Last day this year in Durlach, home tomorrow to ready myself for the show at the weekend in Great Yarmouth. Not looking forward to the drive on Friday but the motor serviced and MOT’d and the winter tyres back on. It seems like only a few months ago they were being stacked in the garage!
“Secret” has been up at the studio this last week and been putting a shift in I’ve heard. Lending a hand clearing up the store room and the garden when the weathers been kind as well as putting his skills to the fore by sorting out footage from the Go Pro. Hopefully we will have a bunch of clips to put up on the Fishheadsclub.com You Tube site in the coming weeks,
A hell of a lot to do when I get back and I need to think carefully about some sort of distribution options for “Feast of Consequences” next year. I’m loathe to get involved with another label again but I am facing a struggle with promo as quite a few major UK papers have turned down reviews as the album isn’t “released”? It annoys me that they won’t recognise my mail order and independent approach as valid distribution. I do have to acknowledge that I am not reaching the sales that I’d expect from an album getting the best reviews I have had for years and although orders are coming in at a steady pace I feel that I could be doing a lot more. I don’t know whether this is a sign of the times or whether I’ve made a wrong move.
It’s a dilemma.
The mail order shop took around 250 orders over the weekend and we are totally capable of servicing these kind of numbers and more. Despite the problems with the manufacturers and constantly late deliveries Elspeth and the team back home are on top of the situation and nearly all the initial problems with missing orders are in hand now. “Feast” is going up on Amazon this week on our virtual shop there although I am not servicing Amazon direct as their take is hefty. The same applies to going through “recognised” distribution networks who I know will immediately have the album on their own online stores and my slice of the cake becomes significantly smaller, The same applies with i tunes.
Another problem I have encountered these last few days is the lack of people with credit or debit cards especially in Europe where, unlike the UK, it’s a lot harder to get plastic!
It’s not a case of being greedy or being a control freak rather trying to maximize what I can make of an album, my first in 6 years and last for some time. Do I open the flood gates and let units flow willy nilly across the ether earning around a quarter of what I make just now and at the mercy of in house promotion teams who are constantly looking to scalp the next new album on their release schedules? Do I keep it close and carry on working as I am picking my spots and gradually creating a presence with dedicated teams moving the album out slowly over a long period and backing it up with the new repackaged back catalogue? Working touring patterns and aiming at radio plays on nominated tracks?
Would a general release really make that much difference? I’m not going to get into Tescos or Wallmart and in Germany for example the Media Markts and Saturns demand such big discounts and to get noticed want joint promotions that cost a lot of money and in the end it is so easy to get lost in the stacks of other albums they have in store. On top of that there’s the “sale or return ” policies which means anything they don’t sell comes back. I remember with the old “Dick Bros” label we were congratulating ourselves at great advance sales and being ultimately depressed as the stock room filled back up 6 months later.
I suppose it really comes down to what I want. Do I want to be back in the machine selling shit loads of albums and being beholden to the fame game or do I want to make a living and stay relatively in control? I still have an ego or I wouldn’t be in this line of work and there will always be a part of me that wants the former option. I was reminded while standing on stage in the cavern of the O2 and later while in the company of strangers backstage why I opted out back in 88.These are very different days and it’s a very different music business. I suppose I just have to continue trying to find a balance.
It’s working just now and I am earning a decent living but there is always the artist that wants his creations to be heard wider afield.At the moment that field seems very hard to reach.
I think for now I just have to go with my own flow and see how the picture develops over the coming months. I’d like to think that the route I have chosen is the correct one and that the initial cunning plan will unfold as I envisioned a year ago. Time will tell.