Pieces Of The Puzzle: Radio For Solo Piano

TThe proliferation in the number of solo piano artists in the last 15 years has been quite significant. Additionally, with the development of internet radio, avenues for access to the music, created by these solo piano artists, has also proliferated.

When I released my first album Through the Mind’s Eye in December 1997, there were 125 or so solo piano artists that I identified. My first radio promotion went out to 75 land-based radio programs in North America. To put a perspective on the timetable, George Winston released his solo piano release December album in 1980. A couple of the other major solo piano artists included David Lanz and Yanni. Seventeen years later, the numbers quoted above are fairly accurate.

In 2013, sixteen years after the release of my first album, the number of solo piano artists is easily over 300, world-wide probably closer to 400 or more. Between land-based radio and internet radio, there are over 200 choices for a listener to choose from. The growth in the solo piano genre is substantial, if not staggering. How did this happen?

The most obvious reason is that technology has made recording much more accessible to any artist. Almost anyone can create and record music in their home, bypassing the need for a recording studio. Software for recording, editing and mastering is all readily available as well, enabling an artist to do everything in a home studio, if they desire. Even streaming live concerts over the internet is possible. So anyone who has an internet connection can see a concert from any part of the world. Isn’t technology amazing?

Photo credit: Darwin Bell on Flickr

Photo credit: Darwin Bell on Flickr

The second obvious reason is the growth of the capabilities of the internet. In 1997, internet radio was in its infancy. It didn’t have much public interest then and many artists, especially those on record labels, just ignored it. In 2013, the proliferation of internet radio has brought new levels of accessibility to new audiences for the recording artists. In the solo piano genre alone, there are several big internet radio stations featuring many artists. In the US, there is Whisperings, Enlightened Piano Radio, Solo Piano.com, just to name a few. Whisperings and Enlightened Piano Radio have artists joining together to give concerts throughout the country. Between the two groups, there are over 300 independent actively recording and performing solo piano artists. Other US internet radio sources include Pandora, Live365.com, ReverbNation, Spotify and others.

As I did some research for this article, I found a proliferation of internet radio all over the world. Sky.FM in Canada frequently appeared in search results. In Europe, one of the main ones was RadioArt.com. It has several channels featuring solo piano as well as many other genres … all featuring independent music. There were several Asian based internet radio stations as well. This list isn’t comprehensive at all.

Other sources for this music can be found in subject specific groups found in the social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, AOL and QQ (in Asia). Another social network specifically designed for music is SoundCloud. It too has the ability to create playlists and focus groups for all kinds of music. It gives the creative artist a viable avenue to make their creations available to the public.

As a user of SoundCloud, I have found an audience I had previously been unable to reach. Actually, they are finding me. I have been on SoundCloud since March 2013. My Year of Music project can be found there (at least all music since January 2013). Posting a new creation daily, SoundCloud gave me the opportunity for people to find my music. Having almost 10,000 plays of 335+ posted musical creations and getting over 200 followers in 9 months is far more than I ever thought possible before. I am finding that I have followers from all over the world, most of them new to my music and most of them not from the US.

Having an audience in another country, making contacts and locating other radio outlets and venues in various parts of the world, opens the possibility of concert performances in those parts of the world. Connecting with other artists in other parts of the world and collaborating on concert events brings the whole community closer together. The next piece of the puzzle is to translate this interest into album sales and concert revenues.

If you haven’t been to a solo piano concert, you are missing an exciting concert. These performers are energetic and dynamic. Each artist brings his/her own style to the concert. Many audience members have come up to me after a concert saying “This concert was nothing like I expected … It was better!” I don’t know what they expected, but I do know that each concert is filled with emotional passionate music created from the soul and hearts of the performing artists.

One observation I made while doing the research for this blog … I have a lot of work to do. I am humbled and energized by this thought.

This post was bought to you by Coach House Pianos.

Written by Richard Carr, a composer and contemporary solo pianist who has released 15 studio albums and has been putting out a new composition every day in the last 2+ years within his “Year Of Music” project. Richard recently posted the 800th creation in the “Year of Music” project.