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July 31, 2018

Proud dad moment

I usually try to keep my family out of this blog and focus on the music industry stuff that matters - but I just have to gush for a minute.

Last Sunday my son Eddie played for the wonderful West Brisbane Panthers Junior Rugby League U18s at the club's inaugural Indigenous Day celebrations. West played Redcliffe, who gave Eddie a development contract earlier this year then disappointed us badly, in the match of the day.

It was a very warm day for July in Brisbane and both teams played some wonderful footy, with Wests winning 46-8 in the end. The score does not reflect how good Redcliffe were - they toughed it out and kept trying for the whole game despite a small squad and some injuries. Here's the two teams after the game:

Both teams_Cropped.jpgOn the occasion, Wests put up the Tonie Currie Medal for player of the match - as judged by three legends of the game. In a stunning performance, my Eddie won it! Here he is with Tonie Currie (left) and Adrian Coolwell, two of the judges:

Tonie Currie_Ed_Adrian Coolwell_Cropped.jpgSo, that's my proud dad moment. Just had to put it on record.

Posted by Hughie at 8:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2018

Week 4 - day job blues

This week the day job requirements started in earnest. Tutorials to attend, marking to do already ... dominant. This was, of course, exected, but it's still mildly annoying. Far too much blue in this picture:

Hugemusic_Time Management_week4Still, that's what's paying the bills. And I did get to spend a fair bit of time rehearsing for a gig at West Panthers inaugural Indigenous Day. This was a wonderful event at which I was priviledged to play some clasic covers as entertainment after the game. Not the kind of gig I want to make my future, but a good opportunity to get into a rehearsal groove and play in public, nonetheless. Most enjoyable.

Life is at something of a crossroads right now with three paths I might go down. The two that are not the one I have been blogging lately both depend on decisions that someone else has to make, which is frustrating. hey are wildly divergent in terms of what I will be doing for the rest of 2018 and the next few years ... but I can't say anything right now, which is even more frustrating. Just have to wait for responses ...

In the meantime, the Day Job responsibilities are becoming routine and I have songs bursting from my soul wanting to be written and performed. The live show rehearsals are also coming along slowly ... every bit helps atm.

Have you been in this tantalising position? What did you do to keep sane? Tell us below ...

Posted by Huge at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2018

Week 3 update - slow but steady

Last week went a little better from the point of view of my ability to predit what would happen and manage my time accordingly. Tuesday was nearly spot on, Thursday pretty close ... the rest not even:

Hugemusic Time Management Week3Of course, the trouble with Tuesday was the amount of Day Job blues in it. That was actually a job interview for anawesome oportunity that might change things up significantly. Long shot, but would set up the next three years if it comes off ... I'll let you know.

The Volunteering was for the Pullen Vale Folk Festival. I helped out last year and was happy to do so again but my beloved was not well on the day, so we just popped up for a while. My show was not ready to play there this year, but it's a goal for 2019. Along with other festival shows.

The good thing about it was my inviation to the after-party at The Retro Bar (the Social time) at which I opened the jam session. Grabbed a few of the other performers to join in impromptu and played some percussion for them in return. Found myself some potential future collaborators in the process ... some amazing musicians were there and a great night was had by all ... watch this space on that one.

My Day Job commitments will increas in the next few weeks, but I've booked a gig to play at Wests Panthers inaugural Indigenous Day this Sunday, so that's the first gig for the year. It's 2 hours of covers ... but a great club and well worth the effort. My boy will be playing on the day ... honoured to be there. (MST PRACTICE COVERS!)

Used my tax return to buy some wireless in-ear monitors and a guitar system to finish setting up the show. Drum loops are coming on OK - will post some practice videos soon.

Thing are progressing OK but slowly. Big decisions coming, much practice and production to do ahead. If you have any suggestions for managing that please let me know ...

Posted by Huge at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2018

Week 2 update

Week 2 went a lot like week 1 - lots of intended things didn't happen. Hope this doesn't become a pattern, though perhaps it tells a story ... Here's what the week looked like:

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 6.49.47 PM.pngLots of hours on day job activities this week - I need the cash and it's not gonna be enough but I had to take some time to do some pre-semester learning resource development. Hopefully I get paid for that on Wednesday ...

In terms of musical activity, I planned to do a lot more rehearsal and production than I actually did - same as last week. I have put the Macca's Drive Through Blues on hold after I was advised that the video needs more of me in it - preferrably me being musical rather than just me being silly. Fair point, but I need a camera operator and a sunny morning to get the footage needed. Most last week I had one or the other - so maybe I'll get the chance to get it together later this week or early next.

Woke up with some more great idea in my head last week. One thing I was able to do was to download those from my iPhone and get the audio into Masterwriter for future reference. If I ever get to actually do this ... DAMN I've got some great songs coming ...

The YouTube promotions experiment continues. I have had some "success" with Numberonemusic.com but also read some reviews that said that site was a scam. Not sure about that one ... it's certainly not as great as it pretends to be, but not all of the profiles are fake. I think I've hit a few genuine people in there ...

Still working on the plan and so on, so will post those soon ... I hope ...

Let me know what you think below.

Posted by Huge at 7:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2018

Week 1 of the new enterprise - mixed results

One of the key complaints among independent musicians is the lack of time they have to do what needs to be done. I was pondering this - and the counter-argument that there's plenty of time but people don't manage it very well - when I woke up Wednesday morning at about 3am.

I wanted a reality check for my own time management efforts, so I created a time sheet in Google Sheets. Here's a picture of the first week of Hugemusic's financial year (click to download the pdf version):

Hugemusic time tool week 1.pngI colour-coded all of the possible things I could do with my time: green ones are working directly on the music. Yellow is time spent on music-related activities. Day job activities are blue, wasted time is red. and so on - you can see the colour codes on the right of the image. On the right you can see a tally of the number of hours I devoted to each activity that week.

