The Pains of Being An Indie Artist

My Summer Music Video is finally out!

Watch the Summer Music Video on YouTube

It’s been one heck of a ride trying to release it. From filming to editing to reshooting the karaoke scene… Then getting told by the colorist I hired that I should reshoot it AGAIN because the lighting was bad*… then having it somehow uploaded before I could even market it. No wonder the views are minimal. But it’s okay, because I know these things take time. 

It’s not easy being an indie artist, especially during the pandemic. 

Apart from the fact that gigging is the main income stream for many musicians, it’s also a good way to gain new listeners. But because of the pandemic, live gigs don’t happen. So now I’m just relying on stream revenue. 

In terms of releasing online, I could be doing things better. Best would probably be to record all the music, get it all produced and mastered, create a marketing plan, then launch the first single. But that’s not what I did. 

I figured, since I have an album of songs already written, why not work slowly towards completing them and release singles in the meantime? It made a lot of sense at that time, and I figured I could do the marketing as needed.

For Summer, I was advised to release it during summertime in the Philippines. The target was doable, and we worked towards announcing the release date and promoting the song. Unfortunately, the file that was uploaded to Spotify was the demo version. So when it was released, I couldn’t even announce it. I didn’t want people to hear the wrong version of the song. I was pretty sad that day. 

Feeling relieved that the right version of Summer was finally out

The right file was released a few days after, so I finally celebrated. But then I had the problem of the music video. I was told it should follow the latest two weeks after. So I rushed to get that done, but it took longer than expected. I was so busy editing it thinking I could release it before the second single that I ended up delaying the release of Till Then.

The Summer Music Video wouldn’t make it, and so I went with releasing Till Then.

I planned a music video for that song as well, but after going through the footage and trying to make the cut, I realized that it just wasn’t good enough. So I ended up making a sort of trailer version of it instead, and asked my friends to share it. 

And then my birthday was approaching, and I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have my music video out on my birthday? So I finally completed the Summer Music Video, and asked my label if we could post it on my birthday. But because it was the first time they were working with VEVO, they couldn’t guarantee the date. So I thought, okay, the video probably won’t make it, so let me just share this version I made with my sister of Till Then:

Watch a violin and ukulele version of Till Then here

That worked out great, but then I found out a few hours later that Summer was actually uploaded to VEVO already. That put me in a pretty awkward situation. 

So I just told everyone about it the next day, and tried to keep the momentum going with it. Of course, these things die down naturally, but I think if I knew it would be released on my birthday, I would have made a better marketing plan for it and it would be better received.

Anyway, these are all just lessons to be learned. Things could have been avoided if I just paid professionals to do everything for me. But that wouldn’t make me an indie artist. Apart from doing everything myself and living off savings for now, it’s really my passion for music that fuels my determination to succeed. I believe everything I do is an investment for the future, and slowly but surely, my songs will be heard, shared and streamed. But for now, I am a fish among a sea of fishes just trying to stand out 🙂

FYI despite the delays and problems I encountered, I’ve managed to keep track of my internal timeline, so please stay tuned for the release of my 3rd single this month and my full album next month!

*We told him to work with what we gave him

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