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How to promote original orchestral-style music?

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by MarcusMaximus, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. MrLinssi

    MrLinssi A glorified bedroom musician.

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    Do it. I post my tracks here and have links in my signature...and I'm honestly not that good with a virtual orchestra, but I improve everyday. You can get really good feedback (because this place is filled with actual pros!) here if you specifically ask for it, as this is probably the biggest forum about orchestral samples. For example, I used to be pretty active on Ultimate Guitar, but rarely post my music there because it's all about...,well, guitar. :D
     
  2. jhughes

    jhughes Senior Member

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    I wished I could be more positive about this but the reality is trying to do the same moves as everyone else likely winds you up in the same boat. A soundcloud, youtube, whatever page with a handful of views and a couple of likes.

    There are people doing this for a living, putting up a lot of stuff, working incredibly hard that basically can't find their audience either. In some cases depending on your niche there isn't much of an audience to begin with.

    All the hours promoting and marketing is hours away from writing/studying and if you aren't careful you can find yourself worn out from it.
    Like recommended, getting someone else to do the business stuff for you is not a bad idea if you can afford it.

    I have friends that it changed for in the blink of an eye, after getting nowhere for years. They went from putting up stuff, no one noticing it to BOOM, thousands of subscribers and followers. Right Topic, Right Material, etc. No explanation really. I almost feel if followers/subscribers is goal a person is better off running a music output experiment under aliases and trying a variety of things. LOL

    You MIGHT be just as well off doing it the old fashioned way. Making connections locally, putting on small concerts of your material (whatever it takes to get a performance), getting to know musicians/other composers/etc. If you can write for orchestra you could write for smaller ensembles that have a higher chance at live performances. At some point the interweb is no longer all it's cracked up to be, sure you can reach A LOT of people...but visibility doesn't mean connection, especially when people are getting it from everywhere.

    These are just thoughts from a pro musician that sees an oversaturated market with no barrier to entry and the results of that.

    Good luck!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    That makes sense of course if you actually want feedback! Which may sound defensive but once something is completed, including being professionally mastered at some expense, for me I've gone beyond that point. Whatever about deliberately submitting it for review or whatever, just putting it up with an open invitation for 'comments and feedback' could have a detrimental rather than helpful effect. People can be quick to criticise and not always constructively (I mean generally, not just here). Which is fine if you're in the process of creating something and want some guidance or if you're a beginner looking for help but when something is finished, I'm not so sure. Especially when it takes an obscene amount of time to do, which it still does for me. I'm working on that! :notworthy: ;)

    Here is a link expressing a similar sentiment, although in a very different context:

    https://aristake.com/post/submithub-review

    It's long and not entirely relevant but at one point he says:

    "For a fully mixed and mastered song being released next month, we aren’t going to ‘add some synth’ or ‘only have one singer.’ It’s done. I know my art is done. It’s ready. If you don’t dig it, fine. No problem. But to have the audacity to tell me what to change about my art. Nah."

    A little aggressively put but hopefully you get his point. All art is subjective which makes it very hard and not always helpful to judge it.

    Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet also come to mind. For example:

    “There is nothing that manages to influence a work of art less than critical words. They always result in more or less unfortunate misunderstandings. Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe. Most happenings are beyond expression; they exist where a word has never intruded.”

    Anyway, I'd be be interested to hear what others think about this. Meanwhile I'll put a link in my profile.

    A somewhat pessimistic but no doubt true picture reflecting what others have said. Again, finding someone good (and affordable!) to do the business stuff could be difficult I imagine. There are courses and so on that claim to offer training on the whole promotion thing, one of which was recommended to me, but I wonder if they don't just lead to the same end result you describe?

    Sure I could do all that though where I live it's a very small and competitive market. Some excellent stuff going on here but very hard to break in if you're an unknown. Still, that reflects the idea I mentioned earlier about putting it on in conjunction with some dance/movement, an idea I am actively looking into.

    Thanks and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. A salutary reminder that unless I'm doing it primarily for the love of it, there really isn't much point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  4. fish_hoof

    fish_hoof Senior Member

    I know the feeling all to well. I do feel it's important to get critical feedback in order to keep growing and knock out any bad habits you might not hear. Take golf for example, plenty of people can watch videos and learn themselves... but to have that critical industry pro or teacher watch you and give you critical feedback and tell you what they see is an issue, you might not reach your full potential... or at least take the longer road to get there. Just my two cents. This also comes from someone who has had incredibly hard feedback given to me by industry profesionals over the years... but, it has and continues to make me better. My hope is that it will make you better and better too :)

    On a side note, it was mentioned before but I can't state it enough... write for the love and joy of writing. Keep working the muscles to get better and whatever happens will happen. I know it may sound like stupid advice... but I truly believe that if you work hard at your craft, people just inherently will notice. Will you be the next John Williams? I don't know... but I do know if a person keeps trying to BE the next John Williams level of success (which I don't think you have stated, I'm just talking), they will be chasing an empty cup of fulfillment forever. I don't know Hans Zimmer, but I'm guessing he didn't set out to be HANS ZIMMER, I think he first and foremost just wrote music for the joy and love of it and consistently worked to be better and better. The rest is history... or could be totally wrong.

