It has been a busy time of learning since my last blog. I immersed myself in mixing and mastering improvements of which I identified over 30 different techniques I could implement. Some things will improve my workflow as well. For example, using track stacks for like instruments, putting my effects onto busses, and using a high pass filter, or when it makes sense, a low pass filter on all my tracks to to clean things up and create more space in the mix. I also dove into mid-side processing and using parallel multiband compression to “fatten” vocals or drums. I will also be using drummer tracks for the first time in Logic Pro X in this next song. At least, I believe that route is the best for my ballad “Really Up To You”.

Since I am not a “real” piano player, based on my experience with keyboardists that have been in and out of my life, I allowed myself three weeks of practicing in preparation for the recording of the piano. I just completed that step and I’ll let my listeners decide how I did. I believe that challenge, of performing on the piano, was the hardest part of getting this song off the ground. I am really looking forward to the finished product.

In regards to the promotions I did for my previous songs, I am still seeing the results of it. My YouTube Channel has over 300 subscribers and when I started the campaigns I had less than 30. Here is the link if you want to check it out, Sue’s YouTube Channel. I am aware I have a long way to go, but this is encouraging. In regards to Spotify, my song “Hardly Hiding” is still on three of the original playlists from the promotion and it has been nearly three months. You are guaranteed 30 days, so I am very pleased with that result. Here is my Spotify Artist Link if you want to check that out, Sue on Spotify.

So, the good news is that everything is “out there” and available to you. If you are willing to put in the time, effort, and sometimes money into whatever you are doing or being, you will see the results. If you have any questions, feel free to email me…in the meantime, keep creating and keep working on your dreams or passions. All the best, Sue

I hope you are well. I am getting ready to get back in the studio and record my first ballad. I actually needed a breather, so I spent time doing more of the marketing stuff that was needed and analyzing the data. I also spent a good portion of my time learning a few more mixing and mastering techniques to make my next songs more marketable for radio play. I was tempted to remaster my first three songs and then decided to let them go for now. If I remix them, I will change the style a bit for each one, so that I can call them remixes and create different metadata and copyright those new sound recordings.

My promotion wrapped up on Spotify, officially the end of last month. All of my songs are still on some of the original playlists they were placed on. Right before the promotion started, I had 19 monthly listeners and under 600 total streams. I was on maybe 3 playlists. Now my songs have been on over 90 playlists, have been streamed over 36.5K times and as of today, I still have over 8.7K monthly listeners. That number will continue to fall until I release and promote more songs. At the apex of the promotion, I had over 17K monthly listeners.

Numbers don’t lie!

The same company also promoted my three music videos on YouTube. I started the campaign with 20 subscribers, I now have over 235. I had a total of 1.3K views at the onset and now I have 75K views and my videos have been on over 110 playlists. I will be using that company again!
The links for my Spotify page and YouTube channel are just below if you want to check them out.
Sue’s Spotify Artist Page

Sue’s Official YouTube Channel

If you are interested in promoting your own material, here is a link to an article that I found helpful, 19 Best Music Promotion Services Online in 2022 or you can try this article, The 13 Best Indie Music Promotion Services That Are Worth It.
On another note, two more radio stations are playing my tunes. Both are in the UK. One is playing “Hardly Hiding” and the other is playing all of them. I’ll take it!

I am hoping that with my next mixing and mastering attempts I am able to have the same company promote the songs on over the air radio worldwide. That’s up to me…

Until next time, keep creating and be well! Sue

I hope all is well with you. I’d like to bring to your attention a couple of internet “real estate” locations that are absolutely free. If you don’t Google yourself or your band every now and then, I recommend you do. Everything may not be as accurate as you would like, but as long as something is not going to hurt your “brand” (you or you band) I wouldn’t sweat it. I have had articles rewritten purposely with errors, just enough so that another news outlet could take credit for the article when it wasn’t from them. I’ve had the photo changed in the article, I assume to entice more readers, which didn’t make sense because the article was about me being my age and coming full circle in my 40+ years in this music business. So, to have a photo of a 20 something year old showing her mid drift…well, you get the point.

