unable to sing at the moment, let alone gig or be in loud places! Its a been a very depressing year for me, having lost most of the stuff I love and becoming very isolated. But I still love making music, and it's probably the main thing I can still enjoy alone. But theres always the point where I finish a project, and feel a bit deflated that I have no way of getting it out there

Anyway, thanks for all the comments, stll intersted to hear anybody else. Especially if anyone else is in a similar position?
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:34 pm

Maybe thinking of a label is leading us down the wrong path here. Maybe we should be thinking about something like NoiseTrade (or similar) instead?
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:26 pm

Just following up on CS70's post about using social media, I found this today which gives you an idea of how long things remain visible (on average) on various platforms:
http://t3n.de/news/lebensdauer-postings ... twitter-2/
In case that link doesn't work, it ranges from 18 mins on twitter to about 2 years for a blog.
Quite interesting I thought...
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:17 am

I hadnt heard of noisetrade. it looks interesting, but on reading a bit more it seems to have some quite serious flaws.

It's easy enough to put your music online and make i look presentable, whether its bandcamp, soundcloud, noisetrade, cdbaby, etc.

But without a label its hard to see how it could get any exposure if you arent able to go out and drum up lots of hype about it.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:51 pm

The reason I mentioned Noisetrade is because it has a 'push' function, unlike soundcloud or bandcamp, hence I receive curated emails from them every week with a selection of artists being promoted.
For clarity, I'm not signed up to Noisetrade on the artist side, just as a listener, so I haven't looked into the T&Cs. Also, since they stopped doing previews of full songs my usage has pretty much dried up. I just suggested them as an example of where there are people working on the promotional side but not the recording/producing side.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:53 pm

A record label deal these days is really only a specialist loan against future earnings with maybe some in-house services attached.

If you really feel that your music is sufficiently interesting then you could hire the necessary people/companies to do the promotion for you, without needing to have a record label at all.

However... IME if your style of music is one that is characterised by live performance (indie/rock) you will almost definitely find it difficult to get people interested in your recordings if there is no live show to go with it. After all in these genres the recording is now very much the promotional material and the gig is the "product".


To give an example I used to be a member of a band playing psychobilly/punk. We built up a bit of a reputation and a following by having a great and very memorable live show, mostly down to our very charismatic front man, and off the back of constant gigging we were able to put out two singles and a mini album on our own label. Each release saw us increasing our audience and getting more and better reviews.

In 2015 we decided that the time was right to make a proper full-length album. We put a lot of time, effort and money into both the recording and the presentation, to make this an album that would really get us noticed. We had a UK tour booked a big album launch party organised in our home town, and were starting to line up European dates.

Unfortunately after the second tour date our singer became too ill to perform live (and has consequently had to give up performing) and we had to cancel all the other gigs. The album got a couple of reviews from those publications that had really liked our previous releases, and few plays on local and national radio and then absolutely nothing. It eventually came out that because the band was no longer gigging, very few of the publications that had supported us in the past really wanted to spend time and space on the album when there were plenty of other bands out there who were gigging who they felt were more worth getting behind. Without the gigs to back up the album there was almost no publicity for the album and consequently very little in the way of sales except to our most die-hard fans.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:39 pm

Thanks Bigredx, thats interesting. Sorry that it all ended that way for you guys. WHat happened to your frontman? I'm only interested as I have had to stop due to my own chronic problem

It's a shame that its the only way to make it as a songwriter. I either have to continue making music for nobody, or give it up and make a genre that doesnt rely on gigging, which I cant even think of?!

It's a shame, as I know a lot of people who love listening to music but dont go to many live shows. I have never been really in to live music, and always preferred listening at home or on headphones when out and about. I spent many years around the madness, the drugs and alcohol, and I am trying to take more care of myself!

There must be a way to get people interested without touting and gigging. Maybe it just means the really small labels who are only in it for the love of it, and not so much for the money.