I listed them according to my weekly plan (each day's left column) and what I actually did (the right column) in half-hour increments. Obviously, there's a little inaccuracy because of the half-hour increments and because I sometimes went a day without recording the actual usage - and got things a little mixed up. But the overall pattern is fairly clear.

I'm not going to try to analyse this until I have several weeks' data to play with - but the immediate observation is that things did NOT go according to plan most days. I planned to do a lot more production, rehearsal, and gigging than I actually did. That fits with the familiar gripe - but it will have to be fixed if I am to get anywhere with this plan ...

My other note today is about the marketing efforts I mentioned last post. They are also showing soe very clear results but it's too early to draw conclusions. The obvious statement is that if you upload videos to YouTube and don't tell anyone, they will not be viewed. Duh! Also, the Show.Co promo produced 85 views and NO conversions ... could be a crap campaign, could be an ineffective service. Either way, it's not something I will waste any more time on. I have several marketing initiatives that I know will work, so I'll stick to them.

Of course, I am working towards a plan for regular posts, social media updates, emails, etc. That will include a schedule of releases including a weekly report via this blog on progress. Watch this space for that.

So - feel free to copy this tool. I will post an update on it each week and I'd love to know what you learn if you adopt it. The more we share, the more we learn ...

Posted by Huge at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2018

Maccas' Drive Through Blues

It's a wonderful exercise for an artist to deconstruct the works of the great artists. It's also a dangerous practice to re-write them into a modern scenario - it can leave to some completely inappropriate outcomes. Nonetheless, this is what I have ended up doing to Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues.

I was playing with it and trying to work out exactly how a country sound had been applied to a 12-bar blues pattern - that's a neat trick I thought I might want to deploy at some stage in my own writing. Unfortunately, it was stuck in my head the next morning when I went to get myself a coffee from McDonald's. Our local McDonald's is notoriously slow with coffee orders and I was keen to resume my songwriting exercises ... so the line "I'm stuck in Macca's drive through" replaced "I'm stuck in Folsom Prison".

This unfortunately happens to me sometimes and it immediately opened up all sorts of metaphorical parallels in my head. I decided the idea was too good not to finish, so I did. Getting very excited and wanting to practice making social media content, I made this somewhat premature video announcing the song to the world:

Now, that was an OK first draft and reached 866 people, who reacted 55 times and 5 people shared the post. It grabbed 338 views for a total of 171 minutes at the time of writing. That's an average of 16 seconds per view ... wait, what?? The talking at the start goes for 32 seconds ... so most people never even got to the song?

<Sigh> So! I resolved to re-write (I'm not happy with some of the lyrics - they could be neater and more pointed) and record ... produce a song video. Determined NOT to do a lyric video for ths one. Might have to enlist my daughter to help shoot some footage at the local Maccas ... more on that later.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below ...

Posted by Huge at 2:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2018

Having a proper go at this music career thing.

"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it." Debbi Fields

Things haven't been working for me on the Day Job front lately. Seems nobody wants a 48-year-old crusty academic type who's been a part-timer for a while and can't show a solid track record of recent experience, no matter how good he's been in the past. Whatever!

Of course, this is a classic "setback or opportunity" thing. Do I dwell on this and allow my soul to go sour, or do I take this as a hint from the universe that the time has come for me to get serious about what I've always wanted to do: make a career from my music. I choose the latter!!

So, dear reader, here is my pledge to you:

  • Years ago I had a go at researching first-hand how to make an indie music career and turned that into a PhD. I learned a lot and loved the experience, the people I met, and the life it gave me. I wanted more of that but life got between me and my dream.
  • I turned that research into a book or two and a training course aimed at helping others to learn from what I have learned. I gave these away and they earned a wonderfully positive but small response. But I did not follow my own advice and take the leap into the Great Dream.
  • The reward for my limited and self-conscious efforts has been a massive group of friends and supportive associates, particularly in my local Brisbane music scene - but also scattered around the globe. You have been my solace and my compass in dark times. I have never asked anything of you before ... but now I do.
  • I pledge that I will "fall into those connections" and "ask my crowd to catch me". In return, I pledge to share with you everything I learn from the experience, so that you might also benefit from it. As I have always done, I do this to show the way for others with the same dream. I trust that you will also share this with everyone you know who could learn from this experience.

Of course - I don't have Amanda Palmer's following - yet. So what will this look like? Well, it will look a lot like this blog post - and more like it. It will look like a lot of Youtube posts and Facebook posts (subscribe at those links to receive them). It will look like a lot of results of things that I tried that didn't work and a lot of questions from me about what you think you think I should try next.

This is about Radical Transparency. In this age of corporate secrets and uncertain music business practices, I promise to show you everything I try and how it works for me. In return, I hope this helps you and that you will help and guide my journey. Over the next few weeks I will lay out some assumptions, some goals, and a plan for achieving them. I will then plot my progress towards them - or not. I will take my own advice: follow the steps I set out in The Step-by-step Music Career book and workshop, and see how I go. I hope it works ... :-)

As a first act of transparency, I leave you with the below. I learned today from CDBaby that I am entitled to a free marketing tool called Show.Co. This is my first effort using it - only took an hour or so to set up. The goal is to promote what I think is my most internationally accessible video so I can qualify for Youtube Monetisation: 4000 hours of view time and 1000 subscribers. At the time of writing I have 55 subscribers and almost 100 hours of view time - there's a mountain to climb.

Please share this effort widely and let me know what you think in the comments below. Please ask questions and/or make suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your support. :-)

Posted by Huge at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)
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