Happy New Year! Are you enjoying your 2021 so far? Personally, I cannot wait to get a decent pint again. With that said, this extended period of isolation must be used productively, because who knows when we’re going to get another opportunity like it.

Currently, productivity in my life primarily revolves around making WEST PARADE more of a thing. I’m also on the lookout for a new job, but I think there’s genuine long-term value in the work I’m putting into this project. Since it’s completely DIY, I’m having to approach it like a real business which includes considerations around branding, marketing and ad spend. Making the music, whilst undoubtedly still the most fundamental element, is nevertheless only one part of this multifaceted effort.

Me doing some live jam improv stuff.

Learning Adobe skills

I’m therefore developing a whole range of skills and experiences from this project. To give you an example, I have started creating all my visual assets from scratch using Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Why? I could outsource this, and have done so in the past. The problem is that it’s hard for someone else to fully envisage the image you’re going for – not to mention the costs involved. In any case, the internet has now developed to a point where you can learn almost anything with detailed YouTube guidance. This is how I’ve learned my basic way around these Adobe programmes, and so far it is yielding the results I want.

Managing online ad spend

Another big area for developing WEST PARADE is through careful digital marketing. Aside from maintaining good SEO and social media practices, I’m getting to grips with managing a paid online ad spend. The great thing about Facebook ads is that you can be very granular and specific with your spend. This is great for someone like me who needs to use their limited budget effectively. I’d love to talk about my paid strategy in more detail in a future post, but through promoting this project I’m getting to grips with the details behind advertising an artist online.

More live jamming.

Diversifying revenue streams

By treating WEST PARADE as a business, I’ve naturally had to consider various avenues in which I can one day make perhaps some returns through revenue. It’s well known that artists earn pittance through streaming, and therefore important to consider the alternatives. Live gigs, once the major generator for most musicians, is currently still off the table. I’ve therefore started releasing stems and sample packs for my tunes, which people can name their price for via my Bandcamp. Patreon is also an increasingly fruitful means to sustain creators. Currently I have just one pay-what-you-can tier to keep things simple. Whilst it’s not going to make me millions, I think it’s crucial to open up as many opportunities for people to show their appreciation for your art.

Bringing it all together

So whilst WEST PARADE will always be about the music first and foremost, there’s a lot of surrounding pieces of work that go into this project. From these areas, it feels like I’m learning a great deal which can hopefully be transferred into a paid job one day soon. I think anyone who is really serious about their art should treat it like a business. The online tools are now out there and have made it more accessible than ever. Hopefully some of these efforts will start paying off soon.

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