We released Echoes In Me just over a year ago (400 days, to be exact), and while the process of recording and putting out new music was enjoyable, I learned that there were some things that just weren't working. 2017 is going to be about taking these lessons and applying them moving forward. That's what life is all about, right?
The main thing that became apparent is that we aren't going to be able to play shows with any regularity until we live closer to one another. The six-and-a-half hours between us is simply too far. Even if we book shows and find a few dates that work for everyone, it is impossible to practice enough to get a tight set. For us, concerts have been the best way to connect with people, share our music, and gain new fans, and most importantly we love playing, so this is a huge loss.
Shows are also where the most money is made. Between getting paid for the performance and CD and merch sales, we are missing out on a majority of our potential income. While money is not the driving force behind our art, we have to find a way to sustain ourselves going forward. Recording and promoting is still expensive. Not pre-digital-age expensive, obviously, but still costs a pretty penny. Until we can get back to a point where we're playing out a lot, we're going to have to take a new course of action. My hope is that we can harness the power of the internet and navigate the information super highway to find your ears and eyes.
Below are a few things I will be looking into and experimenting with this year.
1. Live Streaming
My hope with live streaming is twofold: One, I want to be able to connect with and perform for actual humans; and two, I want to be able to reach new fans. This could be one way to make up for the lack of gigs. There are quite a few platforms available, so I'll be playing around with them to find which works best for me. Busker, YouNow, Periscope, Facebook Live, Concert Window, YouTube Live, and the list goes on. I'm open to suggestions.
2. Solo Shows
I used to play a lot of solo acoustic gigs. This was mainly due to Ethan not being 18/21 and not being allowed into 21+ venues. Solo shows are fun, but they're a completely different beast from a show with the full band. Keeping the audience's attention with just an acoustic guitar and a voice can be a real challenge, and on top of that every mistake is amplified. (Pun intended.) When a solo show goes well, though, it can be very rewarding, and I think the intimacy of such a performance can lead to a connection with the audience that is hard to replicate with a full band show in a larger venue. These shows would also be another supplement to the lack of Wire Frames rock and roll extravaganzas in my diet.
3. VIP/Fan Club/Subscription
I have a decent backlog of demos, live recordings, and other goodies that our diehard fans would enjoy, but getting it all organized and edited takes time and energy. Starting a VIP or fan can club via a subscription service like Patreon or Bandcamp could be a way to release these things and offer other perks to our biggest supporters. We could offer discounts on merch, early access to new music, exclusive content, etc. Why haven't we done this already?
The hope in putting out singles is that we can release music more frequently. It would certainly be cheaper to record, and digital-only releases would be a lot cheaper and faster. There are a lot of different ways to go with this, and we have a lot of songs ready to be recorded, so we may experiment a bit with different methods and mediums.
5. Sync Licensing
This may be more of a stretch than the others, as success is a little more dependent on gatekeepers. Sync licensing is getting music placed in others' media, be it commercials, TV shows, video games, YouTube videos, etc. The fear here is the traditional musician's phobia of "selling out," although I'm not sure that is really a thing anymore. Maybe it never was. Some sync deals can be very lucrative, which would a nice kick start to the recording fund.
More important than any one of these things in particular is that we/I just do something. Sitting around letting ideas and potential go to waste is incredibly disheartening.
If you'd like to help in any way or have any advice/recommendations/thoughts, please leave a comment, send me an email, or hit us up on your social media platform of choice.
Here's to 2017!