We write our own material in The Ask. We are also just starting to write our own tunes for Kittyhawk. I also write my own material as Jules Bryant in my experimental work. Other than performing live, what else do we do with the pieces?
In 2014 we produced an EP for The Ask. It was recorded and produced by Steve Barlow, our guitarist, at his home studio and we had a small number of CD’s made by a local firm. I did the artwork and it was all done on a very low budget. We also put the EP on all the main digital channels via Distrokid. For a small annual fee we were able to add all the songs we wanted and watch the royalties roll in 🙂 In addition we have a Bandcamp page where the same EP is located.
Early 2017 we decided it was time to put out another recording as we had more than enough material for an album (in fact enough for a double album). We decided that this time we would do a staggered release of each tune once it was finished rather than waiting to release the album (it takes flipping ages to get all the tracks done!). We are not looking to make our fortune and are only releasing the material to enable us to share what we have done and to have a ‘record’ of what we have achieved so far. It is a great feeling being able to listen to our own work via Spotify. So we have been drip feeding our releases over the last few months.
We have not yet decided whether there will be a physical release of the latest album and we are considering a number of options. The obvious choice will be to do the same as last time and produce a batch of CD’s. A more glamorous option is a vinyl release but this is prohibitively expensive. One option might be to offer pre-order records and only press the specific number ordered, thereby having it as a 1-off physical release. A third choice would be tape, which seems to have seen a resurgence with certain types of music. We shall see how the land lies once all the songs are recorded.
A similar approach will be taken with the KittyHawk material if and when that materializes. For my experimental work I have taken a slightly different approach. There is a small amount of material that I am working into album releases but there is far more that are sketches/experiments that exist as examples of my work and development as an artist but I do not feel they are currently release quality. Given the nature of Bandcamp I have decided to put this material on there (downloadable for free) in order to enable people to hear and share what I am doing. As things come together to form albums then I will release them on Bandcamp too. At the moment I don’t feel there is a market for this material on Spotify etc but I will keep a watch on this and potentially release through Distrokid.
There has been a lot to learn in releasing music, the formats and metadata required to support the release, the production of artwork and coordinating the marketing has all been done by me and mistakes made as we go along. It is just another stream of activity that needs to be done when you are an artist.
My overall impression of seeking to self-publish is one of the need to be flexible and offer choice to those you are trying to reach. Everyone seems to have a preferred method of listening to music and by utilizing a variety of routes hopefully this enables me to meet all those needs.