Creating music has always been a… well, not a dream, but an itch. Over the years, I’ve been able to scratch it on occasion, creating a song or two.
Back in early 2016, thanks to a bittersweet gift, I was able to afford to build up a home music studio. The next several months of learning and experimenting saw me create a few recordings… and I realized I had enough to call it an “album”. So I looked into what it would take to actually release it myself, and invested about $700 in doing the digital and CD production of “Life Is Something”.
That album was basically a collection of experiments. Once it was out, I started creating more music. By then I was no longer learning my tools – I was able to take an idea to completion deliberately. After three songs, “Being With You”, “Traveling”, and “Cities”, I realized I had a cohesive sound and theme. We were doing some traveling at the time, and I was thinking a lot about how traveling connects people, how music connects thoughts, about what brings people and ideas and experiences together, and my wife came up with the word “Pathways”. I loved it – it captures all of those ideas.
I wanted 10 songs total, so I kept creating. During this time, my wife wanted to share the song “Beautiful Lonely One” with our church, and I wanted it to be better – so I re-did the production, changing the instruments and taking what I’d learned to make it sound better. The result is “Beautiful Lonely One – Redux”. I created a full-length video for it and released that on YouTube, and decided that I liked it so much it would be on the new album as well.
Over the next few months I spent many hours working on more tracks until I had 10. I contacted my normal graphic artist who created some beautiful artwork for the album, and it is now done and on its way to the world.
I ordered 20 “Life Is Something” when I published it, and 15 of those sold… mostly to friends and family. There are 4 left to order online, and I have 1 more myself available. At $10 each, that’s $150 of sales. About 4 copies sold digitally for another $35, and streaming revenue for the last year has been under $10. (Streaming sucks for small artists like me – you’d have to listen to my album 200+ times on Spotify for me to get $10!) So, I spent $700 and got less than $200 back in revenue. Oh, and that doesn’t include the $70 or so I spent on Facebook advertising (not sure it was worth it).
The music and production on “Pathways” is so much better than my first album, and I think it is really enjoyable to listen to. It is different than “Life Is Something”. My publication costs will come in at around $350 because this time I did more of the work myself, and I am going to order 30 physical CDs. I need to sell a total of 35-40 albums to break even on this. And that’s assuming that the 450-500 hours I spent on the music and production I did for free! Ah the life of a “starving” artist! (Not really starving – I have a day job.)
I probably have enough friends and family to get 20 albums sold. I’m hoping that another 20 people out there take a chance, drop $10, and hopefully enjoy this album. It’s 55 minutes, it covers several genres, styles, and moods. There’s dance/club music, orchestral/piano, dramatic cinema trailer, electronica, and more. (I really hope 200 people out there take a chance!).
Thanks for reading – please visit my music website: http://music.dudehook.com and my Facebook page “Music By David Hooker”. And buy my album(s)!!!