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We Made This!!
So, we are now (as of writing) on Day 54 of our journey as musical nomads. Day 54! Madness! In those 54 days we have travelled over 1600 miles (2575km), stayed in 21 different places, and so far been in 3 different countries. Woop! If you scroll to halfway down this post you’ll get some highlights of our travels from Day 30 to Day 54.
As well as all this travelling, we have released a new single, 'Wake Up', and have been promoting the hell out of it! Which started off as fun… and then became balls when we realised how much time it was taking up.
Since starting the promo for ‘Wake Up’ we have sent 165 personal promotional emails, sent 400 mail-list emails and posted numerous times on social media (but not too many times so we don’t break the golden 80:20 rule for ‘social’ posts to ‘promotion’ posts). This has been a lot for us to fit in - after all we are not solely marketers - and there are many other things we want to fit into our days. We want to exercise, meditate, work on new music, hone existing music skills, learn new music skills, research other music-income avenues, work on stock and sync music, learn languages. So for us this has felt like a lot of promo to fit in, but in the grand scheme of things, the work we have done to promote our tune barely scratches the surface. Properly promoting a new single takes a LOT of work - it could easily be a full time job for both me and Bryn - but with our current method would we actually get anywhere??
Stick to the big guns
Our method so far has been to focus on the big guns. With the thinking that if we get our music picked up by Radio 1 or 6 Music (in the UK) then that’s a surefire way of getting massive exposure. And it is. 100%. But to even get featured on there? It’s not just about how good your music is. You have to tick a bunch of other boxes. How many followers have they got? Are they making waves anywhere else? Do they fit with this scene going on right now, or this sound coming out of here? Are they represented by people I know and like? There’s so much political stuff in the music world… and so many cliques! And at the end of the day all of those emails we’ve sent?… They’re being sent to a gatekeeper. And it’s up to that one gatekeeper to decide if we’re worthy or not. No committee. If they don’t like it - end of. And often they won’t even know if they like it before you’re binned - because they get so many emails they may not even deem your mail fit enough to open. So if that one gatekeeper decides that your music doesn’t fit the bill (or just deletes your email), there’s no chance of anyone else being exposed to your music through them. Off the table, into the recycle bin, never to be seen again. What was the point of going to all of that effort again??
It’s not all bad…
It’s important to say that we have had some successes! Yay! We’ve been featured on the blog 'Big Tune In My Room', had a really cool review on the blog, 'Listen With Monger', and had radio play on local stations - 'Colin’s Cuts on Kane FM' in Guildford, UK and 'The Smelly Flowerpot Show on Cambridge 105 Radio' in, you guessed it, Cambridge, UK. And this is all fantastic! Any and all exposure is wonderful for us and we are so, so grateful. But these successes didn’t come from our own promotional efforts. They came from contacts through our publisher. Which is great, don’t get me wrong (thanks Nick!) - but my point is that they were already a ‘warm’ contact through him, so the kudos was already there. They opened the email, listened to the tune, liked it, boom, and we’re in! Without the kudos to get past a gatekeeper, we’d still be out in the cold.
This ‘keep hammering on the door of the gatekeeper’ method doesn’t make any sense to us. We don’t want to spend all of our time emailing radio stations up and down the country, all over the world, trying to get a gatekeeper to recognise that we make good music. If we did that then we wouldn’t have any time for the stuff that we actually enjoy. And the whole reason for this journey is to do things in our days that we actually enjoy! So we need to get clever. We need to change tact. We need to become niche marketers and find our superfans!
This is an idea first put forward by Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired magazine), and the idea is simple. On the world wide web, the most obscure node is only ever 1 click away from the most popular, so it can actually be easy for people to find our music - we just have to make it easy for them! People usually use ‘1 in a million’ as a shorthand for ‘really unlikely’. But even if only 1 in a million people engage with us or like our stuff – that’s still 7000 people worldwide! That’s a whole bunch more engagement than we have at the moment and it’s a way to reach people directly, without going through gatekeepers.
So, how do we find our superfans? Well, from what we’ve read it’s to do with getting targeted with our marketing. We need to choose niches to target; then test each niche for success; try different niches on rotation; and ideally there should be a maximum of 1000 people in each niche to get the fastest results.
So this is our plan going forward! It’s going to mean a lot of trial and error. And there’s a monetary investment instead of a time investment - but as a wise man (or maybe woman?) once said, you can always earn more money in your life but once a moment is spent you can’t get it back. Which do you think has more value??
As always, any comments, advice, words from your wonderful selves are appreciated, so if you want to get in touch leave us a comment below 🙂
Read on if you want an update of our travels!
Here are some highlights of our journey from Day 30 to now!
Day 30, Saturday 7th April - A Feira do Monte, Galicia
It rained! A lot! So we had a van music session and started a new tune - and it’s sounding good! I wrote some cool lyrics too which are definitely a strong basis for it once they’ve been honed. Nice!
