How the hell the calender has moved to 2018? I had so many good purposes for 2017 and I fear I have just realised the half of what I promised at the end of 2016. Let’s take a look on my plans for 2017
1.”I will start with a new album, which will reflect modern styles of metal and electronic combined with some of the heartscore-trademarks”
Yes, I have started and I have published meanwhile fourteen songs for this project, but looking back it had been possible to finish an album in 2017, if I had not been distracted by the second plan and side-projects. At the end of 2017 I registered a bit jealous, how many of my musical friends published full albums at the best time before christmas and I was just not ready. Because many songs of the Metal-project are very short I want to have more than twenty songs finished before I would think over to launch a full album. Stephen Crane has published around seventy poems, which he calls “lines”, and in a long run I could plan three albums of twenty songs each and I am still feeling so motivated by Crane’s work, that I could really imagine to stick with his poems for a big song-cycle. So though I am a bit unsatisfied, that I could not finish an album, I am very happy with the overall concept I have found.
2.”I will remake my 2007 album “Many directions” from scratch”
It’s much easier to work alone, than to find the right people to work with. It took a lot of time to find musicians for this project and I spend weeks to search for vacant positions on songs. The hardest task was to find a singer for “One way ticket” and I felt very lucky, when I found the amazing Mr.Brail Watson on Soundbetter. I also want to name Milana Zilnik, who played piano on “Another dark lady”, Gdaliy Garmiza, an extraordinaire saxophone player, Jonas Schütz drums, and Adam Swierczynski on bass
However looking back I am not so sure, if this plan made sense, especially in combination with the first plan. I am very satisfied with the musical result of the three songs I remade from “Many directions”, but it collides with the aim of a stylistic change for heartscore. My poor listeners should be confused, when I publish an Avantgarde Metal-track and two weeks later a seventies Funk-song a la Chic. Maybe it had been better to start the Metal-project with another band-name or to drop the remake of “Many directions” to stay consistent and reliable for a potential audience. And very likely the audience, which I had before the Style-change, will not follow the new heartscore, so in fact I am looking for a different audience. I became aware of this conflict very late, when I stared somewhen during September 2017 on my Spotify-profile and saw “One way ticket” next to “Once I saw mountains angry“. Actually I am a bit torn how to go on with the remake. One possible solution would be to go on with the production, but to keep the songs unpublished until I can come up with the full album. On the other hand I am also not convinced to remake the whole “Many directions”. The three remakes, which are already finished, uncovered commercial and accessible qualities of the songs. Therefore it would make more sense to collect accessible songs with “hit-potential” from all heartscore-albums before “heartscore 2016” and to produce a kind of “Greatest hits” album.
I was really ambitious in 2016 and had listed a third goal with seven sub-points
3. “I want to build up a presence outside Soundcloud, I want to focus on Spotify, Youtube and Twitter while Soundcloud will stay my “home”. And I want to grow my mailing list, because Emails are the most direct connection to people, which are interested in my music. So the promotion-activies in 2017 will include:
- Updating the heartscore-homepage
- Creating playlists on Spotify and running adverts for them
- Collecting Emails, Noisetrade is a good place for this purpose
- Interacting on Twitter
- More Youtube videos about the process of creating the new albums
- Other photos of myself, all promo-pics are already more than 5 years old
- Writing more Blog-posts and longer articles”
What is left from all those toplofty plans?
The homepage: To be honest my homepage drifted out of sight in 2017. In the beginning of 2017 I put a lot of effort in the new design motivated by the new Metal-concept, but later I forgot it step by step. Sometimes I doubt, if I really need a homepage, because I can not see so much benefit from it. Of course interested people can find useful informations about me, join the mailing list, listen to music or follow the links, but the same functionality is included in bandcamp. Therefore I think over to delete the homepage and to invest the saved costs in Bandcamp Pro, or just to set up a custom domain on bandcamp, which I probably can do free (accounts created before April 2011 can do it free). After I had concentrated on Spotify in the beginning of 2017, I realised during the year, that bandcamp is the much better alternative, especially for niche-music like mine (more about Spotify later). I become also fun lately of exploring bands on bandcamp and to support them, if I love their music.
