• Keith Pray

Making of an Album Part 4

Well all of the fun part in the album process is now over. Now its all about getting the word out (the business side has never been my strong suit). In the old days, labels did the brunt of the promotion and distribution while the artist toured to help sell the records. With the advent of the internet, things began to change. More and more fell on the artist yet the label still maintained much if not all of the control. Remember all those stories of bands getting huge advances? Well those and studio time etc where all just a big loan in which many bands never were able to pay back as they didn't realize how the system worked. That quickly changed in the early 2000's when labels stopped signing bands (never completely of course). Artists first thought this was catastrophic, but creative as they are, many saw it as the dawn of.a new era when the artist was finally in control of their destiny. Streaming services allowed artists to sell their own music, crowdfunding companies like Kickstarter gave us the means to have fans invest in our albums, becoming part of the process. Now things have changed even further with so many social media platforms, new technology and resources at our fingertips. Its overwhelming but very helpful!


As I said the business side has always been a struggle for me. Its not the hard work, but believing in myself enough to actually think people will want to experience what I am offering. With all of the pros of DIY promotion etc, there are also a lot of cons. There are simply MILLIONS of people creating and sharing on the internet with seemingly no rhyme or reason as to what gets noticed. As soon as you figure out how to use a social media algorithm to your advantage, the change it so that you can't (ex. Facebook only allows a VERY small fraction of your friends see your posts and when they can see it.) this encourages you to pay for promotion through them adding yet another layer of expense to the process.

Nine years ago I released an album using Kickstarter to raise the capital needed. Besides the studio and production costs, much of that budget went to mailing CDs to hundreds of radio stations and reviewers, advertising etc. Now most of my budget was on new equipment to help me get the sounds I wanted from my home studio and internet fees and digital distribution. The market for CDs is almost completely gone now. In fact vinyl sales have surpassed CDs, but vinyl is very expensive to press. For this album I will only press a very small run of CDs for when venues open back up and spend my time and resources on the digital world.


I have already done much leg work trying to lay the ground work for the official release date, given copies to reviewers and DJs who if the like it, will help spread the word, updated websites, social media etc with links and art work to help direct traffic. I have studied up on social media, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and other distribution sites to try and make a bigger footprint. And it never ends! The industry changes so fast that it is impossible to keep up. At the end of the day I think "word of mouth" is still a great resource, but in the digital world trying to get people aware of it so that they can spread the word is a major hurdle as the attention span for most people has been shortened so much and there are so many distractions that you have to maintain an active presence in the digital realm just to be noticed by a few.


It may sound daunting and insurmountable. Maybe it is, but as a creative person I just keep plugging away! I try to refine my online skills to keep getting better and try to stay as up to date as I can, but at the end of the day I create because that is what I do. On the money side of things, I just try to recoup some of my investment so that I can continue to make music for people to hear. Many of the current methods of getting my music out there require creativity as part of the process and some in ways that take me into new worlds. Youtube used to be just about posting music and now creating visual experiences are just as important. Here on Patreon I have a platform to connect in new ways with listeners and that is inspiring! And of course trying to beat those algorithms!!!!! All while starting the next album. Stay tuned as we start the next chapter together! To listen to the final product, click here




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