Okay, so I have this core belief, and it is basically that if you never, ever give up, someday you will make it, especially if you have realistic goals. So, If that’s true, we can conclude that I will someday make it.
If I do, I’d like to be able to help other people by telling them how I did it. This will serve as the first post where I talk about things that have or have not worked so far for me. If you are also a performer or a band, perhaps you will benefit from my mistakes and triumphs.
So, firstly, LPs versus EPs. I decided to make a 5-song EP instead of a full-length record for several reasons.
One, it was cheaper to record only five songs by a lot. At my level you can count on paying around a grand per song to cut the tracks and mix them. That’s at a studio that runs around $35/hr, which is about what you can expect to pay for an up and coming studio, i.e. one that is at the same level in its career that you are. Mastering, duplication, and art are extra. In the end a full LP would have run me around $20k, whereas I only have around 7 or 8k in my EP. it should be lower, but I halfway tracked a few songs that didn’t make it.
Two, I think it’s better to have your five best songs on the disc than all 10 of your songs, because some of them inevitably will be better than others. Chop out the crap ones. You can do it!
Three, I don’t think people buy albums anymore. I think they buy by the song on iTunes, so who cares what the rest of the record is?
And finally, I want the price point to be low. I sell my EP for $5 in person and $6 online. I like that it’s cheap. I want everyone to buy it, and I don’t expect to make that much on the disc. What I really want is to be able to pack venues.
I also elected to use a cardboard sleeve for my disc because I think jewel cases are neat but useless. When I buy a CD i run it into iTunes and immediately lose the jewel case, and I bet a lot of people do too. That saved me some cash, and I think it was a good choice. Duplication only ran me around $.85 per unit, and a jewel case would have been more like $1.50 or so, plus the added costs to get the art together for all the extra panels. If I want people to see more visual art from me, I will post it here on my website for almost free and save that money on duplication.
I have tried to contact a few PR firms to help me get the word out about my project, because I believe in the power of advertising. They have been zero help. I guess it’s like trying to get a bank loan if you are destitute. Because I am unknown, they don’t want to work with me. If I were known, I wouldn’t need them. Paradox.
It’s been really frustrating to me because I don’t understand it at all. I have money that I want to pay them for their service and they can’t really be bothered to get back to me about it at all, and I was even recommended by a current client who works closely with them. Some of their clients are friends of mine, and I said as much to them when I first started talking to them.
I thought it might just be the one firm, but I tried to contact another one and never heard back there either, so I guess it’s everyone. So, that avenue that seemed like a good idea isn’t.
Like I said, this is frustrating, but at the same time they got their contacts somehow, which means I can make my own if I try. I just thought that spending some money on a real publicist would help me get a head start, but I was wrong. Down the road it may make sense, but for now it doesn’t.
Someone I respect very much told me that the most important thing I could have is management. I tried talking to some people who manage my friends about doing some work with me, but they also didn’t make anything happen. Same problem, I gather. You have to already have omething going for anyone to want to get involved, even if they are a close friend. That’s important, so I will type it again.
You have to already have something going for anyone to want to get involved in your project, even if the person you want to get involved is a close friend. Even if you already work together in another capacity and you bust your ass for them. Don’t get discouraged by this. Expect it and keep going. I’m telling myself as much as I am telling you.
Sometimes I get very, very tired. I sweat through my clothes on a daily basis because the things I do to support myself find me doing serious manual labor in the hot sun pretty often. It’s tiring to bust your ass and not be able to get anyone to help you with your dream, but you can only keep going. Don’t give up!
Be in the scene. It’s worked well for me to meet as many artists as I can and trade CDs with them. I already have a good network of musicians as friends because I have been playing a long time, but it’s important to network with these people as much as you can.
Oh, and record a good CD. You must, must, must have a disc on hand that is representative of you and what you can do. As hard as it is to get people to pay attention to you, it’s nearly impossible unless you have a tactile product they can hold in their hands.
Okay, that’s it for now. I have to shower and hit the sack. I have another day of assbusting ahead of me tomorrow!