Back to internet real estate. Perhaps if you Google yourself, your profile may show up with a photo and you will see your social accounts and links to the platforms your music can be found. Your website may be listed and the little bio you wrote in one of your socials. Mine ends up being from Twitter. Well, all of this costs you nothing and you can and should claim your profile. You just need to prove you are you! What is also super cool is you can create a Google Business Profile. You will need to verify that the business is yours, but in the meantime you can add all the information they require and you get write your own bio and add the links you need to. Once you receive the verification code in the mail and verify the business you are good to go. I use Square for payments with Cash App Pay and all credit cards etc., so I decided to use their app Square Appointments to have folks schedule consultations with me about there event. I have a “Book Now” button on all the socials that accept it and websites. Now you will be able to accept Google Reviews as well and that can be really helpful for any business!

As I had stated in my last blog, I am running Facebook Ads for the first time. I have to say that with my limited experience, my CTRs are higher and the cost per click is far lower than the other socials I have advertised on. It doesn’t mean I will abandon the others, but if your advertising funds are limited, it’s something to consider. I have also hired a promotion company to get my three releases on Spotify playlists and to promote my music videos on YouTube. I bought packages that were not the lowest and certainly, not the highest. I had to do a bit of research and I suggest you do too. There are so many companies out there vying for your money. Not all of them are legit or have a track record. Be careful. Here is a link to a write up I found helpful – The 13 Best Indie Promotion Services That Are Worth It. Since I am still in the middle of the promotion, I will wait until my next post to share with you the results.

All the best, Sue

Happy New Year! So, I’m in between song releases and I decided promoting my first two singles is the least I can do. It took me so long to get my first song out the door due to a tremendous learning curve of everything, I didn’t even think about promoting it. I did post it on my own social media accounts. That’s not a very good business plan. The second song, I submitted to a few local radio stations and I did land an interview and the song was played on WHUD 100.7 FM. I also posted on my social media accounts. That was better, but again not so effective. The third song I submitted a press release to my local news outlets and magazines at least 10 weeks from the release date. I also wrote a national press release and sent that to Send2Press about 6 weeks ahead of time. The national press release did cost some money for that company to distribute it, as I wouldn’t know where to send it and to whom. So, the local effort netted me one newspaper print and online article with The Examiner. That’s all good. So, next time I’ll try again with the same list that I had created and maybe add a few. I did not seek out any reviews or blogs. I’ll need to do some research on who would make sense to reach out to, to get some credible reviews. I am working on paying for a promotional company to pitch my songs to radio. I do not want a company that takes every song from everyone and sends out an email blast all over with no thought about proper placement or follow up. If my songs are not “polished enough” for radio play, but I can get some promotion for Spotify or YouTube, I’ll do that. By the next blog I should have something to report. With this last song, I created ads using footage from the music video. They were short clips re edited or stills. I placed ads on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. As I had stated in my previous blog, I also sent the last song to 17 radio stations that accept submissions from indie artists. Some links are in my last blog to help you find stations. My songs are playing on three of those stations. You want to make sure those stations are reporting their playlists so eventually you get your royalties.

Facebook was a challenge I resolved finally. So, my first two releases will have ads run on all the above platforms and Facebook. I had set up a business page without a profile (because you could) a very long time ago. Facebook changed it’s rules and my page became a “grey account”. I did eventually set up a profile to have associated with that page, but some of the functions and features never activated including my ability to run ads. I had to set up another profile of me which you can check out HERE and I created another page. Then I had to add the new “me” account as an admin to the old account so I would have a fully functional page to create ads. I’ll try a Facebook ad with my last release as well since I couldn’t before. I am also looking into YouTube ads and Google ads. I suggest you ask your listeners to give you thumbs up and likes and reviews everywhere there is internet “real estate” to do that. Don’t forget your email list to do the same. All the best and stay safe and healthy, Sue

