Brimming with inventive and soulful compositions - including 6 by Pete, Kairos Ensemble's latest release, Rejoicing Blues, is out on Mulberry Tree Music...
Here goes... I've been thinking what I should put in this blog and rather than general ranting (although I can't guarantee there won't be some of that), I thought it might be of interest to document (in real time) the process I'm going through trying to establish myself as an independent recording artist. With any luck, this blog entry won't be my last!
Getting an album together under my own name and launching this website represent a real milestone in this process - so maybe this is a good point to summarise what lead me to this point and where I'm hoping to go from here....I've been involved in a few recording projects over the years with other people - probably most notably, jazz violinist Christian Garrick and for the group Kairos Ensemble. Over this time, it seemed to me that being signed to a small independent record label may not actually offer much more than one could do (with a little elbow grease), oneself.
Certainly one may be more motivated to put in the time needed to push a project forward, oneself. Of course distribution is the key, but with less physical CD sales being made and more done on line, it seems to me that, especially within a niche market like jazz, it's probably worth attempting to set up one's own shop and make every effort to connect directly with an audience....it also strikes me that a major label - especially in the current climate, will not be very interested in putting money into something that has not already proven it's able to make a reasonable return....
So all this has lead me to forge ahead independently. Knowing friends who have had negative experiences of being signed to labels also encourages me that there are definite plusses to creative autonomy! I'm thinking positively at this stage..!
Apart from the physical aspects of making a CD - rehearsing, recording, editing, mixing, mastering, overseeing photography, artwork and pressing, getting a CD out there has involved quite a few other hurdles involved in essentially setting up my own record label: Mulberry Tree Music. Related to this have been MCPS-PRS membership, PPL performer and record company membership, registering tracks through CATCO, applying for a Limited online exploitation license, setting up an AP2 exclusion to avoid paying royalties to myself, Bar-coding through membership of GS1...To navigate though some of these areas, I've found joining both the Association of Independent Music and Music Managers Forum - (also the Musicians Union) invaluable. They've run seminars recently on ....independent music publishing, marketing and live performance promotion.I'm kind of feeling my way...so open to any pointers or advice, if you have any!
I know that the big work of promotion and distribution has yet to begin in earnest and we'll see where that takes me.... having a product is one thing, but getting it to market is quite another...at this stage I'm thinking along the lines of gigs, reviews, radio play to hopefully generate some interest.
There seems to be a slight chicken and egg factor in the sense that without interest already, generating interest can feel like an uphill struggle but I'll tell you how I get on as I push various doors.What am I hoping for? If I can get to a situation where I can finance a recording and gig it, knowing that it's financially viable (i.e. it's at least not permanently losing money!), then I'd be very pleased. World domination? -well, that's not really my concern (although I am ambitious for my music to connect to as wide an audience as possible). It seems that through web sales I potentially have a world market. But generating traffic to the site and that translating into actual sales is the challenge. The good news is that now it's up and running, I don't have large overheads and owning the products mean that the profit percentage per sale is relatively high..
Avenues have crossed my mind like trying to license my music to other online outlets but I haven't explored these properly yet.If I'm honest, I do have occasional anxieties that many of the 1000 physical copies of the album I'm printing up might remain stashed under a bed somewhere and never see the light of day. Having said that, I'm determined to make a go of it and although this is unchartered territory for me, I‘m confident in the music I have to offer and I don't want to look back in years to come time and think I never gave it a proper shot...Would I consider signing musical ownership rights over at some point? - Certainly! but I'd want to look carefully at what is really being offered to ensure that I'd gain more than I'd lose.I'll be blogging again in a month or so and keep you posted with any developments! In the mean time, please to feel free to drop me a line - I'll endeavour to respond. Cheers. Pete