Interview with Pete Johns

Pete Johns a singing/songwriting social powerhouse from Adelaide, South Australia. He's also an online music educator through his YouTube channel "Studio Live Today". He's always loved and played music, but like many independent musicians it didn't pay the bills, so life got in the way for about 20 years. He's now making up for lost time, recording and releasing an album, two EPs and more than ten singles in the last four years. His goal for the future is to inspire as many other musicians to create, record and release their best music.

Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My latest EP "Maybe" is a mix of folk and rock, and is about what many of us go through when trying to succeed. The opening song sets the scene, reinforcing my belief that "life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful". The overall message is that resilience is key, and that success takes a lot of time and effort. The song "Hold On" probably sums up the overall vibe of the EP best - "life is long and you have much time".

How did you record it?

The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered in GarageBand on my iPad. I discovered mobile recording several years ago and fell in love with the ease and simplicity of getting a good sound, and being able to record wherever I go. I documented the process of recording the EP on my YouTube channel to share my learnings with others hoping to record their own music.

How did you distribute it?

I use DistroKid to distribute most of my music as I find them the most reliable, but still affordable, distributor. I love that they quickly release to all platforms, so I can just tell folks to search "Pete Johns Maybe" on their favourite streaming platform and it will be there. And of course if I'm answering a message or email about my music, a Songwhip link is always in the reply!

How did you promote it?

Most of my promotion is through my YouTube channel, but I also promote my music on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. A great place that I always recommend to folks is to share music in online forums and Facebook groups. Not in a "spammy" way telling people to "check out my lit new track", but through engaging in a community of music creators. It's a great way to hear what others are creating as well as learn and get feedback.

The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading?

Music seems to have merged with video and social media in recent years, meaning that artists can no longer just pop up every few years, drop a release, then go back into hiding and hope that people will buy and stream their records. Artists that are successful in today's music environment are those who engage with and value their fans. I see platforms like Patreon continuing to rise, and the real opportunity for independent artists is that with a level playing field, EVERYONE has the same opportunity to engage directly with listeners.

If you were running Songwhip, where would you take it?

Songwhip is great because it is simple. I would ensure that it stayed that way, while carefully adding some features that will genuinely help creators share and interact with their listeners. 

What's the most important thing missing from Songwhip?

It would be tough to implement, but a way for fans and artists to actually interact. Whether this is just links to other platforms like social media, or a dedicated chat or messaging platform I'm not sure, but it would be great for someone who gets a link to my music to have a way to get in touch directly on the Songwhip page.

What artist tools/services (Songwhip aside ) can't you live without?

I'm a little biased, but YouTube is my go-to as an artist. There is virtually nothing you can't learn about by watching videos from reputable creators on YouTube. Everything from how to write songs and record, right up to releasing and promoting your music. Like everything online, you do need to take some content with a grain (shaker?) of salt, but there is so much valuable information to be found if you dig around. I think Facebook groups are also highly underrated and a great way to find a trusted group of fellow musicians to share ideas and music. Create Record Release is the partner group for my YouTube channel, and is a wonderful group of 350+ music creators.

What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work?

My advice is to generate multiple streams of income. Right now, you can create a merchandise store, a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and group, an Instagram business account and an account with a distributor like Amuse all for FREE. Through these you can generate income immediately in some cases, or at least generate engagement which drives future revenue. Also don't be afraid to ask for PayPal or Venmo donations, or set up a Patreon page. If you just set it up and gently ask when appropriate, you'll be quite surprised how much support folks will give you.

Anything else you'd like to plug?

If you want to check out my music, follow me on social media or explore the 1,000+ tutorials and videos I have created all about creating music, the best place to go is studiolivetoday.com.

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Pete is an inspiration to any budding indie artist. Subscribe to his YouTube channel for a never-ending stream of valuable tips with a dose of Pete's comedy and charm. If you'd like to be featured in the next Songwhip indie artist interview reach out to me (Wilson) via email or messenger ✌️