I can’t believe a month and more has flown by! I hope this note finds you well. I have been busy creating ads out of bits and pieces of my last music video and I ran some ten day ads on Instagram – twice, TikTok (5 day max.), Twitter, and Pinterest twice. All in all I reached over 88,000 accounts in the past 2 months. My click through rate (CTR) is low. Promoters say you would be doing well with a 5% CTR. Instagram was the only platform I had over 1%. Pinterest, which I had to use a static picture to be able to go to my DistroKid page, showed the ad to over 55,000 accounts. Twitter hit over 12,000 accounts with the majority of them being in Canada. TikTok did over 8,000 accounts, but that audience was young…13-17 (my new followers of the future) and then the 55 and over showed up a bit. I used different footage in the two Instagram ads…the first one attracted slightly more women and the age range was 35-54. The second one attracted far more men with the age range of 18-24. I am fine with the results because I am a rookie and I am building brand awareness (me). Because I did not do any ad campaigns for my first two releases, I’m going to give them a little push as well. I am still trying to get my Facebook Ad account straightened out, since it is disabled and I never set one up. I would like to set up a Facebook Pixel and use Ad Manager. Time will tell…

If you go down this road, you will need to experiment with your ads and what works best for you. Of course, you could hire someone or a promotion company to do that exploration and creation. I am not a marketing expert by any stretch of the imagination, but with willingness, research, and another huge learning curve. I’ll get better.

I also did quite a bit of research on where to try to submit my songs for internet, satellite, and FM radio. I also researched radio promoters as I could be researching stations for years, it seems. The promoter that I wanted to work with (iplugger) didn’t accept my last release. I respect that. The song wasn’t what they were looking for. I don’t really want a company that accepts every song and just sends out an email blast to every contact they have. Because there is no way one song is going to fit the bill for every station. Each station has it’s own character and genre. You don’t send a pop song to a metal station.

So far I have submitted a song or multiple songs to 17 stations. Three of them are playing my songs. One of the bigger things to look for is whether a station is submitting their playlists to the appropriate entities so that you will eventually receive the royalties you are due. Don’t forget to embed the metadata for each song… ISRC, composer, lyricist, ISWC, artist, song title, etc. Two free pieces of software to get that done is ISRC Editor and Kid3 – Audio Tagger. Here are some links that enabled me to get going with the radio station submittals.

Good Luck and stay well! Sue

Even though I have been performing and writing songs for over 40 years, the reality is, this process of releasing songs and making that known is like starting my career all over. I have a presence on six social media platforms, but my numbers are modest at best. I do not want to focus my energies on being too concerned over those numbers…they will do what they do as time goes by. Social media platforms are important to nurture and they do help my organic audience know me better and to know what I’m up to…just as my email list is serving the same purpose, only that won’t vanish if a platform vanishes!

If you would like to sign up for my emails and the trio I perform with, (just not now, due to COVID), you can sign up in the pink area of my homepage or use this QR Code. I use MailChimp.

Onward…so, I had mentioned in my last post that I was planning on sending an AP style press release to Send2Press that was to be nationally released on the day of the song and video release. I submitted it probably three weeks before the release date. I can do a shorter window next time. Here are the results and links to view a few examples…

Broadway Worldhttps://www.broadwayworld.com/central-new-york/article/Singer-Songwriter-Sue-Larsen-Releases-Third-Single-You-Will-Always-Be-There-20211015

Music Industry News Wirehttps://musewire.com/singer-songwriter-sue-larsen-releases-third-pop-single-you-will-always-be-there-which-pokes-fun-at-not-accepting-relationship-ending/

WAND NBC17 News https://www.wandtv.com/news/national/sue-larsen-singer-songwriter-releases-her-third-single-which-pokes-fun-at-not-accepting-a/article_0284b198-46cf-5dc3-8629-f3d9e24e6831.html

The cool thing about press releases is that they are forever, unlike advertising that disappears after your campaign is over. Over 4,050 news outlets were targeted and 332 sites picked up the story with over 2,500 engagements. Remember, I am a new speck on the radar of this vast music business, so I am good with these numbers and will continue to utilize Send2Press to handle my local and national press releases.

