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An Unsigned Singer Songwriter Artist’s Struggle

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Singer Songwriter Artist Smisch

How can one succeed as an unsigned signer songwriter artist nowadays?

Yes, is it possible even all on your own to succeed as an unknown unsigned singer songwriter musician?

This is my attempt to start telling about me trying to find a spot among all the successful musicians out there. So I start by catching up a little on how it’s been since january.

Looking back at the release of “The Story Of My Life”

Now it’s been almost three months since I released the album. I don’t know actually what expectations I had. Not any – really. I had waited for so long to get my music released it felt it didn’t matter how it went. Just to be “out there” made me feel successful. And since I wrote, played and recorded it all by myself in my studio there were a lot of blood sweat and tears behind it 🙂

The initial “buzz”

In the first weeks I was featured in a couple of Swedish newspapers. I’ve released the album “The Story Of My Life” in Swedish too, under my real name “Christian Schmeikal” and with the Swedish album name “Sagan Om Mitt Liv”, which is pretty much a direct translation of the English title. Anyway – that made a little buzz. At least I reached people around me in a way. Funny thing, in sweden we wouldn’t call the music style so much “singer songwriter” – my music has influences to a swedish folk genre called “vis-musik”, which would be more fitting.

It has showed though that many people listening to me on Spotify, Youtube etc wasn’t fans. They were more curious. After a month the listeners decreased. Since then the amount of listeners have been pretty steady at almost 1/3 of what I had in the beginning. But I spend a lot of time trying to get new people to listen, of which most just listens once (I guess). But I guess that’s the idea – to get new people to listen to your music – preferably also people who like your kind of music.

How to promote yourself as an unsigned indie singer songwriter artist?

Now I’ve spent the time since release trying to find “the best way” to promote me and my singer songwriter music. I have found out some key parts that is necessary to succeed. First of all the music needs to be of good enough quality, both in songwriting and production.

I have got a lot of good feedback from all you loving people out there, who doesn’t have a reason to give me good feedback, which makes it feel pretty honest. So I think and hope that my music is worth something. Most people only have good things to say when it comes to the production. Some believe that my vocals should be produced with more intimacy, dynamics and more upfront in the production. I have actually taken that in consideration. The other week me and my good friend who’ve mastered the album (he’s also and indie singer songwriter musician) tried out different microphones and different placings just to make it better. I don’t know if you’ve heard – but I plan to record some acoustic stripped down versions of some of the songs from the album. That will be a perfect time to try to implement the new technique.

I still don’t think that the production quality of this LP is bad enough so that it would suffer when presented to most people. Liking differs so much and compared to much successful music out there I believe it measures up.

Getting played on radio

Next thing is to be able to REACH out to those people who wants to listen to your music. I’ve written to MANY radio stations trying to get them to play my music. A lot have to. I am surprised, but very happy to be able to say that over 85 radio stations now are spinning music from my album. REALLY GREAT! I think that in the long term it is possible to build a career in getting many stations to like and play your music and feed them with new music after a while to keep active. In the short term I haven’t seen much difference though when looking at the online places where people can listen to or buy my music.

I have started working on getting promotional CD’s printed too which I then am able to send to stations who just want CD and not digital files. Then I have to investigate a little. It isn’t cheap to send CD’s from Sweden around the world, so I want those I send to to be ones who might actually consider playing my music at their station. But I do have some hope to get more air-time with those.

Paying to be played?

When reaching out with your music in the industry a lot of people want your money to play your music or send your music to different stations. Many experienced musicians have advised me not to go into that trap. So I haven’t. Though, I have used SubmitHub and MusicSubmit. In SubmitHub I haven’t met almost any success. It seems my music isn’t what their associates are after. In MusicSubmit I have had a good success-rate though – so I can recommend that service.

Buying Likes, Follows and Plays

I don’t know much about this really. It seems like it’s mostly to get a buzz around your music. But many ranking algorithms and real people see through that since it sometimes gets obvious that a track gets played 50 000 times but only has 50 likes. I don’t know really if it’s worth the money. I struggle with getting 250 followers on Spotify, because you then get verified as an artist, which some people say is important. It seems very hard. In four months I’ve reached 60 or something. But I can buy it for very little money. Still, that would feel like cheating… And as a Singer Songwriter Musician I think you don’t get helped by that 🙂

Buying Promotion Services

I have paid a little to be promoted, bought one from Omari MC a couple of days ago. We’ll see how that turns out. It’s still a lot of money if you don’t get a good return on your investment. Right now I’m just feeling my way around and forward and trying to figure out what to focus on and where to put the little money I have. It’s very tough…

YouTube and Google SEO

A guy made a SEO for one of my lyrics videos “The World Is Waiting“. He did it for free, but normally he takes 270 EUR for it. I had little hopes on it, but strangely it got top ranked. At least on three word keyword. Search for “Singer Songwriter Music” in YouTube and I should be on the first page. In a little less than two weeks I’m up at almost 200 views and 28 likes. I don’t know if that’s good – we’ll see in the future! I don’t have the money to SEO all videos I upload so I try to learn myself. I will upload one soon and see how it goes.

I’m also trying to Google SEO my website. I’ve bought a WordPress theme which has a nice look to it and an integrated player. It is made for musicians, internet radio stations, labels etc.

I’ve also tried to get all my accounts to point to my website, where I’ve activated a newsletter subscription form which pops up. I’ve read much about that the real fans are those who sign up to your news letter. And those are worth so much since much of the things you write in Twitter and Facebook gets lost in the masses – EVEN if people subscribe to you. Mail is much more effective.

So If you love my music – subscribe. The subscription form should also be on top of the page. A give away 3 mp3’s from the album to those who want and subscribe 🙂


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