Let’s talk about our not-so-prolific life at the moment.
Here’s a question I need to ask you: Do you ever feel like you fail a lot?
Something’s been irritating me a lot recently. It’s the “success” click bait online. It’s everywhere. It’s like the algorithms all assume I want to find out how to be successful.
Sure, I do. And I’m assuming you do too. But people get up and say things like, “do these five things and you’ll achieve your goals” or “follow this advice for better execution”. I’ve followed some of that advice. And it’s just… well, rubbish.
The honest truth, in most cases, is that success follows a LOT of failures. Very few people walk on to the pitch and hit a home run first time. There’s a LOT of swinging, half-hitting or complete missing altogether.
Most often, the reality is that there’s a lot of failures before there’s one single success. Take my YouTube channel, for example, and look through the view count on all the videos.
I was thinking about this and then I saw a video by Jack Conte. (Worth a watch.)
Let me talk about something you might know a bit about: the album launch for The Great Deep.
I had put so much effort into writing the songs. I spent so much money on the mixing and mastering process so that they would sound good. By the time they were ready to be released (copyrighted, licensed, etc), I had to think about what would be the best way to illustrate what these songs were about. (Because most often, links and sounds don’t grab people’s attention. Photos and videos do.)
I was chatting with a friend of mine, Troy Bishop, who happens to be an insanely talented photographer. We came up with this concept of me paddling out into the ocean in a suit and being photographed overhead by a drone.
Below is the end product. (Next week I’ll talk about all the behind-the-scenes action.)
Suffice to say, after we managed to do this, I worked so incredibly hard on the marketing. Scheduling social media, emailing press, messaging people individually… the whole thing. It seemed like it was working, because three days before release I got a text from long-lost mate of mine from Zambia who told me how “hyped” he and all his mates were with the images and the pending album.
Then, Release Day!!
And then, I waited.
Three people messaged me on WhatsApp. Just three. My very good mate arrived at my gate that afternoon with a bottle of wine to congratulate me. So that was plus one.
The next day, I was tagged in two Instagram posts. In the first week, I sold 7 “digital digests”. Seven.
And then it all went quiet again. I kept plugging away with marketing. Still quiet.
Sounds like a failure, right? And my point is exactly that.
From a “numbers” point of view, The Great Deep album launch is hardly considered a success. From a numbers point of view, quite frankly, it tanked.
Few people talk about this stuff. But this is reality.
This is just one of my failure stories – but there are hundreds of thousands of others like it in the big wide world, which no one talks about. Failure happens often. And it’s really not click bait or glamorous.
BUT… we all can learn from it. And it’s not exactly all doom and gloom.
Let’s go back a bit.
At the outset, I’m not sure exactly how many people I was hoping to reach in my album launch. I suppose I’d aimed to do as much as I could with the hope that those who listened to the songs would then be so moved and inspired after one single listen, and then share the smithereens out of it and the numbers would just rack up to viral status quickly.
If that had happened, it would have all gone to plan. And merely confirmed what I already knew.
Then I wouldn’t be writing this blog, and you wouldn’t be reading it.
I’m sure you’ll have your stories of things that haven’t gone according to plan as well. We all do. After the launch of The Great Deep, I went back and considered the reason for it all in the first place. I’ve also learned a stack of important things about the music industry and about myself as a person. In fact, I’ve grown to appreciate the misses more than the successes, because of the learning that comes from it.
But that will be for another day.
If you’re a Spotify user and are making playlists and have any of my songs included, let me know where you put it and why.
I’m also interested with users feedback on artwork and display of the album on different devices – so if you have any thoughts, please let me know.
According to the stats, The Great Deep is consumed on iTunes and Apple Music mainly by American, Australasian and European listeners. Again, I’m interested in feedback on playlist inclusions, artwork, etc.
If you’re not a subscriber of any platforms, there’s always good old YouTube!
And if you’ve read this far, you’d probably want to subscribe to my channel here (I’m releasing new lyric videos soon!).