Fresh (well, slightly hungover) from an evening in the company of ace music distribution strategist Andrew Dubber and a fine bunch of guys drawn from Birmingham’s diverse and exciting music scene, it seems like a good moment to set down where I plan to go from here in terms of my career as a solo musician.
Firstly just to pick up on that word “career” – what I’m not planning to do is drop everything and plunge myself 100% into becoming a musician. Firstly because I think I already am a musician – I’ve been regularly involved in music making more or less throughout my life – and secondly because I feel that my other principle interests – stand up comedy, Project X Presents, travelling, Buddhism etc complement my interest in music and are each worth pursuing concurrently.
I think as a society we are starting to get over the idea that to be a successful musician, you must have a record deal with a known record label, and ideally have registered in the charts. We are starting to accept that the “record industry” that sprung up around the sale of physical units (records and cd’s) actually promoted an awful lot of bad, average or at least, lowest common denominator music, and more or less suppressed a great deal of good stuff.
My plan is to release my album Valentine Court through this website.
This means having the album playing on a dinky little flash MP3 player which allows you to listen to any track you want – or the whole album – whilst you peruse my site (or just leave the window or tab open whilst you go elsewhere) and also have the whole album available for MP3 download via a simple file sharing site in return simply for your email address.
Recognising that in order to continue making music, I do need to try and earn some money from it as well, I plan to ask for donations – via the surprisingly simple mechanism of Paypal (just sign in, click on send money and enter my email address) in the hope that some of those who download and enjoy the album might feel moved to let me have a few pounds towards it.
I’ll also maintain a simple database of the email addresses to send occasional updates of new releases and so on.
Since I dont yet have much of a public profile these simple mechanisms should comfortably satisfy demand and I can always upgrade to a more automated system in the future as required. In the mean time, at least my album is out there, being listened to, recommended to friends (hopefully), reviewed on blogs, registered on Last FM.com and so on.
This doesn’t mean I am determinedly setting off down a resolutely independent career path (tho I have been self employed for seven years now and love it) since I will always consider any offers put to me by record companies and will probably send off copies to one or two potentially suitable labels that I have identified. But what it does mean is that I am making some forward progress in the meantime, and who knows, as our online musical culture continues to grow and develop, perhaps I can gradually build an audience in a way that will keep a trickle of money coming in enabling me to keep on producing original music.