    Ok I'm done... I needed a quick outlet to distracting me from two boys constantly fighting :)
     
    Wally Garten likes this.
  5. Couldn't agree more. Marcus, at very least, just put your stuff out there (Soundcloud, Pond5, Getty, YouTube, etc) and the rest is luck. You just never know who might be looking for the exact sound you have...it's all about being in the right place at the right time.
     
    jhughes likes this.
  6. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    Hope you got to calm your boys down a bit fish_hoof! ;)

    Yes of course feedback is important but I think it depends on what stage you are at in your development and also what stage a particular project is at. Once a piece is finished and mastered as I said before, I don't think that's the best time to look for feedback in any general sense.

    I spent 4 years taking weekly composition/orchestration lessons from an amazing composer, an industry pro himself, and although he was very supportive and encouraging, he was also merciless in his critical feedback. I used to present my 'homework' to him and at times it was pretty excruciating what he would say. So I am no stranger to the benefits of constructive critical feedback! I learned a ton from that whole process and am very appreciative of it and of him. In my other work I have to give a lot of feedback to students I work with and it certainly is a huge part of their development. However giving feedback constructively is an art in and of itself and not everyone is sensitive or careful enough imo.

    When I finished with the lessons it felt so good to be back to myself and my own, hopefully now more informed, preferences again but also having to be my own critic can definitely be a challenge. Have I slipped into bad habits that I'm unaware of? Probably. Have I internalised all his great teaching to the point where I always make the best choices in terms of orchestration etc? Probably not. Do I still have loads more to learn? Definitely! However surely there comes a point when we need to stop looking outside ourselves for evaluation of our work and learn to trust our own judgement, our own ears? To be more choosy about when, where and from whom we seek feedback? This might also be an age thing. I am at the point in my life now where I reckon it's about as good as it's going to get so my priority is to get on with it and to produce as much music as my time will allow. And to keep studying scores, revising lesson notes etc. etc.

    I totally agree with you about writing for the joy and the love of it. Focusing on improving and developing rather than succeeding and then letting what happens as a result of that unfold as it will. However I still think that needs a little help along the way so as not to get buried under the mass of music already out there. Which comes back to the subject of this thread. Hopefully there is a middle way between doing nothing about promotion and trying to do too much. Quite what that middle way consists of I am still trying to work out.

    Thanks for your thoughtful input.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    fish_hoof likes this.
  7. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    Thanks Jeremy. Wise words. I'll check out Pond5 and Getty as I haven't come across them before. I definitely need to research this a bit more, i.e. where are the resources that we can use for exposure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  8. Wally Garten

    Wally Garten Senior Member

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    FWIW, I haven't put my music up here yet, either, but every time I've checked out a thread in the Members' Compositions section, I've seen nothing but encouragement, constructive feedback, and grace. Really a very attractive feature of this forum.
     
    MarcusMaximus and fish_hoof like this.
  9. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires Senior Member

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    It's already out there.....
     
  10. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    Yes no doubt you are right. I have also seen some pretty tough comments in the past when people have asked for feedback or when something hasn't been deemed to be up to scratch somehow but perhaps it's mostly my cautious nature coming through here.

    It is indeed...
     
    Wally Garten likes this.
  11. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    I've been researching the self-promotion avenue and there are several courses out there which promise to up-skill you on this. I'm not sure how realistic their claims are but most of these programmes are A: quite expensive and B: clearly extremely time consuming. I'm not sure I have the time to put into it all and as some people have said, you can end up putting all your energy into that and not into writing, studying etc.

    It has been mentioned that it might be a good idea to get someone else to handle the business/promotion side of things on my behalf. So I am wondering if anyone could recommend or suggest any agencies that do that? I've googled it obviously but it would be great to get some pointers from folks here. I should mention that I'm not really interested in going the sync licensing or library route. Thanks.
     
  12. Mark Stothard

    Mark Stothard Senior Member

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    This is true at least for me.

    After a few years of frustration and not getting much interest in my music, I created a soundcloud page and just uploaded music without any marketing. I won’t be rich or famous and that doesn’t matter anymore, as what keeps me happy is having a couple of people return daily to listen to certain tracks over and over again. This keeps me making music.
     
