Archive for the ‘Inside Projekt’ Category
I asked my friends on Facebook what they’d like to see more of on the Projekt email list. One of their suggestions was behind the scenes of running a label. What it takes, what I do, what I’ve learned. So today’s email is about EXPOSURE. If you’d like to reply, please visit this blog on the Projekt site and post your comments.
In 2011, you regularly read this type of exchange: Artist: Spotify doesn’t pay enough Spotify: You get exposure Artist: You can die from exposure
Yes. We all loved repeating that witty retort when Spotify launched and Daniel Ek was trying to convince us that getting paid micropennies was OK because we got exposure. “Exposure? I’ve been doing music for twenty-five years, I’m established. I don’t need exposure. I need to get paid for sales!”
Now, six years later, I’d like to backtrack and kind of agree. We need exposure. All of the artists on Projekt need more people listening to our music. Sure, YOU are aware of Projekt bands, YOU like listening to our music. But in the wide world, we’re unheard of, we’re mostly unknown, and we don’t sell very many records. We need more people listening to our music, so hopefully more of them will purchase something.
When I launch an artist’s album, there’s a spike of attention in the first month. Then interest quickly fades away. Unless the band is touring, or making new videos regularly, or doing something else to keep their name out there, an album is generally forgotten within a few months. In the old days, there was longevity, and albums were still selling half a year later. Now? Not so much.
What’s there to do?
Streaming gives artists ongoing exposure because it’s frictionless. Casual listeners don’t have to pay. They check out music they might not otherwise bother with or get around to.
I believe that “free” should be under the artist/label’s control. We should make the decisions about this. I know we cannot control the amount we get paid by streaming sites, but we can control what is available on streaming.
In that regards, I also begrudgingly agree with Ek: streaming has cut back dramatically on Projekt music pirated and available at illegal locker site. Compared to 2011, I only find 10% as much music on those sites. Why? Because streaming is easy for listeners. Why bother illegally obtaining an album, when there are legal methods to hear the music at no cost?
[Back to the subject of “free” being under the artist’s control.] Have you noticed that Projekt gives away name-your-price downloads at our Bandcamp store? It’s not because I’m crazy (well, not exactly), and partially because I’m feeling generous. The main reason is because people will listen to free music. There were over 800 downloads on Mercury’s Antennae A waking ghost inside when I put it up at name-your-price last month. That’s about 797 more people than would have paid to download the album in the same period. You were probably one of the people who grabbed it. Thanks! I hope you enjoy their music. Mercury’s Antennae have a recent album (Beneath the Serene) that you might enjoy as well.
This is why I give music away, to expose you to great artists on the Projekt label.< I’ll give you an album with the hope that you'll come back and make a purchase of their other albums. Does it work? Meh, hard to say. We sold 5 copies of Beneath the Serene while we were giving away the debut. I would think those purchases were from people who discovered the band via free.
Exposure. Does it work?
Well, it makes more people aware of the music. Does it lead to sales? Maybe. Does anyone get rich off it? Definitely not. It’s part of a building process. It’s promotion / publicity. Back in 1994, I’d buy half page ads in Alternative Press. Did that $500 or $750 (or whatever it cost) pay off with sales? It’s hard to say. Probably a few sales( 50?); but I don’t think any ad did better than breaking even. The more important point was exposure.
Hey, wait! Back two decades ago we paid for exposure. Now we get paid (in micropennies at streaming, or donations at Bandcamp). This is a point I make to artists. Projekt used to pay a lot of money to get artist’s name out, we had to buy ads and give away hundreds and hundreds of promo CDs (that all ended up in the used bins). Now we get paid in micropennies.
Unfortunately, it’s harder than ever to make a living in the music industry, and seeing those miniscule trickles of cash is frustrating when comparable-sized artists used to sell thousands of albums.
These are new (and insane) times.
It took five years, but I see the logic behind things we were once opposed to. I’m not stuck in a 1997 or 2007 perspective, I’m looking at now and seeing what works for Projekt. The label has to do what we can, to be heard.
We have to try new ideas.
Funny, because that was the argument I used to have with people (from San Francisco) about eight years ago. They said I was a dinosaur who didn’t understand the new economy. I said, “Give me examples of how this is suppose to be profitable.” Well, I don’t know if we’ve proven it to be profitable, but we have seen that it is part of the way a band gets heard in 2017.
Projekt’s two new releases for March 17th:
Lorenzo Montana: phase IX Purchase the CD (limited edition of 300) for $14 at Projekt. Bandcamp download code included in the package with your order. Stream & download at Bandcamp. Italian soundcomposer Lorenzo Montana’s first American solo-release; these electronic, ambient mindscapes form nine phases of a trip of the psyche focusing on the floating / experimental side of his work. He’s collaborated with Alio Die on Holographic Codex (Projekt, 2015), and released 15 albums to date, including the 5-CD Labyrinth collaboration series with Pete Namlook (founder of Germany’s Fax label).
