Month: May 2010

How much do you give away?

All of it? None of it?

We make music because we want people to listen to it but when it becomes a full time job we also want to make money… at least to pay for all the chocolate and the shoes!

So the quandry is how much of our music should we give away?

In an ideal world I’d give it all away and live off a rich husband… but he’s not and I like to contribute to the household.

I am about to put out a new album of remixed, mastered songs from my Song of the Week collection. While I was writing and uploading the songs they were all free downloads, but do I take them down now that I have something to sell? Will people buy my album if they can get a slightly less polished version for free?

I have decided to leave them up there. The more I read about true fans, the more I believe that people who want to support you and wish you to continue making music will always buy your music. Those that want it for free will find it anyway.

I know I have 1 true fan (and hopefully more than that). Today he put in a pre order for 12 CDs today without me even sending an email to advertise a pre order. After offering him 12 for the price of 10 he suggested a pre order special… and helpfully pointed out a few errors on my website, which is why I spent today up to my eyes in HTML! But this is someone who really cares.

So I have set up a pre order special. As much as I would love to give it all away, I would like to at least cover my costs 🙂

http://www.helenaustin.com/sowspecial.html

I appreciate anybody who buys my music… there is no greater compliment.

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Marketing 101

OK… album finished and now I can breathe.

Or can I?

I just read Music Success In Nine Weeks by Ariel Hyatt. It looks like the work is just beginning…

Ariel concedes that this is the part that most musicians loathe… after all we would rather my making the music than selling it. There are websites to update, music to upload, CDs to send, blogs to write (hence the blog!). Apparently it’s a bit like weeding a garden and anyone that knows me knows how bad I am at gardening (I don’t have any indoor plants that are real!). Looks like I am going to have to find that nurturing instinct… and my kids are growing up rather nicely, so I must have it somewhere 🙂

But the marketing side can be all consuming and, like the garden metaphor, there is always more you can do. So I have set myself a daily limit. 2 hours of concentrated marketing a day and then the rest of the day I can write, record, feed children, interact with husband… or even go out!

This is day 1. I stared at 9am and have achieved more than I thought I would. It is nearly 11am so it’s time to stop….

Going Loopy!

Three weeks ago my new Boss Loop Station RC-50 arrived complete with a bible-sized instruction book. As you probably know, blondes and instruction manuals just don’t mix well so I went to Youtube and found a vid that saved me hours of reading!

The timing is perfect for this new learning curve. My Song of the Week is done, the chosen songs for the CD are being mastered and I have time on my hands for something new.

This is like learning a new instrument and separating your left and right brain at the same time (or driving a car with 6 clutches…). I have had to take my songs apart and put them back together again in a way that really utilizes this machine.

I have decided to use the multi play mode, which restricts me from switching between verse and chorus, but allows me to be way more creative with layering. And those restrictions can sometimes produce and unexpected surprise in the song.

So last night I took my looper for a test drive at a local jam run by very patient people Judy and Bruce Wing. It was very different trying to perform using the looper rather than using it at home. And didn’t help that they were a raucous, but lovely crowd. Trying engage with a crowd while looking down for the correct pedal at a precise moment lead to lots of laughter!

But I got through it, go some great feedback am ready do it again tomorrow. Like with all new things, just keep doing it until it gets easy… could take a while 🙂