September 2, 2013

The Vessel experience

We've had such a great response and lots of support for the Vessel EP Friday Drive so far. It's been an eye-opening educational experience for me, helping the band get the EP on so many platforms and in front of as many people as we've done in seven weeks. That totally digital experience is now starkly contrasted by the decision to make 50 hand-numbered CDs in cardboard sleeves. A very analogue task - real scissors rather than cropping tools, glue instead of hyperlinks.
I've managed to get the Friday Drive EP on the following platforms:

Bandcamp975 plays
Google Play
Under the Radar396

The full EP was downloaded 45 times from Bandcamp and of those 45 people, 10 of them paid for the EP even though it was a free download (thank you to those who did - you rock!), and the average payment was $17.60. So we're not rich ... but we did manage to get Vessel songs played over 1,500+ times - which we're pretty happy about. In the process we also collected 50 email addresses from the Bandcamp site. The EP was free but it required an email address - this is essential if you're a band trying to cultivate a fanbase. I'm surprised at how many bands on Bandcamp provide free downloads without getting email addresses. Email is still the most direct form of online communication we have; a digital marketer once told me, "email is the currency of the internet." (And we have expenses to cover.)

Getting the EP onto iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play is a different process than the self-subscribed platforms. To get your stuff on these platforms you need the services of a broker service. I chose to use DRM, part of, because they're from New Zealand, and they were recommended to me by Chris Caddick, former CEO of EMI NZ and now on the board of Recorded Music NZ,  who I'd struck up a conversation with at Rakino's one night as we were both buying vinyl as part of a TradeMe pick-up. I started up a conversation with DRM via email and that was a nice thing - personal email contact is not a high point of the many of the online services available to musicians or their helpers, (I did talk to someone at Grooveshark who were quite helpful, as were APRA and PPNZ in New Zealand).

My current problem with the streaming services is how to get the band bio/descriptions on the site. It seems as if an EP (6 songs) is submitted as a "single" and I guess there's some policy that band descriptions don't appear for singles. In fact the Vessel link actually points to another artist called Vessel! Not ideal :-( The granular level of detail is fairly out of your control on these platforms and it can be difficult for artists or promoters to affect change. Given that small bands are unlikely to make much from the per stream return on these sites, being able to point listeners to at least a single external web site would be nice.

We've had some great help over the past few weeks after sending out our press release and picture (by Brenna Gotje). We had a review in local online arts and culture magazine and we also had a playlisting and an interview on UK online mag Music Gets Me By by Eva Jostakova a blogger and writer for Mudkiss Fanzine in the UK. We had an interview on Waiheke Radio, and most importantly we had friends and family on social media sharing, commenting, and Liking our posts. There's still tons to do on the Vessel, but we've proven to be a pretty good crew and we just pull together well at the times when we need it. That helps heaps when this isn't anyones full-time job, and we're still learning a lot along the way and there's lots of work we could be doing I'm sure. It's fun though and I'm getting too far into the feeling to say nah, that's not for me. I'm thinking about the next release for Last Libretto and the future for Vessel and other bands. I'm trying ... 'cause I love local music.

For more info on this project, see:
Check out Vessel at
And Bede Taylor at


Frankie said...

You are a dude Mr Mike. Keep up the very good work!

Unknown said...

Thanks, I'm trying. Got you penciled in for a release ;-)

Mind De-Coder said...

I think they'd benefit from a psychedelic element added to their palette myself.

Unknown said...

I'd agree El ... will make the suggestion. Actually they're really into early Floyd and Mr Blackman could easily pen some lyrical accompaniment.

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