Hello! Lots of people have been asking whether there will be a new Christmas video this year. I really don't enjoy talking about money because it puts a dampener on things, but the songs and videos are expensive to make and I haven't been able to make anything new unfortunately, so I wanted to explain the challenges I face....
The reality is that very few people pay for music these days, and online streaming sites like Spotify, YouTube etc, pay very little. As I write this, YouTube is paying around $1 per 1000 views which is 8 times less than Apple Music pays per audio stream (without a video). The average cost of each video has been tens of thousands of pounds which means that in order for me to make one each year, they'd need to be viewed over 50 million times every Christmas just to break even. The good news is that the views are increasing rapidly. In its first year of release, my Favourite Time of Year received just under 50,000 views in total. As I write this, it is receiving that many views each day, and had over 4 million in the past year! Obviously that's nowhere near 50 million, but it's still encouraging.
Since 2010 I have held crowd-funding events, made decorations and merchandise to sell, and tried everything I can think of to raise funds. Nowadays, most artists make their money playing live, but that isn't possible for The Florin Street Band yet, although I hope to do shows one day. I love musical theatre, and I set about creating a Florin Street musical pretty soon after the initial release. I've written a dozen new songs which tell the story, but they aren't all Christmas songs, so they can't really be released by themselves. I do believe that when I am able to make the musical as an animation / stage show, it will be the thing that brings the existing songs together and provide an identity for Florin Street.
Of course I could release an album, and I am thinking about this. But the costs involved in high-end production with lots of musicians can also be vast - one of the few recording studios large enough to record the choir on My Favourite Time of Year charged me over £2000 per day and I was there for a week! But you can't cut corners and achieve epic results on the cheap, and I would never expect professional musicians to work for free. I'm fortunate in that I write, record, produce and mix the songs myself, and this saves a lot more money and takes away publishing and copyright issues.
So what next?
I hope that with the growing interest, I will receive more support from national radio in particular. There is also pressure on YouTube to start paying artists properly instead of pocketing billions each year. But after nine years of trying so hard, I am tired and severely out of pocket. Fortunately, I created Calmsound.com in 2007 and have been working as a media composer for 20 years, so I am able to earn a living and keep The Florin Street Band alive. Although I can't justify spending anymore money on new music videos at this time, I absolutely will make more! I have other projects that will soon open doors for Florin Street, and I continue to save any money I receive from CD and DVD sales, along with people's kind donations on this website. I have plans for a video for 'Wonderful Things' and a beautiful Ice Skating scene, both of which will be magical and I can't wait to make them.
How can you help?
Any purchases or donations are a huge help, and sharing the videos on social media is a fantastic way of helping because it's free and it enables us to reach so many people over the festive season. One person can reach hundreds, and they in turn can reach hundreds more - which probably explains the ever-growing YouTube views. For a video to "go viral" it needs to receive about 5 million views in a few days, which is a lot but you never know! If this happened to a Florin Street video we would make the news, enter the charts, be played on national radio and probably receive TV coverage. so please share away!!
I will be updating the Facebook page from December 1st as there's always something to talk about (people don't appreciate me posting much before December which is why I keep quiet until then). Despite the disappointment of not being able to make more videos yet, there are so many positives! Thousands of people will be performing the songs themselves this year and there are so many fantastic renditions by schools, theatres, churches etc, on YouTube. When I read the comments and messages I receive, it never ceases to amaze me how much people enjoy the music and videos. People are so enthusiastic no matter where they are in the world. For me this is what matters - it has never been about making money. In fact my dream is to one day create a Florin Street foundation that supports young people with creative pursuits. Music gave me hope when I was young, at a time when I had little else. It allowed me to dream and aspire to something, and it stopped me from taking the wrong path in life. So if I can make this project sustainable, perhaps when the musical is a living thing, I really hope to create a lasting legacy that will help and inspire people for generations to come. But for now, please enjoy the existing videos and know that I really appreciate your interest and support, it means everything.
Have a wonderful Christmas!