When you’re streaming loneliness.
When they’re listening
Hey everyone. I’ve been sitting on this thread for a week or so now, trying to decide if I should post it or not. For those of you who might not know me, I’m NuJ4X (new jacks) and 2018 was my first FAWM.
I splashed on the music scene and the FAWM scene with my debut single “Dab (On Dem Haterz)” and it’s been a fun ride ever since. Fast forward to today and this year I’ve gone from 79 monthly listeners and 100 streams a month to around 13-20k listeners a month and 20-30k streams a month. Yeah, not Beyoncé numbers but still pretty decent.
But the problem I’m facing is, even though I know people are listening, I feel kind of lonely about it. I feel like I’m sitting in a box in my room with all my records and it’s just me. On Spotify, people can “save” your music to their library and that’s supposed to be an indication that they dig your song. However, the frequency that they listen to it is maybe once a week, once a month, etc.
It just makes me feel lonely. When I first started, I knew no one was listening and I felt hopeful. But now that people are listening, I feel more lonely.
Does that make sense to you? Anyone got any words of wisdom for me to think on?
I don't know if this is wisdom, but I think that probably a lot of us are feeling a little lonely just because of the nature of the world and that most of us haven't been able to go out and play music with others. While you might be getting listeners, I would assume that it probably doesn't seem "real" as it's just numbers and you might not "feel" is as a visceral part of you,
I think it also goes to show that some facts (like 20-30K streams a month) was maybe something that was unfathomable to you before, and now that it's here, it doesn't feel like what you thought.
Granted, all of this is what I'm "feeling" when reading your comments. I may be wildly off base from your experience @nuj4x .
Advice: Find a way to interact with more of your listeners one on one. Try to take some of those listeners and make them fans.
I don’t wanna sound glib… but you know playing gigs is a thing right? Go out and look at people in the eyeballs as you play! (But yeah I know there are many reasons why it’s difficult at the moment and over the past 2-3 years but this is ultimately how you defeat bedroomitis).
Hey, @nuj4x - that makes a lot of sense to me. The thing I find I covet is the comments on videos on Youtube where people say things like "This song reminds me of my dad. He died 23 years ago Sunday. I giggle and cry when I hear it." I like thinking that some song of mine might move somebody. I listened to your song Hype Man, and I imagine it could do that for somebody. Give them that feeling of having made the right choice, feeling seen, like someone gets what they're going through. I don't know that they're likely to leave you a comment anywhere, but I bet it's happening. Getting the song out there so much is a great way to increase the likelihood that people who need to hear it do. Oh, and "Streaming Lonesome" is a great title for your next song - maybe it's about the other side, of sitting in a bedroom listening and watching, yearning for connection.
Making good music in your home 'studio' is great, and getting lots of streams is great too, but for me, playing in front of love people (even if half of them are eating/drinking/talking) is much more rewardable.
Do you still DJ? How about streaming live from your home studio on YouTube or TikTok?
the smallest numbers still represent a lot of people hearing your music. if you average just 50 streams a day, that means every half hour somebody the world has heard your music, and if you were playing small gigs every day and 50 people showed up every time you played, you would be doing pretty good. at least for a performing songwriter outside of the industry. its a different story for those seeking fame in the commercial arena. if you want to make that scene, a million streams a day is not enough.
Interesting. From an outside perspective, I can offer a little insight into my own listening habits, and others I know, to maybe frame it into a different view ?
I listen to the same music regularily, more than I listen to new music. When I was younger in my 20s I would listen to one song probably once or twice over a few days, then go to another song to listen to that for a few days. I would get into my head a few songs I'd get an earworm with, then move onto another.
If I have to guess, that's about 20-30 times in a year, on my own.
Bear in mind this was pre-spotify, so it was CD, youtube, off my own pc, etc.
So nowadays I listen mostly on YouTube. The views they get are in total of everyone. However, I've noticed that songs my favourite bands have uploaded, have totals varying between 4k listens over their lifetime being on there, to into the millions. But the millions are, their main hits that the radio plays a lot, so we're talking probably one or two at most in all their back catalogue.
Outsider music, I get predominantly from YouTube. Some vary between the 100k down to about 300 listens, mostly down under the 10k levels. And these are where they level out.
What I'm trying to say is - I go through phases. I listen to a vaired amount of songs but not always from different artists, mostly ones I know. I don't go out of my way as much now to listen to new stuff, and if I do, I stick an album on but find something else to watch/listen to like a podcast that might serve me more interest in the long term.
It's mostly my priorities are changing. I have less time to listen to music, but when I do, it's usually something I know. Some times I listen to a song once, and not again for a few months. Sometimes I listen to the same album all way through for about two days in a row, maybe 3-4 times that weeks.
If we consider this might not be the norm, we're talking about a very small amount of views/listens
Cont.. // but that's my own experience. Other listeners will vary in their habits.
Also, Beyonce levels are definitely the exception. I'm guessing maybe 1% of music get a heck of a lot more of hits. Beyonce will be well into the 0.1% I reckon.
However, bands like Feeder, Stereophonics, Ash, etc who I sometimes listen to who were big favs of mine, probably are in the 1-5% level most days because of their time in the limelight having passed. Not many stay there, so dw if you aint getting there, not many stay there either !!
Finally, I'll say this. The upcreep is a thing. Say you begin a new hobby like pool. Winning isnt easy, you cannot get that blackball in, and you go two years without a win. You win one or two games a year in competitons shortly after and think 'hey maybe im getting better'. But the better you get, you win more, and it increases to five. Now you're thinking "if only i could win 10," then its "20 is my number". before you know it, youre further than you ever thought you could be, and sometimes it skips your mind you never won a single game when you first started for over a year!
The higher it goes, the higher the ante. It can be harder to get to that next level. while you look at the top 1% and think, 'how the heck are they doin that ???'
not really sure what to suggest, other than that the saying 'never forget where you came from' may be apt. because, consider probably 1% of all fawmers might only just get that sniff at the bottom tier to progress! :)
my maths arent fact based btw, mostly estimates based on numbers ive seen. YMMV. but keep going, you might be living someones dream and not realise it !! :)
While many, myself included, dream of numbers like yours, I think there’s something to be said for a close knit community of fans as opposed to a crowd of strangers. It’s fulfilling to know that some people, even if it’s only a few, listen to your songs on repeat because they find them meaningful, and when you don’t have that connection it’s hard to know how you’re making an impact with your art. I agree with @tcelliott that the more you can interact with your fans on a personal, one on one level, the better you’ll feel (and you’ll likely get more numbers out of it too).
I also think it’s easy to get lost in the business side of things and hyperfocus on the number of streams, the money, the glamour, etc. After all, we live in a society of hustle, and finances are tight for many, so it makes sense to want to be at the top. I try to keep in mind that even if only one person finds my music meaningful, that means I’ve succeeded.
So many responses, full of so much wisdom! Thank you all! Please give me time to write and respond to all of you amazing people!
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