I'm gonna be real and reveal the petty little neuroses that fill my head around a single release.
You likely already know that my first 2024 single, Asheville, came out last week. What you may not know is that release days are always an emotional rollercoaster for me. I ended Friday completely drained.
I'm trying to get better at this, but it seems I'm a little soft.
Some of you have sent me little reactions and responses to Asheville - thank you! I love that stuff – and it's what should be most important to me.
I shouldn't be chasing numbers, refreshing stream counts and hoping some stranger-tastemaker I'll never meet likes what I'm doing.
But. I'm only human.
A week ago I was taking off for Asheville
My hands out begging for a change
The change? A sudden jump in Spotify streaming numbers that would make the algorithm sit up and take notice.
It didn't happen.
Asheville was played just under 100 times on Spotify in the first weekend. I could look at that number in a number of ways, but the truth is it's far less streams than I had on some singles I've really pushed in the past.
I fear I've become a little allergic to the hustle.
In the past I've done things like direct messaging every friend I think might listen with a link to the song. It's a lot of work but more-so I am afraid I'll annoy people I care about. Plus. it can feel like begging. It can feel icky. Soul-draining.
I didn't hustle in that way this time and the early results reflect that.
Maybe that's fine - it's a tradeoff.
Spotify is NOT the only marker of success - or really even the most important if I look at my own goals making music.
I want to connect with listeners. I want to speak to a deeper part of myself and you. I want to be a conduit for something that flows from somewhere beyond me. I want to receive and give music as gift.
I'm in the meaning business.
I'm not in the TikTok-dance or the tech-bro hustle business.
People are experiencing Asheville on a deeper level and they are telling me about that and that is beautiful.
Here are some more positives I ignored while I was moping and fretting last weekend.
Multiple hosts on the mighty CKUA played Asheville on multiple programs.
Multiple college and community radio stations across Canada downloaded the song to play on their airwaves.
A few music blogs posted about the song and Canadian Beats asked me some great questions. A music blogger I respect wrote that Asheville "demonstrates Von Bieker’s ability to transform diary entries into a moving song about losing hope and finding transformation in the most unexpected places." Amen.
And of course, you're here. Listening and supporting and sharing the way the music hits you.
All of this should matter much more than some Spotify streams, right?
Am I the only one who continues to stand on the heads of those close to me to wave for attention from some far away stranger? Why? What is that about? Why is the praise and respect of strangers such a shiny little prize?
Now, about those direct messages asking for a listen.
A funny thing happened this week. A friend of mine sent me a direct message asking if I'd listen to the very first release from her band.
Did I get annoyed? No.
Did I click and listen immediately? I sure did. And I cheered her on and did my best to make her feel even more excited about this than she already did.
Because we're friends. Because people like helping other people. Because positivity spreads.
So yeah - I'm going to start sending those messages again and tell that little critic in my head to shut up. He's become a real liability.
If you haven't streamed Asheville yet or want to listen again, you'll find it right here wherever you like to listen. I hope you enjoy it and that you connect with it on some level.
Thanks for being here, steady and constant while the metrics ebb and flow.
In dumb hope,
(Dave) Von Bieker