Maybe i need to start my own label for housebound musicians or musicians who cant gig!! Anyone want to invest? :)
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:13 pm

Robodelfy wrote:It's a shame that its the only way to make it as a songwriter.
Well, there are other options depending on how you define 'making it'. There is demand for good songs but you will have to surrender your control if you go down the route of writing for others.
[Edit] i have no idea how you get into this though.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:06 pm

Hi Blindandrew

yeah sorry I didnt really mean songwriters who wrote for others. As much as it could be enjoyable and make money if you can find your way in, it would never really satisfy my need to create my own songs. I think its a very hard game to get into if you want to make any money. I think I would struggle to write songs for current pop acts for instance as the music is so horrendous, but the style I music I write is not really suited to writing for others.

When you start looking online and at labels, its quite overwhelming just the sheer amount of artists. Its hard to hear anything that sounds different or interesting! I know there must be good stuff, but I think the mind frame the internet can put you in whilst browsing means you cant really listen to something properly, like I used to when I was younger, pre internet!!

So I imagine my music will be listened to in much the same way!
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Terrible.dee » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 pm

The whole "Make music for YOU" thing is total B.S

You make music to CONNECT with people, if your music is being heard only by you, then it's a waste, don't let anyone tell you any different.

I've been signed quite a few times over the course of my career, 2 Majors 2 Major indies and a whole bunch of labels you may or may not have heard of depending on your scene, I've only ever gotten deals one way.....someone has to WANT you signed, whether it makes sense or not....and it usually doesn't, but in order to get that you need to find a way to put yourself out there.

Personally, I think the social media thing is a bit of a waste of time...."Oh look a band on social media....how original" you're just running with the pack on that front unless you have top level social media numbers you'll never be on the same level as those who do...so why be second best at anything?

Youtube, however, gives you the opportunist to do something unique, special, what that is, is up to YOU to come up with, you can get pretty creative here, belive me.

One key thing, that I've always known, that others who haven't had any success never seem to realize is this: This is the ENTERTAINMENT Biz, if you are going to entertain with songs alone those better be some pretty F'ing good songs. You see, at the end of the day what matters is this: Are you entertaining people? If it's about YOU and YOUR music, good luck.....YOU will probably be the only one listening to it. But if you realize your job is to entertain, however it is you do that and understand that it's about THEM NOT YOU, you might have a fighting chance.

The problem in this biz is that everyone is trying to whore out, but when someone takes a look at them all they want to do is j*ck off, a good hooker understands that if the client doesn't get off, they aren't going to be very successful

So let me ask you this: Would you pick yourself up off a street corner? (To keep the analogy going) if not, better go invest in some skimpy tops and stiletto boots (figuratively speaking) Your original question was how to promote? There is no such thing as promotion if you put together an entertaining product (It can be anything so long as it does something for someone OTHER than you) and put it out there........people will find it and "Promote" it for you.

I'm not saying this applies to you (Only you know if it does) but the problem many aspiring artists have, isn't the lack of "Promotion" they often complain about, it's the fact that they are producing a self-indulgent product that sucks.
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:23 am

Have you considered library music? One sector where you don't need to go out and perform but requires music that connects with people.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:46 am

zenguitar wrote:Have you considered library music? One sector where you don't need to go out and perform but requires music that connects with people.

Andy :beamup:
I've always assumed that library music was for instrumental stuff - tunes rather than songs - is that not necessarily the case?
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Re: Getting music heard when unable to gig, ideas, labels etc. ?

Postby Robodelfy » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:53 am

Terrible Dee

I definitely agree with a lot of what you say. I do love making music for me, but there comes a point when you feel the need to share it, and feel that it's good enough to be shared.

I hate social media in general, and I don't even have a personal Facebook account. I agree that spending hours each day trying to increase your social network is a bit of a wasted effort. Does anybody really take notice of random people who make posts or friend them? I wouldn't.

I guess this is where I felt a label would be ideal, even a small one, as they can reach a lot of people who are into that style of music with little hassle, and people will listen if they trust the label.

The one point I slightly disagree on is being an entertainer. Some people are not in it to entertain, even though maybe that is an inevitable by product of making good music. I'm thinking people like Elliot Smith or Mark Linkous for example, there are many more. Maybe you mean that even if the person doesn't want to be an 'entertainer' their music is for entertainment? But I don't listen to music to be entertained, I listen to try and feel understood or to understand, and to feel something. I guess 'entertained' sounds so trivial!!!

But yes, youtube I think might be a better platform than many others, if you can create the content to make it worthwhile.

I think you should consider using a different analogy than a good hooker in the future!!
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