Tuesday 12 June 2018


I make a promo/teaser video for social media…

OFF into Glasgow again…I have some videos to upload and am meeting a pal later.

After dropping Margaret off I stop at McDonalds for coffee and wifi. I manage to get the new Whisky Trail video uploaded to YouTube and Facebook ready for ‘go live’ on release day next Thursday (21 June).

The 350 meg files upload in less than five minutes. That’d have been a 24-hour job from our connection at home.

I decide to make a ‘square format’ teaser video to post round social media and try and build a wee buzz about next week’s release. The square format is preferred for Facebook and Instagram, but making it isn;t so straighforward.

You can’t change the format of a video in iMovie and although it;s posible in Final Cut, it’s a bit of a pain.

Much simpler – and faster – is to create a square ‘slide’ in Keynote or Powerpoint and drag the video clip straight onto it. Then you can crop, size, add graphics or whatever you want then export it as a movie file. Done!

I had a bit of a problem getting InstaGram and Twitter to accept or play the video file, but after simply changing the filename extension from .m4v to .mp4 it all worked a treat.

Once done I park up at Glasgow Green and wander into town to meet my pal JJ from Wisconsin. We have a coffee then hit Non Viet for some lunch before walking through town.

I pick up some stuff form the mailbox and we carry on to the car an JJ comes with me to pick up Margaret and say hello.

We drop JJ off back in the city centre, get our shopping and make for home.

The wee teaser video’s been getting good traction – lots of comments and shares. Once I get some Spotifty pre-save links to create a tangible call to action I’ll likely turn it into a Facebook and Instagram ad.

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Tuesday 30 May 2017

INTO Glasgow this morning. The usual routine – drop Margaret off and stop at McDonald’s for coffee and wifi!

I’m on a mission today. Having researched a bit on how best to make promo downloads of my forthcoming Live at Memorial Hall album I decide to give Soundcloud a tryout. I already use Soundcloud to provide the audio samples/downloads on my website but have never really examined the possibilities. For the last two albums I’ve used Bandcamp and promo codes, but it’s a bit of a fanny dance responding to requests by allocating and sending individual download codes.

For last year’s Hellbound Train EP and the recent Live EP I”ve hosted the downloads on my website and directed media to an ‘unlisted’ download page where they fill in their name, publication/radio show and email address in a form..when the form is submitted my system automatically sends an email with a link to download the promo stuff in a zipped folder.

Benefits of Bandcamp are you see who actually redeemed the download codes but that’s offset by the limited number of codes you can generate and the already mentioned fanny dance with all the admin. The self-hosted thing worked well but, on research, had a couple of drawbacks.

First, some media/recipients might not be comfortable downloading a zipped folder from what is essentially an unknown – and therefore probably untrusted – source. Also, there is no way to preview the tracks/release so the recipient has to commit to downloading the lot without knowing what it’s like.

Soundcloud offers a neat way around all these drawbacks at the expense, I think of some of the data…but the paid for (pro account – only £45 a year) option does promise some kind of data/analytics. I tidy up my existing Soundcloud accounts (I have a few!) and upgrade one to ‘pro’.

The fast wifi at McDonalds allows me to get all 26 tracks uploaded as 320k MP3s by the time I’ve finished my coffee 🙂

Next stop is Silverburn to pick up a couple of things we need for our camping at this weekend’s Red Rooster Festival where I play on Saturday night.

The wifi at Silverburn is crap, but back at the car I have a full 4G signal so tether the Macbook to my phone and manage to upload the same tracks as uncompressed .wav file versions – I want to be able to give folks the option of downloading 320k MP3 or WAV files.

I have time for a wee walk before I get some shopping and pick up Margaret before heading to the Scottish Music Centre for a meeting about the industry/media launch event for Live at Memorial Hall. We have a productive meeting and all looks good. Planning is everything!