Advertising…again, since I am a “new” entity, this is all about brand awareness (I am the brand). I decided to run my first campaign on Instagram. It was a ten day campaign that utilized a 30 second clip of various parts of my music video. My Facebook account is still disabled (the one I never set up) and may always be, since you can’t actually interact with any team member there. According to their data my ad reached over 4,100 and my Facebook interactions went up 1.97K%. I am currently running a campaign on Pinterest, also for 10 days. I am not using the video because I needed to change something they are not happy with…I’ll figure it out…so, I am using a pin that is the album cover that goes to my DistroKid information page. With three days left that ad has been seen by over 13,000. I will be creating another music video, a 15 sec. spot, to run another ad on Pinterest, an ad on Twitter and on TicTok. I will make that happen in the next week.

The other ancillary “stuff” that I needed to do on this website was done and also on my online Square Store. I am currently researching and submitting my song(s) to radio stations and internet radio stations that accept music from independent artists. That’s for another blog! Keep going and keep climbing…you are the maker of your reality. Sue

This is it…”You Will Always Be There” is born! You can check out the music video and song using this DistroKid link. My press release will be out as well nationwide. I will update any news opportunities that arise. My interview with The Examiner News went well…thank you Marin Wilbur for a great interview and article! Here’s the link to check that out: Decades Later, Singer Songwriter Returns to Recording Her Music. I will be gathering all the links where this single can be streamed to add to my hyperfollow Distrokid link. My website needs to have it’s EPK updated, the music video added to the sidebar, add the music track to my music page and EPK and also make a note in my event page. I have a 30 second promo trailer to announce the songs release to go out on all my social media platforms…I’m up to six that I focus on. I will be verifying my lyrics on Musixmatch and sending the song information to All Music. My second song never got posted and I sent it two times, which tells me, if you’re not famous anything and nothing is possible on their platform. I’ll keep trying! I’ll add the song to my store and shoot an email to my subscribers in the morning! Stay well…Sue

I had mentioned in my previous post that I sent out my press release to 27 local media outlets. I do have one interview set up and thankfully it is with one of the larger media groups in my area. I may not hear anything from any other news outlet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get some web based write ups. I’ll check the websites I submitted the release to the week of the song release. My release can be found on ArtsWestchester if you want to check out an example of one. I also have another release written to go national. I am using a news wire service called Send2Press. They have been around for over 35 years and have an excellent rating. I will have my YouTube video embedded on the top and a head shot of me included in the write up. They follow the AP format so, you need to follow the rules of that road. That release will go out the day “You Will Always Be There” goes live, 10/15/2021.

I have used the trailers I created from the video as promotion on all my social media platforms and added a TikTok business account to my arsenal. I have one trailer that was designed to be used on and after the release date. Since my Facebook ad account, which I never created, is still disabled, I will be advertising on Instagram. I’m going with a 2 weeks campaign which will start the day of the release. As I have previously mentioned, I know my target audience. I have a business account on all my social media accounts which give me analytics. So between Facebook, Instagram, Google and MailChimp. I have a very good idea of my audience.

Of course, I am letting the folks on my email list know what is going on and asking them for their help in spreading the word.

My first two releases are now being played three times a day on an internet radio station called NY Talent Media. They feature independent artists who live in NY. If you are a New Yorker, they are accepting songs at this time. You can find them on Zeno Radio. Yes, there’s an app for that! This is their Zeno link: NY Talent Media on Zeno Radio. To submit your songs or to stream their stations without the app follow this link: NY Talent Media Home Page.

