The Glorious Dilemma – How To Release A Huge Amount Of Music?

It’s been a long time since the traditional recording release cycle of ‘make a CD, do 3 months of promo, release the album, sell enough to recoup, tour off the back of it, take some time off, do it all again 12-18 months later’ made much sense to me. I’ve been making too much music for that kind of approach for a few years now… So I’m trying to work out what the best way forward is. Let me fill you in…

Here’s the glorious dilemma Daniel Berkman and I find ourselves in right now – we have 8 shows recorded from our January tour, as well as one still-unreleased show from the previous January (and of course the gig that became Accidentally (On Purpose) ) which is all worthy of release.

Each show on the tour, being house concerts, took on the distinct character of the place, the audience and our response to those. As our musical relationship grew and morphed in response to us getting to know each other as the tour went on, some of that familiarity was manifest in the music. AND we had the wonderful Artemis join us on vocals for the finale to each concert. So we have, all in, about 11-12 hours of music to release. It’s an astonishing luxury to be sat on such a creative goldmine. It’s also a rather heady notion that pretty much every note that Daniel and I have ever played together is recorded. We’ve never really sound-checked at the gigs, and we’ve never ‘practiced’.

So we have all this music, and we want to release, that I’m assuming there’ll be something of an audience for. But before we release it, it needs mixing and mastering. About 200 hours of work, all in. So we need to come up with a funding model for that work somewhat ahead of time, and a way to let you get hold of all this fabulous music that doesn’t expect anyone to fork out £150 for an insane 20 CD boxed set that we can’t afford to make and you can’t afford to buy…

So far, the plan is for me to finish mixing and mastering the first concert from this January’s tour – or at least, all the duo and trio pieces from it. We’ll then put that up on Bandcamp, with the option to order a USB stick of that plus all the other shows (in MP3 or Lossless format). All 10 shows. That’ll include all the solo pieces that we played on the tour as well (including the two from the gig that became Accidentally (On Purpose) – for you completists 😉 )… There’s also be a higher payment option where you get access to the Dropbox folder where I’m posting the mixes as they happen for Daniel and Artemis to hear. So you’ll get to hear it all ahead of time (the mixes won’t be finished til late June) as well as hear the development in the mix/mastering process (I upload an MP3 of the work-in-progress at the end of every mix session – some are on their 3rd or 4th revision at the moment)

And finally, you can pre-order a double CD of a sort-of ‘best of’ from the tour. We’ll pick two cohesive CD-length selections and make something beautiful out of them… There’ll also be a 3 CD option where you get a CD of Accidentally (On Purpose) too.

How does that sound? It strikes me as being vastly preferable to a Kickstarter/Pledge campaign, but the answer to ‘why’ is the substance of a whole other post – coming soon!

This is a wonderful problem to have – too much lovely music to release. Under the ‘old’ system there’s no way an artist with my somewhat limited level of commercial success could ever contemplate releasing this much music. Pre-internet, it’s hugely unlikely that Daniel and I would ever have met, let alone been able to book a tour (actually, Artemis booked the tour – she’s the organisational genius behind this, and the match-maker that suggested we play together in the first place!), record all the shows and then have this glorious dilemma. But we do still need to make a couple of grand to make it possible to spend the time mixing and mastering it all.

[incidentally, if the main attraction here is the thought of an 11 hour music project, you might like to check out this. Then again, you might not. 🙂 ]


2 Replies to “The Glorious Dilemma – How To Release A Huge Amount Of Music?”

  1. Your Dropbox folder idea is sound, but maybe make it into a subscription model? Get paid a monthly fee for access to that folder, maybe add a feedback and chat to your audience option to it.

    That being said, the additional fee for having the Dropbox space to subscribe to that folder may make it prohibitive, I don’t know how many of your potential fanbase there would have more than the free two gig to play with.

    That being said, it seems somehow strange to me to pay for something “in progress” – I’d rather pay for the finished product, or early access to it.

    1. thanks for the thoughts, Moof – it’s not going to run long enough for a subscription, though some kind of subscription model may well be how I end up selling most of my music soon.. watch this space.

      The degree to which this is ‘in progress’ is up for debate – the first mix is usually over 90% of the way there to the final thing, and as I’ll be mixing the gigs in order, people who go for that option will get all the albums finished a lot earlier than anyone else…

      And thanks to your comment, I’ll include that in the description when I put it up. I could even upload each album to Bandcamp, keep it private but send out download codes to each of the dropbox participants do they can have the 24bit version if they want it.

      As for dropbox space – it won’t ever be that big – the daily updates are MP3, not WAV, and there’s no reason we can’t clear out the old stuff once everyone’s got it 🙂

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