Next stop is Costco for some more shopping and bite to eat before we go to Glasgow’s Citizen M hotel for a networking event co-hosted by the SMIA (Scottish Music Industry Association) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). We spend a good couple of hours catching up with folks and drinking beer (well I do – Margaret’s driving!)…great event, great evening 🙂

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Friday 22 July 2016

AN ONLSLAUGHT of emails keeps me busy after breakfast, then my pal Rab calls – he needs some guidance on updating his website and wonders if I can make up some notes for him.

It takes me a good couple of hours, but hopefully it’s a good step-by-step guide to make the updates he wants to be able to do – not just this time, but for future reference too.

The outside grill’s needing cleaned after last night’s burgers…and the wooden ‘worktops’ on each side could do with some attention. They look a bit manky and with Margaret’s brithday gathering next month it’d be a good idea to clean thing up a bit. I grab a sander out the shed and rub them back…then Margaret wipes them down with meths and gives ’em a couple of coats of stain. Quite a difference!

I didn’t have time earlier int he week to cut the grass at the front of the house so I give it a quick run over with the mower then get back to work.

There’s a nice wee breeze keeping the midges at bay and I need a walk. I load up some podcasts and head off on one of my regular walking routes.

On the way back I change podcasts and notice a 4G signal on my mobile….mmmm…I wonder if I can do a Facebook Live stream? Yup, no problem – I do an off-the-cuff ‘broadcast’ about next week’s Estonia shows, answer some questions that come in over comments and then finish my walk.

I check when I get home and the post has a reach of 16,491, 101 likes, 58 comments and 1,900 video views – that’s a bigger reach than all my combined page posts over the last 10 days. Unbelievable traction….just need to find a way to harness this opportunity!

Back home I open a beer and make our Korean BBQ beef yum yum rice bowls…that’s a mouthful in more ways than one 🙂

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Tuesday 28 June 2016

AFTER sleeping in we finally get going on stuff.

A couple of important things have come in via email that need immediate replies then I carry on with the press/PR/media stuff for the England dates (London, Newcastle, York and Reading) in mid-July.

Doing the PR stuff is always a reminder to how fast the media is changing. I probably started keeping my media contacts in the current database six or seven years ago and while media in the areas I play often (ie: once or twice a year!) is relatively up to date, I haven’t updated/used local and regional contacts in places that I haven’t been for a while…in this case York and Reading. So I have to check the contacts…some of the newspapers have disappeared or merged with other titles, some have moved, many of the journalists dealing with music/entertainment have moved on…and most of the folks left have new email addresses.

I suppose one of the benefits of updating the stuff is that it’s an excuse to have a chat with the journalists before sending them the news release which, I think, increases the chances of coverage.

It’s time-consuming, though, and if I’ve just allocated a few hours to do the press/PR for each show there’s no time for the checking and contacting. Maybe I should make time as a matter of course for every show.

My eternal debate with myself over the use of landing pages (a page website vistors come to first, usually highlighting a specific piece of news or offer before they ‘enter’ the main website) continues. I used to be of the mind that visitors want to get straight into a website content and a landing page added another ‘click’ before they got there.

Now I’m changing my view. The landing page for pre-ordering the new EP – both physical and via iTunes – certainly seemed to boost physical pre-orders to a much higher level than I’ve had in the past. And also, I’m sure, propelled Hellbound Train to number seven in the iTunes blues charts.

I reckon a landing page is fine, maybe even a great thing – so long as it’s not overused, changes frequently so it draws focus onto a current message and that every so often there a break in using a landing page.

So…the big push at the moment is the England dates. I create a landing page promoting them. I think it looks pretty good. If you came direct to this blog you won’t have seen it – check it out here! The stats will tell me if it’s working.

Betty pops in for a coffee on her way past and invites us to dinner later. Perfect timing, for although I’ve got stuff out defrosting for tonight, I haven’t done anything with it, so it can wait ’til tomorrow.

I really need some fresh air and exercise but while the drizzle and damp doesn’t bother me, the midges do. And they’re out in force today. I carry on working Set lists for the Dundee shows this weekend and then I archive some TV footage and radio interviews from earlier in the month.

We wander along to Betty and Joe’s. The midge repellent isn’t really effective, but it’s not too far and soon we’re sitting round the table eating, drinking and putting the world to rights.

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