When do I stop giving away my best work?
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Old 21-11-2013, 03:32 AM   #1
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Icon5 When do I stop giving away my best work?

I've come to the point in my musical career where my best tracks are good enough to go pro.
It may sound a bit conceded, but I know what works and doesn't work commercially by this point.
My issues is my network and reach to listeners. It is just not comparable with my production ability.

In short I need to double or triple my metrics or have a label with the reach I need to release the tracks.

I currently sitting on 4-5 pretty much complete tracks that are good enough to make some serious waves, and I have waited to release them for re-branding reasons.

I am asking for your guys opinion on the matter, and what I should do to get the most out of these tracks.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons of my choices.
here are the directions I could go to my knowledge:

1-Free Download release 1 by 1 over social media with a large focus on maximizing reach, listens, metrics.

2-Release one large EP or two smaller EPs for free with the goal of maximizing reach and listens.

3-Send out demos searching for labels to release them(I have little to no experience demoing tracks to legitimate labels, so any advice on this would be hugely appreciated)

4-Continue waiting till I have 8-12 unreleased and released tracks good enough, and release a free debut album.

5-Release the songs or previews of the songs with download disabled, and wait for a label to bite

What has worked for thos of you who have gotten to this point? What next?

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Old 21-11-2013, 03:55 AM   #2
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

sit on good releases

i heard from somebody special Avicii sat on levels for like 2 years before they were like "ok lets release this", its so cheesy you can make a pizza with it right? if he was just bullshiting, i dunno, but given who he was i believed him.

when i mean sit i just mean like what you did, compile like 5 tracks, best one first, send in demo's. don't be annoying, nobody cares about your bio or how many times your mom won the local tennis tourney. make it short sweet, this is who i am, maybe add a little "this is what i'll bring to your establishment" if you're ballsy and hope for the best. a mentor told me always seem like they could possibly not go further in their business without you but without seeming desperate lol.

IMO? send good good shit to blogs, get your name out there, create a buzz, might take a while but if your music stands then its all good. in the mean time develop some sort of brand. depending on your music and who you are. so people hate the lime light some guys love to dye their hair platinum and fist pump/DJ all night. all depends on you, main thing though, music. for the stuff you pump out there are blogs a plenty my friend. blogs are a thing now especially for bedroom producers/people trying to get out there. people look to blogs to find music or be told what to listen to, in a way.

i'd say work with blogs, get your name circulating. you make commercial stuff, cool, your SC account seems active, comments, traffic, thats good.

its hard pressed to hope a label will bite, sometimes they will but i think your music needs to be on another level for them to randomly be like hey man. it all comes into effect via networking/collaborations/remixes/shit you've already released.

sit on stuff YOU think is really good. like you listen to it and you're like damn thats gonna impress somebody. since you're doing commercial stuff it might be a factor of marketability. you dress good? cute/hot? work out? whats your facebook page like (artist page lol)? you have a catchy dope name? cause all that matters if you're looking to be picked up by a label (a major one i guess). on the other hand there are plenty of smaller labels/net labels that frequently release music.

those 5 or so tracks you like, make it a demo, send that bitch out. even send them to impossible ideas, like....Big DADA or OWSLA (exaggerations), its like applying for college. cause who knows what you'll get back. sometimes labels will take up an artist and do like artist development, soft releases, minor stuff to see if there is something worth it there. i know a guy who did that and is now on firepower records w/ datsik n the like. his progress was really inspiring and awesome. he told me he had been producing for 7 years before we had met and he just started exploding in LA. we went to the same music school.

the worst somebody can say to you is the word 'No'. No doesn't mean shit either it just means not now. doesn't mean your music is bad, just keep on going. maybe return in a year with newer, freshier stuff. i'm pretty sure there are plenty of interviews were so and so famous person went all over before they were taken up.

Beatles got turned down a billion times, their sound wasn't good, wouldn't work here and now look. if you don't like the Beatles people think your taste in music is poopy.

but keep working on music. reach out to artist you like, you dont know what they will say back. do remixes on those remix sites (Indaba etc...). the track in your sig was good, i can see that being played out. so its a combination of all your goals there, also try and get on the up about like music business, artist vs. managers vs. agents. know the difference yadda yadda etc. just keep safe, keep your sound safe and i dunno how you are IRL when it comes to your goals but don't compensate fame for like deteriorating your sound because the label says it needs to change to become something totally different (that isn't you).

Quote:
It is just not comparable with my production ability.
what do you mean?

P.S: stuff you send to real labels don't release on the net cause they won't take stuff like that, normally. depends but that is the norm.

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Old 21-11-2013, 05:42 AM   #3
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

stop giving away your best work the second said tracks become your best work and you actually believe it.


if they are as good as you think they are demo them to labels and let them do the promotion work.