  13. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

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    Some 2 cents from my side. Only relaying what I saw others do, and tips others gave me years ago and weeks ago.

    Now, there is a vast sea of musicians - from talented to untalented ones, from earning a lot to earning nothing. The goal of writing what you love and do nothing else is an artists dream. But in history, you very, very seldom have seen that happening - most artists had somebody who supported them financially so they could do what they want, in exchange for other things like portraits, being leader of the orchestra etc.

    Now - as much as I dislike these keyword-ridden titles, they are there for a reason. People look for music and search for it, so you have to make it find-able. The possibility of somebody searching "semi-experimental chamber music with serialist influence" is very slim - but "emotional orchestral" will be searched far more. It seems like you almost have to be a marketing whore. The channels to promote your music are there, the only difference is how you promote it. What I've been given as advise is to build a community. Nurture your first few fans, put out content regularly, every day, second day, every week on Tuesday - just regularly. Keep them informed, make polls, get to know them, and let them know you.
    That's how it worked some time back in a band setting - before me and my former band played with stratovarius, we played locally, friends we know came to our concerts, they brought friends, they liked it, next time these friends-of-friends brought their friends etc. Throuhg CD release party, autograph hour, hanging out with the fans after the concert and stuff like that we made ourselves "tangible" and "human", but still with a small "rockstar" flair. But that's how we managed to sell 450 CDs on our release party. Did anyone know outside of our valley who we were? Nope. Until a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend brought a concert organisator with him, who organized a gig with Stratovarius and others and wanted to have us there because he liked our music.

    So - the best place to promote your music is where you already have your music. Share links, create a forum for your fans, invite them to facebook groups, discord chats or wherever you can communicate with yours. What in a way was good back then is still true today - I talked with a fulltime musician woman in a small metal subgenre. She makes nice music, nothing spectacularly new or experimental, but she amassed fans through social media, cared about them, created a culture with her music, a community where she interacted with them directly, regularly. Now her income is large enough to carry her and her family. Even if she doesn't release a track every week now, she daily checks in with the fans, gives updates on progress of a new CD or videoclip, asks for opinions, creates discussions and all in all creates a nice place for like-minded people to hang out.

    That said, getting the initial first die-hard fans is tough, friends, family, good use of keywords and SEO, maybe an internet marketing specialist can help you there. Produce quality content regularly, communicate and watch your fanbase grow - even with a microniche. Do it, own it, expand it. It's work, no doubt - but that's the way I have seen it happening in a controlled manner. Then you have a lot of people who have luck on their side as well. But I personally prefer calculated luck rather than pure luck ;)
     
    Wally Garten likes this.
  14. Nice! My power metal band (Destiny Calling) supported a portion of two tours for Stratovarius in western Canada, had a blast hanging with Jorg Michael and Jens Johansson....also got to open for Sonata Arctica. We barely sold any CD's in North America (we were Canadian), nearly all of our sales were in Scandinavia and Asia. Back then it was a whole different ballgame with marketing, Facebook wasn't even online yet.
     
    MatFluor likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Senior Member

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    I really commend this attitude and am glad to hear that it has worked out this way and that you're satisfied with it. I'm certainly not interested in being rich and famous either (wouldn't say no though!) but I would like a little more exposure/response. The thing is as I've said before the stuff I tend to write is perhaps less immediately appealing than some people's music so it probably needs to find its 'niche audience' a little more than some as well. I may not be able to just put it up and have people return repeatedly to listen in quite the same way as you describe. This is another reason why I'm not interested in pursuing the library music route. I'm just not prepared to adapt what I write to that market. I have that luxury because I don't need to earn money from music but it wouldn't interest me anyway, no reflection on those that do it as I imagine it must take some skill to do it well.

    Thanks MatFluor for your 2 cents. I get what you're saying but there are a couple of issues for me. One is I write really slowly, partly because I only have a few hours a day for it and also because the way I've learned to do it is thorough but lengthy, i.e. idea - short score - full score - mockup/recording. So it takes me an embarrassing amount of time to complete each project - there's no way I'm going to be putting up new content at anything like the rate you suggest is necessary. Also the whole process you describe must take an enormous amount of time to do, time I don't really have unless I more or less stop writing as I also work quite hard at my paid work!

    However I have been considering doing a course which is run by someone who fits your description actually - I wonder if it's the same person? Yeah, she seems to have made a real success of it but what puts me off is all the time it must take to keep stoking that machine over and over til it starts to run itself. She has youth on her side as well, something which I no longer have. Anyway I'm certainly open to what you are saying, maybe I can find a way to do a little of all that marketing-whore stuff just to nudge things along but without getting too caught up in it? I dunno, will have to think about it.

    Many thanks guys for all the great input so far. :)
     
    Kony likes this.

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