Editorial note: This post was published July 23, 2013.
Why pre-order? Glad you asked.
If Somewhere in Between were a movie, the next two weeks would be its extended opening weekend.
After considering every option, I decided to release the album myself. I’m also attempting to top the iTunes Jazz charts without the help of a label, PR campaign, or touring.
iTunes is the dominant player in retail music. The top of the charts in any genre is normally occupied by artists with major resources behind them. Landing there means a couple things:
- It sends a signal that lots of people like this music. That alone might provide currency with agents, promoters or labels in the future.
- More people will discover the music. We love Top 10 lists and tend to favor what’s at the top more than the bottom. This is much better publicity than a write-up on a jazz blog.
Financially, it’s the worst decision. I’d recoup far more of my investment selling the record directly on my website (I net only ~$4.50 per album after iTunes, the distributor, and Uncle Sam take their cuts).
This is a gamble and I’m betting on a snowball effect from getting in front of more iBalls, err, eyeballs via iTunes.
It’s an ambitious goal, but I sense there are enough of you listening to make it worth trying.
Returning to what’s important
I want to get back to creating new music, and that requires me to stop concentrating on how to promote old music.
The night we finished recording, I paced around my hotel room listening to the entire session in headphones. I was ecstatic to share it and had the biggest smile on my face.
But that enthusiasm faded over the course of a long decision process about the best way to leverage the album into opportunities. Some advised me to spend more money: “You need to be touring; hire a major publicist.” Others advised me to just put it online and move on.
So I avoided any decision, hoping something good would happen by waiting longer.
Why do this to yourself?
(That’s what you’re thinking, right?)
My love affair with writing and playing music began as a 13 year-old and I’ve chased the same dream for more than 20 years: to join the ranks of musicians I admire and make outstanding music, with the best collaborators, at the highest level.
I grew up in an era where artists and amateurs were separated by who was and wasn’t on a record label; it’s hard to shake the feeling that self-releasing an album is cheating.
(I am aware how silly that sounds.)
But I couldn’t be more proud of this album and can’t keep it to myself any longer.
Yes, I’m once again skipping the PR blitz.
Over time, I think the best promotion is regularly producing good music. I also think (most) publicists are con artists. What other industry of professionals charge you $6-10k with no guarantee of results?
Sure, they get you a review here or there, but who cares? Can you name the last album you bought because of a review?
Why pre-orders matter
In order to reach the top of any chart you need a large volume of sales the opening day and week of the release. As far as I understand, iTunes counts all pre-orders as day 1 sales.
If everyone reading this pre-ordered a copy, and convinced one or two friends to do the same, we would succeed.
And then what?
Who knows. But as strategies for reaching new ears go, this is the best plan I’ve come up with.
With that, I turn it over to you.
(>>>This is me giving you a big hug.<<<)
I really appreciate your support.