So, the next two weeks will be filled with promo cards and movie trailers going in all the directions I can make them go. That will also need to happen for 2-4 weeks after the release…and so the story goes…

Be well and creative! Sue

My next single release is happening on October 15th! A lot had to happen since my last blog. This is the link to check out the preview of “You Will Always Be There”. So, this time around I gave myself a two month window to do some promoting and my press release received the “thumbs up” from my editor friend. I sent my press release to 27 local news outlets and magazines. I kept the submissions in my own backyard, so to speak, as local papers and magazines (all on line and some do still print) may need more material and it might be easier to get an article or interview. If I get any press, I will definitely give them a big thank you via “a letter to the editor”. The music video, which is completed, will be released the day of the song release. It’s on YouTube and scheduled to post on Oct. 15th. I sent a private link to my song and to the video on my press release as well as a link to my EPK and webpage. I’ll see what happens…

I also made 2 – 15 second trailers, 2 – 30 second trailers, and 2 – 45 second trailers, from the music video, to use on my social media platforms. I’m trying to set up an Ad Account on Facebook and Instagram. I’m not sure why I’m getting messages like my Ad Account is disabled or the page isn’t available, or I don’t have a page admin…I never had an Ad Account to have it disabled! Of course, there is no one to really talk to, to get this figured out. I know my audience demographics from my Mailchimp account and from Google Analytics. So, I wanted to target some ads based on that data. No luck so far.

On other business side notes…my logo is now officially registered with the
United States Patent and Trademark Office so, my logo is federally protected! That process took 9 + months. So, if you need to do that for your business, plan on a good part of a year. Also, I found out why I never heard from AARC (The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies). They were collecting private copy royalties for featured artists and record companies, but when I registered my song with SoundExchange, I found out that SoundExchange took over that task since mid July. So, I just had to sign a couple of forms electronically on their website to give them permission to do the collection of royalties worldwide on my behalf and my record company. All good!

Well, I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this release. In the meantime, stay well and keep creating! Sue

I hope this post finds you well. In the process of learning the science and art of recording and releasing new material, I have read numerous blogs myself and have listened to dozens of webinars and “how to” videos from folks who have released albums themselves or who have toured. Consistently creating new songs and or recording them and all the added stuff behind the scenes, is quite the undertaking. So, if you are already doing it, or just starting the process, or you are deciding whether to throw your “hat into the ring”, my congratulations and admiration are with you. It is true that I have taken on each task myself. That may not always be the case down the road, but at least I will know what each task requires and entails and that is a very good lesson.

So, many artists/teachers recommend giving a free song to folks in order to have people sign up for your email. Well, that’s a great idea if you actually have an extra song to give away! Right now, I don’t. Many others recommend planning your releases a year in advance…so, that would mean you would have to have your entire album recorded and mastered, ready to go, and then plan each single release. I suppose that would also mean you have to have all the music videos ready to go for all your singles. Well, once again that is not my situation. I can’t imagine how much time it would be up front to have these pieces in place before you release anything. For myself, I believe it will be a two year process to release my 10 song album. I have even heard some “teachers” recommend to not worry if a song is incomplete, or not arranged the way you may want, or not perfect…just put stuff out there consistently and often. I have heard of artists releasing a song the same day they recorded it! I agree consistency is very important, but I want quality at the end of the day. I want to allow myself time to sit with what I have created, to step back from it and revisit it as needed. I am not interested in releasing something “less than” it could be. I know when we, as artists, are out of sight, we can be out of mind…but there must be a balance. I don’t think we should be producing music like machines because we are afraid of missing a window.

I believe the bottom line is this…if you enjoy recording and releasing your music with a quick turn around, then keep doing it. If you need more time…take it. The true creative process of creating something out of nothing with meaning and purpose happens differently for each artist. Also, an artist’s priorities may be completely different. One may be more interested in the financial rewards, or the accolades of others. Another may want to help others heal from their life experiences, and still others may view songwriting as healing for themselves. There will be an audience for all of us no matter what our style of music or how well it is produced. Whatever way you go, be true to yourself and follow your inner compass. It will always take you in the direction you need to go. There is no right or wrong although, there may be best practices in this digital music marketplace.

I plan on releasing my next song (“You Will Always Be There”) and music video in the fall…no date set yet as I need to finish editing my video…at least all the footage was shot these last couple of weeks. I did write my first press release and it is with a writer friend of mine. His command of the English language is far better than mine and he will let me know if I am missing something with my format or content. All the best to all! Sue