We call ourselves “The Eastern Gate”.
That’s only because the name we used to go by (and all of our fans know us as) was taken by a Taiwanese heavy-metal group. We changed it because we didn’t want to get sued. Two Mondays ago we released an album. We finished it last spring, but have held on to it - debating whether to get professionally mastered. In the end, we didn’t. Freshly graduated college students don’t have the money to get an album professionally mastered.
So, with frustration, we released everything AS-IS. We did it mostly to get the thing off of our shoulders, and to get our three biggest fans from the college days to stop asking when they can get a copy. It’s funny how loud 3 people can be sometimes.
So we released it on Monday, January 5th, 2009. I uploaded it to a music distribution service, we put up notices on Facebook and MySpace that the album was available, and within hours our loyal fan-base had sky-rocketed us to the top 1000 albums on Amazon MP3.
A couple hours later we were still climbing, now into the top 500. Finally, at about 6 PM, we reached our top spot at#200 on the Amazon best-selling mp3 albums of the day. Not only were we on the top albums charts, but we also reached #1 on the “Movers and Shakers” list.
We were speechless. How in the world did an amature, unsigned band of poor, just graduated college students (from a college of only 1,200 in a town of less than 7,000) manage to crack an un-mastered album into Amazon MP3’s top 200 in only a matter of hours?!
On top of that, how did we do it with just a Facebook event, and a new MySpace page with 4 friends?
It seems there is something to this social networking thing. When people get something in their mind - when people find something they like (un-mastered or not) - word-of-mouth still reigns supreme. People who are passionate about an idea (or maybe about a music album) can spread popularity faster than ANY record-label-backed guerrilla marketing campaign.
Unfortunately, the mild success we had with our Amazon MP3 launch isn’t enough to prove to a lot of people that an independent no-name band can still achieve some sort of chart-topping success in today’s day and age.
So, we’re, going to try things again, and this time with a bit of planning (not much).
Our album was released on iTunes this week, and we want to try to make history this time. How? By making it onto the iTunes front-page.
Independent artists have made it big before. Just think of Death Cab for Cutie, or Nine Inch Nails with their latest post-label launches. But it’s either taken time (in Death Cab for Cutie’s case) or already established fame and marketing power (Nine Inch Nails). Youtube has made a few artists popular, but it’s a long process, and seems to be focused only on niche performances (Bo Burnham anybody?).
We want to make the iTunes charts only 2 weeks after the debut of our un-mastered album. We want to make it as an independent artist who has 80 fans on Facebook and just got our 6th fan on MySpace. We want to make it to the iTunes front-page because YOU liked our music and bought our album.
So what’s the catch? Obviously we don’t have the marketing power of the big guys. We don’t have record-label money to throw behind a huge ad campaign. We don’t have 1,000,000 MySpace friends, or even a Youtube video. All we have is a blog, some good music, and YOU.
So we’re counting on YOU for this one. We’re counting on you to hear music you like, and pass it on. We’re counting on you to become our fan on Facebook and MySpace, and to tell your friends to do the same. We’re counting on you to DIGG, Stumble, e-mail, and share this page/site in ANY way you can. And PLEASE, sign-in on the right with your Google or Twitter account so your badge proudly displays as a member/fan of this site, and share the sign-in with your friends!
And most of all, we’re counting on YOU to buy our album on iTunes on Monday, January 19th, 2009. If we can get everyone to buy at exactly the same time, maybe for just one day we can prove that an indie band really can go from zero to famous in just a couple weeks. YOU don’t need the bank-roll of a record-label to tell you what good music is. Decide for yourself, and prove to the world that they can decide for themselves too.