Gaming the System and Lazy Singles
I make it my goal to have complete transparency in my creative and business processes so here's an insight into my last 3 days.
This image and the 15 words on it represent a lot of thinking and effort in a short space of time.
I'm releasing an EP on 22/6/2019 and this single, a track from the EP, releases 3 days before it. Why? Tricking Spotify into making more people listen to it, of course! When you upload a release to Spotify, the artists' platform allows you to submit one song from it to the playlist editors, who may consider it for some of the editorial playlists. It gives you some options of tags for genres and 500 characters to describe the song as well. After doing this for my single and my EP, I felt that the song which I made my music video for (Sweets For My Sweet) should benefit from this as well. The music video is releasing a few days before the EP but the song in the video is much more poppy than the rest of the songs on it, which probably looks odd from a marketing/industrial point of view. 2 days ago, I figured out that the obvious solution would be to release this song as a single. However, I have issues with putting out the same song on two separate releases. I honestly think it's lazy. When I released the single version of I Hope It Rains, I cut out a minute of music from the start of the song, serving the purposes of making it more likely to receive radio play, making the EP version stand out and satisfying my perfectionism. Then I realised that singles sometimes have B-sides. I would be fine with releasing a single with a B-side. Sometimes those B-sides are instrumentals. I happened to have instrumental versions of all 4 songs I recorded for the EP. But again, I felt that this on its own was a lazy move, even if the drums in the chorus sounded incredible on my first listen. And so I searched my archives for unreleased songs of a good enough quality to release on Spotify. The first place to look was through my Eurovision submissions. Isolation (2016) was not fit for release. So was Cupid (feat. Abi Daniel, 2017). Wide Open Spaces (2018) was the best by far (even if the BBC didn't even bother to send me a rejection e-mail for it before choosing some songs written by people with Eurovision experience and sung by people from their talent shows, eventually earning last place) but it's earmarked as an integral part of a future release. I then checked my Soundcloud, where I have some very early songs and a few private demos. Steamroller would have been a candidate if I had known how to turn up my microphone when I recorded it. The Basshunter-style version of Never Told You didn't suggest itself, especially as I already offer it as a free download. Instrumental (No Words) and Calling were both promising, but would need re-recording. So it looked like I would have to bust out ProTools. I had the time to record something short and simple to meet the 7-day-before-release deadline where a song could still be submitted for playlists. Instrumental (No Words) was my choice. But I couldn't find the lyrics or chords anywhere. (It has lyrics, it's just a clever title). And then I realised I had another song written around the time of the EP which was very simple and quite short. iPhone 6. The novelty song I wrote in 2014 when the iPhone 6 came out and it was bending in people's pockets. Dance-based songs were making a comeback at the time with songs like Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) so I thought that capitalising on Apple's poor build quality with a dance would be a good way to go. I filmed a live performance in an echoey room, which got about 600 views on YouTube.
I performed it at gigs and open mics at uni, where it was received well. Someone I didn't know even came up to me one day and said "Hey, you're the iPhone 6 guy". It became my signature song up until I opened a pretty disastrous gig with it in 2015. People didn't get the joke by that point. I didn't play it again until the last gig of my university career where I did a sort of Greatest Hits set, then it went down well at an open mic in London in March 2017. I did actually consider recording iPhone 6 for the EP but my producer wasn't keen on it. But over the past 2 days, I've been recording it in my bedroom. It's now finished and exported. And it was really fun to revisit and work on. With this, I'm now happy to put out something else which I'm proud of in an attempt to trick Spotify into getting more people to listen to it. It'll be a 3 track single: Sweets For My Sweet, iPhone 6 (which my uploader has rendered as Iphone 6) and Sweets For My Sweet (Instrumental). I'm excited to put this out there and I hope you'll enjoy it. It's almost summer and it's a good time to listen to this kind of music.