Prolly you didn’t notice – One of those things you never see, really, until the day you look with the notion of looking, and there it is. Like walking through your house and finally seeing – really seeing – those stacks of crap you got here and there.
About a year ago, at the end of 2020 – Novemberish – I was looking at my streaming stats. I had 2 listeners on Spotify that week, 1 of which was me. Looking further back, I could see entire weeks go by without a single stream. Hundreds of millions of people on Spotify, and not a single one of them had given any of my tracks 31 seconds of time. And even though it’s just a hobby, I decided it was time to take a more studied, disciplined, workmanlike approach to the craft that is my music.
I consulted any number of gurus (Damien Keyes, Jesse Cannon, etc.) and read a ton of articles, and decided to drastically alter how I approached my hobby/craft. So starting in late December ’21, I kinda committed to:
- Release a single every month
- Take at least one online class session 5 days a week, on either music theory, music business, or music technicals (ie, mixing, recording, mastering).
- Spend no money on marketing.
- Stay active on a social network of my choice (which ended up being Twitter).
OK so the year has passed, and, taking stock, can say that I hit the “single every month” goal. The releases, in order, were:
In June, I released an album, which was a compilation of the previous singles plus a new track (“Late For Church”):
As for the taking classes goal – listening to tracks I did in 2020, I can see a huge improvement in mixing and mastering, and overall sound quality. The songwriting – though never great – has gotten better. The lyrical content has gone from non-existent to Meh. But it’s gone somewhere.
For the no-money-on-marketting goal, Yes, I spent no money on marketting, even though (and all indie artists can attest to this) I was bombarded with unbelievable offers at least once a week.
As for the social networking goal, I wasn’t as on-point as I’d wanted to be, but my twitter follow count is up ~1K. Which, TBH, I’m not sure is all that good (or bad). I have more followers, but can’t say anyone is hanging on my every word (or tweet, as the case may be).
Now if you go back up and look at my goals, you’ll notice that none of them have anything to do with increasing my Spotify streams. Yet my Spotify the numbers have improved – I had 23 listeners last week (11-28-21 to 12-4-21). Not really burning the house down, but going from 0 to 23 is, mathematically-speaking, x23 growth.
Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but the documentary Tom Brady series on ESPN+ is outstanding. At one point in the second episode, the press was maligning the New England players. And in response, the Patriots took on (what’s traditionally a blue-collar) attitude – Let’s work on being the best at what we can do, and the games – and press – will take care of itself. And, Yeah, that’s what happened – A football dynasty was born.
Well I’m not building a dynasty (probably), but the takeaway is – If I work on being the best composer /songwriter/producer I can be, those Spotify numbers might just take care of themselves. The trend is that way anyway.
Can’t close out this article without saying – If you’ve listened to a Brothers Burn song this year, thank you. I appreciate it!!!