Tag Archives: iTunes

Sounds like a plan…

A lot of you might remember that back in 2009 I ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Five Times August album “Life As A Song.” Back then the site was still in beta testing and I was one of the lucky few musicians to take advantage of the site before it became the quintessential online funding tool it is today for so many other artists. My project was the first to raise what was considered (back then) a tremendous amount of money… $20,000 in 31 days. A project that size is pretty typical now, but at that time it was a pretty extravagant venture. It was certainly an exciting month, to say the least, and we somehow managed to actually pull it off with help from the fans. Obviously since then Kickstarter has become a much bigger online commodity and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t friends with someone (or friends of a friend of someone) who hasn’t raised or given funds through the site.

So while it’s all great and good that we raised the money and got the album released with the ’09 project, I was actually ballsy enough to try it again a year later in 2010 while we were on tour in the RV. In short, I don’t know what all factored in during the second go around, maybe it was simply the fact that it WAS the second go around, but unfortunately Kickstarter project #2  didn’t succeed. If you’re familiar with the site you know that if a project is unsuccessful the artist/creator does not get any of the funds and the end result is basically as if it never happened. I was pretty upset and depressed about that at the time. The second campaign was so crucial to making the next FTA album that after the project failed I basically scrapped it all together. You may have noticed that there really hasn’t been a new full length album from FTA since ’09’s “Life As A Song,” only a couple of digital singles have been released (The Minute & Fix Me) along with a second volume of the “Acoustic Sessions” series. That’s the constant dilemma of the indie artist, finding funds to not only make a living, but to continue producing new work. So, that little heartbreak from the second Kickstarter shut me down for a bit. It eventually sparked the notion that maybe I should try something different and give myself a fresh start with a side project. That’s when I began work on Music by Bradley James. It’s been a great second outlet for my creativity over the last year or so, and though it has taken a while to get the wheels in motion we’re just about ready to release some new music again… just about, BUT… I’m going to need your support getting over the last hurdle…

In the coming weeks I’ll be launching a new campaign on the site PledgeMusic.com to raise the final amount needed to finish up the first Bradley James EP. Don’t worry, I’m not shooting for $20,000 again! The goal amount will be just enough to get the tracks mixed, mastered, and into a nice little CD package for you. In addition to the EP being offered in digital and physical formats, I’ll be offering some really unique one of a kind and limited items to pledgers. I won’t get too heavy into details as of yet, I’m still putting it all together as we speak, but expect some interesting stuff! It should be a lot of fun and I sincerely hope you are excited to take part! To entice you to help finish the EP I’ll be ‘unvailing’ audio for the first track the day the campaign begins (I figure you probably want to hear SOMETHING before handing over your dollars!)

So why am I telling you this now and not a few weeks from now? Well, I’m telling you because I basically want you to be ready! There are a ton of artists raising money for their own album, it’s a very saturated avenue to go down right now. But, truth be told, this new fan funded business model IS the new model for indie acts, that’s why so many are doing it now. I’ve already stood on both sides of the fence having had a success and a failure with the Kickstarter campaigns. The outcome? One side got my album a review in People Magazine, the other ceased production all together, leaving songs unfinished, incomplete, and unheard. I don’t want the ladder to happen again, it’s a sad situation to be in! So, consider this blog entry something of a “save the date” without a specific date, just know it’s coming! I’m very excited about the new songs and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear what I’ve been working on.

With that said, hang tight! Next time you hear from me we’ll be up and running!

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“Hey, Can You Spotify Me Some Cash?” – An Indie Artist’s Perspective

I feel the need as an artist who’s songs are on Spotify to clear some things up to the general music listening public. With technology advancing so rapidly I don’t think consumers have had the opportunity to educate themselves on how the whole “free music” thing is putting artist’s careers in danger. While free music is great for the consumer who is so over the whole “buying music” concept and the web traffic is great for the sites providing the content (who generally make their money off advertising) it’s not great for the livelihood of your favorite bands and songwriters. The truth is a Spotify royalty pays out about .004 cents per play to the average indie artist who releases and album through a site like Tunecore. There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not that royalty rate percentage is true so I thought I would share a screenshot of my Five Times August  Spotify royalties from December 2011…

You’ll see that for 4,498 streams I earned $20.76. Type that in your calculator and you’ll get 0.0046153846…

Perspective: What that means is if I relied solely on Spotify royalties to make a minimum wage income ($1,160 a month at $7.25/hr) it would take 251,333 plays a month! Obviously if December accurately depicts an average of monthly listens I am nowhere close to that, most artists aren’t.

So you might be wondering… if I’m not happy about it why even put my music up on Spotify in the first place? Well, as an independent artist I’ve often found myself caught between a rock and a hard place amongst all these technological advances. You see, the basic goal for most of us self funded lil’ bands and songwriters is to make the best music we can and make a living doing just that. At the same time we also want as many people to hear our music as possible but normally don’t have any kind of big budget to promote it to the masses. That puts us in a situation where we really have no other choice than to distribute our music through as many outlets as possible, even if it sometimes results in little to zero financial income. The gleam of hope in giving a song away is that if somebody hears it and likes it they will buy it and eventually become a dedicated fan. It’s a mutual appreciation for one another, that’s how it’s supposed to work. If you appreciate a song or an album buy it so the artist can appreciate your support. Otherwise, and I hate to say it, don’t consider yourself a real fan.

You might also be thinking “Well, I just don’t buy music anymore, and you’re not REALLY relying on just Spotify for income.. so someone else can buy your album on iTunes and you’ll be fine.” Not so… I’ve noticed in my overall royalty statement that lately subscription and streaming service plays are rising while actual Mp3 and CD sales are steadily declining. I can only assume the same trend is happening for other bands and artists. So the truth is I am starting to rely on sites like Spotify and Pandora to pay for my career. That’s pretty scary. Imagine working for .06 cents an hour! (4 minute song played 15 times an hour)

Honestly, I’m just trying to give you some perspective as a listener. Spotify is fine in moderation or for discovering new artists, consider it a way to sample music – not have it. The fact is, if the free services become “the new thing” for music there are a lot of humble and hardworking songwriters, bands, and artists who’s careers hang in the balance. That’s a lot of music that could potentially change your life that you’ll never know about. It’s important for people to know about this because everyone has the power to control the situation – and I’m not speaking just for my own sake, but for all musician’s sake.

Now that you know, please pass this page and message along, inform your friends and get this conversation going. Start supporting your favorite music again and make the difference.

Thanks for reading,

Bradley

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