2018 is well on its way! Can you believe we’re a month into this year already? It’s truly insane how quickly time passes. Keeping that into consideration, how was my January?
Let’s find out!
The Art Of Tactful Procrastination
I am not super-pleased to report that I haven’t really progressed much further down the line on the new album. I was able to spend roughly one evening on it a couple weeks ago, and that was primarily to do some cleaning up on the title song. Thankfully, that has almost come all the way together – it’s been a very tough one to make work. I’m hoping February gives me a little more time to jump back into it and complete a few of the tracks, as well as complete lyrics and maybe even some vocals.
In truth, there isn’t a ton that has to be done on this. A lot of it is finishing touches, a couple new parts or re-recorded parts, and some other little things to bring the 12 songs together as a full and complete piece of work. I truly don’t ever intend to take this long on a record again – this is just one of those things where I feel that since it’s been a while from my last release, I want the time and effort to go into making this worth the wait. For my listeners and for me.
I just recently sent an email out to my Listening Feedback Team that they will be hearing some things soon. If you want to be a part of the team, please join the mail list and request to be a part of it.
Marketing And More
You may have noticed that my website now presents me as “Alternative Synth Pop/Rock”. This is all part of my rebranding overhaul, which includes properly defining my microniche so that I can successfully find people who would like my music and be a part of this community. In reality, after performing my research, I see myself more as “Alternative Synth Rock” than “-Pop”, but as “Synth Pop” is a more popular search term than “Synth Rock”, I have combined the two together to reach out to that niche. So far it’s landed me top spot for that search term on Google!
Of course, it’s one thing to rank for a search term, it’s another to rank for a search term people are using. As it turns out, “Alternative Synth Pop” (or -Rock) is not a highly searched term. So the next step is to find other ways to describe myself – ways that people might be searching for. You’ll note my website footer states: “A Darker, Mysterious hybrid of Alternative and Electronic Rock, featuring Industrial and Gothic elements, and Uplifting, Ethereal moods.” But I’m not ranking for any of these terms either.
What I need to do next is two-fold:
- I need to find out what other terms are attached to artists that show up in Alternative Synth Pop/Rock (or just Synth Pop, -Rock) searches and see if those are useful, searched for and descriptive of me.
- I need to try other terms that describe my music – terms people might search for – and see what other terms come up alongside them that might better describe my music, and that are searched for.
- Once I’ve got the two above elements figured out, I can rewrite this byline about my music.
Time. Suck. I don’t think I have to tell you.
But that’s market research.
It’s really hard, and I don’t always understand it, nor do I always understand how to do it properly, but all of this has brought me leaps and bounds from where I was at this time last year. I can now say what kind of music I do confidently (even if that requires some further exploration and evolution), I know what kind of community surrounds that (for the most part), what other artists fall within that scope, and how to define what my music sounds like or what it makes people feel.
I’m not all the way there yet, and I know this is getting in the way of the development of the new album, but without it the album is rather irrelevant. I’m either serious about this or I’m not.
CD Baby Contributions
Last year you may recall that I attended the 2017 CD Baby DIY Musicians Conference here in Nashville. As part of that event, CD Baby set up a DIY Musicians smartphone app designed to make it easy for attendees to communicate with each other, share what they learned etc. I loved the idea and saw an opportunity so I jumped on it and contributed a lot to it. After the conference, the app disappeared from everyone’s conscience.
But that changed a couple weeks ago when CD Baby decided to start it up in a more permanent and ongoing way. And because I had contributed so much to it during the conference, they specifically asked me (and a few others) to lead the way in contributing experiences, ideas and suggestions. I was happy to do so and have been putting as much into it as I can – I love the idea of helping other artists, trying things and sharing what I learned – what worked and what didn’t, and generally just being someone that other folks in our industry can depend on to give honest and useful answers.
My ultimate goal is to get to present at one of their conferences (Nashville 2 is this summer). I don’t see it happening this year, but the more I contribute the more I feel that’s a possibility.
Speaking of possibilities, through the good folks at Dollar Shave Club, who ran a contest this past fall, the latest Ender Bowen logo will officially be displayed on Matt Tifft’s NASCAR (he’s in the XFinity Cup) March 10th at Phoenix Speedway! I don’t know the details yet exactly where on the car the logo will be, but don’t expect it to be emblazoned on the hood. We’re talking one of the smaller areas on the sides or back. I’m really excited about this as I’ve always been a NASCAR fan, and I truly hope they provide me a picture of it so I can show it off.
That’s one victory for me this year already!
Best Original Song
Speaking of victories, my song “Believe” won Best Original Song at the Miami Beach Film Festival earlier this month! It was the closing song to Emily Steele‘s short film Are You Listening (which won Best Producer for her). Both awards are sitting proudly on our fire place mantel, where we hope to add more in the near-ish future!
On January 25th I plowed forward with the “soft launch” pilot of my new EnderBowen.TV show, Wireless Garage, an approximately-one-hour live show featuring me playing an eight-song acoustic set including cover songs and original tunes, and presented on Facebook Live.
It wasn’t pretty.
But it wasn’t bad either.
The soft-launch consisted of me, genuinely in my garage (because that’s the only place I can really do this now that we have 6 pets and 2 kids) playing the songs through my iPhone and onto Facebook. It was an experiment. I think the concept works. I didn’t like the thought of playing the songs to the small microphone on the iPhone, but the dongle I got that should have allowed me to directly connect microphones simply wouldn’t work.
That being said, I’ve tested utilizing my Canon DSLR camera, running that through my computer and using a live streaming open-source program called OBS to broadcast the program into Facebook Live. I didn’t want to use my computer – I wanted to keep it simple – but I think this is how it’s going to go for the time being. It does work, but there are some other tests I need to run.
I don’t know when I will officially launch the show on a regular basis yet. I might want to do another live demo first, using a whole new setup and look, but keeping the aesthetic of the garage, because I think that makes it personal, authentic, and unique. Going forward, I want to bring in guests to play with, as well as cut the shows up into separate clips for the songs themselves (which, with good targeting and tagging, will serve as easier ways for people to find what I’m doing).
Social Media Team
I’ve gotten my hands on a cloud-based chat platform called Flock. My intention is to invite my Social Media Team members to it so that we can better keep track of the social media campaigns I have out there, and in so doing push more visibility and engagement with potential and current fans and followers.
Again, if you want to be a part of this team (which is separate from the Listening Feedback one – but you can be a part of both) join the mail list and request that you be added.
I apparently have a lot more going on than I thought! 2018 is starting out pretty well. Let’s see if I can keep it up. With your help and support I know I can!