A year ago
I decided to upload at least two solo music performances a week to YouTube. Not counting the live-streams and band-shows I managed to kick out 114 videos in 365 days. On a few occasions I even snuck in a few extras and never missed the Thursday or Sunday deadline.
***In case you’re already ready for me to get to the point scroll all the way to the end. There you’ll find links to the 114 videos I made over this last dumpster-fire of a year; organized by artists***
Cover Songs on YouTube? I Had My Reasons...
1) It serves as a great memory for songs I’ve learned.
2) I’m self-employed and having some type of weekly “schedule anchor” helps to keep me feeling a little less untethered.
3) Enforced practice time; keeps the wheels greased, so to speak.
4) Each video acts as a potential fishing hook for YouTube search results.
5) This one is contingent on #4… sometimes those caught find their way to my music and sometimes they even like what they find (aka New Fans).
6) Fans = Subscribers (often). With enough of those channel monetization is possible.
7) Enjoyment: I actually love learning and playing my favorite songs.
And I Have My Plan...
Consistency over time is powerful and can foster exponential results that often precede some type of tipping-point. I thought then, and still think now, that this tipping-point is pretty far into the future. It would be great if one of my videos garnered a million views all the sudden but it’s as ludicrous to include that into the plan as it is to put out a record and expect some million dollar signing deal.
Most of my uploads that gained decent traction took years to do so. Not sure what these algorithms are up to but they seem to enjoy taking their time with ROI.
Above and to the right are my two most popular solo acoustic videos.
Views: 22.3k & 15.8k
Date: 6/14 & 5/14
Quality vs. Quantity...
To be sure, quality is arguably the most important factor when trying to induce the mythical exponential growth curve and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t throw as much emphasis there. And I do suspect it’s time to shift gears in this dept.
The main angle when signing this year-long agreement with myself was mostly about quantity. I whole-hardheadedly tried to make everything I did worth the time of whoever watched it and tried not to upload any dog shit but I guess you’ll have to be the judge of that. Put simply enough, I wanted more fodder to pad my channel. More hooks in the water means more viewers subscribing.
In the meantime I figured I would learn a few new tricks and get more efficient with the hard/software as well as smoother with the overall process of making videos. And I have. Now, I suspect, it’s time to push a little deeper into the skill-sets that may set me apart from the multitudes of others in this crowded boat.
More Ideas Than Time...
With that said this project has been fun but I’m ready to take a step back and consider some other options. There’s actually a ton of video formats and styles I wanna take a crack at such as multi-instrumental videos where I play all of instruments. Would also like to try my hand at animation or some type of creative film-like video to go along with my music. And for awhile now I’ve wanted to do some focused lesson/discussion segments about many different aspects of music.
One idea I’ve wanted to get more serious about for years now is solo-guitar instrumental arrangements. By this I mean simultaneously playing the bass lines, chords and vocal melody on one guitar. To me this is one of the coolest and most difficult things guitar players can do.
Left: Gareth Pearson with a stunning instrumental version of MJ’s Billie Jean.
Six years ago tomorrow (as a matter of fact) I attempted this feat with that wonderful french horn solo in The Beatles “For No One”.
Completing a quick Instagram of ONLY the solo was as far as I got. This alone took forever to get right.. I gave up on making it through the whole song with vocals and all and the fleeting result you should be able to see to the right on these words.
While we’re at it check out Hey Bulldog (below) another Beatles. Found a bit more success in this attempt. I got down most of the instrumental parts, including the guitar solo, and managed to sing it all the way through while banging on the 12-string. My guess is that I have dozens of hours into that one piece but the response online has been favorable and, to me, worth it. Maybe these are the types of retrospective lessons I need to absorb before moving forward?
Time Consuming & Tediuous
Right now it’s just not feasible or smart to announce that I’ll do some crazy, elaborate videos twice a week; or even once a month. I will be taking the time to experiment with all the a fore mentioned formats over the coming months and will no doubt have a clearer sense how to stay consistent with regular uploads. I am simply providing myself some time to decide what new regiment, if any, to put myself on moving foreword.
I WILL STILL BE MAKING VIDEOS…
No matter what you can rest assured that anytime I’m inspired and genuinely feel like making videos I will. That won’t ever change. It’s why I started this second “free for all/whatever” channel in the first place.
Oh, and I will still be playing and uploading my weekly livestreams on Facebook which you can watch live at 7pm (CST) every Tuesday at my personal profile.
(This Week, Nov 10, is the CD Release Party For Bric-á-Brac!)
The 114: Arranged in Alphabetical order; By Artist
Walk This Way
The Allman Brothers Band:
Trouble no More
Don’t Do It
From the Wreckage
Lines of Red
Lost in the Woods
Making your Bed
New Work | Piano
Shake Us Off
Blind Melon / Curtis Mayfield:
Folsom Prison Blues
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
All Along the Watchtower
Don’t Think Twice, It’s alright
Girl From the North Country
He Was a Friend of Mine
If You Gotta Go, Go Now
It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
I Want You
Knocking on Heavens Door
Love Minus Zero
Mama, You’ve been on my mind
Nobody ‘Cept You
Shelter From the Storm
When I get my Hands on You
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP):
From the Beginning
Guns N’ Roses:
You Ain’t the First
Coming Into Los Angeles
Compass or a Map
David Jimenez/The Last Jimenez:
Born Under a Bad Sign
Sunday Morning Coming Down
Look at Me
If I Had a Boat
You Don’t Know How it Feels
Daniel Thomas Phipps:
Angels From Montgomery
Stuck in the Middle With You
Any Major Dude
Traffic / Steve Winwood:
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Three Little Birds
Marshall Tucker Band:
Can’t You See?
Black Horse and a Cherry Tree
Come On Up to the House
Wilco / Billy Bragg: