A year ago I wrote about how I started outsourcing my song performances, because I had written over 100 songs but don’t sing or play any musical instruments. Since then, I have actually made a lot of progress, but as with most things in life, it is a mixed bag.
As I described in that blog posting, I paid $365 for my song “What If” to be recorded in a real recording studio. The song came out very professional and very catchy, but I was annoyed that it did not really sound like the demo I had sent them. So, next I started using musicians on Fiverr.com, and although some will do songs for as low as $5, I found on average it cost me $25 per song. I have had 10 different Fiverr musicians record 50 songs for me so far, and I am very happy with the results. I just sing a demo into my iPhone and then email it to them along with the lyrics. All of these songs got just as a high a song rating as the one that had been professionally produced. You can hear them on my site and see what you think.
Sometimes, little things make a big difference. I didn’t like around 10% of the songs that were created for me, so I was planning to have another performer do them. Just recently though, I realized that changing the tempo of these songs totally fixes them. All I have to do is put the song into a free program I found named MP3 Speed, pick how much I want to slow down or speed up the song, and within seconds it gives me a revised MP3 file. The “Father To A Son” song above is an example of this (it was too slow and sappy, so I sped it up).
Another example of how a small change can make a big difference is that I paid $5 to have a Fiverr producer do a dance remix of “What If” (the recording studio song), to make it more modern sounding, and it came out great:
So, all that is the good part. The bad part is that based on my experience, and other musicians I have talked to, it is very hard to make any money or even get people to hear your songs. I don’t even try to sell my music, it is all free, and I still hardly have any listeners. I put all my songs on my own site, which has ads on it, but so far that has made $0. I also upload all my songs to SoundCloud.com, ReverbNation.com, and Soundclick.com, but each song only gets 1 or 2 listens a month. I tried using ReverbNation’s Digital Distribution service for one of my songs, and that puts it on over 30 online music sites such as Spotify.com and Rdio.com where I get a small fee every time it is played (no income yet), plus it puts it for sale for 99 cents on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.com but it has not had any sales.
For each of my songs, I also pay $9.95 to use ReverbNation’s Crowd Review, where 20 random people listen to my song and write a short review of it. I love this service, and I also put these reviews on my website, and I thought adding all that unique content (around 1000 reviews so far) would help increase my site’s search engine ranking to get more traffic (and ad income), but it has had zero effect.
I have also tried advertising my songs. Sites like SoundClick.com have an automated system, where for $10-$30 for 24 hours, I can pay to be featured as the song of the day in certain categories, or I can have a banner ad for my song run throughout the site. This helps the song rank higher on their charts, which in turn can lead to even more listens. I tried it for several songs, and they did get to #1 on the charts, but there was not much extra action for the songs once the ads ran out, so it was not worth it for me.
Normally a songwriter like myself would start playing at clubs/bars/coffee houses to build a following to promote CD sales and to help get a record deal. I am not a musician and can’t do that, so I am stuck. But, the good thing is that songwriting is just a hobby for me; I am not trying to make a living from it, so I don’t need it to be a success. It just is frustrating that it is so hard to get my songs heard.