Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Arc of Internet Tentacles as it Applies to Embers' New Album, Shadows

The internet is a funny thing. With facebook, google, and bandcamp it's been easy to track how many people are listening to our new yet officially unreleased album, Shadows; where people are finding out about it; what people are doing in response; and how that creates a discernible ripple effect.

So first there is the not so exciting story of how Shadows was catapulted into the webosphere. Kelly and I left Mr. Toads with a fully mastered recording of Shadows. We had about a week before tour so we slapped together an image with the tour dates for that tour and uploaded Shadows to bandcamp.

Then I sent out an email blast to all our contacts and created a facebook event. (I question my chronology here a bit so bear with me.)

The interesting thing about bandcamp is that it tells you how many people are listening to your music, which songs, and what site referred them. The screen for that looks something like this:

For over a year prior to releasing Shadows our previous albums Memoria In Aeterna and Wrath had received slightly more than 1,100 plays total. Shadows matched that within a few days primarily from our email and facebook blast.

Then things got interesting. Rather than dying down to a trickle again Shadows maintained 50 to 100 plays on any given day which was much higher than our bandcamp site before. The other interesting thing is that people started donating money when before most people just ignored the "name your price" suggestion and paid zero.

It was then that I started wondering what was going on. Using bandcamp's statistics (similar to the image above) I studied where people were hearing about Shadows. It was then I realized that metal bloggers were posting links and reviewing the albums. These are the blogs that covered Shadows within the first week:

I also noticed that people were posting about Shadows on these message boards that first week:

This went on for almost a month when a new trend emerged; youtube. A small group of people apparently within a day of each other all decided to take tracks downloaded from Shadow and make a video consisting of a single image. In this way you can listen to the tracks on youtube while the "video" is just there by default. We took our official videos, live videos, and these new "videos" and made a playlist so you can stream an embers mix off youtube. Check it out:

It was then that I decided to see if the bandcamp statistics were missing something. I the "googled" the words "Embers" and "Shadows". This is when I found the latest trend. There are sites which are uploading Shadows to independent download sites. Despite my frustration that these sites aren't linking back to bandcamp I am just happy that our music is getting out there whatever twists or turns in takes on the web.

It's wonderful that Shadows has been so well received despite receiving zero attention from any high profile websites or publications. I hope that the music scene becomes more street level in the future much like the support we have received thus far; Small and medium sized blogs, recommendations on message boards, and downloads from as far as the Ukraine or Brazil or China or Sacramento.

If you haven't had a chance to hear Shadows then here you go:

Thank you everybody for your support. We'll let you know more about when the double L.P. is coming out and who's putting it out in some upcoming blogs.


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