I have been scratching my head over what to write about in this On The Road article while not being ‘on the road.’ It is indeed a strange time for touring musicians. Like most of us road-dog touring artists, the dates and tours are cancelled. Even at that, no one is sure how 2021 will play out. So the question for me has been; and is now how do you stay present and alive in your fans eyes? There is the concern of income of course, but there is also the question of how to stay current and keep yourself in demand for when COVID is behind us and it is ok to resume touring?
For me, I decided to release and promote four videos between February and October. Most were videos I had already produced like “Virginia,” but had not been promoted well because of touring. Promotion ran on Vevo and YouTube, but I also spent time reaching out to my fan base personally to share with them. In addition, I wrote and videoed a new, topical song called, “Got Me A Mask.” This was on a lark. One guitar, one voice, shot in the cockpit of our floating home, Ocean Girl. After reviewing it; and showing it to a small group of friends, business folks and fans we thought that the reaction was positive enough to turn it into an official music video. One of these friends (who is very creative and edits video for a living) came up with the idea to invite fans and musician friends to send in pictures of themselves sporting their masks to incorporate in the video. It worked!
We used our newsletter and social media to reach out, and the results were overwhelming! From a promotion standpoint, we had a ‘buy in.’ The video became a part of everyone’s whole, not just mine. Fans from the USA, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Canada, and Belgium became a part of the message. And in just two weeks, the video had over 100,000 views.
I do not mind sharing that it was hard to get motivated to write, let alone a positive pandemic song. The whole process gave me a reason to create, a reason to reach out to fans, a way to share something positive, and it worked. We connected without me going to their town to play a show.
Today finds us gearing up to release and promote an existing holiday video and tune called “Almost Christmas.” Again, this is one I have not promoted before and couldn’t justify the time or expense. This year being a different year, I am looking forward to seeing how it goes over. The promotion starts December 4th on YouTube. Check it out. Let me know what you think.
Many of you embraced the live-streaming route. I really have not but am about to stream a show for the Savannah Folk Music Society, also on December 4th. Check out our Facebook page (/MikeandAmyAiken) to tune in.
I sure do miss being on those highways and planes. It is what I should be doing. But until it is cool to be back out there, take care of yourselves and be extra good to one another.