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Old 21-11-2013, 06:17 AM   #4
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

i question the notion of anyone needing or even wanting a label right now.


anyways... good luck.

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Old 21-11-2013, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

Not to start an entire other conversation but to further g0lems point recently I have begun questioning the entire notion of selling music altogether. Maybe it's because I have no desire to "make it" but I'm beginning to find the idea a but preposterous. I'm not saying that it's not worth money for all the time, dedication, energy, and emotion that goes into creating something if value. Because it is, worth money. It's just that, I don't know, with so many phenomenal artists giving it away these days selling it seems like yesterday's paradigm.

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Old 21-11-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I'm not even in the same arena as far as "getting to that point" but are you at least playing them at shows? Are you playing shows? Are dj's playing your tracks? Just wondering if you're getting any feedback at all yet. Barring that, I'd say option 5 or 6 - put them on youtube with interesting images.
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Old 21-11-2013, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

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Originally Posted by SKYCORE View Post
i'd say work with blogs, get your name circulating. you make commercial stuff, cool, your SC account seems active, comments, traffic, thats good.
First off, thank you for the in depth response. A lot of good info.

I believe I might try the demo route you outlined, because up to this point I have not sent physical demos out to labels.

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Originally Posted by SKYCORE View Post
"It is just not comparable with my production ability."

what do you mean?
I have really focused on production lately, and haven't really evolved or improved my social networks and reach at the same pace.

I guess I find it much more boring doing promoter crap than make'n music, and have invested far more time in the make'n the promoting.

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Old 21-11-2013, 11:18 AM   #8
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I vote for number 3, if you want to go the commercial way and try to make some money out of your music and believe your tracks are good enough, start looking for a label.

Invest time in this, don't do a half-baked job, look for their submission guidelines, read them properly. If they don't have anything on their site, reach out to them and ask.

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Old 21-11-2013, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I'd say first make the 8-12 tracks, then choose the best ones and send demos to everyone like crazy (This forum has many good tutorials how to make demos.)

Now that you have the 12 tracks, you can say you already have a ready-for-publishing album and the fanbase who supports and buys the album, they only need to spread it everywhere and get new listeners without much effort.
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Old 21-11-2013, 03:22 PM   #10
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

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Not to start an entire other conversation but to further g0lems point recently I have begun questioning the entire notion of selling music altogether. Maybe it's because I have no desire to "make it" but I'm beginning to find the idea a but preposterous. I'm not saying that it's not worth money for all the time, dedication, energy, and emotion that goes into creating something if value. Because it is, worth money. It's just that, I don't know, with so many phenomenal artists giving it away these days selling it seems like yesterday's paradigm.
yup. i can see that.
at the same time, let's be real. if you can move 1,000 copies solo on a self-release, it's akin to selling 5,000 through a label if you happen to get a really good contract. add to that: you get no one breathing down your neck asking for the next round of things to be marketable. as i meet more people involved with the labels i once so dearly loved, i keep hearing stories of their most amazing follow-up works being turned down and them having to go off and release on their own.

labels don't give a shit about artists.
labels care about survival and selling.
the artist narrative is unimportant to them if it isn't marketable.
if they cared about you, and not your work, they'd all be out of business.
if you're making anything remotely cutting edge or novel, there is most likely no market for you. you will be molded, polished and forced to comply. label marketing will always cater to the largest, widest possible market, and as such, compromises in personal coherence, quality and structure are bound to be a requirement when working under one. and let's not even talk about being typecast and locked in a box after your first release ("Second Album Means It's Too Late To Change Your Band Name....")...

so ok, if you're making shitty progressive house, all power to you. join a label. bro's will buy from bro's.
if you're making glitchy undanceable things, drones, experimental electronics or anything like that, and actually care about your work being good (ie, don't give a shit about marketability)... i can't see how it's worth it.

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Old 21-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

Wow, that's a lot of negativity.
Why might you go with a label only to make the same money selling 5000 copies rather than a self release selling/giving away 1000?
Perhaps because you don't care about the money and prefer to get your music out to more people?
Perhaps because you don't want to concern yourself with wasting music-making time doing promotion/marketing, perhaps because you might be able to get on tours with other bands etc. Distribution is the other big one, whether it's physical or digital, it's usually easier to get distribution if you have a larger catalogue.

There are a load of reasons why sticking with a traditional route is still a good idea and telling everyone that they can succeed on their own and have a similar degree of success without the help of others and that labels are inherently bad is a bit disingenuous imo. That's not to say that it's not possible btw.

