Piano keys

It’s been a few years since I released my first album, Winter Passing, and coming up to a year since I did my first recital, and I’ve been reflecting on the ways forward from here, the highs and the lows, and what I can sustainably manage in the future, in three broad areas:

  • Recitals
  • Physical Releases
  • Digital releases

There is a context here in that I make more money in two weeks from the writing and sale of my books than in the three years or more since the album was released. Money isn’t everything, but in managing my time and energy, it is an important factor.

Promoting new tracks, etc., on social media was mostly followed by the sound of crickets and the rolling of tumbleweed, as I was lucky (very rarely) if I even got one listen after a post promoting a track. For that I mostly blame social media algorithms around posts with links being less visible.


It was a real privilege to do my first recital last summer, and I was flattered and delighted to see a good number of people attend. The second recital, earlier this year, was tougher. I never felt quite ready for it, the turnout wasn’t great (but thank you to those who came), I made silly mistakes in the first piece (the easiest piece in the whole recital), and struggled through it from there.

I’m in an awkward position with recitals in that I can’t afford to do them for free, and I’m not good enough (that’s a fair assessment) to charge for them, and they take so much out of me. Getting anything out of them, from my point of view, depends on getting some merchandise sales, and the second recital took in exactly £0. That’s tough to take.

A second, equally awkward position is when they take place. During school holidays, the only time I can do them, the availability of people to come is most compromised due to people being away.

They are also exhausting. Many of you will know that I have a long-term health condition that causes fatigue, among other things. The first recital put me into bed for two days, and the second recital put me into bed for three days. It doesn’t seem very wise of me to continue them under those circumstances. They aren’t just a matter of rocking up and playing; they require practising for 6-7 weeks beforehand to be even close to ready.

In retrospect, I could’ve thought more about how they were promoted and advertised. When you create art, you are doing it because you have something to say. I didn’t initially create my music for people to find relaxing or to help them sleep, and although that is flattering, it wasn’t the intent, and perhaps the messages in the music got lost somewhere in translation.

So, I don’t see myself doing any more physical recitals in the near future, although I am looking at some ideas for virtual recitals and how they may be managed.

Physical Releases

CD sales had their highs (first release, first recital) and their lows (most of the time). I was never quite happy with them in terms of quality, as I never had enough interest in them to justify the cost of getting them commercially made. Therefore, I was left making cheap-looking homemade versions on my laptop.

I was also unhappy with the digital sound of the piano, mostly as I have found much better sounds since with subsequent recordings and playings.

So I stopped selling those at the end of April, and they are no longer available.

Digital Releases

It has cost me money rather than made me money to do digital releases on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal etc. At the current rate of streaming, it would take another 10 years or so to break even. The rules of Spotify mean that I don’t even get any money for the streams that I do have. I will leave the tracks on there, but I’m not expecting any money or traction from them.

I closed my Bandcamp at the end of April. If you purchased from there (I know who you are) and didn’t get a chance to download the tracks you purchased, let me know, and I’ll make sure that you get a copy.

The Future

As I have mentioned above, I am exploring the idea of virtual recitals.

I am also re-recording the music from Winter Passing to sound better, as much for my satisfaction as anything. The whole album will then be available for free as a playlist (in mp3 format) on this website and also for purchase as higher-quality downloads at 44khz/16-bit or 96khz/24-bit for those who are interested in that sort of thing.

Time and energy continue to be the limited resources in that regard, but I hope to have that available by the end of this year.

More information about that as becomes available.