Today I looked at my Spotify artist profile. I discovered that my most streamed song is “You Don’t Really Care,” the first song from my first album, Kittens & Puppies.
I think I’ve had my music on Spotify/other sites for about two years now? You want to know how many streams my most streamed song has?
What’s weird is that my song with the most listeners is Noelle, from my Songs for Autumn EP. Spotify shows it as #1 in my Most Popular column.
You want to know how many listeners it has? 22, and 27 streams.
“Attaquin Beach,” a song from Going to Boise, has 35 streams but only 4 listeners. Why? I guess four people really like that song.
Overall, K&P is my most streamed album on Spotify, with a whopping 314 streams as of this writing. I genuinely don’t know why this is. Nostalgia? People who heard it almost 20 years ago still like it?
Amazon Streaming shows my demo CD, How I Remember You, has the most streams, at 163. “Henry Meloy” is the most streamed son, with 94 streams. (I don’t know how to embed songs from Amazon, sorry.) Why is that one so popular here but not on Spotify, where it only has 10 streams?
Last Night in America, one of my two “rock”/”distorted guitar” albums, has 90 streams on Amazon, and 83 of those are “Row You Row Your Boat,” which … why THAT song?
It’s surreal how some of my songs do better on one site than another. I wish the Amazon people and the Spotify people could meet up and exchange notes. What’s strange is that “Henry Meloy” and “Row You Row Your Boat” are my two most popular songs on Amazon but a wide margin — the third most popular song, “Here, I Found Your Stupid Bike,” only has 32 streams.
YouTube isn’t much better. There’s not much there to be honest. We won’t go into it.
All of this is really depressing. And it has been for years. I remember burning CDs of Kittens & Puppies and then playing a coffee shop to my family and selling no CDs. That was in 2007. But at least I made the CDs, and some people did buy them, and that felt like some type of progress. Putting music on DistroKid and only making $18, nearly two years later, is almost worthy of despair.
A lot of it is my fault, honestly. I could’ve been more proactive. I could’ve marketed myself more. Could’ve played more open mics and coffee shops and all that. But there truly was, and still is, if I’m being honest, a part of me that hates my music. Hates the stuff that I’ve written. Thinks it’s sloppy, lo-fi garbage. I know that sounds weird, considering I have a bazillion albums, but it’s true. I feel lazy, like I make something and then run away from it, like a cat taking a shit in the litter box. It’s embarrassing. I assume people don’t like my stuff because I can kind of prove that they don’t because of the statistics. The stats on my latest albums that I really actually do like and am proud of are abysmal. But a bunch of people like a parody song I wrote about The Decemberists 17 years ago. Oh well.
And then there’s stuff like this:
Somebody from some point in my life uploaded a song of mine on YouTube back in 2016. Who? I replied in the comments, got nothing back. But this is nice. A nice little acknowledgment. I appreciate that.
I’ve said before that I don’t create because I want to, I create because I have to. I make music or write poetry or design worlds for D&D because I need a creative outlet. That’s still true, to a certain extent. But I’m learning that just because I made something doesn’t mean everyone needs to see it. But, on the other hand, if you write a song and nobody hears it (or wants to hear it), what’s the fucking point?
As you can tell, it’s been one of Those Days.
There’s a 50/50 chance I will release one more album before I’m done. I’m trying to finalize a track list and decide if I want to make a demos/unreleased album as well. It doesn’t really matter–no one will listen to either. But it will have been something I made. And that’s something.
I guess I just wish the statistics didn’t exist. There was a time when you’d make things and have no idea how they did, and that was okay. How many people went to your website last month? No idea. But now, everything is statistics, and it really goes to show you how terrible statistics look. Reminds me of a thing I heard a while back, about how a large percentage of people who publish books sell less than two dozen, ever. What a life.
Anyway, I’m not done creating. I’m just going to be a little more thoughtful about it. I think. And of course, thank you to everyone who has ever streamed a song of mine or bought an album. I am grateful for you, I mean it.