Good labels do give a shit about you, that's why they often have a discernible sound they're into and they don't just release anything profitable. They're usually somewhat genre-based because they very much give a shit about music and the people making it and are prepared to put their money where their mouth is to prove that.
Sure labels need to make sure they don't collapse, but very few make huge sums of money, I know this because some of my friends run independent record labels both here and in the US. These people are still very much taking about sums of money in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands even though their labels have been around for over a decade. Often they plough any money they have left over after overheads straight back into the next release/event/flyers etc and the whole process is basically one giant hand-to-mouth cash flow juggling act rather than them bathing in dollars.
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Old 21-11-2013, 04:41 PM   #12
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

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Wow, that's a lot of negativity.
Why might you go with a label only to make the same money selling 5000 copies rather than a self release selling/giving away 1000?
Perhaps because you don't care about the money and prefer to get your music out to more people?
Perhaps because you don't want to concern yourself with wasting music-making time doing promotion/marketing, perhaps because you might be able to get on tours with other bands etc. Distribution is the other big one, whether it's physical or digital, it's usually easier to get distribution if you have a larger catalogue.

There are a load of reasons why sticking with a traditional route is still a good idea and telling everyone that they can succeed on their own and have a similar degree of success without the help of others and that labels are inherently bad is a bit disingenuous imo. That's not to say that it's not possible btw.

Good labels do give a shit about you, that's why they often have a discernible sound they're into and they don't just release anything profitable. They're usually somewhat genre-based because they very much give a shit about music and the people making it and are prepared to put their money where their mouth is to prove that.
Sure labels need to make sure they don't collapse, but very few make huge sums of money, I know this because some of my friends run independent record labels both here and in the US. These people are still very much taking about sums of money in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands even though their labels have been around for over a decade. Often they plough any money they have left over after overheads straight back into the next release/event/flyers etc and the whole process is basically one giant hand-to-mouth cash flow juggling act rather than them bathing in dollars.
you're right in that i am a total cynic.
i am the guy that insists that the moment you make a sound for someone other than yourself the sound is tainted and impure (wrote a whole thesis on that for my master's, but it was all related to architecture, and not music). it's sort of why i am being drawn into this whole cassette culture thing as of lately. rawer less polished things with less intermediaries...

take me with a grain of salt.

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Old 21-11-2013, 04:50 PM   #13
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?


Nice one for recognising that and not turning this into some nonsense drama derail like so often happens here.

I totally get where you're coming from because it can feel like that at times, I just don't want to burden the next generation with too much of a jaded pov.
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Old 21-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I've not made a fortune, ok full disclosure... I've not made a cent off of my project.

That said, releasing with a label has given my records WAY more attention than I could have done on my own.

The promo and distro is really helpful for... Getting it out there. Getting it into reviewers hands etc...

I have no aspirations of becoming an "IDM superstar" but its cool when people are interested and enjoy your output.

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Old 21-11-2013, 06:47 PM   #15
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

i would like to earn enough money from my music so that i dont have to work my shite job, and make music all day every day..

its not selling out.. money would just allow me to do what i love.. full time

and after 23 years of doing it for myself.. why not.
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Old 21-11-2013, 06:53 PM   #16
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

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I've not made a fortune, ok full disclosure... I've not made a cent....

This is a lie, my bandcamp makes a little bit of beer and music money.

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Old 21-11-2013, 06:55 PM   #17
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

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This is a lie, my bandcamp makes a little bit of beer and music money.
Fucking capitalist pigs like you are killing music.

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Old 23-11-2013, 03:06 PM   #18
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I dont know really, personally im thinking about it in really simple terms: at some point i might feel like something is good enough to send to a label i like and then ill do that. Or maybe get a bandcamp account, it doesnt matter that much. Its not about money although it would be nice to have some, but regardless of personal opinions on that, these days you really have to get playing out at some point.

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Old 23-11-2013, 07:19 PM   #19
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

I would send out demos. Not that you will make money but a record label can get you a lot more exposure. But I would start with smaller or midsize labels.

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Old 23-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #20
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Re: When do I stop giving away my best work?

Now. Don't give away any of it, man. I trust that they are good tracks. You seem to know what you're doing. The internet is a cold, fickle, bitch. It has no memory for anything online that's been worthwhile, and yet crap from 1993 is still around. Lots of stuff that used to be considered awesome top notch is vapor--gone--not even on archive.org--doesn't even show up in torrents. And yet other stuff that isn't needed clutters everything.

And then you got mainstream sites that are whoring out everybody like spotify and pandora and even YouTube.

I say do BandCamp and Vimeo or your own site, later for the rest of the crap.

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Im giving out a Free maschine Expansion Flux302 The Studio 6 12-03-2013 12:13 AM
What are you giving for christmas/birthdays Lug The Side Room 20 20-12-2012 06:18 AM


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