So, it’s been exactly one year since the release of our last album A Crisis of Faith, it’s been a very challenging year, from line-up changes to continuing to push the album as hard as I can using my own personal budget, and of course the bands gigs to try and promote the album.
When we released the album, we sent it out by e-mail to over 8000 people, friends, family, fans, industry contacts, everyone we could. Unfortunately, the response rate to those contacts were pretty poor, I think less than 20% of those people we sent to the e-mail to actually opened and read it and even less checked out the album! We of course pushed it hard through Facebook, but social media like e-mail is getting harder and harder to get people to both see and then interact with you on. We followed up the e-mail with a press pack to record labels, festivals, management, whoever we could think of and it was sadly rejected by all we contacted but we did our best to push it as hard as we could.
Reviews wise, most seemed to enjoy the album with only a couple of bad reviews out of them all, but the album didn’t feature in any major outlets top ten lists or essential Metal albums and the feedback on the album dissipated fairly quickly this time, whereas the Waystone which got panned much harder seemed to rumble on for a lot longer. We tried a music video for the album, after contemplating it for years which got a couple of thousand views, but it didn’t prove to be a very successful outlet to market our music as again, trying to convince people to try and watch the video was a real challenge for us as it either wasn’t seen when we promoted it, or ignored.
In terms of playing gigs to support the release, we booked 41 shows, many of which were self-promoted in the hope that those who attended the nights would also buy the album. These went broadly well with only a few bad ones now and again. The main difference between A Crisis of Faith and The Waystone is that more people bought that album on the gigs to begin with than A Crisis of Faith, but overall the initial release of A Crisis of Faith performed stronger online, however it picked up towards the end of the year. In terms of Spotify, we’re still struggling for plays there so we typically don’t focus on it. We did try and encourage digital sales by offering them for just £3 too. We offered packages which included t-shirts, vinyl’s and everything we could do.
I have been criticized in the past about writing about how well or how badly our albums and tours have done, one being was when I wrote about the Waystone which caused a lot of the local music scene to engage with a lot of slagging off and insulting of the band, in particular myself, but I am not one to hide from this sort of thing, these things are what they are and I am not going to pretend to be a successful musician just to appear bigger than I am online.
So how do the stats look a year on from release?
• Steaming/Downloads – 31,356 = £441.06
• Physical Sales (CD, Vinyl etc.) – 434 = £6,338.03
So that’s where we are after exactly one years, naturally this isn’t pure profit as the costs of the recording, printing CD’s, pressing, marketing and everything else. As you can see the amount of streaming massively outweighs the sales, but it pays so little in return that despite the fact we have been downloaded and streamed over 30 thousand times, that’s only paying £0.0140662074244164p per play. It’s another challenge with more people moving to streaming such as Spotify, YouTube, and everything else and less people even owning the means to play a CD or vinyl for a band our size to rely on streaming to fund albums. This is the future and in 10 years’ time the whole landscape will have changed entirely again with more people streaming albums, rather than buying. At least in America there have been moves to improve the situation in terms of artists being paid fairer for streaming but no one has taken up the mantle in the U.K. as of yet to push for a bigger share of the income. We’ve also seen HMV go into administration after losing something like 80% of their physical DVD/CD sales in just a year which gives you further indication of how the game is changing.
I have been told that many do find the insight helpful. It’s a sign of the times when a band has tens of thousands of streams, over 11 thousand social media follows and whatnot and the real strength in terms of income is still gigs and physicals such as CD, as they were ten years ago, without those physical sales we wouldn’t have even made £500 on the album.
I’d say overall what we have achieved with this album has been successful for a band our size although our critics will point to the fact we’re now 10 years old and are still at this level. Naturally we’d liked to have done better with it (as anyone would) but relying on your own budget to promote and gig you can only afford to do so much between affording to live, but we worked hard (that is both line-ups) and the response overall was positive so I don’t have any complaints. The album has proven popular enough it’s being re-released in Europe by Underground Power Records and I hope it is really successful there so we can emulate the likes of Toledo Steel, Seven Sisters and Midnight Force on the continent and hopefully do more that side of the sea moving forward.
As ever thanks for reading and to those who supported the band by buying the album I truly appreciate the support.