Erik Wøllo: Different Spaces Purchase the 2-CD for $17 at Projekt. Bandcamp download code included in the package with your order. Stream & download at Bandcamp. High Res Studio Master at Spotted Peccary.A diverse and sweeping tapestry revealing wide-ranging and wide-angled electronic compositions. The music traverses the different spaces that occupy an artist’s creative thoughts across mesmerizing landscapes of distinctive panoramas, rhythmic realms, and engaging, engulfing atmospheres.
F R O M A R O U N D T H E W E B :
Forrest Fang “…conjures an idealized world of sound – where Spacemusic, World Music, New Age and the Avant-Garde all share a common spirit, and sound connects everything.” – Star’s End introduction to an interview with Forrest Fang about Following the Ether Sun. Steve Roach Shadow of Time review in Italy’s Darkroom magazine (in Italian).
Black Tape For A Blue Girl Blood on the Snow review from The Noise Beneath The Snow. “The imagery presents itself herein as somewhat stark, yet still warm, perhaps in a dimly lit, intimate, privately held performance. Blood on the Snow is easily reminiscent of the days of Remnants of a Deeper Purity, perhaps mostly because of the presence of Oscar’s voice as well as the viola.”
Steve Roach’s Dreamtime Return included in this article, “32 Best Ambient Albums” at Optimistic Underground. “As a cohesive whole, the album folds in both electronic and natural sounds, from didgeridoos to huge synth pads to field recordings from the Australian outback. Steve Roach approaches the genre with spartan ideals, stripping the music down to its central essence and then amplifying that elemental spark into a massive conflagration.”
Name-your-price download at Bandcamp: Blood on the snow
Today I dropped by Burnside Distribution. They’re Projekt’s new American distributor, based here in Portland in the St. John’s area of town, right by Cathedral Park (and the lovely St Johns Bridge). Good people, looking forward to good things!
Hi. As of today, Black tape for a blue girl’s These fleeting moments has 1 review at Amazon and 0 reviews at iTunes. I’m hoping more than one of you enjoyed the album! : ) I’d love to see more reviews at Amazon & iTunes, letting people who haven’t been following the band know the new music is loved and supported.
I’m sure you read Amazon reviews just like I do, and when there is one – or no – review, you think, “Must not be very good, if nobody bought it and reviewed it. Pass.”
You don’t have to write a novel, or even consider yourself a great writer. The idea is an honest comment from a real person, sharing a bit of your enjoyment of the music.
Thanks for helping out with this!
Orders placed at the Projekt webstore this month include a download card for a copy of Forrest Fang’s Letters To The Farthest Star
From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal: The year draws to a close. Projekt’s webstore shipped out 2813 CDs, while our Bandcamp store sold 4735 album downloads. Yes! There are still people buying music. Projekt and all of the artists I work with appreciate your purchases! Our music also is played on streaming sites, but it takes an average of 279 plays on Spotify to bring in a buck; those of you who purchase things (or contribute to our crowdfunding campaigns) are the people who make it possible for us to continue to create.
A big THANKS for supporting Projekt’s artists with your investment in our work!!!
2016 was busy for Projekt, with a number of releases in the electronic/ambient genres and a few in the goth/darkwave genres. Here are two lists for you; I find it interesting to see how the top-10 differs between physical and digital sales.
Top selling physical items in the Projekt webstore 1 Forrest Fang: The Sleepwalker’s Ocean (2-CD) (limited edition, last few copies left) 2 Erik Wollo: Star’s End 2015 (Silent Currents 4) (CD) 3 Erik Wollo & Byron Metcalf: Earth Luminous (CD) 4 Mercury’s Antennae: Beneath the Serene (CD) 5 Black Tape For A Blue Girl: These fleeting moments (Limited deluxe edition) (CD) 6 Steve Roach: Shadow of Time / This Place to Be 2-pack (3-CD) 7 Chuck Van Zyl: The XYL File (Limited Edition CD) * 8 Stratosphere: Rise (CD) 9 Steve Roach: Emotions Revealed 10 Steve Roach & Robert Logan: Biosonic / Second Nature 2-Pack (2CD)
Top selling downloads in the Projekt Bandcamp store 1 Steve Roach & Robert Logan: Second Nature 2 Forrest Fang: The Sleepwalker’s Ocean 3 Erik Wollo: Star’s End 2015 (Silent Currents 4) 4 Erik Wollo & Byron Metcalf: Earth Luminous 5 Steve Roach & Robert Logan: Biosonic 6 Steve Roach: Emotions Revealed 7 Steve Roach: Structures From Silence (Deluxe 3-CD 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) 8 Steve Roach: Shadow of Time 9 Steve Roach: Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces (complete edition) 10 Loren Nerell: The Venerable Dark Cloud (extended reissue)
* The only non-Projekt artist on this list is Chuck Van Zyl
Miami’s New Times ran a feature on Black Tape For A Blue Girl
Projekt’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale is on! Sale ends 11:59 PM; Tuesday November 29th.
We’re giving away a free copy of the 2011 Steve Roach / Erik Wollo collaborative CD, The Road Eternal with every order over $50 (total before shipping). While supplies last!