Day 31, Sunday 8th April - A Coruña, Galicia
Stayed in a beautiful spot, down by the Aquarium in A Coruña, right by the sea. Crashing waves, incredible sunset… but… it was another dogging car park!! [See THIS POST If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about!!] Nooooo!!! Fortunately we weren’t propositioned this time!
Day 32 to Day 35, Monday 9th April to Thursday 12th April - Santiago de Compostela!!
Monday - Had our first radio play for ‘Wake Up’ this morning! Colin from Kane FM, a station in Guildford, played it! He said it was a ‘Great track’! Woop!
Tuesday - Found out we also had radio play on Monday on a Cambridge station. Yay! And we had our first review too, on the Listen with Monger blog! Fantastico!
Thursday - Woke (groggily) after a very drunken night! We thought we’d celebrate a week of promo and get a taste for some Santiago nightlife. So we had a couple in the van, Bryn on amaretto liqueur and I had some creme liqueur that we got from LIDL the other day… so tasty! And very dangerous!!
Afterwards we went out to a couple of bars in town. The first one - Cafeteria Le Flor it was called - was really nice, loads of locals, but it closed before our 2nd drink! I asked the barman if there were any others open nearby and he discussed it with his friend. They thought of somewhere and told me where it was but I wasn’t 100% clear… anyway, me and Bryn were discussing it and getting ready to attempt to find the place, when his friend came over showing me a google translate page with a message saying she would take us to the bar - result!
She was called Irina and was very sweet. Her English was about as good as my Spanish so we had a stilted but nice conversation on the way! We got to the new bar and immediately this mad little Spanish woman (dressed as a shepherd!) welcomed us to the bar and started telling us that she could get us anything we wanted, anything, women, drugs!.. she was very funny! We politely declined but thanked her for the offer! We asked Irina to stay for a drink so we could thank her but she had to go.
We stayed there for a couple of drinks and I tried Orujo, the grape liqueur that one of my Spanish uncles had told me about… which was delicious! It looked creamy like Baileys but was a little fruitier… really tasty! So much fun! We hardly remember getting home!!
Day 36 to Day 39, Friday 13th to Monday 16th April - Cabedelo Beach, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
To Portugal!! Beautiful beach! Atlantic Sea! And we got sand between toes for the first time since 2014!!
Day 40 to Day 42, Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th April - Porto, Portugal
Oh my goodness Porto, what can we say? What a beautiful city!
We arrived late-ish on Tuesday night after a horrendous drive through the city - I was trying to use Google maps to direct us but it kept taking us the wrong way… so frustrating! Anyway, we got to the aire about 9:30pm and decided we wanted wine/beer, however we didn’t have any. Checked Google and it said about 20 minutes walk to the nearest supermarket so we gave it a go… BIG mistake! Turns out it might have been 20 minutes if we were prepared to walk along a dual carriageway, then scramble up a steep bank and over some barbed wire!! We declined!
The next night we tried, again, to get wine and beer, but went in the opposite direction and on our bikes this time. One thing about Porto - it’s bloomin steep! Along the waterfront, where we were staying, was fine, but the shop we were trying to find (thanks to google) was up BIG hills… so we got off the bikes, pushed them around for ages, up hills, down hills, down steps, round about, here there and bloomin everywhere… And still didn’t find the shop!! Where are all the convenience shops in this place?? I think we are obviously used to different availability in the UK!! Eventually we cycled all the way along the seafront in the other direction… still found nothing! Bryn then selflessly volunteered to cycle up the road way to the supermarket that we’d failed to get to on the first night - basically just a massive, steep hill for about 10minutes solid. Fortunately he likes cycling up hills! Success!
Day 42 to Day 46, Thursday 19th to Monday 23rd April - Parque de Campismo de Salgueiros, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
This campsite was just south of Porto. We really wanted to go and explore Porto during the day, and when we asked at the campsite we were told it was too far to walk and that the bus was the most sensible option. We are not always that sensible though. So obviously we decided to walk in! It was a nice walk - all along the seafront, then along the river, stopping for a drink every so often. It took about 2 hours in total. We figured we’d get the bus or a taxi back. Then we walked around town for a bit. Then we bought some port and drank that while wandering around (as you do!). And then we decided that by far the most sensible thing at that point would be to walk back to the campsite - of course!! We ended up walking 12 miles that day! And had very sore feet the next day!! I think we might be mad!!
Day 46 to Day 49, Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th April - São Pedro do Sul, Portugal
This is where we found our beautiful, secluded spot up in the hills for being loud! Lovely little town and such a gorgeous place we found… We were totally on our own up there during the day, one day we had a couple of little doggies who kept us company for a while but other than that, seclusion. Gorgeous 🙂
Day 49 to Day 52, Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th April - Póvoa de Midões, Portugal
Visited a family member on their land near the village of Póvoa de Midões. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Stunning. Their place has views of the river valley and it is just breathtaking. We spent a few days here chilling and partying. Met loads of ace people and were properly seduced by the beauty of the area. Frikkin awesome 🙂