Spotify: During the first half of 2017 I became an active member of the Spotify-community. At first I was overwhelmed by the friendly welcome and the enthusiasm about music there. I met some great people with a deep knowledge of music and the Spotify community replaced a bit the spirit of the Soundcloud-community. However I did not any advertisement for my own music there, but wrote about music and musicians I like or participated on threads. Activity is rewarded there (more of that later appear in a separate blog-post) and during my activity I was invited to join the Rockstar-program. So I am a Spotify Rockstar now. But more and more some things left a sour taste and latest in September I stopped my activity there. As promised I also set up playlists on Spotify (with own songs mixed in) and I even ran some adverts on Facebook for them. The overall result is pretty discouraging, because just one or two people followed the playlists, though I did a lot of advertisements for them on all social platforms. To sum up the Spotify-activity was very interesting, but did not anything for my own music.
Bandcamp: During 2017 I also took a closer look on Bandcamp and realised, that their business-model is fairer than Spotify. I also started to discover bands on Bandcamp and think, that my music fits better there. Bandcamp represents the creative underground and shows an alternative to the mass-market. And because I am producing a niche-music it’s the better place to focus on than Spotify. Therefore I direct all my listeners to Bandcamp meanwhile. The statistics below prove, that my effort pays back and you can observe, that the new Metal-material is already on the top-ranks, though I have started with the project in 2017. The second statistic is more interesting, because I can see, how people find me on Bandcamp. I remember, that one year ago Soundcloud was the most important source. Meanwhile Facebook, Google and Twitter have overpowered Soundcloud and also the blog sends a few people to Bandcamp.
Emails and Noisetrade: On Noisetrade I published the “Heartscore 2016” album. Noisetrade’s concept is to offer a free download for an Email-address. Since I joined the site around 2012 I got sixteen Emails from them. Most of them look not very reliable. I contacted the Noisetrade staff to be placed in their monthly newsletter with new bands, but my songs were rejected. As an alternative they offered a payed advertisement, but after my Email was forwarded to the right department, they never came back to me, so I felt not encouraged to put some effort into my profile there. On the other hand bandcamp again offers the same functionality with their “Name your price”-option. Most new email-addresses I got came from bandcamp in 2017. I send my newsletter with Mailchimp, because Reverbnation’s “Fanbridge” never looked professional for me. At the end of 2017 I have now 392 Emails on my list, much more than 2016, when it was around 250.
Twitter: Surprisingly Twitter became a success-story for me in 2017. I interact now with some people, I tweet on a regular basis using the great Buffer-app, which offers basic functionality free. Compared to other social networks the effort you have to put into Twitter to grow is not very high. I follow mainly profiles within my genre and could gain many followers in 2017.
Youtube: I have also fulfilled my plans on Youtube and published some very elaborated videos in 2017. But all in all the reaction was a bit disappointing compared to the time and effort I have put in the production. My most successful video on the tube of 2017 is my entry for the Andrew Huang Contest. I think Covers perform best on Youtube and it would be better to re-animate my OneManBand-The Who project there. It’s also very interesting, that my videos got much better results on Facebook and this can not be explained only with the fact, that I have more contacts on Facebook.
Pictures: This is also a good purpose, which I forgot totally in 2017, but my wife reminded me on it, when she donated a photo-session with a professional photographer to me. But I still have to find a date for the session.
Blogging: This turned out as another success-story besides Twitter in 2017. My blog got a big boost, when the Kemper-company shared my review about the Kemper profiling amp. And also the german company ABM in Berlin was so pleased about my article about their Roller-bridge, that they still showcase my article on their homepage. Besides the cold numbers writing long blog-articles is something I love and I am ready to put much dedication and work in. The statistics of 2017 show my progress on the blog and you can easily see, that I could attract more readers after the two peaks (Kemper and ABM) in 2017 and that the level of visitors has raised afterwards.
The good: Bandcamp, Twitter, Blogging
The Bad: Spotify, Noisetrade, Youtube
The Ugly: Still old promo-pictures
My conclusion doesn’t mean, that Spotify is bad for all people. Without any deeper explanation I just observe, that some social media plans work for me, some not. And Soundcloud? I still not regret, that I have left it. Some achievements I could reach in 2017 had not been possible with the level of engagement I put into Soundcloud the years before. The goal to build up a (little) presence outside of Soundcloud can be marked as “Done”. By the way I still get plays on soundcloud (around fifty daily) and also new Followers sometimes.
At last I want to formulate new goals for the upcoming year 2018
- A new heartscore-album in 2018
- More blog-articles
- Widening my Twitter-activity
- Directing potential listeners to bandcamp and not elsewhere
While I named Soundcloud my home in 2016, Facebook replaced it in 2017. I numerate less goals than 2016, maybe I have learned something …